Indonesia’s “Forgotten Islands” & Islands of the Banda Sea arc, known as the Southeast Moluccas, are not a single destination. Rather a 1,000 km long chain of archipelagos stretching from Timor to West Papua on the island of New Guinea. Remote, undevelopped and far from the beaten paths these island have an incredible history. The topography of these islands varies from forested mountainous peaks in the Inner Banda Arc of islands, to essentially flat islands of the easternmost Aru and Kei island groups, dominated by savannah, mangroves and broadleaf forests.

Alor & the Forgotten Islands (Maumere – Saumlaki) & (Saumlaki – Maumere)

11 nights / 32 dives
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Alor & the Forgotten Islands (Maumere – Saumlaki) & (Saumlaki – Maumere)

11 nights / 32 dives

Alor & the Forgotten Islands (Maumere – Saumlaki)

Day 1: Maumere, Flores – Welcome Aboard!
An early morning flight from Bali brings you to the harbor town of Maumere on the island of Flores. Our staff will greet you at the airport upon arrival, and accompany you to the Adelaar. A main port town for the island, Maumere harbor has a colorful local market where the women sell an array of handwoven ikats, fresh vegetables, meats and fish. Strategically located on the northern coastline, Maumere has a mixed population of Christians and Muslims, eager to meet tourists interested in their culture. Once onboard, we plan to do 1 or 2 check dives in Gedong, not far from Maumere. One of them is a very shallow macro dive and the second one will be on the wreck located in the bay. We’ll leave around 5 PM to cruise overnight to Komba Volcano.

Day 2: Komba Volcano
Approachable only by sea, the remote Komba volcano rises majestically on the horizon, venting a plume of smoke which has been caught by the wind and streams off in the distance. We dive here for the day admiring the surreal underwater landscape. The colorful coral is thriving and offers a beautiful contrast against the dark sand. Since the volcano stopped erupting, the pressure is released underwater in streams of bubbles on one of the Komba slopes. We’ll leave at the end of the afternoon in order to reach North Lembata Island to anchor and spend the night in a quiet bay.

Day 3: North Lembata
Lembata bay has stunning volcanic landscapes surrounded by calm and clear waters. It’s also home to a pearling farm belonging to the second productor in the world, and many local fisherman’s villages. As it’ll be migrating season, keep an eye out at dawn and sunrise for whales coming up to the surface! Underwater highlights of Lembata are the dive sites of “Tanjung Bacatan”. They lies on a point and form a wall, covered in crevices and home to soft & hard corals. There’s a good chance you sight a resident school of barracudas as well as turtles and large trevallies. “Takat Prau” is a small wooden fishing boat next to a sea fan where pygmies are sometimes photographed. When “Padang Pasir” is a sandy patch full of macro life where, at night, there is chance to spot Spanish dancers and colorful nudis, stargazers, squids and frogfish.

Days 4-6: Pantar Strait, Alor & Kalabahi
On this next portion of the trip, world-class dive sites around the untouched islands, await us. The small islets of Alor archipelago tend to attract congregations of fish, along the colorful Indian Ocean reefs. We explore the underwater walls, drop-offs, slopes, valleys and ridges of the islands of Pantar, Pura and Ternate. Diving the pristine site of “Anemone Valley”, we drift above the expansive seabed completely covered with anemones and clownfish. Be sure to keep one eye out to the blue water, where thresher sharks are often peacefully swimming!
Just off the shore of Pulau Ternate, dozens of women approach Adelaar in their dugout canoes, displaying colorful ikats. Woven in unique patterns they learned from their mothers, each textile can be traced back to a specific village, and are of course, for sale.

In the morning of day 6, we enter the village of the Abui tribe, fierce warriors until 1984. They welcome us in ceremonial dress and perform the lego lego, an ancient dance passed down through the generations. On our way back to the harbor, we make a stop in the traditional market and a local museum, to further experience Alor’s rich natural history. In the afternoon, we plan a refreshing dive in Kalabahi Baybefore making our way to Reong Island through the night.

Day 7: Reong & Wetar
The small island of Reong lies on the north west coast of Wetar, we’ll dive there once or twice depending on the sea conditions. It presents a slight change of scenery as it’s made of limestone. Reef sharks, barracuda and trevallies frequently visit the reef.

Wetar Island’s star dive site “Tanjung Nunukae” will be our second stop of the day. Its plateau topography drops into a nice wall swathed in gigantic sea fans, cup corals and sponges. Divers have come across the two types of Manta rays here, as current usually is moderate to strong when the moon is full!
We cruise overnight to the next island.

