On the trail of spice hunters in Indonesia

The Spice Islands were once the world’s only source of nutmeg. Today, the remote Banda Island archipelago is a peaceful backwater destination that richly rewards the rare few who venture there.
The classic cone of Banda Api, one of the active volcanoes in the Banda Islands, seen from the idyllic shores of neighbouring Pulau Ai.
The classic cone of Banda Api, one of the active volcanoes in the Banda Islands, seen from the idyllic shores of neighbouring Pulau Ai. PHOTO: LYDIA VASKO

AMBON (INDONESIA) - I awoke after midnight to the light of the full moon shining like a beacon across the water and into my bedroom, swaying in the middle of the Banda Sea.

Outside, there were no boats or any land to be seen for hours as Rascal, a 30m phinisi yacht hand-crafted from teak and ironwood, slowly sailed 185km through the dark.

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