Late morning several of us formed a 4-dinghy flotilla out to the lava flow for some snorkeling. Water was clear and it was great to be back in the water. We saw lots of reef fish and a banded sea snake, moray eel and some healthy color among the ruined coral from the lava flow. Later several of us took a cooking class from Dilla, Abba’s wife, at Mutiara. She showed us how to prepare several local dishes in her small kitchen, but the best part was sitting down to the buffet dinner with guests of their homestay and enjoying her delicious cooking.
Next day several of us met for lunch at Daftar which took much longer than expected as they had to go buy some of the ingredients and everything is made fresh. The meals were simple and tasty and cheap. We all checked out the primitive cooking conditions for photo ops. Then we met Maga for a walking tour of Banda Neira. The historical museum was mostly remains from the spice wars along with abandoned canons and Dutch furniture. We, explored some of the 400 year old ruins, including the fort, and wandered through neighborhoods set in tiny grids of cement sidewalks heavily used by motor scooters. Many houses are from the colonial period in rich colors reminiscent of Mexico and Peru. We saw lots of cats and children. We ended the day with drinks at the nearby deserted hotel waiting for the rain to stop. It was a wet ride back to the boat and we’ve given up trying to stay dry.