Banda – The Underwater Heaven

Once sought by Columbus and Marco Polo, the Banda Islands were the original Spice Islands and the most coveted destination on earth, particularly by the Dutch and Portuguese who colonized the islands and exported the indigenous nutmeg and cloves. History tells of a violent past under colonial rule. Now, the seas around these tropical paradise islands are coveted for their spectacular diving and snorkelling on some of the world’s richest reefs, unspoiled corals, and large pelagic fish.

Steep drop offs, impressive hard coral and some fast currents make this area absolutely breathtaking. Schools of jacks are a familiar sight, as are large tuna, many turtles, Napoleon wrasse, groupers, rays, sharks and large lobsters. Great visibility is a blessing here, and there are also some special critter sites.

The Banda Sea is surrounded by islands from the large islands of Buru, Halmahera, Ambon and Seram in the north towards Gorom, Kei and Aru in the east, the islands of Tanimbar, Wetar and Reong, and a series of smaller islands such as Babar and Moa, touching East Timor in the south. Ambon Bay is host to some of Indonesia’s best critter diving. The nearby island of Halmahera is still largely unexplored and has recently produced some stunning sites.

Dutch Heritage Buildings

There were 4 old forts, Fort Hollandia, Fort Nassau, Fort Belgica, and Fort Revengie. Fort Hollandia located on the hill. You have to climb hundreds of stairs to get there. Your efforts not in vain, because the views presented from the top was incredible. At the time back down the stairs, you must stop at the sacred wells. Now there are two wells there. The long (the sacred) are covered in white cloth. What is new is what will be used for washing wells procession later. The story, first there is a misunderstanding between the Netherlands and the people Lontor, resulting in chasing Dutch religious leaders on the island, shooting at him and put it into the well. The well was then closed. After 9 years, Holland told the victim’s family to clean the wells and move the frame in it. That’s why the community held a spring ritual wash once every 9 years, or can be more than that, depending on funds available.

In 1607 on the foundation of an ancient Portuguese fort built fort of Nassau by the Dutch Admiral Verhoeven. Nassau Citadel is building the first defense of the VOC in the Banda Islands. In 1609 the Governor-General of the VOC, Pieter Both, restored the Fort Nassau. Subsequently, in 1612 there are records that mention that at Fort Nassau there were 26 cannons, and 48 vessel which contains half of gunpowder. Five years later, namely in the year 1617, this fort fame spread to all corners of the world. On May 8, 1621 at Fort Nassau massacre a number of wealthy people in Banda. Some people suspect that consists of a rich man tied up into two groups, according to severity of the crime they had committed. No one else is allowed to enter, and by 6 the Japanese with a sharp sword each of the prisoners were halved, their heads decapitated, their bodies cut in four. Before his death, one of the detainees had reportedly asked, “Lord, what is there is no forgiveness.” Decapitated heads were stuck into the top end of the bamboo and the pieces of bamboo rods affixed to the body. In 1684 the governor’s residence and head of trading in Fort Nassau was built in torn, so that these buildings and then moved to outside the castle. Pamor stepped down after the fort was built at Fort Belgica one hill above Fort Nassau. The fort is also known as Nassau water castle.

At first Portuguese fortress Fort Belgica was founded in the 16th century. The fort was captured and rebuilt by the East India Company in 1611 by order of the Governor-General Pieter Both. Fort Belgica built to deal with community resistance against the monopoly of trade Banda nutmeg VOC at the time. In 1662, the fort was completely refurbished and ready for occupancy by 30-40 soldiers guard. The fort was demolished in 1669, and again in that location was built a fort on the orders of Cornelis Speelman who commissioned an engineer named Adriaan de Leeuw to design and supervise. In 1672, the fort was completed and became a great fortress and amazing castles among other VOC. Once again in 1795, the castle was restored by Francois van Boeckholz. Unfortunately one year later the fort was successfully attacked and captured by the army which controls Banda Britain until the early 19th century.

In 1615 four boats landed on the island VOC Ay and succeeded in occupying the island, but then the local residents who had fled returned to attack the Dutch people and managed to drive them. In 1616 the Dutch people back again and this time managed to beat the islanders Ay. Then some people are willing to serve, and some chose to die by jumping from the highest rock on the island into the sea. Where they jump then known as the hole of the Dead Still in the same year, Fort Revengie built with equipped weapons and cannon from one of the Dutch ship. Castle construction was opposed by the Board of Commissioners VOC (De Heren XVII), but ignored their objections and finally finished fort was also built. At the Citadel in 1683 heavily damaged by a great earthquake: bastion fort overlooking the sea collapsed. In the year 1748 this castle became a dumping ground VOC employees who have committed criminal acts or contrary to company policy, among others: the former commander of forces in the East Java Sea, Elso Sterrenberg. In 1753 Fort Revengie restored and continue to function until the end of the 19th century.

Hollandia fort built in 1624 on top of a hill. Initially called Fort Lontar or Lonthoir, but later named Fort Hollandia in 1628 by local authorities Pieter Vlack. The fort was once a magnificent building before it was rocked by an earthquake devastated the year 1743. 1796 When the Dutch authorities, Francois van Boeckholtz must withdraw from Fort Belgica, he build and strengthen a number of other fortresses the fortress between Hollandia.

