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!
And as we are never short of new adventures, why not dive the reef at the foot of Gunung Api, where innumerable but peaceful marine snakes will come along to say hello. A moment of a lifetime!
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: 14 Days / 14 Nights (Approximately 40-42 dives in total)
Experience level: Advanced Open Water recommended – 30 minimum logged dives required.
Please note: There are about 800 nautical miles (nm) to cover during this cruise. We are mostly diving 3 dives a day and then travelling at night. This cruise is not advised for people who get very sea sick or who are unable to sleep while 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.
Day 1 (Navigation):
LABUANBAJO – MAUMERE (160nm)
Pick up from the airport and transfer to the boat.
Welcome drink and introduction to the boat, crew and trip.
Relaxing on the deck and enjoying view while we head for nonstop day and night navigation to East Flores.
Day 2 (3 dives):
Maumere is a beautiful bay on the north coast of Flores. There is a wealth of macro life to keep any diver fascinated for hours, such as the pier’s sanctuary. Its diversity will let our first dives be easy, beautiful and perfect to make all the setup you need !
Night navigation to KOMBA Volcano (80nm)
Day 3 (3-4 dives):
You’ll find sheer walls and ridges all around the island with black volcanic sandy slopes up in the shallows. Colorful walls with soft coral, sea fans and encrusting sponges, lots of reef fish along the walls and out in the blue there’s a good chance for bigger stuff like dogtooth tunas, mackerels, jacks, rays, turtles and reef sharks.
Being an active volcano, it’s not usual to witness its eruptions, which turn the night sky into a spectacular natural firework display.
Night navigation to Alor (45nm)
Day 4 (4 dives):
ALOR – PANTAR
The Staight between Alor and Pantar offers a wonderful playground to divers, due to a huge variety of dive sites : healthy reefs, pinnacles, walls, great muck dives (Rhinopias are often seen around), cold water, warm water, strong currents and protected areas, everything is possible here !
Night navigation to Reong (110nm)
Day 5 (3 dives):
REONG – WETAR
3 dives that day around the smalls islands Pulau Reong amd Cape Nunukae, satellites of Wetar. Mainly colourful walls, with great variety and quantity of fish living around. Strong currents can be found on the area.
Night Navigation to Gunung Api (70nm).
Day 6 (3 dives):
This Volcanic Island is another dive site for snakes, still impressive, but still harmless ! We’ll get here our 1st chances for hammerhead sharks. Got your Lucky Charm ??
Night navigation to Damar (110nm).
Day 7 (3-4 dives):
DAMAR – TERBANG
On this area made of 4 islands of Neus Leur, Terbang Seletan, Terbang Utara and Damar, the diving is spectacular. Like many dives in the Banda Sea there is crystal clear water and beautiful walls covered in massive sponges and beautiful soft corals. Night dive possible.
Night navigation to NILA (65nm)
Day 8 (4 dives):
NILA – SERUA
Around those islands can be found really nice reefs with good chances for hammerhead sharks ! Finger crossed for a bit of luck…. But even without the reefs are fabulous, healthy walls and 50+ meters visibility sometimes.
Night navigation to Manuk (75nm)
Day 9 (3 dives):
Manuk is also known as the “Snake Volcano”. Odor of sulfur, Hot rocks and ascending bubbles remind us about the volcanic activity. And once underwater, you’ll be surrounded by sea snakes, lots of sea snakes ! But harmless, even posing for the shot, proud to be your stars !
Night Navigation to Banda Islands (65nm)
Day 10 (3 dives):
The Banda area offers a good variety of dive sites, from volcanic rock at Pohon Miring to the black sand in Banda’s harbor.
Sunset dive on the pier in Bandaneira to look for some of the Mandarin Fish hiding there. Night on the mooring.
Possible Land excursion : Banda Neira and the nutmeg plantation, market, historic forts and small Maritime Museum.
Day 11 (3-4 dives):
Paulau Ai and Pulau Suanggi will be part of our planning today. They both offers amazing dive sites like The Pinnacle and the East Corner.
Night navigation to Nusa Laut (80nm)
Day 12 (3 dives):NUSA LAUT
We’ll do 3 dives around Nusa Laut, looking for potential dugongs, eagle rays, city of groupers, clear water and nice walls !
Night navigation to Ambon (45nm)
Day 13 (3-4 dives):
Ambon Bay and it’s muck dive sites are welcoming you here for 3 to 4 beautiful and amazing dives such as Rhino City, Twilight Zone, Silale, Laha…! Be ready to see weirds small critters, and let’s go for the psychedelic frogfish !
Night dive possible in Ambon Bay
Day 14 (1-2 dives):
Our last diving day will be dedicated to small critters on Laha’s reef. Depending upon the flight schedules, there can be 1 or 2 last dives here.
Breakfast on board and transfer to Ambon airport.