Trips to the islands
With over 200 islands to chose from and better arrangements with boat owners/homestays, these trips are increasingly popular for snorkeling, fishing and getting a feel for the archipelago. There are two groups of islands off-shore to the north and south of Coaster. We arrange trips to them using local fishermen, and to further afield if you want. In addition we are putting in place arrangements to transport/accommodate visitors in Kei Besar, Tanimbar Kei and Tayando.
Sampan in the lagoon. Ask Bob/Johannes to arrange use of a dugout for a few hours to explore our lagoon. Do NOT go beyond the reef – even the locals don’t do that in canoes this size – and bring it back to the boatman in one piece, complete with paddle.
The northern islands (Ngaf, Er, and Ngodan). 3 to 4 hours with snorkelling stops around two or three of these islands, lunch and an opportunity to walk round one (spot the land crabs on Ngaf) and a trip round our local teluk (lagoon). Probably our best local snorkeling locations. About Rp 1'000'000.- for up to 6 persons using a 15hp engine. More with more people/bigger engine/wider itinerary. Ask Bob/Johannes to arrange.
The southern islands (Nai,and Hoat). 3 to 4 hours with snorkelling stops around the islands and in the channels, lunch and an opportunity to walk round one, perhaps with a visit to the pearl farm. We haven’t explored all the snorkeling potential of these islands, so keep looking over the side for good coral and if you see a place which takes your fancy, yell. About Rp 500,000 - 600.000 for up to 6 persons using a 15hp engine. More with more people/bigger engine/wider itinerary. Ask Bob/Johannes to arrange.
Warbal/Waha Island and the deep south. We’ve only done this long trip a few times – it’s most of the day on the water. You zig zag through a maze of islands and channels with occasional stops, trying to get to Wap/Wab and its beach by lunch time. Price about Rp 1'500.000 with variations as above. Ask Bob/Johannes to arrange.
Tanimbar Kei is changing fast but probably has more of the original Kei culture than anywhere else in the archipelago, with a unique form of boat building (remarked on by Wallace of ‘the line’ and Darwin fame), neolithic style monuments, and, as we understand it, rather good snorkeling (the dive ships Sea Quest/Ombak Putih go there). The public ferry is highly erratic so we’ve teamed up with a reputable boatman to charter his speed boat, with the local kepala desa to provide accommodation and food and with Nyong for transport down to the port. This won’t be cheap (Rp 3 mll to charter a boat for the return) plus accommodation and transit, but for a group it could be a real experience at a bearable cost. See Bob to arrange – he will need a couple of days notice.
Kei Besar is quite different to Kei Kecil – volcanic, forested, almost untouched outside Banda Elat, with really bad roads, and, so it is said, kangaroos (but we’ve never seen them). The views are quite outstanding – plunging cliffs, little villages (alternatively christian and muslim) in their own coves and, on the east side, a great sweep of ocean down to Darwin. Apparently the fishing is best on the east and snorkeling on the west. Facilities are minimal so we’ve teamed up with the local representative of the Indonesian-Dutch community to organise transport and homestays. See Bob to arrange - he will need a couple of days notice.
Tayando – we’re still working on this one…… ask Bob.
The main reef is 500m – 800m offshore, with a secondary reef about 150m further out. The drop-off is only 3-4 metres, and we’ve had our share of water bombing, cyanide fishing and coral bleaching. It’s also a working reef so there aren’t many big fish left. However, there are a lot of little ones, and once on the reef the coral is still very much alive. You can almost paddle out at low tide (sandals advisable – the coral is sharp) when the water is low and clear. Best to go from a point on the beach about 100 – 150 metres north of the Doctor’s house – the coral heads start just offshore (one has been home to a family of clown fish for twenty years) and give a bit of variety to what is otherwise a rather dull haul through sea grass and bleached pronghorn. At present you’ll probably need your own gear – new can be bought from Gota supermarket (quality can be iffy) or for better stuff, Toko Diamond on Jalan Pattimura in Tual, which is also good for fishing tackle.