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Dancers in a Barong Dance show

Tribal Weaving of the Lesser Sunda Islands

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ombak Putih
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The diverse Lesser Sunda Islands, stretching eastwards from Bali, offer the most amazing landscapes and a glorious cornucopia of weaving for textile lovers. Here women not only continue to make their traditional cloth on back-tension looms but continue to wear it as well. There is a kaleidoscopic variety of patterns and designs – every region of every island has its own unique textile culture, its own style of dress, and its own motifs. British expert textile guides, David and Sue Richardson, introduce guests to each island, its people and its culture, while sharing their knowledge on the day-to-day excursions as well as through a series of evening talks. Discover the amazing volcanic scenery, meet the villagers, visit traditional markets, buy local textiles, and swim and snorkel over coral reefs.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Maumere, Flores | Embark
Day 2 : Flores
Day 3 : Adonara Island
Day 4 : Lembata
Day 5 : Alor Island
Day 6 : Lembata
Day 7 : Kupang
Day 8 : Savu Island
Day 9 : Raijua
Day 10 : Melelo
Day 11 : Waingapu
Day 12 : Rinca Island | Labuan Bajo, Flores | Disembark

Highlights

  • Attend presentations about culture and textiles by David & Sue Richardson
  • Visit the Wairkoja Friday market, where the vendors sell local ikat
  • Discover the Abui tribe's delightful ‘lego-lego’ circle dance
  • Observe a fine display of textiles and moko drums at the Kalabahi Museum

Ship

Ombak Putih

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Dancers in a Barong Dance show Traditional village in Flores, Indonesia Cruising Adventures! Mountain Range in Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Day 1 Maumere, Flores | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After arriving on the morning flight from Denpasar to Maumere via Waingapu, be transferred to Maumere Harbour to board the Ombak Putih in time for a delicious welcome lunch on deck. After everyone has settled into their cabins, cruise out into the beautiful Bay of Maumere against the backdrop of the extinct volcano of Ile Kimang. Dock at a nearby fishing village, built over the water on stilts, and witness the lifestyles of the local Bugis and Bajao sea gypsies. In the evening relax over cocktails while David and Sue Richardson give an introductory talk about the culture and textiles of the local Sikka region before enjoying dinner on deck.

Day 2 Flores

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark at Maumere for a short drive to the busy Wairkoja Friday market, where the vendors sell local ikat and a variety of weaving supplies. Then drive up into the scenic Iwang Geté highlands to visit a small village where you will be welcomed with music and dancing. After gaining your first insights into the local techniques of spinning, binding, dyeing and weaving, you will have the opportunity to purchase some of the finished textiles. The adventurous among you will be able to try betel nut, tobacco and locally distilled liquor. After lunch on board you will head out to a village inhabited by refugees from the island of Palu’e off the coast of Flores, who fled there following a series of volcanic eruptions. This will be the first time guests are taken to this village, with its distinctive textiles.

Day 3 Adonara Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning pass Larantuka, situated at the foot of the imposing Ile Mandiri volcano, before mooring in a quiet bay for breakfast. As you go ashore, be welcomed by local Lamaholot villagers who show you in detail how they produce their fantastic earthy-brown ikats decorated with small white seashells. After lunch have a relaxing afternoon moored close to a beach on the northern coast of Adonara Island, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing.

Day 4 Lembata

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today arrive in Lembata and drop anchor on the north coast below the towering active volcano of Ile Api. Go ashore to see some of the superb ikat textiles produced in this region, while meeting weavers from at least three neighbouring villages. After a formal welcome and demonstration of local weaving techniques there will be a selling exhibition of textiles, giving you the chance to add a fabulous bridewealth cloth to your collection. Later, during lunch, the boat will cruise across Waienga Bay to another small rarely visited weaving village and a nearby location for a refreshing swim or snorkel.

Day 5 Alor Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After arriving in the Pantar Strait you will make an early start, first visiting the village of Uma Pura on Ternate Island. On this small volcanic island you will discover how dyes are obtained from sea sponges and the ink of sea hares. Back on board you will have lunch while sailing into Kalabahi Bay before docking at the harbour of the capital of Alor Island. You will then head east before driving up into the forest to the remarkably situated village of Takpala, occupied by Papuan people belonging to the local Abui tribe. Dressed in colourful local textiles the villagers will entertain us with their hypnotic ‘lego-lego’ circle dance, used to celebrate weddings and other lifecycle events. Afterwards you will explore the village market for textiles, baskets and jewellery, and take a look inside the villagers’ two-storey thatched houses, which showcase an interesting architecture. Alor is ethnically diverse, so you will return via the Kalabahi Museum to see their fine display of textiles and moko drums from across the island.

Day 6 Lembata

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning cruise into Labala Bay on the southern side of Lembata and go ashore at the unique whaling village of Lamalera, with its row of thatched boathouses lining the beach. The resident weavers are waiting for you in the village square to show you how they produce their stunning kewatek ikat sarongs, dyed with multiple immersions in indigo and morinda to produce an outstanding depth of color. Later walk up the hill to the upper half of the village to see the church and the view over the lower village. Back on board the Ombak Putih, the whale hunters demonstrate the hazardous techniques they use to harpoon the sperm whales from their small outriggers. After making your farewells, cruise due south across the Savu Sea towards Kupang in West Timor.

