The Amazing Moluccas – 8 Days
The Molucca Islands, straddling the Equator between Sulawesi and New Guinea, are a naturalists dream. These are the fabled “Spice Islands” that once launched countless ships from China, Arabia and Europe in search of nutmeg, cloves and mace – the world’s most coveted spices that grew here and nowhere else. Equally unique is the island’s fauna that resemble species from both Asia and Australia. Cassowary, cockatoos and marsupials like cuscus are among the Australian fauna found here along with many brilliantly colored species of parrots, lories and lorikeets.
Our “Amazing Moluccas” study adventure takes students well off the beaten path to discover some of Southeast Asia’s most intact ecosystems. Seram Island, the second largest of the Molucca’s 100+ islands, will be our focal point. Here adventurous students will experience the “Seven Wonders of Seram”: 1) the world’s richest coral reefs, 2) sea grass beds that support dugongs, the marine mammal that gave birth to the myth of mermaids, 3) mangrove forests and rivers that still support estuarine crocodiles, 4) pristine lowland rainforests with massive trees and staggering biodiversity, 5) tropical forest birds unique in the world, 6) animal species representing two continents – Asia and Australia, and 7) Alifuru indigenous peoples that climb liana vines and move through the forest canopy like real life “Avatar” characters.
There will, of course, be much more to this adventure than study. In addition to hiking, boating, swimming and snorkeling, students will take part in several service projects. They will assist a tropical bird rehabilitation center in their efforts to return birds stolen for the pet trade back into the wild. They will assist the Alifuru indigenous community with their cultural tourism efforts as well as offer assistance to a number of local schools.
The Moluccas are not the easiest place in the world to get to, but the old axiom holds true – the more difficult it is to reach a destination, the more reason there is to go there. Students lucky enough to do this trip will know why it’s called “amazing”.
* Student groups arriving from Jakarta can fly direct to Ambon the same day, and travel straight through to Seram Island by boat if they choose. This will give more time for local service projects on Seram.
* Groups arriving from Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia can fly to Makassar, tour historic Fort Rotterdam and spend a night at an ocean side resort before flying to Ambon on Garuda at 6:00 am the next morning.
* Groups arriving from Bangkok can fly to Jakarta, overnight at a transit hotel with a large swimming pool and fly to Ambon early the next morning.