Traveljunkieindonesia.com – Off Halmahera’s northern tip, this sparsely populated island became a minor Japanese base during WWII. It leapt to importance when it was captured by the Allies and used to bomb Manila to bits – the sad fulfilment of General MacArthur’s ‘I will return’ pledge to retake the Philippines.
Among the Japanese defenders that retreated to Morotai’s crumpled mountain hinterland was the famous Private Nakamura: only in 1973 did he discover that the war was over.
Bunkers and rusty bullet-cases are visible at overgrown WWII battle sites near Trans Dua. That’s 30 muddy minutes by rent a car from Morotai’s village capital Daruba where a rusting US amphibious lander (amfibi) lies hidden in a coconut plantation.
Daruba fishing smacks can take you to Sumsum island, a beautiful desert island that was MacArthur’s temporary WWII command base. It has delightful spongy, white sand and is littered with giant clam shells and the odd WWII bullet.
Morotai, you stole my heart.
Happy green travels!