Pulau Pantar Baranusa

pantar_006.jpgBaranusa on Pulau Pantar

A public boat leaves at 8am almost every morning from Kalabahi to Baranusa on Pulau Pantar arriving around 5 hours later depending on how the tide is running. The boat leaves from the harbor next to night market which is about 200 meters from the Adi Dharma hotel.

The weather was calm and there were scores of dolphins jumping around in a big group in the channel between Alor and Pura. Many were jumping straight up out of the water and splashing back down again just having a good time.

This promised to be a good trip.

These boats can be a lot of fun to travel on if you choose to interact with the people. There is always the intro which consists of:

1) Where are you from?
2) What is your age?
3) Are you married?
4) What is your religion?

These are the standard questions everywhere in Indonesia but don’t always come in the same order.


I got my companions rolling on the floor laughing when I explained that I was single because I didn’t have a moko drum to trade for a wife.

As we passed Pulau Pura the subject of the lego lego came up. I had a great half hour recording of this celebration from Andre, a friend that spends a lot of time on Pura.

They took great pleasure listening and singing along while looking at some pics of the New Years celebration on my laptop.


As we rounded the northern tip of Pantar the current really started ripping. This area is well known for its treacherous tides and currents and it is not unusual for boats to sink in these waters. There was a tremendous storm last week that threatened to send the lontar palms crashing down and tearing off the metal roofs from the buildings. January is not a good time to travel in these islands. All boat and airplane traffic in NTT was suspended on orders from the government after a plane crash and a ferry sinking.

I began to pack everything in plastic bags in anticipation of a big storm that was blowing in from the south. It got us good and no one stayed dry but it was over by the time we reached town.


The Loseman Baranusa with rooms for 20,000 rupiah a night is just a short walk from the harbor. (Just over 2.00 USD)

Three Javanese guys were staying there while they were completing a tower for cell phone communications. They had an interesting gig having installed towers in Kalimanton and NTT and were going to Moluku and Papua Barat when their work on Pantar was complete. Their biggest complaint was the food on Pantar was so limited and there were no clubs to go to, all valid points.

The guys in Kalabahi neglected to tell me that the connecting boat from Baranusa to Pulau Lomblen would not arrive for 2 days. The way the weather is right now it is very possible that it gets canceled. If you are on a tight time frame Alor might not be the right place to visit.


I took a long walk this morning before the rains started. It is a great island to hike with very few motorized vehicles but there are concrete walkways and a tarmac road. Once you get out of town there is only the sound of birds and insects and it can be very relaxing.

If a brief shower starts you can stand under one of the large trees and stay reasonably dry. Try not to stand under coconut trees especially if it gets windy because they could come crashing down on your head. (Seriously, it can be quite dangerous.)

I bought 10 fish for the loseman from the pier this morning for 10,000 rupiah. There are no rumah makan so the loseman supplies the meals. Probably Pulau Pantar is not going to become a big tourist attraction but it is a nice place to spend a few days if you are not in a hurry.


Small groups came marching by all day practicing with bamboo poles and signal flags. I think it was for the islands self defense force.

pantar_048.jpgThe girls had the yellow and orange signal flags to signal the next group down the road.

They painted my face black with charcoal and I joined in for a while.

Indonesians like to have a good time no matter what they are doing.


Pulau Pantar

Jan 10, 2007 www.dutchpickle.com

17 responses to “Pulau Pantar Baranusa”

  1. L.S.;

    Nice,you also was on Pantar.I was in 2002 there,during one of my trips making researches about the raja dynasties of NTT.Did you make any picture of anything royal there?

    Thank you for all.I am from Holland

    Yours sincerelly:
    DP Tick/Vlaardingen

  2. Pantar is still unique in its isolation. Regrettfully fishing with explosive has spread from Solor to the Alor Strait. On my last visit Jan 09 dead fish could be seen everywhere. It appears that authorities are threatened with home made bombs if they intervene.
    If you are there please express your disgust with any offical which you meet. This might make a change!