Day 7 Kupang

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark at the colorful old harbor where Captain Bligh landed in 1789 after navigating 3600 nautical miles in a small open boat following the Mutiny on the Bounty. Then drive a short distance to the Museum of Nusa Tenggara Timur, which has a fine collection of textiles and other artifacts from across the Lesser Sunda Islands. After this, head south through stunning scenery into the territory of the Amarasi tribe to be escorted to a reception by the King and Queen of the Amarasi in their Royal Pavilion. An accomplished artist himself, the King is justifiably proud of the culture and textiles of his people, and after a dance performance enjoy examples of local weavings which are available for purchase. There should also be time to visit a small weaving cooperative before returning to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, visit a nearby village occupied by members of the Helong tribe who give you an excellent demonstration of indigo and morinda dyeing before offering a selection of their ikats to buy. In the evening cruise towards the tiny remote island of Savu.

Day 8 Savu Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning you will go ashore at Napae Bay where, in 1770, Captain Cook moored HMS Endeavour in 1770 on his way home from his famous expedition in search of Terra Incognita, the great unknown southern continent. A very scenic drive in trucks will bring you to your next group of weavers who live in a small hilltop village with wonderful views down to the coast. These master dyers and weavers will demonstrate how they spin, bind and dye their cotton before weaving their distinctive ikat tube-skirts, locally referred to as ‘ei.’ Designs differ depending on the tribal affiliation of the weaver. After exploring the village, including the ritual clan house where the heirloom baskets for textiles are kept, there will be time to select from a colourful selling exhibition of textiles. The men will show you how they climb the tall lontar palms to tap their delicious juice. After lunch on board you will go ashore again – this time to be welcomed on the beach by local dancers and ikat-clad horsemen. This afternoon’s destination will be the ritual village of Namata, where priests of the ancestral ‘Jingi Tiu’ religion use megalithic stone platforms to conduct rituals and sacrifices.

Day 9 Raijua

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore the small, rarely visited island of Raijua. After landing on a sandy beach you will take a short truck ride to a traditional fenced village, formerly the seat of the Rajas of Raijua. After a performance of traditional dancing you will visit a local weaving village to look at the differences between the textiles of Raijua and neighbouring Savu. Returning to the boat for lunch you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon swimming or snorkelling. Overnight make a short crossing over the Savu Sea for the first of your two days in East Sumba, one of the most important weaving regions in the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Day 10 Melelo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive on the eastern coast of Sumba and land on the sandy beach at Melolo where local buses take you to the village of Umabara, with its tall thatched houses and megalithic carved tombs, and the nearby Royal hamlet of Pau. This area is famous for its exquisite supplementary warp weaving, known locally as ‘pahikung.’ Some of the finest practitioners are two local princesses who show you examples of their work. Your next destination is the Royal village of Parai Yawangu, renowned for the quality of its warp ikat. With its traditional houses and a magnificent line of tombs, it remains the seat of the Raja of Rindi. Back on board, enjoy lunch while the Ombak Putih cruises north to Waingapu. On the way moor close to a beach where you can enjoy an afternoon swim or snorkel.

Day 11 Waingapu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave the harbor to visit a small workshop which produces some of the highest quality ikat hinggi to be found on the island. Here observe how the designs are created and transferred onto the warps and begin to comprehend the laborious process of binding that is necessary to produce such complex and intricately patterned cloths. A superb collection of ikat is available to buy before you explore the neighboring royal village of Prailiu on foot. Your bus drives you out of town through paddy fields to a rarely visited weaving village; there be greeted by ikat-clad warriors on horseback. Sitting in the shade on the veranda of a traditional house, be entertained by a selection of traditional dances before attempting to make your selection from a magnificent display of ikat, baskets, and beads. On the way back to the harbor, stop at the cathedral to see the statue of Christ dressed in Sumbanese ikat. As you relax over a late lunch, the boat cruises towards Rinca. Guests are invited to dress lavishly in their finest ikat cloths for tonight’s farewell party and dinner with the captain and crew, entertaining you on deck with traditional Indonesian songs and dances.

Day 12 Rinca Island | Labuan Bajo, Flores | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
On your final morning moor close to the starkly beautiful island of Rinca for an early breakfast followed by a short trek in Komodo National Park led by a park ranger. No textiles here, just amazing three-meter-long Komodo dragons – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs! Back on board cruise to your final port of Labuan Bajo and enjoy lunch before transferring to the nearby airport for your afternoon flight to Denpasar, Bali.

Ombak Putih

Per person starting at
$7,450
Cabin, Ombak Putih
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Cabin Deck
Cabin Deck. Spacious, air-conditioned twin-share cabins with twin bunks or double beds and private bathroom with toilet and hot shower.

Notes

- All rates are quoted in USD and represent cost per person, based on double occupancy.
- Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.75 times the published rate.

Note: This cruise embarks from Maumere, Flores and ends at Labuan Bajo, Flores. Airfares to and from Flores are not included in the tour package. 

Rates Include:
  • Accommodation in air-conditioned cabins with private shower and toilet
  • Full board, tea and coffee, soft drinks, mineral water
  • Excursions
  • Use of towels
  • Use of snorkeling gear
  • Experienced tour leader
  • Transfer to and from the ship in all harbors with the exception of Serangan Harbor, Bali
Rates Exclude:
  • Domestic airfares
  • Personal insurance
  • Social alcoholic beverages
  • Crew gratuities
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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