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Banda ? Where on earth is that ?
A small archipelago of 10 islands, off the South of Ambon, in the province of Maluku. Also called the “spice islands”, due to strong culture of nutmeg and cloves.
OK, but why go there?
The Banda Sea is on the migratory path of schools of hammerhead sharks! In October, if you’re lucky enough, you could be diving with thirty or more ! Come on, let’s be honest, who has never dreamed about doing that?
Along these volcanic islands, the drop-offs are impressive, the reef is teeming with life, and you’ll see many examples of pelagic life: barracudas, tunas, turtles, reef sharks … everything is there, just open your eyes!
Who are those 4 Kings everyone is talking about ?
Raja Ampat (The 4 Kings) is a group of 4 main islands (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati et Misool) and some 600 other small ones, cays or shoals, located in Indonesian West Papua, next to Sorong.
Raja Ampat is all about biodiversity! It’s said to be one of the few hotspots of underwater biodiversity on earth. In the whole area scientists have counted more than 1800 different species of animals, more than anywhere else in the world!
Some of its remarkable inhabitants are the Carpet Sharks (Wobbegong), several species of Pygmy Seahorses living in stunning colorful reefs, and not forgetting the graceful Manta rays, whose 2 species (reef and oceanic) can be found here.
Macro lovers, you have also come to the right place!
As well as the population of mandarin fish in Bandaneira, you will discover Ambon Bay, where our trip ends. Definitely a world-class heaven for Muck Diving. Even without moving you could spend an hour and a half just observing mandarins, pikatchu, harlequin shrimp, ghostpipe fish, marbled shrimp… Going a bit further and you’ll meet some frogfish, “Solar Powered” nudibranchs, Coleman shrimps, Rhinopias or other small crabs…
This cruise is the perfect mix of creatures big and small!
Underwater Photographers, the door of this underwater paradise is about to open!
So, will you be “Crazy Hammer” enough to join us?
Length: 12 Days / 12 Nights (Approximately 32-35 dives in total)
Experience level: Advanced Open Water recommended – 30 minimum logged dives required.
Please note: There are about 500 nautical miles (nm) to cover during this 12-nights cruise. We are mostly diving 3 dives a day and then traveling at night. This cruise is not advised for people who get very sea sick or who are unable to sleep whilst the boat is under way.
While this is the description of a typical dive trip, actual trips may vary due to wind and sea conditions, weather or guests preference.
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Dive 1: Check dive in Ambon bay, 1st encounter with all those small and weird critters!
Depending schedule of the flights, 2nd daytime dive in Ambon’s Bay.
Overnight sailing to Nusa Laut (45nm)
Dive 1 & 2: Amed’s Village, well preserved coral gardens, beautiful walls and numerous fishes on the reef.
Dive 3: Arch of Archon, endless walls. Mobulas, BlackTip reef sharks, tunas or even Hammerhead can be spotted there.
Dive 1: Suanggi, its walls, tons of fish, and a good chance to observe some Hammerheads!
Dive 2 & 3: The Pinnacle and East Corner.
Dive 4: Bandaneira pier, sunset dive to look for some of the Mandarin Fish hiding there.
Dive 1, 2 & 3: Let’s start the day with another hammerhead hunt on Karang Hatta and its schools of Jack fish! Heading then to Bandaneira, a large choice of dive sites is available, from volcanic rock at Pohon Miring to the black sandy bottom of Banda’s harbor.
Possible Land excursion: Banda Neira and its traditional market, historic fort and small Maritime Museum.
Overnight sailing to Manuk (65nm).
Dive 1, 2 & 3: “Snake Volcano”. Hot rocks and ascending bubbles from the bottom. This spot is filled by harmless by sea snakes.
Overnight sailing to Koon.
Dive 1: Too Many Fish, sandy slope famous for being a breeding site for groupers (a zone under the WWF protection). Attracts numerous schools of fish, great diversity of species: Raja Ampat style!
Dive 2: Koon Wall, close from Too Many Fish, perfect for the second dive of the day.
Dive 3: Too Many Fish, because you cannot get enough!
Day 7 – 9:
8 – 10 dives in those spots, night dives possible:
- Kaleidoscope Reef, underwater ridge in the North-West tip of Pele. Bushes of black coral and multicolor fields of sea fans.
- 4 Kings, one of the highlight of Misool. 4 submerged pinnacles in the middle of nowhere. Pelagic action, soft corals, fishes and fishes…
- Barracuda Rock, wall with overhangs and lots of fish action. Solitary and yellow fins barracudas.
- Fiabacet Ridge, Underwater ridge linking Tank Rock and Nudi Rock dive sites. Wobbegong, groupers and yellow fins barracudas.
- Fiabacet, pinnacle famous for the numerous schools of fish.
- Boo Rock, another highlight! Seamount in the Eastern part of Warakaraket, a theater of marine life at its best. Sharks and pelagics are part of the show!
- Nudi Rock: this site is a must for critter enthusiasts and macro photographers.
- Wagmab, caves or sandy slopes covered in soft corals.
- Farondi, surprising site with a cave, a swimthrough and a nice wall with overhangs.
- Goa Besar, a wall dive with a tunnel at 25 meters that is inhabited by midnight snapper and shy Indonesian sweetlips.
- Macro Rock will let the photographers satisfied as well.
Overnight sailing to Batanta
Dive 1: Reflexion Reef, paradise for macro lovers!
Dive 2: Happy Ending, is another of Batanta’s best critter sites.
Dive 3: Algae Patch, this is one of the leading muck dive sites in Raja Ampat and divers often spend an entire day diving here.
Overnight sailing to Fam Island.
Dive 1: Melissa’s Garden, Another chance to visit the fabulous coral garden.
Dive 2: My Reef, is a submerged ridge with a wonderful hard coral garden and a hotspot for fish activity.
Dive 3: Keruo Channel, is a spectacular wall covered in colourful sponges and nudibranchs.
Amazing landscapes and bays, climb Pianemo hill for the MUST Shot !
DAMPIER STRAIGHT – SORONG
Dive 1: Manta Sandy, cleaning station for manta rays.
Dive 2: Cape Kri, one of the Dampier Straight highlight. An impressive marine life. Large school of barracudas, big eyes trevallies, sweatlips, snappers, Encounter with grey reef and blacktip sharks, spanish mackerel, turtles…Intense!
Heading back to Sorong (4-5 hours), dinner on land and night on board.
End of the trip and transfer to airport according to your flight schedule.
The route and dives are always organized according to the weather conditions, the currents and tides.