Kei Islands by Christine Lafian April 10 2016
For Suku, this travel diary isn't about an unknown exotic location but one that is closer to home. The Kei Islands is where our Creative Director Christine spent most of her childhood. Her grandmother's house is there – a home woven into the jungle paradise with a balcony facing the sea. This is the motherland that Christine speaks about when discussing inspirations for Suku collections, so you'll recognise some themes here when snuggling down into our sheets. We're very excited to share this special place from Christine's recent trip to the Kei Islands, East Indonesia.
Elat, Kei Besar
Kei Besar, or Big Kei Island, is mountanious and densely forested. Our grandma's house is in a little town here called Elat. It faces the beach and is backed by a heavy tropical jungle. Beaches here are untouched, the sand is as white as the clouds above it, the ocean is the bluest it could be – colours are incredibly vibrant. I once asked my mum why she left this village paradise. She said that she was young and felt the 'unbearable lightness of being'... all the views were too pretty and the simple life too boring. She needed to travel to find her own version of Paradise. The majority of girls of Elat didn't get the education they deserved, most ended up in arranged marriages and many died in childbirth. My mum travelled to wider Indonesia to gain her independence and paradise. She raised me to have choices most girls here wouldn't, and I travel here returning to memories of being a happy and loved adventurer scampering through the island.
My cousins and I have remained close by taking family holidays together to the islands. One of my cousins, Rendy still lives there, and remembering how we used to love adventuring as kids, he kept mentioning a secret spot he found recently. Still owned by a local king, Bair Island is uninhabited and is formed by a lifted reef surrounded by bright turquoise water. The island changes dramatically from high tide where water covers it, and low tide when you can walk around and discover the coral. Rendy took us there by boat just before sunset, and it's become hands down my favourite place on earth to swim.
We spent our last day on a small Kei island city called Tual. This island must have the best waterhole in the world. We took a morning swim in the blue grotto called Hawing cave. Story has it that people come here to meditate and attain a state of higher level of consciousness. There must be a truth in that, the place has a peace and a power that we felt as soon as we stepped in. Deep into the cave, it was dark and mysterious, while outside it was peaceful. Tual beaches have sand soft as talcum powder, and it also has a natural sand pit formation that looks like a snake. As always, at the end of our visit to the Kei Islands, I've left full of images, inspiration and ideas for future creations.
Photography // Rendy Tjoanda @basodaratrip