Day 8: Nyata, Romang & Maapora islands
We wake up enroute and have breakfast as the ship makes its way to a new island group. The “Romang group”, as it is called in the navigation books, includes Pulau Nyata, Pulan Romang and Pulau Maapora. It spans across 23 nautical miles from West to East. It features some fantastic white sand beaches. At Romang and Nyata, there are gentle terraced slopes, which slip down into the deep blue of the Banda Sea. A big feature of diving on this western side of the island, are the collections of huge vividly coloured gorgonian sea fans, and large barrel sponges. Fans of bigger animals can see Napoleon wrasses, reef shark, ray, tuna and other pelagic fish patrolling the reefs and walls.
We’ll cruise overnight to the next location.

Day 9: Terbang & Damar islands
The Island of Damar is about 20 km², and there are settlements dotted all around the eastern half of the island. The largest of which is the village of Kenili, located inside an inlet on the eastern shore. The best beach features a 900 meter long strip of dazzling white sand, bordered by lush green forest, and fringed by a shallow coral reef. The major dive sites are not actually off Damar Island itself, but rather around the smaller islands of Nusa Leur and Terbang Utara (North) and Selatan (South). These sites feature an explosion of different colours and forms, and seem to be in constant motion. A busy reef, with schooling fish and marine life that are not used to seeing scuba divers. Another unique attraction is the wall of sulphur formed as a result of the proximity of the volcano.

Day 10: Dai & Dawera islands
The inhabitants of Pulai Dai still practice traditional hunting with a bow and arrow. Travellers can visit the village on request. The local population is very welcoming, even though they only see divers a few times a year. Steep slops compose the dive sites, providing hunting grounds for larger fish. The shallows are just as stunning as the deeper parts, as they are full of hard corals decorated with anthias.
Dawera is a small island in the northern part of the “Babar” group. The seamount here has a reef that remains untouched and so full of fish, you wouldn’t know where to look first! The dive sites of “Tanjung Raja”, with its amazing marine life and cruising hammerheads, is among the highlights of this location.
We’ll cruise overnight toward the main Island of Saumlaki, for our last diving day.

Day 11: Tanimbar island
We wake up surrounded by more land than we have seen during the last 10 days. Reaching a small island called Vaiwar in the morning, we make our last dives of the trip. Vaiwar slope is mostly a critter hunt, with a sandy slope extending out from shore. Corals, small rocks and bommies decorate this sandy patch, and offer a nice scenic backdrop for spotting assorted juveniles. Have a look in the sand for ghost pipefish, nudibranchs and perhaps even a mimic octopus!

Day 12: Saumlaki, Yamdena – Goodbye!
Breakfast will be served onboard before you disembark and transfer to the airport or to your hotel. We wish you a safe onward journey, and hope you enjoyed your time on Adelaar as we cruised through some of the of the most beautiful diving regions of the world.

Adelaar Cruise itinerary to the forgotten islands

Alor & the Forgotten Islands (Saumlaki – Maumere)

Day 1: Saumlaki, Yamdena – Welcome Aboard!
An early morning (or on the day before) a flight from Jakarta or Bali brings you to the harbor town of Saumlaki. Its population at the 2010 Census was 12,462. Christianity is the main religion of the village, as the Dutch visited and claimed it in 1629 and 1639. However, a lot of the town also follows original Indonesian religions. Our staff will greet you at the airport upon arrival, and accompany you to the Adelaar. Once on board, our cruise director and steward will introduce you to the crew, your cabin and the ship!

We’ll make our way reaching a small island called Vaiwar, where we’ll make our first check dives of the trip. Vaiwar slope is mostly a critter hunt, with a sandy slope extending out from shore. Corals, small rocks and bommies decorate this sandy patch, and offer a nice scenic backdrop for spotting assorted juveniles. Have a look in the sand for ghost pipefish, nudibranchs and perhaps even a mimic octopus!

Day 2: Dai & Dawera islands
The inhabitants of Pulai Dai still practice traditional hunting with a bow and arrow. Travellers can visit the village on request. The local population is very welcoming, even though they only see divers a few times a year. Steep slopes compose the dive sites, providing hunting grounds for larger fish. The shallows are just as stunning as the deeper parts of the site, as they are full of hard corals decorated with anthias. Dawera is a small island in the northern part of the “Babar” group. The seamount here has a reef that remains untouched and so full of fish, you wouldn’t know where to look first! The dive sites of “Tanjung Raja”, with its amazing marine life and cruising hammerheads, is among the highlights of this location.
We’ll cruise overnight toward the next islet.

