Get to know the rich culture of the Lesser Sunda islands with this 12-day cultural cruise from Maumere to Komodo. Visit small villages and communities where ancient traditions are kept alive and adapted to modern life. Learn about traditional and contemporary techniques for spinning yarns, natural dyes, and weaving the complex patterns for which this region is known. Meet the craftspeople who utilize this medium to express themselves and their culture, and learn about the significance and roles that the craft plays in their history and everyday life. Between village visits, take the opportunity to explore by sea, swimming and snorkeling the colorful coral reefs that support a rich array of bright tropical fish. End your journey with a richer understanding of the people and cultures of this region of Indonesia.
Visit small villages and learn about local customs
Swim, snorkel, and paddleboard over colorful coral reefs
Meet local dyers and weavers and learn about their techniques
See what goes into making the distinctive ikat fabrics of this region
Upon arrival from Bali, you will be met at Maumere airport by your tour leader and transferred to the Ombak Putih, which will be waiting at anchor. Lunch will be served as the ship heads out into the bay to visit a local fishing village of Bugis and Bajau people, famous for their stilt houses built above the water. This evening before dinner, relax over cocktails as your guides give an introductory talk about the culture and textiles of the local Sikka People.
Today drive up into the highlands by car to visit a small village where you will be welcomed with music and dancing by the villagers. After gaining your first insights into the local techniques of spinning, binding, dyeing and weaving, take the opportunity to purchase some of the finished textiles, while the adventurous among you will be able to try betel nut, tobacco and locally distilled liquor. After lunch on board, head out to a village inhabited by refugees from an island off Flores, who were forced to leave their island following a volcanic eruption, and see a demonstration of how they produce their distinctive textiles.
This morning, arrive in a sheltered picturesque bay under the gaze of a towering volcano, where you will go ashore and be welcomed by local Lamaholot villagers who will show in detail how they produce their fantastic earthy-brown ikats decorated with small white seashells. You will then be guided around this colorful, well-kept village before returning to the Ombak Putih for lunch. After lunch, sail to some small islands close to the northeast coast of Adonara Island for swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing.
Arrive in Lembata next to the towering active volcano of Ile Api, where you will go ashore to see some of the superb ikat textiles produced in this region, while meeting weavers from at least three neighboring 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 bride wealth cloth to your collection. Guests will also be invited to see an ancient anthropomorphic rock painting in a nearby village. Later, during lunch, the boat will cruise across the bay to another small rarely visited weaving village and a nearby location for a refreshing swim or snorkel.
Visit the tiny village of Uma Pura on Ternate Island, where you will discover how they make around 200 different natural dyes, using ingredients such as sea sponges, sea anemones and the ink of sea hares, and we will have the chance to see and buy many of their fabrics. Back on board, have lunch while sailing to Alor, where a short drive takes you to a village inhabited by the colorful Abui tribe. Be invited to join in the hypnotic lego-lego dance before shopping for textiles, baskets and jewelry at a small pop-up market. Return via the Kalabahi Museum to see their fine display of textiles and moko drums from across the island.
Today spend the morning relaxing, snorkeling over the reef, paddle boarding or kayaking. During lunch, cross over to the isolated island of Pantar, where you will be enthusiastically welcomed and invited to participate once again in the culturally important lego-lego dance.
Early next morning, arrive at a weaving village where the residents look forward to sharing their culture and hospitality with you. Lunch will be served as the ship begins the long overnight sail to the beautiful non-volcanic island of Savu far to the south. This is a time for relaxing and enjoying simply being on the boat.
After breakfast, go ashore at Napae Bay, following in the footsteps of Captain Cook who landed HMS Endeavour on the same beach in 1770. Witness a cleansing ceremony before being welcomed by ikat-clad horsemen showing off their riding skills. A short drive takes you to Namata, the most important ritual center on the island, where you can visit the sacred enclosure of priests of the Jingi Tiu religion, containing the largest grouping of megaliths on the island. After lunch on board, visit the spectacular hamlet of Ledetadu, where local weavers will show you how they still make their beautifully traditional naturally dyed cloths. The men will show us how they climb the tall lontar palms to tap their delicious juice.
Go ashore on the neighboring island of Raijua and make a short drive to the raja’s residence, where you will receive a formal welcome by dancers in traditional costume, and be shown the range of textiles used on the island. Visit the home of one of the island’s top indigo dyers, who will show how her family make a range of indigo textiles unique to this island. After lunch back on board the Ombak Putih, swim or snorkel from one of the island’s pristine sandy beaches before cruising overnight to the next destination.
Go ashore on Sumba Island and visit two amazing but quite different royal villages, each with megalithic graves surrounded by tall traditional thatched houses. Meet members of the two local royal families and see how they make some of the finest textiles to be found on the island, using the techniques of supplementary warp and warp ikat - sometimes even combining both techniques in one textile. Return to the Ombak Putih for lunch while sailing north, stopping at a local beach for a late afternoon swim and snorkel.
Today drive to a rarely visited weaving village and be greeted by ikat-clad warriors on horseback. Sitting in the shade on the veranda of a traditional house, be welcomed by the entire village and entertained with traditional dances that are still used to welcome important visitors and were used in the past to welcome the warriors back from their headhunting expeditions. Textiles will be hanging everywhere and you will be offered a huge array of jewelry, statues, boxes, baskets and other crafts. Tonight, as the ship cruises north, you are invited to dress lavishly in your finest ikat cloths for tonight’s farewell dinner party with the captain and crew, who will entertain you on deck with traditional Indonesian song and dance.
Day 12: Komodo Island | Disembark
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Today is a day for Komodo Dragons, as you go ashore for a short trek with park ranger to see these ancient lizards on their natural habitat. Back on board, cruise to a nearby island in the Komodo National Park for your final snorkel before heading into port, having lunch along the way, before saying goodbye to your crew and being escorted to the airport for your onward journey.
The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.