Pacific Transit 2013 to Asia and Thailand 2016

We spent 2014 in Fiji, 2015 in New Zealand and 2016 in Malaysia and Thailand. Always Saturday was sold in 2016 in Malaysia

Debut to Banda, Tomea and Hoga Islands


Debut to Banda, Tomea and Hoga Islands

We left Debut quickly after we had run around for a day to collect our departure papers. Our destination was an island about 15 miles west that promised to be a fine dive site. We were the first boat to arrive and worked our way into the bay only to find ourselves in a maze of at least 500 pearl mooring buoys. Only with great care did we avoid getting fouled. The diving group arrived the next day but the visablilty was poor and even the snorkeling was poor. The next day we set off for Banda which required an overnight. The trip was uneventful and we arrived at midday to find most of the available anchorages already taken. With some help we got our anchor down. Not easy when is most locations it was 150 feet deep 3 boat lengths off the shore!

The next day I got up early and hiked an inactive volcano trail up to the top. It was a 2 hour difficult trek with scree and at a difficult incline. Getting up was challenging with poles but coming down was downright dangerous. I came down backwards about two thirds the way on all fours and still managed to fall a couple of times. Unfortunately, the weather was hazy and the view at the summit which kept me going up wasn't worth the effort. It took a couple of days to recover!

Nancy and I went on a spice plantation tour which she will write about. These islands are known as the Spice Islands because of the huge spice trade between Europe and Indonesia several hundred years ago.

I did a dive with friends but the water wasn't very clear and it wasn't worth the effort.

After the long and winded introduction to Indonesia in Debut, we decided to skip the next organized rally destination and sail 3 days west to Tomea where the diving was advertised as spectacular. The trip was memorable! We experienced something that was new an unusual. On our first night at sea, we found ourselves in an eerie environment. The sky was cloudy with some light from the moon but reasonably dark. The horizon was invisible and the Banda Sea was irridescent with glowing sea life. It was exactly the same color as the sky and we felt like we were sailing in milk...almost frothing milk. With no reference points we felt suspended. Only the motion of the boat was familiar. This phenomenon lasted all night long and repeated itself for the next two nights but we had less clouds so the phenomenon was muted compared to our first experience.

Tomea was a beautiful location with a world-class dive resort boasting the most spectacular dives sites in the world. Some of our friends went on organized dives with the resort but found the water quality far less than perfect (this time of year) and less spectacular than the snorkeling that was exceptional despite the visability. We did snorkel and I did a dive that scared the hell out me because I had difficulty breathing when I surfaced. I didn't take enough of my inhaler for exercise-induced asthma. That won't happen again!

We then sailed to Hoga Island in hopes of finding better quality water but that was no better. We did visit an impoverished village with squalor the likes of which we have never seen before. There was also a village on stilts "Stilt Village" that was disconnected from the main land where people survived on their fishing skills. We've taken several photos and they should be in the album.

From the Crew of Always Saturday