Pulau Halmahera is a paradise for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. With its four mountainous peninsulas and scores of active volcanoes, the largest island in the Maluku Island province is a stunning landscape dotted with scenic lakes, caves, and surrounding islands, some of which are still unexplored. The island is steeped in rich history, playing an important part in world history through the spice trade with the kingdoms of Ternate and Tidore being the original Spice Islands.

The island is home to the highest number of endemic birds of all the Maluku Islands, and a vast variety of reptiles with even more being discovered in recent years. Halmahera is also famous for its bird watching, where visitors can spot the rare endemic bird species such as the Invisible Rail and the Standard Wing Bird of Paradise. Other unique and endemic species include Wallace’s Giant Bee (the world’s largest bee), the Halmahera Giant Gecko, the Halmahera Walking Shark, and the blue-eyed Kuskus.

It was in Halmahera where Sir Alfred Wallace developed the theory of natural selection between severe bouts of fever, which he later sent to Charles Darwin. The island’s mountains boast plenty of hiking tracks, allowing visitors to take in the stunning scenery and pristine forested lands. Diving opportunities are plentiful, and the best way to experience them is off a yacht with an experienced dive guide. Scattered WWII wreck dives, undiscovered areas, and treks on land visiting Dutch forts and sampling the original flavors of the Spice Islands make Halmahera a true explorer’s paradise for those looking to get off the beaten track and away from it all.

The main areas of interest for visiting yachts are the east side and the historical spice kingdom islands of Ternate and Tidore, the Guraici islands, Bacan, and the Widi islands. The strait between Halmahera and Morotai also has some interesting islands and extremely good fishing, with large schools of Tuna migrating and whales. Surf is also very good, providing the season and the forecasts are good, and these little-known places are only accessible to the lucky few, mostly on boat trips. Even though the area is truly spectacular, it is rarely visited, and legs can be long, so adequate planning is needed. The twin volcanic island kingdoms of Ternate and Tidore will most likely be the main logistical hub for visiting yachts, as well as a destination in itself, with its rich history of global trade and the spice of Cloves, originally endemic to the Gamalama hills of Ternate. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the museums, forts, the world’s oldest Clove tree, local palaces, and some great diving and trekking, while the yacht resupplies.

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