Cenderawasih Bay offers travellers a rare opportunity to experience majestic whale sharks up close. Habituated to being fed by fishermen from their Bagan pontoons, the sharks appear entirely at ease with a human presence in these warm West Papuan waters.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Spectacular dances and musical performances were a feature of the visit to Saparua Island. The local Duustede Fort, built by the Dutch in 1676, is one of the most imposing in the Spice Islands.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    This decorated gangway ushers visitors ashore to Tobelo, the major waterfront township in northern Halmahera and a predominately Christian community.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Brightly-coloured Indonesian Perahu are a striking presence throughout the Spice Isles, both as fishing vessels and for daily commuting among the hundreds of waterfront villages.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Traditional dancers make for a vivid welcome to the village of Kwatisore at the head of Cenderawasih Bay. Following local tradition, visitors must stand on canoe paddles and have their feet washed as they step ashore.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Run Island teacher Burhan Lohor invites Coral Expeditioners to sample the kernels of the Ketapang or Sea Almond. This tall tree, with its layered pagoda-style growth habit, sports vivid red foliage just prior to shedding its leaves.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Gunang Api’s classic conical volcano form is a stunning backdrop as the Coral Expedition’s workhorse tender – the Explorer -plies the jewel-like waters off Banda Neira.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Encircled by coral reefs and shallows, the small island of Run has one of the longest jetties in the Spice Isles. A vital asset in the trade of spices from the island, it’s also a favourite high-diving spot for local youngsters.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Afternoon clouds billow above Run’s waterfront. As well as a large fishing fleet, the island also trades in cloves, nutmeg, almonds and coconuts from local plantations.

    Photo Credit: Quentin Chester

    Perched on a headland overlooking Ternate, Fort Tolukko was built in 1512. Variously occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish – as well as by the Sultan of Ternate – the fort reflects more than four centuries of struggle to control the spice trade from this vital port city.

    Photo Credit: Quenton Chester

Spice of life

By AG Staff | May 8, 2019

Follow the heady scent of nutmeg and cloves north of Australia and west of New Guinea to explore the exotic Maluku Islands of Indonesia.