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What I love about the Indonesian islands

Happy Tuesday and greetings from the Atlantic Ocean.

Well, it's a cold, windy, wet and bumpy day on board QM2 today and after all the warm places we have visited, it's feeling a little more chill than it would normally.  However, today's post covers places that were a lot warmer.

After Australia we landed in Bitung in Indonesia.  It was one of the few ports where I didn't disembark.  Instead I stayed on board and just appreciated the sun and the silence.  There is a huge difference between flying into Indonesia and sailing.  The latter gives you the time to appreciate the sheer beauty - and size - of the Indonesian archipelago.  It really seemed as though we were sailing through the islands forever.  Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state, stretching from Sumatra in Asia to the western part of New Guinea in Oceania and, although there seems to be much disagreement about the number of islands, the average number is more than 15,000. 

The morning we were due to reach Bitung, I was up early and captured a couple of photos of the close islands.

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We arrived into Bitung and the sun was shining and the sea so calm.  As there was no port for us to dock at, we were moored off the island and lifeboats were used as tenders to get everyone ashore.

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Our sailaway was quite late that night and I took a photo as our pilot boat led the ship out into the open sea.  Again I noticed the stillness.  It was also beautiful as there was so little light pollution.  All we could see as we sailed away were the lights from the fishing boats off the island

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It was lush, green, quite and oh so peaceful.   It really was beautiful. 

Here are some interesting things about Indonesia:

  • Indonesia has over 300 different ethnicities and even more languages and dialects
  • Indonesia’s terrestrial biodiversity is second only to Brazil’s famed Amazon forests
  • It's home to an "interesting" and very expensive coffee!  Known as Kupi Lowak or civet cat coffee and comes from the islands of Java and Sumatra.   The civets love the coffee cherries.  They eat the cherries, bean and all. While the bean is in the animal’s stomach, it undergoes chemical treatments and fermentations. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor, are cleaned, roasted and ground just like any other coffee. Because of rather strange method of collecting, there is not much Kopi Luwak produced in the world. The resulting coffee is said to be like no other. It is rich, heavy flavor with hints of caramel or chocolate. Other terms used to describe it as earthy, musty and exotic. The body is almost syrupy and it is very smooth.  Errrr... have to admit.... I haven't had any and probably never will!
  • Indonesia is the meeting point of several tectonic plates meaning that earthquakes happen every day, but most are very small.  In fact, it is home to over 120 active volcanoes
  • Over 50% of the islands are covered in forests - and having sailed through a small number of them I can attest to that!
  • It's been inhabited for hundreds of thousands of years.  Some of the world’s oldest fossilized remains have been found on the island of Java. The first find, often referred to as Java man, is somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million years old
  • It's home to the largest flower in the world - the Rafflessia Arnoldia.  It's also known as the corpse lily because of the foul smell it emits during it's very short flowering span - just a few days.  It grows to around 3 feet wide and weights a whopping 10 kilograms (22 pounds)
  • Screenshot 2024-04-30 at 8.04.48 AM

I've been to Jakarta on multiple occasions, but this was my first trip outside of the city.  Jakarta is a city that is home to nearly 11 million people.  It's a hustling, bustling, incredibly busy city that is slowly sinking.  Indonesia is trying to build an alternative capital by the year 2045 in the hopes of rehousing many of Jakarta's current residents.  With a population that size it's hard to really feel the heart of Jakarta and, as colorful as it is, it was never one of my favorite places to visit for business.  However, having seen the islands and the sheer beauty of the archipelago, I am keen to go back and explore more.

After leaving Indonesia it was on to a place that is neither quite - nor peaceful!  Hong Kong!  More about that tomorrow.  In the meantime, warm hugs and prayers for those of you who need a little lift tonight.





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Marina . . . . . . from far Africa!!!

I love your telling us about Indonesia and all the other places you have visited, but everything comes to and end.

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