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Tanjung Puting

Maumere - Labuan Bajo (12D11N)


2015 Tribal Weaving of the Lesser Sunda Islands

  Maumere - Labuan Bajo


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 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.Together we will explore the extraordinary ancestral traditions of these islands where textiles are the predominant form of artistic expression, still playing a central role in every significant stage of life, especially marriage and death. Some islanders even remark that: ‘without cloth we cannot marry’.

However change is underway in even the remotest villages and weavers are no longer passing on their skills to the next generation. We have a unique opportunity to witness a dying art form before it is gone forever.

We will enjoy the luxury of cruising effortlessly from island to island, crossing a rugged, isolated region where travel is normally a tough logistical nightmare. Our graceful phinisi offers us access to villages and beaches that would otherwise be almost impossible to reach. Along the way there will be time to enjoy the amazing volcanic scenery, meet local villagers, visit traditional markets, buy local textiles, swim and snorkel over colourful coral, relax and have fun. This is a fantastic, adventurous way to travel providing memories that passengers will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Our British expert textile guides, David and Sue Richardson, look forward to introducing guests to each island, its people and its culture, sharing their knowledge through a series of evening talks.

DEPARTURES MAY 14 - 25, 2015

Day 1

After arriving on the morning flight from Denpasar to Maumere via Waingapu you will be met at the airport and transferred to Maumere harbour to board the Ombak Putih in time for lunch. After everyone has settled in their cabins there will be a safety briefing while we sail out into the beautiful Bay of Maumere with the extinct volcano of Ile Kimang in the background. We will dock at a nearby fishing village, built over the water on stilts, where we will experience the life of the local Bugis and Bajao sea gypsies. In the evening we will relax over cocktails while David and Sue give an introductory talk about the culture and textiles of the local Sikka region before enjoying a welcome dinner on deck.

Day 2

We will disembark close to Maumere for a short drive to the busy Wairkoja Friday market, where they sell local ikat and a variety of weaving supplies. We will then drive up into the beautiful ‘Iwang Geté highlands to visit a small village where we will be welcomed with music and dancing. After gaining our first insights into the local techniques of spinning, binding, dyeing and weaving we will be able to purchase some of the finished textiles. The adventurous among us will be able to try betel nut, tobacco and locally distilled liquor. After lunch on board we will head out to Ledalero for a brief visit to the oldest museum on Flores, the Blikon Blewut Museum, to see the small collection of textiles from the Lesser Sunda Islands collected by Catholic missionaries in the 1950s and 60s. Our final stop will be at a second Sikka village where we will see a different style of ikat, typical of the central Krowé region.

Day 3

This morning we pass Larantuka situated at the foot of the imposing Ile Mandiri volcano and moor in a quiet bay for breakfast. As we go ashore we will be welcomed by local Lamaholot villagers who will show us in detail how they produce their fantastic earthy-brown ikats decorated with small white seashells. After lunch we will moor close to a beach on the northern coast of Adonara Island for swimming and beachcombing.

Day 4

Today we arrive in Lembata and drop anchor on the north coast below the towering active volcano of Ile Api. We will go ashore to see some of the superb ikat textiles produced in this region, meeting weavers from at least three neighbouring villages.

While we enjoy lunch the boat will set sail for Jontona where we will be welcomed by dancers before climbing into trucks for the exhilarating drive up to the ancestral village, dramatically located on the side of the volcano. Here we will visit the various clan houses containing heirloom treasures such as elephant tusks and moko drums. Back down in the modern village a selling exhibition of textiles will give you the chance to add a fabulous bridewealth cloth to your collection.

Day 5

After sailing into Kalabahi Bay on Alor Island we will make an early start and head off through the island’s rugged landscape to the dramatically 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 delightful lego-lego circle dance, used to celebrate weddings and other life cycle events. Afterwards we will explore their village market for local textiles, baskets and jewellery, and take a look inside their two-storey thatched houses which have an interesting architecture. Alor is very ethnically diverse so we will make a short stop at Kalabahi Museum to see the fine display of textiles and moko drums from across the island. After a reviving lunch on board we drive up into the hills behind Kalabahi to the hamlet of Monbang, occupied by the Kabola people who have revived the previously widespread craft of making barkcloth. Dressed entirely in barkcloth, the villagers will welcome us before showing us how they turn tree bark into cloth. Samples of barkcloth will be available for purchase along with other textiles and baskets.

