Pombo Island is one of over a thousand islands in the Maluku Province, East Indonesia, about 5 kilometers from Ambon, the capital city of Maluku. Pombo is a small, uninhabited little island surrounded completely by a rocky, coral atoll, which is a circular shaped reef.This charming little island spans only about 2 hectares, yet presents amazing underwater tours with beautiful rocks, scattered tastefully with a colourful variety of ornamental marine creatures, veiled beneath crystal waters. It is also home to several species of nesting birds—a few of which are endemic to Pombo. Pombo Island is protected by law as a National Marine Park and Nature Reserve.
Pombo Island Marine Recreation Park encompasses an area of 1,000 hectares of nothing more than a stretch of sandy, white beaches and chunks of coral, sheltered by lush, green foliage. Flocks of exotic birds of all shape, size and colour perch in the trees’ branches, while rare fishes and molluscs roam freely about the coral-studded ocean floor. The far-out location of the island, coupled with its protected state only enhance the allure of this natural, virgin environment.
Much of the region has been put to use towards the research and development of the aquaculture science, study tours for students, research diving, education, and other activities that support the preservation and cultivation of the island. Those with a passion for the great outdoors, or who love to search out the endless slew of new and interesting wonders concealed just below the surface, will certainly find Pombo an ideal destination.
Travel to Pombo Island is primarily for outbound activities, and of course, marine tourism. As the island is a protected conservation land, permanent residents are not permitted, and there are no accommodations or public housing. There are however, a few crops that are grown here, adding to the natural greenery of the already inviting surroundings.
The crystal clear seais filled with all types of ocean-life make diving and snorkelling a definite must for visitors to Pombo Island – though the waters have enough clarity to allow you to see straight to the bottom, before ever diving under. The soft, sandy sea bed is generously carpeted in swaying seaweed and colourful corals. Large schools of fish travel in unison across the waters, glistening in the rays of the tropical sun shining through the water. The Pombo waters are also home to rare species of clams and molluscs that thrive amongst the corals.
Take a stroll around the island – it won’t take you much more than an hour to cover the single strip of deserted beach, rarely visited by man. Enjoy the sensation of the cool sea breeze through your hair, and the warm summer sun on your skin on an island that is almost your own. During the low tide, the waters recede far enough, leaving the fascinating ocean terrain, which the glassy waters once tried unsuccessfully to hide, plainly visible right on land. In fact, once the tide is down, the island nearly doubles in size. Although the island is off-limits to occupants, camping is still allowed for those who enjoy the simplicity of nature and the wild adventure of the great outdoors.
The name, “Pombo,” comes from the Portuguese word for “dove,” because of the way the island is much like a haven to various species of nesting birds, including the Ducula Bicolor, indigenous to the Maluku province.
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