Seram

The big island of Seram always stood in the shadow of the much smaller, but richer neighboring island Ambon. Still overgrown with dense jungle, the island was regarded by many Ambonese as sinister and dangerous. Until the 40s of the last century even headhunting occured on this island.

These times are definitely over now. If you want to visit Seram today, you can easily cross over from Ambon by ferry from the port towns Tulehu or Liang. The road conditions have improved also in recent years. A coastal road around the island with a length of over 320km and over 3000 m high mountains is under construction and will hopefully be completed over the next few years.

The few tourists who venture to Seram usually head to Ora Beach Eco Resort near Wahai in the Sawai Bay (Teluk Sawai) or to one of the cheaper homestays in the vicinity. From there you get relatively (the emphasis is on relatively!) easy into the Manusela National Park, a mountainous, difficult to access jungle area, which is particularly popular with ornithologists because of the many endemic birds (cockatoos, various types of parrots) which can be observed there.

The Ora Beach Eco Resort is beautifully located in a bay and you can stay in one of the seven water bungalows. Nearby, guests will find opportunities for snorkeling and kayaking.
The resort also offers tours to the Salawai River (crocodiles) and Manusela National Park. Unfortunately, there are no opportunities for diving in this scenic area.

Nakaela Lodge

Since 2018 another small dive resort has opeend near Taniwel in the northwest of Seram, which is managed by Ralf Moeller and his wife Anon.

Getting there

Getting to the resort is pretty easy. You can take a taxi from Ambon to Liang in the north east of Ambon and wait for the next car ferry to Seram. The ferries leave about every two hours and after about one and a half hour crossing you are already on Seram.
There Ralf's air-conditioned bus is waiting and takes the guests in 2.5 to 3 hours through a varied landscape and finally even through dense jungle to the remote resort.
Nakaela Lodge is situated far off from the coastal road on a huge parc-like area with palmtrees, shrub and a lot of flowers with a long oceanfront. In the immediate vicinity are old coconut plantations and gardens where cocoa trees are growing.
The nearest village is more than two kilometers away. The gravel, black beach invites for long walks. While walking you go past huge jungle trees full of epiphytes and orchids. While sitting on the veranbda you can see natives paddling by in their canoes on the way to their gardens, or just watch the big butterflies fly back and forth between the flowering shrubs in the garden.
Nakaela Lodge with house reef
Nakaela Lodge, Beach and Mountains
Nakaela Lodge from above
Nakaela Lodge with house reef
Nakaela Lodge. Restaurant and Bungalows
Nakaela Lodge. Resort and Beach
Nakaela Lodge. Bungalows
Nakaela Lodge. Nakaela Mountains in the background
Nakaela. View from East
Nakaela Lodge. Restaurant and Bungalows
Nakaela Lodge. View from the Garden
Nakaela Lodge. Restaurant
Nakaela Lodge. Restaurant
Nakaela Lodge. Garden
Nakaela. Beach
Nakaela. Sunset
The resort consists of a large, open restaurant overlooking the sea and four spacious stilt bungalows.
All bungalows have a large terrace and semi-open bathrooms with an outdoor shower. Due to the open design, the bungalows are well ventilated, so that air conditioning is not necessary. Under the mosquito net you can sleep so pleasantly with the sound of the sea.
Nakaela Lodge, 4 Bungalows
Nakaela Lodge. Our Bungalow
Nakaela Lodge. Bungalows with big verandas
Nakaela Lodge: Garden and Bungalows
Nakaela Lodge. Bungalow with Double Bed
Nakaela Lodge. Interior of Bungalow
Nakaela Lodge. Outdoor Shower
Nakaela Lodge. Bathroom
Electricity is generated by a photovoltaic system. A storage system ensures that the resort is supplied with electricity for 24 hours per day. I could easily charge my batteries for torches and cameras.

Anon is responsible for the culinary highlights. Ralf's Seramese wife bakes fresh bread every morning and makes sure that delicious food is on the table. For breakfast there is the choice between different egg dishes, plus the freshly with solar power baked white bread. Lunch and dinner were also very varied and plentiful.
Wild boar from the surrounding forests tasted especially good, even venison goulash came on the table. After 6 weeks of relatively uniform Indonesian cuisine we really enjoyed the variety in the Nakaela Resort.
It should be noted at this point that the two have been running the restaurant and Homestay Safety Stop in Tulamben, Bali for many years. The good recipies they have obviously brought from there and now complement their dishes with typical Seramese products that the jungle of the island offers.

Activities

Jungle Trekking

If you like trekking in the still largely intact jungle, this is the place to go. Only a few kilometers away dense jungle with huge trees covers the hill slopes. There are waterfalls and limestone terraces to visit and of course there is always the chance to see one or the other representative of the butterfly and bird species that only live on Seram.
Nakaela Lodge. Jungle in the vicinity
Nakaela. Orchid
Nakaela. Limestone Terraces in the Jungle
Nakaela. Jungle Trees
Nakaela. Limestone Terraces in the Jungle
Nakaela. Huge Trees in the Jungle

Fishing

We did not go out fishing, but it should be very good. In the season, especially near the river mouths, the ocean is teeming with fish.

Diving

The house reef offers of a good mix of hard and soft corals. Large sponges and gorgonians can also be found. Between the corals we saw quite a few fish, which were not shy either. During a dive we met a big school of jacks which circled around us.
There is also large school of barracudas around which we did not see. We also saw turtles. They also come on the beach in front of the resort for nesting.

During our visit at the beginning of December, visibility was rather poor and the sea floor was covered with a yellowish substrate. About three kilometers away from the resort a jungle river flows into the sea. The water is quite clean but extremely calcareous. Depending on the ocean current, this mix of freshwater and saltwater causes varying visibility in front of the resort. Visibility is best from September to November.

In addition to the house reef there are more dive sites close by which are easily reached with the new dive boat. Dive sites which are further away are visited during longer tours. Upon request, the resort provides a dive guide who knows the dive sites.
Nakaela Resort does not offer diving courses. Since no rental equipment is available, guests must bring their own material.
Nakaela Lodge. School of Jacks
Nakaela. School of Jacks
Nakaela. Gorgonia with Cardinal Fish
Nakaela. Moray Eel in Barrel Sponge
Nakaela. Juvenile Emperor
Nakaela. Typical Gorganoia at House Reef
Nakaela. Old Dive Boat
Nakaela. Starting to Dive
Nakaela. New Dive Boat
Nakaela Lodge. Dive Center