Banda Sea - Far East

  • Water temp 26-28C
  • Air Temp 28-30C
  • Visibility 20m+
  • Good for... Big fish, pristine reefs, macro and muck
  • Suitable for beginners No
  • Highlights The Banda Sea is a remote diving location that can only be reached by liveaboard. For a few weeks each year, the wind make diving this exciting new hot spot in Indonesia a must do for any diver that loves pelagics and pristine reefs

About Banda Sea

In recent years, the Banda Sea has become Indonesia's newest dive spot. This remote arc of islands in the Banda Sea, and are isolated even by Indonesian standards. With Bali to the south and Ambon and Raja Ampat to the north east, Banda Sea offers both critter diving as well as action packed walls and pelagics.

The Banda Islands themselves offer some of the most pristine reef walls found in the world. Seven volcanic islands rise out of the deep blue waters and vast seamounts are home to schooling hammerhead sharks. Uninhabited islands are fringed by untouched reefs. Underwater pinnacles are so isolated that the reefs are immaculate. All dive sites are packed full of fish life. Ambon is famous for the macro life, and Raja for her majestic manta and giant sea fans. Alor is a secret gems of Indonesia, offering some of the most varied diving around. Exceptional black sand muck to gorgeous reef walls, plenty of sharks, from spotted wobbegongs to larger pelagic sharks.

This is a seasonal itinerary that wends its way through the Banda Sea. Itineraries will vary, depending on the liveaboard you chose and the exact time of year. Your embarkation and disembarkation point will change, with each trip offering a unique adventure through far flung dive sites. These may include:

Banda Sea
Ambon and Banda
Alor/Maumere to Ambon and visa versa

This is not an itinerary for beginner divers. Currents can be fast, and the wall dives can be deep. Trips tend to be longer than 7 nights. Set sail and dive sites that can only be reached by liveaboard.

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Solitude Adventurer

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Scuba Travel works with the most exclusive liveaboards in Indonesia, all diving in and around the Banda Sea. However, there are several options regarding your trip duration so you can find the ideal liveaboard

Solitude Adventurer, Emperor Harmoni, White Manta Explorer & Blue Manta Explorer all run itineraries to dive the Banda Sea seasonally.

Please speak to your travel consultant for specific information about which sites your chosen liveaboard and departure date will (and won't) visit. Specific sites cannot be guaranteed due to weather, sailing conditions and will ultimately be at the captain's discretion.

Embarkation Points
Embarkation point will vary depending on your chosen liveaboard and the time of year. Embarkation may be in Maumere, Ambon, Sorong or Saumlaki

Trip Durations
You can dive Banda from several liveaboards, each offering different trip durations. This means that the exact itinerary will depend on which boat and duration you chose. Please ask your travel consultant at the time of booking to outline in more detail your proposed itinerary and dive sites.

Please note the exact number of dives on a trip will depend on local weather conditions and diver experience levels etc. The above number of dives are intended as a rough guide only.

Arrival and Departure
Depending on which liveaboard you will be joining you may need to overnight in Indonesia at either end of your holiday.
Most trips will also require you to catch a domestic flight to reach the boat. Common stop over points are Bali and Jakarta.

There are several ways to cross the Banda Sea and this depends mostly on the weather and depths of the thermoclines for the hammerhead sharks. Crossing is generally done in March/April and September/October when the prevailing winds are changing between the seasons.

Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat the greatest coral reef biodiversity for its size in the world. The Bird's Head Seascape holds: 2,500 islands and reefs, 1,320 fish species, 550 coral species and all that is yet to be discovered. The four main islands or Kings of the archipelago: Waigeo in the north, Salawati west of Sorong, Batanta north of Salawati, and Misool in the south. Dive the famous Dampier Strait, some of Raja Ampat's most action-packed dive sites. Exhilarating current dives and reliable manta cleaning stations where you can experience these majestic giant pelagics dance for hours along with many other treasures such as the tasselled wobbegong shark.

Ambon, famous for its exceptional macro - Here we can find anything from Rhinopias, varieties of Nudibranchs, Shrimps to the fascinating Cephlapods, such as the Flamboyant Cuttlefish. Ambon is as well most famous as it is the only place in the world you have a chance of finding the extremely rare Psychedelic Frogfish.

Maumere & Alor
In Alor, there is plenty of opportunity to find those rare critters like frogfish, mimic octopus, fire sea urchin and even rare rhinopias in the hundreds of bays and coves in the island chain. Dolphins and whales are often encountered as this area is also part of the migration routes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans

One of the main attractions in Saumlaki is the chance to see both whales and dolphins. It's perfect to start or end a trip here.

Between dives
Between dives there are several opportunities on all over the boats to go ashore. Explore a volcanic island, visit a pearl farm, grab the canoes and go exploring... The excursions will vary from trip to trip but all are designed to help you get to see even more of this remote region.

Dismbarkation Points
Most trips return to Maumere, Ambon, Sorong or Saumlaki
You will typically need a domestic flight to return to your gateway city in Indonesia. Normally these are Bali or Jakarta.