Day 6

This morning we sail into Labala Bay on the southern side of Lembata and go ashore at one of our favourite places, the unique whaling village of Lamalera, with its row of thatched boathouses lining the beach. The local weavers will be waiting for us in the village square to show us how they produce their stunning kewatek ikat sarongs, dyed with multiple immersions in indigo and morinda to produce an outstanding depth of colour. Later we will 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 will demonstrate the hazardous techniques they use to harpoon the sperm whales from their small outriggers. After making our farewells we sail due south across the Savu Sea towards Kupang in West Timor.

Day 7

After disembarking at the colourful old harbour where Captain Bligh landed in 1789 we drive a short distance to the Museum of Nusa Tenggara Timur, which has a fine collection of textiles and other artefacts from across the Lesser Sunda Islands. We will then head south through beautiful 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 we will be shown examples of local weavings which will be available for purchase. There should also be time to visit a small weaving cooperative before returning to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit a nearby village occupied by members of the Helong tribe who will give us an excellent demonstration of indigo and morinda dyeing before offering us a selection of their ikats to buy. Tonight we sail to the tiny remote island of Savu.

Day 8

This morning we will go ashore at Napae Bay where Captain Cook moored HMS Endeavour on his way home after his expedition to Australia. A very scenic drive in trucks will bring us to our next group of weavers who live in a small hilltop village with spectacular 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, referred to locally 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 us how they climb the tall lontar palms to tap their delicious juice. After lunch on board we will go ashore again – this time to be welcomed on the beach by local dancers and ikat-clad horsemen. This afternoon’s destination is the ritual village of Namata, where priests of the ancestral Jingi tiu religion use megalithic stone platforms to conduct rituals and sacrifices. After a performance of traditional dancing we will return to the boat for our second overnight crossing of the Savu Sea to reach thesouthern coast of Flores.

Day 9

Back in the land of volcanoes! Today we land in a bay at the foot of Gunung Inierie for a spectacular drive up a steep gorge to visit two isolated villages occupied by the Ngada tribe, which in this region live in a matrilineal society. Our first stop is the dramatically situated village of Gurusina, with thatched houses decorated with buffalo horns surrounding an open square containing male and female shrines and megalithic altars. We continue to Bena where we will see women weaving on their front porches as well as displays of textiles hung out for sale. After lunch in the bay we will enjoy a refreshing swim before we return back across the Savu Sea for the first of our two days in East Sumba, one of the most important weaving regions in the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Day 10

Arriving on the eastern coast of Sumba we will land on the sandy beach at Melolo where local buses will take us 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 will show us examples of their work. Our 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 we enjoy lunch while the Ombak Putih sails north to Waingapu. On the way we will moor close to a beach where we can enjoy an afternoon swim or snorkel.

Day 11

We leave the harbour to visit a small workshop which produces some of the highest quality ikat hinggi to be found on the island. Here we will see how the designs are created and transferred onto the warps and will begin to comprehend the laborious process of binding that is necessary to produce such spectacular and intricately patterned cloths. A superb collection of ikat will be available to buy before we explore the neighbouring Royal village of Prailiu on foot. We will no doubt be accosted by eager textile sellers at every turn.

Our buses will drive us out of town through paddy fields to a rarely visited weaving village to be greeted by ikat-clad warriors on horseback. Sitting in the shade on the veranda of a traditional house we will be entertained by a selection of traditional dances before trying to make our selection from a magnificent display of ikat, baskets and beads. On our way back to the harbour we will stop at the cathedral to see the statue of Christ dressed in Sumbanese ikat.
As we relax over a late lunch our boat sets sail for Rinca. Guests are invited to dress lavishly in their finest ikat cloths for tonight’s farewell party and dinner with the captain and crew, who will entertain us on deck with traditional Indonesian songs and dances.

Day 12

On our final morning we will moor close to the starkly beautiful island of Rinca for an early breakfast followed by a short visit to Komodo National Park led by a Park Ranger. No textiles here, just amazing ten-foot long Komodo dragons! Back on board we sail to our final port of Labuan Bajo where we will have lunch before transferring to the nearby airport for our afternoon flight to Denpasar.

Participants should be aware that itinerary and program of our sea voyages occasionally may have to be modified, due to factors beyond our control : unfavorable weather conditions, delay in processing harbour clearances, modified schedules of domestic flights. We will adjust the program accordingly in the best interest of all.

Please note that the domestic flights are not included in the price.

The price is subject to change. Please  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.


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