We wake up in the early morning of March 29th to the peaceful sound of waves crawling gently to the shore, crashing to the pillars of our wooden bungalow. It feels like a dream. The breath-taking scenery from the room balcony is to die for and if it was not because of the view, I would not want to get out of the bed. There is a spectacular limestone hill on our left, standing confidently as it shields us from the treacherous sea. The vast sea in front of us is a reminder how the Moluccans have relied on it as their most valuable natural resources for centuries.
Not to mention that the water is crystal clear, allowing us to see some small fish and angelfish swimming around the beach nearby our hut. It is SURREAL! This is heaven. No words can express this feeling. We are finally here spending our honeymoon, at Ora Beach Resort, after almost a half day of the difficult journey, passing through the worst unpaved road we had ever experienced. It is definitely worth the effort and time to get here!
After spending most of our day eating and sleeping, we finally grab our snorkelling gears and get out of our small hut. With little expectation, we both snorkel our way from the pier to somewhere nearby the wooden huts. Believe it or not, the corals down there are still pretty much alive. They are quite preserved, knowing that this resort has been around since 1997. The corals are beautiful and colourful, even better than the ones I saw in Perhentian Islands, Malaysia. Some schools of fish of different sizes are seen wandering around the area. I saw a small swordfish too trying to run away from whatever threats it gets. I can’t believe that these living things are just next to our hut! How many times I say that this is indeed a hidden paradise?!?
The Caves, Dutch Spring, and Lobsters
The next morning, we do another round of snorkelling around the resort before setting off for an excursion by boat. The trip includes visiting some caves by the sea, mata air Belanda (“Dutch Spring”), and buying some lobsters. The excursion itself is already included in the package that we paid, otherwise I do not think it is worth to pay such trip. Pak Iwan accompanies us throughout the trip, navigating the boat through the choppy sea. He is originally from the village of Saleman, living just a boat away from the resort.
My favourite part of this excursion is visiting the wooden hut in the middle of the Seram Sea, nearby the village of Sawai. The hut is previously owned by a local pearl trading company – as seen from the signboard in the hut – and it is now owned by a small fisherman family who sells fish and lobsters for a living. As I go from one room to another, I realise that the rooms are all empty and not maintained. I am not sure if the family actually lives here or somewhere on the mainland. There were nets attached around the hut to keep the different types of fish and lobsters they caught at night. From the hut, I can see a stunning 360 degrees view of Seram Island. The glowing sun over the sea makes a perfect combination for a magnificent landscape. It’s just SO beautiful!!
Initially, I did not intend to buy any lobsters. But where else can you find 2 lobsters weighted 1 kg for only 250k Rupiahs? That’s quite a steal! Furthermore, Pak Iwan said that he can ask the resort to cook the lobsters for no extra cost. Yeah, what the heck! Let’s get those big lobsters! 🙂
The story of pearls
On the way back to the resort, Pak Iwan tells me how this region used to have abundant pearls. Pearl hunting used to be the main source of income for many people in the nearby village of Sawai, Seram Island. Pearl traders from different parts of Indonesia would come here to “steal” these precious pearls. It used to be so easy to catch them. There were some ships from other countries too who tried to get their share of luck.
The wooden huts floating nearby the village bear witness to the once thriving pearl businesses here. But now, the pearls in Seram Island are nowhere to be found. The pearl traders have long abandoned those huts and moved to Papua in search for more pearls. Unlike Lombok or Sumbawa, there are no pearl farmers exist and perhaps the pearl industry here is still an infant. So the numbers were not preserved and the existence of pearls had been sadly reduced to zero.
Romantic Dinner Awaits
Back at the resort, we spent our time chilling at the restaurant nearby the pier, having lunch, then snorkelling again! The snorkelling gears that we bought in Jakarta are put in a great use here in Ora. It’s a non-stop daily snorkelling for us :). By the time we finish snorkelling, it starts to rain, so we go back to our bungalows and chill. Since we are on our honeymoon, Ora Beach Resort is putting a so-called romantic dinner for us. They set up our balcony with a table and chairs decorated with some fake flowers. The menu for today is grilled fish, chicken, and of course the lobsters! The fresh lobsters are SOO delicious. No seasonings are needed to cook this as the meat is quite sweet. What a feast!! I have to say that the foods at the resort have been quite satisfying!
Staying at such a hidden jewel comes at a price, of course. As a person who loves to do backpacking and always opts for cheap travel options, Ora Beach is my most expensive holiday that I ever spent. Being a secluded and hard-to-reach resort (perhaps) makes the rate cheaper than other resorts available in Indonesia. In fact, it is much cheaper compared to Raja Ampat or other famous holiday destinations like the Maldives.
The big win is that not many people know the existence of this resort. Those who know it are not willing to take that journey to this beautiful island. So in the end, we almost have the whole resort to ourselves! 🙂 Its secluded location means that it is far away from the hustle bustle of big cities, developments, big ships, and civilisation. Not to mention that there are many activities you can do around the resort, from hiking, jungle trekking, non-stop snorkelling in and around the resort, island hopping, or just chilling by the beach. Boredom will no longer be in your dictionary if you stay here! I can tell you that it is worth every damn penny!
We love this place so much that we decided to extend our stay for another night here and take an excursion to Pulau Tujuh (Seven Islands) for snorkelling.
If you are not convinced then check out our video 🙂