In addition to four fort Dutch heritage, there is also a mini palace. The castle was once the residence of Jan Pieterszoon Coon. Now the empty room, but there is a strange wall right in front of the door, that there are holes cannonade which until now could not be patched.

Banda Museum

The museum is located in the village of Banda archipelago which is a museum of cultural and historical Banda in the past. In this museum relics stored triumph Banda ranging from VII century until the late nineteenth century. It also includes historical heritage figures struggle – a national hero who was exiled in Banda.

Gunung Api “The Volcano”

An isolated volcanic peak rising from the heart of the Banda Sea. Surrounded by crystal clear waters this uninhabited island is home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Exuding sulphur both above and below the landmark, the water is also home to extraordinary numbers of banded kraits (sea snakes), which have become a special attraction for divers. It’s not unusual to have swarms of these non-aggressive sea snakes around you while diving on Gunung Api.

Lucipara

These 5 tiny atolls in the middle of the Banda Sea are the tops of undersea mountains rising up over a mile from the ocean floor. The uninhabited beaches are ideal green turtle nesting sites, while the reef’s breathtaking drop off to ocean waters is ideal for diving and snorkeling. A highlight here is night diving with the rare Photoblepheron bandanensis or more commonly known as the “flash light fish”.

Marine Park

Coral reefs in the Banda Islands is one of the richest coral species among other reefs in the world. Of the 700 types of coral in the world around 432 species of corals (64%) contained in the Banda Islands.

Islands located in the middle of the deepest sea area in Indonesia was no longer strange to fans of nautical tourism, especially those who love diving and snorkeling. The main attraction is the beauty of the islands marine park and its diversity of fauna and flora that live in it.

Banda Islands, located on the banks of the deepest trough in Indonesia, the Banda sea. In the vicinity of the island Manuk for example, water depths reach 6,500 feet. Panorama marine parks in the region was undoubtedly its beauty. Almost every island in the Banda islands surrounded by marine park rich with colorful corals and various species of fish such as around the island of Naira, the island volcano, the island Lonthor, Ai island, Syahrir islands and Hatta island. In this marine park still found the Napoleon fish is the most seldom of fish in the world and Mandarin fish with beauty scales.

Agro-tourism

Agrotourism in Banda is nutmeg plantations and walnut forests on the island of Banda Besar and Pulau Ai. Plantation nutmeg and walnuts are the majority of forest trees growing on the two islands. Nutmeg plantations are relics of the VOC and the walnut tree is a tree protector to nutmeg trees which is still maintained by the local community as one of the main livelihood source community Banda.

In Banda there are hundreds of thousands of trees and Canary Nutmeg which according to recent data the number reached one million trees throughout the island. Visiting the nutmeg plantations and walnut forest in the village Lonthoir, Banda Besar island, tourists can enjoy the beauty of the forest of nutmeg and walnuts are shady, shady and "clean", tourists will enjoy the beauty of voice and distinctive fauna that live in forests, which are birds Walor, Nuri , Kaka Tua that do not exist in other forests in Indonesia and some of them are among the protected habitat.

In addition, visitors can also meet the villagers who are looking nutmeg and walnuts. Tourists can also reap the fruit of nutmeg and look for fruit Walnuts using traditional tools typical to pick nutmeg and raised Canary. While the tourists who visit the nutmeg plantations in the village of stinky, Banda Besar island, tourists can enjoy natural beauty and hospitality of the plantation villagers, also can enjoy the beauty of the island of Neira and Gunung Api islands that lie precision in front of nutmeg plantation and walnut forest.

In every village through which the agro-tourism on the island of Banda Besar and Pulau Ai, tourists can see the houses relics of nutmeg plantation workers called a Perek. Pereks was built by the Dutch to be occupied by a nutmeg plantation workers brought from Java, Bali and Jakarta (Batavia). From this initial migration of Java, Bali and the Betawi to Banda.  Now, all three communities have been united with the people of Banda who eventually became the original inhabitants of Banda.

On the sidelines of nutmeg and forest plantations Kenari, tourists also can visit the pearl farm is located right on the coast nutmeg plantation and forest canary in the village of stinky. In this pearl farm tourists will see the beauty of how pearls Banda in cattle, but also attract the most tourists can see the original beauty of the pearls are the biggest market in Japan.

Hatta and Sjahrir Once exiled Here

There are several locations in the archipelago of islands that were closely related with the history of national movement toward the birth of country Indonesia Merdeka. One location was the Banda Neira, Banda Island, including the collection of Maluku Province.

In the decade of 1930-a small group of national leaders that the movement is classified as intellectual leaders exiled here by the colonial Dutch East Indies government. Because this location is very isolated environment with the beautiful scenery, figures that the exiled move freely, can rent their own home, receive the letters and number, and send letters to their family and friends.

Two leaders of a group that was exiled, and later prominent in the history of the Republic of Indonesia is Mohammad Hatta (later to become vice president, prime minister, defense minister and foreign minister), and Sutan Sjahrir, RI’s first prime minister (November 1945 – June 1947 ), as well as ministers in the country and the foreign minister. He was also assigned as a special envoy to President Soekarno session of the UN Security Council in the Lake Success, Long Island, United States (U.S.) in August 1947.