Haruku, the neighborhood island

One of my students at school, Yetty, was a daughter of a king in Wassu Village, Haruku Island. Through a short conversation in my English class, she kindly invited me to come to her village. I was so happy to accept such an interesting invitation. So, one long weekend I, Kristin, and two guests from abroad, Stephanie (Northern Ireland) and Keva (Seattle, U.S) guided by Yetty herself went to her village and explored a little part of the island.

Map of Lease Islands, Moluccas
In most parts of Maluku, the villages (negeri) are religion-based. In Haruku itself, there are 4 Muslim villages (Pelauw, Kailolo, Kabauw, Rohomoni) and 7 Christian villages (Hulaliu, Kariu, Sameth, Haruku, Oma, Wassu, Aboru) whom each led by a king (raja). That's how Maluku (al-Malik) got its name. It means 'the island of kings'. However, don't you imagine kings with their nice palace, crown and sword. In fact, their life is far from luxuries. Most of them are clove farmers, just like Yetty's Dad.
The only way to get to Haruku was by a speedboat from small port near the Tulehu Port. No scheduled time when of these speedboats' departing. It seemed they would just take off soon after the boat full of passengers (5 or sometimes 6 people). Seasick people would absolutely struggle for the 30-minute trip to Wassu like Kristin who threw up several times before we finally arrived there.

In Wassu, the sun was felt even hotter than we ever had in Ambon and around. We hid ourselves in Yetty's house, waiting for the air getting cooler before exploring the island. Yetty's Mom kindly cooked us traditional food such as yellow fish, cakalang fish, colo-colo, and taro for lunch. After having our body chilled and full, we're now ready to explore the wild green Haruku Island. No highroad from Wassu to other villages in Haruku. So the only transportation available to explore was by a speedboat (again).

Small Port near Tulehu when Low Tide

The Green and Forested Haruku Island

Young Happy Couple inside a Speedboat (before throwing up)

There are many inhabited small islands around Haruku

A sea cave spotted in Haruku Island. There are many others.
Just Arrived at Wassu
Left to right: Kristin, Stephanie, Keva, Yetty
The first place we visited was a unique cold water spring named Waihokal. It was located at a beach, east of Wassu village, near to Aboru. So here we could see the salt water from the sea blending with tasteless water from the spring. The legend says that there was a thirsty warrior stabbing a spear to the ground so it sprayed out water to drink. Other interesting things here were that we could find a large population of rhizopora trees.

Then we moved to the west of Wassu, to Haraloi Beach. It was a beach with very clear water and bordered by a tall rocky cliff. As not many tourists came there before us, we saw almost none plastic trashes unlike in mostly Indonesian popular beaches, making the beach still so natural. Really, it's so natural that my foot hit a coral on its sole.

Our last destination, but not least, was Air Biru Waterfall. We had to get through a forest. The path was difficult to pass. There were many unfriendly wild branches, itchy grasses, piercing pineapple plants and such kinds on the way. Walking with a torn foot (hit coral stone before) made the trip even worst for me. If you think people could follow directions to the waterfall then you're wrong. Without being guided by local people (Yetty, her mom, and her cousin), I think we would have been lost. No directions nor man-made stairs, it's a real forest! The tiring journey to Naku Beach a month before was nothing compared to this one. Besides, we also had to go along slippery rocks on the river which would lead us to Air Biru. That's the art of adventure after all. When we finally saw the waterfall, we were so relieved. I instantly jumped to the cold water there and swam crazy like a little child. The water was so refreshing! We wished we could have been there longer but we had to get out of the forest before sunset. We did not take the same route now. We walked back to the village without any more speedboat trip.

Entering the village, all of us were greeted warmly because the king's wife and daughter were with us and absolutely everyone in the village knew them well. We saw the villagers' activities which turned the village alive like chatting, drying cloves, and playing badminton outdoor. The village population was about 1,300 people. That's what the raja told us at the night. That night was so dark. The village actually had an electricity but there's one-day-off every two days. Every village on the island got a this one day without electricity in turn. So, we got a jackpot by coming on this day. We're really grateful instead. We really enjoyed the night silence we could not find it easily in noisy town like Ambon. Again Yetty and family served us traditional food for dinner. I loved the snail with kenari sauce but not the glue-like papeda. Before going to bed, Kristin and I went to a pier where we first landed. It was the only place with a phone signal  and it's only for Telkomsel cards.

Speedboat was the only transportation we got

Yetty, Keva, and Kristin at the Waihokal Spring
With Rhizopora Trees Background

Me at Haraloi Beach

Sometimes We Had to Walk Down Steep Grounds

Rocky Paths to Air Biru Waterfall
With Air Biru Waterfall Background

One Spot in Wassu Village

Wassu Village, one of seven Christian villages in Haruku

The Only Place in Wassu with Phone Signal

The next morning we had to go back to Ambon coz there would be no speedboat operating on Sunday. It was still at 07.00 am yet all ships were already gone. So we gotta wait for the next boat. About two hours later, we saw a boat coming closer and closer. As we got in the speedboat, our journey in Haruku ended.



OUR TRIPS (Based on Places)