  3. Dear Sir;

    Sorry I didn’t react anymore.I just put some questions on site and then go on;hoping they will put info in my mailbox.
    On f.i. the Dutch sites http://www.kitlv.nl and http://www.rumphius.nl you can find old pictures of Alor and Pantar.On my site http://kerajaan-indonesia.blogspot.com you find pictures of the present rajas there.
    Just look via Google for Kingdoms Indonesia and then combine it with Batulolong,or Kolana,or Alor.
    If you go there,just tell me;please.
    Alor people are great guys.My best friend in Indonesia is a gentleman from Alor/Kolana.The Alor/Pantar people are just friendly and helpfull people.
    I only was in the rajavillage of Pandai,where the son-in-law of the last raja is now mayor/kepala dessa and also representative of the dynasty.
    I only was in Kalabahi on Alor and Dulolong.
    I met there the raja and the late crownprince of Kolana,the
    representative of the raja of Batulolong,we slept in the hotel of the Nampira dynasty of Alor;near the harbour.
    We also went to Kui;the rajaresidence is quite near Kalabahi;and met there the widow of the last raja and the representative of the raja,who is high politician in Kupang.
    There are also sub-principalities of Mataru and Pureman.
    When the new Bupati of Alor/Pantar was installed he asked in a ritual way permssion to all the rajas of Alor/Pantar in Kalabahi.I am searching for pictures about that.
    I am still dreaming of meeting the present rajas of Pantar:
    Baharuddin Pelaboka of Pandai(NE Pantar)and Acbar Salim Baso of Baranusa,or his crownprince Raja Muda Haji Pahlawan Baso.
    Or the sub-rajas from Alor:Dan Laoepada of Mataru and the succesor of Kapitan Retebana of Pureman,who died 1998.
    I have met before the woman chief.or important person of the dinas pariwisata of Alor/Pantar.Her father is known as the walking encyclopedy of the area.
    I just like that area and would like to stay there for a while.
    I saw on Travel Film Archive website a film from 1930(examples from the film)with Kalabahi also on it.
    Okay,tell me,when you go to Alor/Pantar;please?
    Please;mail me at (pusaka.tick @tiscali.nl .)
    Maybe you can ask aroubnd a bit for me about the rajas described here.

    Thank you for all.
    By the way:the best es campur I have ever eaten I bought in a little shop in the shoppingstreet of Kalabahi from some Javanese people.

    Yours sincerelly:
    DP Tick

  4. Dear Sir;

    Thanks for reacting.By the way:are you Dutch,or you just use the words Dutch pickle for fun?I am Dutch mixed with Javanese(etc.).
    Thank you for the advise for that French friend of yours.He just go to the 2 islands I never were.I was in the rest of NTT.
    NTT:I very much like it.real Indonesia(maybe because it is not rich.What the Bible said about pour people:God loves them,or something like that.At least he do not like,if you are to proud with your money.
    Lovely people the people from NTT.
    Okay,talk again aout all your experiences there.I love to hear it.
    I ever want to see the days in october,when a cold seatream passes the kalabaho area a bit(ca. opposite of P. ternate)and the fishes get dizy then and people just can take many,many fishes out of the sea for free and easy.

    Yours sincerelly:
    DP Tick

    P.S.:Anything,that you have,or know about the rajas is very welcome.
    Thank you for all.

  5. Hello…!!

    I am a boy, i was born in Baranusa island, it’s very nice to see Baranusa be a beautiful island between other island in Indonesia..then I hope there is much planning for make a beautiful sea in Baranusa island…


    I am waiting for it..

  6. Dear all;

    All info about the raja2 Belagar,Pandai and Baranusa in the past and present are very welcome.I am born in Vlaardingen and still live there.Near Rotterdam/Holland.My fqamily from Java.
    Thank you for all.

    I have seen online,that when the new bupati Alor/Pantar was installed he asked the local rajas,or their representatives during a big big ceremonila happening to approve,that he became bupati and his asistant wakil-bupati.I am still looking for pictures about it.
    My friend made aresearch about Alor/Pantar 1650-1850.

    Salam hormat:
    Donald Tick

  7. go rasa bangga, ina & ama ire mi tobo lawo dike-dike kame bakal bale untuk baung lawo tana. kame sinta kameng lawo, pasti kame bale…, pasti kame bale….,

  8. Tried to get back to Pantar mid January but got stucked in Kupang due to the wild weather.
    All boats out of Kupang were canceled for 10 days.

    Fish bombs.
    I guess all the dive shops know about it and local guides avoid certain outlying island as it is well known which communities are using bombs. My experience is from Jan 09. when there where many dead fish in the Solor Strait.From Sardines to large Hairtails. A Solor resident told me that the biggiest bombs are used during the tuna season. Smaller bombs are used first to kill the smaller fish which act as a bite for the tuna which than are stunned by big explosives.

  9. Hebat, semoga kedepan kita bisa ambil bagian untuk membangun daerah kita tercinta, lawo tana Baranusa. Insya Allah.

  10. HELLO,,,,,,!!1



  11. it is nice to know your experience in Baranusa.
    it really leave a doubt for me for leaving to Baranusa but after reading your writing, no more doubt..
    Thank you very much..

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