Banda Neira in the wonderful, romantic, Spice Islands, is one of those places that gets under your skin. It is enchanting and beguiling and unlike anywhere I have travelled before.
Situated in a cluster of six minuscule and isolated islets, in the middle of the Banda Sea, Banda Neira has survived a painful and bloody history since the fabled “spiceries” were discovered by the Portugese in 1512.
Overlooked by Gunung Api an active volcano, Banda Neira has no cars, a maze of narrow market lanes, a couple of broad streets from Dutch colonial days, a 17th Century fort that you can clamber over and climb up to the ramparts on rickety ladders and lovely, friendly people.
Although we had seen plenty of photos of boats in the Mediterranean tied up like that, we had never encountered this in Australia so we prepared the boat with stern lines and plenty of fenders with some trepidation.
Finally we had the anchor down and the lines secured but not before we narrowly avoided a fish trap cunningly set just in front of where we decided to tie up!
One of the dinghy skippers kindly hooked it up and held it off while we slipped in but in doing so, he managed to get one of the trap’s lines tangled round the prop of his dinghy outboard motor!
After disentangling themselves our instructors came over for a well deserved beer.
One of the best things about these rallies is the support you receive from other yachties and the generous and gentle imparting of information to those of us who have not sailed round the world or spent many seasons cruising.
We are learning so much every day!
On our way to Banda Neira, about two hours into our voyage, we came across scores of fishing boats, each trailing fish traps. Having already had a close encounter with fish traps we were paranoid about getting tangled again.
We spent about four hours dodging this way and that to avoid the darned things – certainly helped the trip go fast though!
On this occasion it was our turn to help – we were able to guide another yacht following us through the maze of fish traps and boats. It was a good feeling to be the ones lending a hand for a change.
If you would like to read more about our trip to Banda go to