[dropcap color=”gray” ]I[/dropcap]t has been exactly one year ago since I traveled around the Moluccan islands. I’m half Moluccan, half Dutch and it was my second time visiting this beautiful part of the world including a part of my family who still lives there. I was already on my current journey and my family from the Netherlands flew in to spend a month traveling around different places on the Moluccan islands with me. Since this particular trip, my life changed into a whirlwind of intense events with me ending up living in Bali. It took me some time to process and being able to look back at this trip. But today I’m able to do so with an open and grateful heart. I’m happy to share some of the beautiful images with you that I took on this journey.
Ambon, Ambon & Natsepa
Even though it wasn’t officially raining season when we were there, it still rained a lot. This man decided to take a little break and look for shelter during one of the heavy rainfalls.
Plastic and garbage laying everywhere are a big contrast against the white beaches and palm trees. We stayed at the Maluku resort & Spa and spent most of our time at the Natsepa beach eating rudjak and enjoying our family quality time together.
We didn’t spend much time in Haria, a harbor village on Saparua. We stayed on top of the hill and enjoyed a breathtaking view and stunning sunsets. But above all, what I liked most, was taking pictures of the children and local people. I ran into this young girl who was carrying a bucket around on her head, a traditional Indonesian way to carry stuff around for women.
Ouw is a small village on the island of Saparua. It’s my “kampung” which literally means my “village”, the place my grandparents are from and where a part of my family still lives. You can get to Ouw with a boat from any of the other surrounding islands, in our case, we came straight from Ambon. The village is located on the southeastern tip of the island of Saparua on the edge of the jungle and near the ocean. I always call it “the last village” as the road literally ends here before you enter the jungle. Life in Ouw, like many other small villages on the Moluccan islands, is simple yet beautiful. People are taking it easy here and they do not seem to be bothered by the unimportant matters people in the rest of the (Western) world seem to stress about. The roles between men and women are still pretty “old fashioned” around here. During the day you’ll see women washing laundry by the water wells and cooking up food while the men are getting fresh coconuts, picking cloves to dry or go out fishing. In the afternoon people are taking it easy, napping out on the porch or having a chat with the neighbor. I have to admit, mostly these are men as the women are too busy taking care of business like women mostly seem to do around this globe 😉 Traditions and rituals all over the Moluccan islands are very important for they are the foundation of building strong family relationships between generations.
My Family Home
My family home in the village Ouw at Saparua is my favorite place. Meeting new family every time I go there and seeing how people live the simple life and enjoying it to the fullest fills my soul with happiness. My aunts are cooking up the best food I ever tasted with nothing more than a simple woodfire and spices from the jungle and the local market or fresh fish. The rooms have no doors and the beds are hard but I always seem to sleep best here. I prefer it above any hotel around here.
The sunset view behind our house is the most beautiful one I ever got to witness. It’s like a present at every end of the day.
Of all people, my brother is my favorite person to take pictures of, as usual, he wasn’t even aware I took this snap of him while he was enjoying the endless ocean view from a rock at Motoni beach. Our favorite beach on Saparua is located just a few steps from our family house.
I absolutely love shooting portraits especially of all the beautiful kids that are running around in Maluku.
This little island was a gem, we spent the night during a full moon and it was magical. A majority of the time we had the entire island to ourselves. During the day we enjoyed the crystal white beach and stunning blue water and killed time with hermit crab races. At night we sat around the campfire while having full moon conversations. I was completely “offline” and I loved every moment of it.
Seram, Ora beach
I always thought of Seram as one of the most mystic islands as it looked so powerful and mysterious from a distance so I was more than excited to finally go here. Even though I saw just a tiny bit of it, it was enough for me to realize it is indeed a very magical and breathtaking island where I for sure will come back to. We traveled to the North part of the island to Ora beach and spent a few days taking in all the magic.
Anything you’ve ever seen or read about this place is true, trust me. It takes more than a few exhausting hours to get here, but the sight makes it more than worth it.
The days here were beautiful but the nights were magical! With thousands of bats flying out of a mysterious cave during sunset and flying fish that come out to play at night.
Nobody really knows where the bat cave exactly is located or why the bats leave every evening around the same time and where to they go. I guess it is one of the many mysteries of Seram.
The Ora Beach Eco Resort is like a dream. It’s home to a rich coral reef that’s so like heaven for every dive maniac out there. But even if you are not diving this place has enough to amaze you. Like the many tropical birds and creatures providing a concert of tropical tunes to remind you that you are in a tropical jungle paradise. Or the fact you can dive into the crystal clear water straight from your cabin when you wake up. The service and facilities might not be to Western standards but keep in mind this place works with local people only, giving people from the nearby villages a chance to work and learn and that is something I appreciate more than any type of service.
Why of all beaches, the Moluccan ones seem to fit me the most…
The Moluccan islands will always be a big and important part of my travels as well as of me. It’s part of my DNA and therefore part of me. I’ve always been a curious and adventurous soul but to really know where I came from, was necessary to me in order to know where I was going in life. I remember very well the first time I set foot on the beach near my kampong (the village my family comes from and part of them still lives). The feeling it gave me when I felt the sand between my toes was somewhat remarkable. Because I wasn’t blown away like I expected I would be. I already had seen a fair share of beautiful beaches around Asia and it wasn’t like this was the most beautiful one even though it kind of was. It would make more sense if I was over-excited and blown away by this beautiful place, instead, it felt super normal to be there. Almost familiar and very peaceful. I will never forget that feeling. All of a sudden it made so much more sense why -although I grew up in cold and rainy Holland- I’m such an island girl at heart. It made sense why, no matter where I am on this planet, I get restless if I spend too long too far away from the ocean. It made sense why, I feel at my best bare feet with sand between my toes, tasting the salt in the air and having endless conversations in silence with the waves. And because of this, it doesn’t matter where life will take me or in what direction the wind will blow, I will always roam back to the beaches of these islands.