Home 120,000 hectares of Kerinci Seblat National Park destroyed Saumlaki: Gateway to the Tanimbar Islands
Somewhere in the eastern waters of Indonesia, between the Aru and Kei Islands to the east, and Timor Island to the west, are strings of islands with light blue outlines, known as the Tanimbar Islands or the Tanimbars. These islands are composed of 65 small islands which form part of the province of Maluku (Moluccas). Some of the named ones are Fordate, Larat, Molu, Maru, Wotap, Wuliaru, Selu, Sera, Selaru, and the largest one is Yamdena.
Sailing from Darwin, Australia towards the Banda Sea with Bandaneira or Ambon as your main destination, then Saumlaki
on the densely wooded Island of Yamdena, is your first stop in the
Indonesian waters to process your Immigration and Customs formalities,
and to refresh your stamina. Saumlaki is the largest town in the
Tanimbars. The town is growing where Christian missionaries’ influences
can be found everywhere.
The port of Saumlaki is on the south
coast of Yamdena. The western part of the island is still swampy and
less hilly compared to its east side. Layers of coastal houses look
peaceful as a towering large façade of the town’s church stands among
lush trees. Two thirds of Tanimbarese are Catholics and Protestants. The
remainder are Moslems, Buddhists, and animism believers.
Past travelers have warned that the
locals are less hospitable than those on Maluku. As a near isolated
region of Maluku, the Tanimbars still push themselves to improve their
limited facilities and services. The town of Saumlaki itself is built
around a single main street flanked by Chinese shophouses.
Visited by the Dutch in 1629 and claimed
in 1639 under the right of discovery, the Tanimbars are, nonetheless,
less influenced by colonialism, except by persistent missionaries.
Although the islands do not have many attractions, yet adventurers may
find them historically interesting.
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