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YB4IR/8 Yamdena Island Tanimbar Islands

Imam, YB4IR will be active from Yamdena Island, Tanimbar Islands (IOTA OC-224) 28- 31 December 2014 as YB4IR/8.
He will operate on 40- 10m CW, SSB, RTTY.
QSL via home call, OQRS, LOTW.

Yamdena: Not only beautiful but an interesting place too

A Brief Introduction:

The Yamdena Island is the largest island of the Tanimbar Archipelago which is in the Indonesian province of Maluku, located in the South East Asian region. It lies in the 7°36′ South latitudes and 131°25′ East longitudes. During the Dutch colonel period, Yamdena used to be called “Jamdena”. Saumlaki is the capital city of the island which is also the source of water transportation for Yamdena and the Tanimbar Islands.

Yamdena is also the name of the local language and it is majorly spoken by all the natives while the population is approximately around 30,000 inhabitants living on the island with strong traditional and cultural norms dominating their lifestyles.

Geographical Aspects:

Yamdena has beautiful beaches and crystal blue sea waters. The inland is also very beautiful, with lavish green forests and vegetation that is unfortunatelly starting to experience deforestation. Its coordinates lie between 7°36′ South latitudes and 131°25′ East longitudes while being in the South East Asian region.

Saumlaki is the chief town of the large island which is also the source of the only hub for water transportation in the Tanimbar Islands. Small local boats and ferries connect Yamdena with the other surrounding islands. The Aru and Kei islands surround Yamdena. Even though Yamdena is experiencing deforestation, it is still a part of the Banda seas moist deciduous forests eco-region, as its vegetation has not yet declined all that much.

The island is basically a region of forest hills and white sand coasts. The forests are the home of the abundant wild water buffalos. Bush warblers are also the inhabitants of these forests.

Yamdena Island Tanimbar Islands YB4IR/8

Climatic Conditions:

Yamdena has tropical climate, with two definitive wet and dry monsoon seasons as it is along the equator. The humidity level in the atmosphere is usually high i.e. recorded up to an average of 80%. The land temperature stays constant throughout the year with an average temperature of 28°C while only experiencing a little fall in the temperature when the season changes from hot to cold. There is also a slight stretch or retraction in its day light hours depending on the changing seasons.


A proper record of the population is not maintained as most of the people are illiterate, but according to 1991st estimate, the natives are said to be around 25,000 inhabitants, who all speak and understand the Yamdena language. The main religion followed is Christianity, but the older cultural locals still practise ancestor worship.

The literacy rate is very low, where cultures and old traditions have more value and respect over modern day education. The population of Yamdena is divided into 3 different ethnic groups. Though the groups are different, their practises share some similarities with each other. The inhabitants are known for their rough behaviour with tourists and for their tourist traps to charge high for the services for reeling in more money while their quality is very inferior.

Language, script and religion:

The local language spoken and written is the Yamdena Language. The language belongs to the Austronesia Family which is only spoken in the Maluku Islands. The language’s code is “jmd”.

Yamdena’s literacy rate is very, very low, about only 2% of its population is literate.

The chief religion followed by the locals is Christianity whereas the elderly lot prefers to worship their deceased ancestors.

Economy and Tourism:

The economy of Yamdena is underdeveloped. The capital city Saumlaki has only one main street, yes, only one! The surrounding infrastructure is like you have just stepped into a 1980’s village as most of the houses are old fashioned, little technology and improper roads and transportation facilities. Though the economy struggles to fulfil its needs by offering tourism services and by selling many on and off handicrafts, there is very little progress seen in its development. The locals like to scandal out money from the tourists’ pockets yet only providing low quality services to them in their return.

Yamdena is home to some interesting villages. These villages are the Olilit Lama Village, Tumbur village and Sangliat Dol village.

Sangliat Dol is said to be the most interesting village of them all. It is famous for a stone boat which is in the centre of the village. There is a long trail of stairs made of stone which lead to the stone boat.

Yamdena markets are also underdeveloped. The markets offer hand-woven “Ikat” cloth, fine gold ornaments and wood carved goods to the foreign travellers in need of souvenirs.

Transportation, Culture and food:

The only source of transportation is a Hub and an airport in Saumlaki.

The food variety usually revolves around chicken and fish with big helping of rice. The usual menu in restaurants will also revolve around these choices but with slighter variance.

Culture is of great importance to the people of Yamdena. Even still many 19th century old ceremonies are performed which are accompanied by folk dance and songs.

Some Interesting facts about Yamdena:

Yamdena is the name of the island as well as the name of the language spoken there too.
Yamdena language is a mixture of 5 different languages.
The locals are known to be very loud and abusive when they are drunk.
It is home to a new Species of the Bush Warbler.
Japanese tried to occupy Yamdena’s capital city Saumlaki during the World War II.

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