The Spice Islands: A Far East Eden

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The spice islands

Credit: Jesse Lewis
As the tiny plane rumbles and coughs through the morning mists, the sea below is like a mirror. Early sailors called these latitudes the doldrums because…Read More »

of the stagnating calm they would find themselves in after weeks of no wind. In an era when sailing was the only way to propel boats across the ocean, the absence of winds in this hot and humid climate could mean death. Yet men risked their lives and suffered unimaginable dangers to journey into these distant margins of the then-known world. What compelled them to risk everything to come here?

Like an answer to my questions, the shapes of distant islands begin to appear through the scratched porthole windows. These are the Banda Islands, which along with a handful of others are better known as the fabled Spice Islands. Here money once really did grow on trees and the lure of fortune sparked an age of exploration that changed the world.

In the far eastern reaches of Indonesia's sprawling archipelago, the Spice Islands remain largely forgotten today, but shelter an Eden of astonishing life.   Less «
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