Reefs and Hammerheads, You Got It All in the Banda Sea!

Overall Rating

7.8

Marine Life
Professionalism
Sustainability
Value
8.0/10
9.0/10
7.0/10
7.0/10
KarenPrivat
FR
Karen P verified review
Plongeur 3 étoiles
300+ dives
7.8/10
6 months ago

Show Original (Français)

Great program over 2 weeks. Top crew. Good cabin comfort. Varied dives on very different sites, some exceptional encounters: thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks in close ranks in particular. Very very average visibility on the other hand, very frustrating on certain sites. Influence of the full moon? Few "big". Food in quantity, decent quality but very repetitive.

Why We Love It

Join a Banda Sea liveaboard trip, and you'll discover Indonesia's ultimate diving frontier! The Ring of Fire is remote, has currents attracting big pelagics, and pristine coral reefs. All dive sites are full of fish life - the biodiversity is spectacular! As liveaboards can only do the crossing only twice a year, in spring and autumn, few spots are available. And the cherry on the cake: visibility is almost always crystal clear, with warm water! We love this high-quality and experienced operation that supports the local people.

Conservation

Supporters of the Misool Foundation in Raja Ampat. No plastic bottles are used on board.

Who Is It For?

For passionate divers with lots of experience - take note of the medium to strong currents! Advanced Open Water or level 2 required.

Prices and Dates
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What's included?
  • Up to 4 dives a day
  • Transfers from/to the airport or hotels to/from the boat
  • All meals and snacks, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, and drinking water
  • One excursion on a local island
  • Tanks, weights, and weight belts
  • Diving with experienced Dive Masters and Instructors
What's not included?
  • National park/port fees: €300 payable on board
  • Fuel surcharges, if applicable
  • Nitrox fills
  • Rental equipment
  • Dive courses
  • Crew tips
  • Massages
  • Souvenirs
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Flights or hotels before/after the cruise
Dive Briefing!

Marine Life

  • The Banda Islands, sometimes called Forgotten islands, Spice Islands, and even the Ring of Fire, have some of the most spectacular and resilient to climate change reefs.
  • There are over 397 species of coral, and 683 species of fish.
  • The Banda Islands have a strategic role in connectivity in migration patterns of several species, including schooling hammerhead sharks, sunfish (mola mola), dogtooth tuna, reef sharks, sailfish, blue whales, and more.

Dive Conditions

  • Season: due to monsoon patterns, liveaboards can only make the crossing twice a year, in April-May and from the end of September to the beginning of December.
  • Currents: strong and changing - some dive sites are not suitable for beginners or anyone that doesn’t feel comfortable in currents.
  • Visibility: 20 to 30 m (66 to 98 ft)
  • Water Temperature: 27° to 30°C (81° to 86°F) with some colder thermoclines in Alor
  • Depth: deep and shallow dives

Dive Sites

  • Cape Bacatan is a good place to spot whitetips, blacktips, and occasionally, grey reef sharks.
  • Surrounding Nila Island there are two atolls, Dusborgh and Nil Desperandum. There's a good chance of seeing hammerhead sharks around.
  • Some very interesting swim-throughs, immaculate pinnacles with enormous groups of schooling butterflyfish and pelagic fish such as tunas.
  • You'll dive along beautiful walls, massive gorgonians, colorful soft corals, and barrel sponges.
  • There are great muck dives too with lots of mandarin fish.
  • Manuk is an active volcano south of the Banda Islands, and one of two places in Indonesia where there are huge aggregations of sea snakes.
  • If going all the way to Raja Ampat, you get to dive in Dampier Strait and Misool, where some of the prettiest soft coral reefs in the world are located.

The Team

  • Operating in the area since 2001
  • PADI Courses available on board - ask us
  • Languages spoken: French, English, Spanish, and Indonesian on all trips
  • Maximum divers per guide: 4

Safety Information

  • Equipment Recommended: 3 to 5 mm long wetsuit, dive computer, surface marker buoy (SMB), whistle, and a 'reef hook' (to use on rocks only!)
  • Insurance: Both dive insurance and travel insurance are mandatory. We recommend DAN Europe which has plans to cover both - ask us for a quote.
  • Nearest Hyperbaric Chamber: Darwin, Australia or Manado, Sulawesi - note that there is a chamber in Raja Ampat, but it is not certified or compliant with international standards
Visas, Flights, and More!

Visa Requirements

  • Many nationalities are eligible to enter and remain in Indonesia without a visa for 30 days. Others need to obtain a Visa on Arrival for 30 days at the major entry points to Indonesia. Visa on Arrival costs $37 (about ... EUR) and usually can be extended for another 30 days.
  • Passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival and have one full blank page
  • Must be able to show an onward ticket that departs before your visa expires
  • For official entry requirements for your nationality, consult Indonesia's Directorate General of Immigration

How to Get There

  • As there are different departure and arrival points depending on the date chosen, ask us for the detailed itinerary before buying any flights:
  • Some trips are between Maumere (MOF) and Sorong (SOQ)
  • Others are between Maumere (MOF) and Ambon (AMQ)
  • Others are between Sorong (SOQ) and Ambon (AMQ)
  • Transfers from/to the airport or hotels to the boat are included:
    • Boarding time is between 7 am and 2pm
    • Arrival on the last day: between 8 am and 8:30 am
  • Plan to stay overnight before or after your cruise. These are small cities so most of the hotels are located within 10 – 30 minutes of the harbor and airport.

More...

  • The area is subject to malaria. Take necessary precautions to avoid it.
  • Don't forget to bring your walking shoes.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, mosquito repellent, a rash guard, and a sweater or light-weight jacket.
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