Trace the Cultural and Historical Significance of the Spice Islands with Australian Historian Ian Burnet

Aqua Blu Expert-Hosted Departures

To launch Aqua Expeditions’ first series of expert-hosted departures onboard Aqua Blu, we have partnered with one of the greatest experts about the history of the Spice Islands. Armed with more than 30 years of extensive travel, research, and immersion in the region, Ian Burnet’s expertise is beautifully reflected in his writings about the Indonesian Archipelago.


During two exclusive departures in November 2022, Aqua Blu guests will sail along the ancient route that is at the core of Burnet’s research and his stories about the Maluku region — for many centuries the only source of cloves and nutmeg in the world. Learn firsthand about the adventures of the first spice trade explorers and the battle for its supremacy by Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English forces.


Your journey will begin in the old port city of Ambon, after which Aqua Blu will sail across the Banda Sea. Explore the Dutch-built Fort Belgica in Banda Neira, learn about the historically important Pulau Run – which was swapped for present-day Manhattan, experience a kora kora war canoe race, and visit the world’s oldest nutmeg plantation. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to discover underwater marvels with great wall, reef, lava flow coral gardens and marine arch exploration dives, as well as dugong, sea snakes, hammerhead shark and other wildlife sightings.


2022 Departures

November 5th to 12th, 2022
Spice Islands
Journey aboard the Aqua Blu

November 12 to 19th, 2022
Spice Islands
Journey aboard the Aqua Blu

Unique opportunities for our guests on these departures

Join Ian Burnet on these limited-edition departures filled with rewarding moments of discovery, learning, and exploration in the most culturally rich destination in Indonesia, where he will be presenting four out of seven lectures per voyage based on the following topics:


    • History of the Dutch East India Company in the East Indies
    • History of Ambon/Saparua and the Pattimura revolt
    • History of Banda and the Banda massacre
    • History of Rhun and the Manhattan transfer
    • The voyages of Alfred Russel Wallace and the Wallace Line
    • Wallace/Darwin and the Origin of Species
    • Wallace and the Coral Triangle
Experience the Spice Islands from the perspective of a historian: Discover this fascinating destination as you learn about the forgotten history of a region that led to violent wars.


Enjoy insider access: Meet and get to know Ian Burnet in the intimacy of a small group of travelers as you share excursions into the pristine waters of the Eastern Indonesian Archipelago. Grab a kayak and paddle or trek alongside this erudite scholar as he shares captivating details from his many journeys.


Join in interactive Q&A sessions: Ask questions to this bestselling author in evening discussions following his storytelling about his adventures and research of the region. Discover the man behind the books through informal conversations over dinner and drinks.


About Ian Burnet

Ian Burnet grew up in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia and graduated with a degree in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Melbourne. He first went to work in Indonesia in 1968 as a young geologist and became fascinated by the diverse cultures and rich history of the archipelago.

Burnet came across the story of the Ternate and Tidore islands and realized that their effect on the world had to be told. After ten years of researching and writing the narrative of the Spice Islands, he published the critically acclaimed book Spice Islands, telling of the history, romance and adventure of the spice trade, which spans more than an incredible 2000 years.


Since then, he has written multiple books surrounding the Indonesian archipelago including East Indies, Archipelago, Where Australia Collides with Asia and The Tasman Map.