Day 3: Terbang & Damar Islands
The Island of Damar is about 20 km², and there are settlements dotted all around the eastern half of the island. The largest of which is the village of Kenili, located inside an inlet on the eastern shore. The best beach features a 900 meter long strip of dazzling white sand, bordered by lush green forest, and fringed by a shallow coral reef. The major dive sites are not actually off Damar Island itself, but rather around the smaller islands of Nusa Leur and Terbang Utara (North) and Selatan (South).

These sites feature an explosion of different colours and forms, and seem to be in constant motion. A busy reef, with schooling fish and marine life that are not used to seeing scuba divers. Another unique attraction, is the wall of sulphur formed as a result of the proximity of the volcano on Damar Island.
We’ll cruise overnight toward the next island.

Day 4: Nyata, Romang & Maapora islands
We wake up enroute and have breakfast as the ship makes its ancorage. The “Romang group”, as it is called in the navigation books, includes Pulau Nyata, Pulan Romang and Pulau Maapora. It spans across 23 nautical miles from West to East. It features some fantastic white sand beaches and at Romang and Nyata, there are gentle terraced slopes, which slip down into the deep blue of the Banda Sea. A big feature of diving on this western side of the island are the collections of huge vividly coloured gorgonian sea fans and large barrel sponges. Fans of bigger animals can see Napoleon wrasses, reef shark, ray, tuna and other pelagic fish patrolling the reefs and walls.
We’ll cruise overnight to the next location.

Day 5: Reong & Wetar Islands
Wetar Island’s star dive site “Tanjung Nunukae”, will be our first stop of the day. Divers have come across the two types of Manta rays here, as current usually is moderate to strong when the moon is full! Its plateau topography drops into a nice wall swathed in gigantic sea fans, cup corals and sponges. The small island of Reong, lies on the north west coast of Wetar, we’ll dive there once or twice depending on the sea conditions. It presents a slight change of scenery as it’s made of limestone. Reef sharks, barracuda and trevallies frequently visit the reef.
We cruise overnight to the next island.

Days 6-8: Pantar Strait, Alor & Kalabahi
On this next portion of the trip, world-class dive sites around the untouched islands, await us. Thesmall islets of Alor archipelago tend to attract congregations of fish, along the colorful Indian Ocean reefs. We explore the underwater walls, drop-offs, slopes, valleys and ridges of the islands of Pantar, Pura and Ternate. Diving the pristine site of “Anemone Valley” we drift above the expansive seabed covered with anemones and clownfish. Be sure to keep one eye out to the blue water, where thresher sharks are often swimming!

Just off the shore of Pulau Ternate, dozens of women approach Adelaar in their dugout canoes, displaying colorful ikats. Woven in unique patterns learned from their mothers, each textile can be traced back to a specific village, and are of course, for sale.
In the morning of day 7, we enter the village of the Abui tribe, fierce warriors until 1984. They welcome us in ceremonial dress and perform the lego lego, an ancient dance passed down through the generations. On our way back to the harbor, we make a stop in the traditional market and a local museum to further experience Alor’s rich natural history. In the afternoon, we plan a refreshing dive in Kalabahi Bay before making our way to North Lembata through the night.

Day 9: North Lembata
Lembata bay is known for its stunning volcanic landscapes surrounded by calm and clear waters. It’s also home to a pearling farm belonging to the second productor in the world, and many local fisherman’s villages. As it’ll be migrating season, keep an eye out at dawn and sunrise for whales coming up to the surface!
Underwater highlights of Lembata are the dive sites of “Tanjung Bacatan”, situated on a point and consisting of a wall, covered in crevices and home to soft & hard corals. There’s a good chance you sight a resident school of barracudas as well as turtles and large trevallies.

“Takat Prau” is a small wooden fishing boat next to a sea fan where pygmies have been photographed. While “Padang Pasir” is a sandy patch full of macro life, where at night, there is chance to spot Spanish dancers and colorful nudis, stargazers, squids and frogfish. We’ll leave late afternoon and make our way across the high seas to reach Komba Volcano during the night.

Day 10: Komba Volcano
Approachable only by sea, the remote Komba volcano rises majestically on the horizon, venting a plume of smoke which has been caught by the wind and streams off in the distance. We dive here for the day admiring the surreal underwater landscape. The colorful coral is thriving and offers a beautiful contrast against the dark sand. Since the volcano stopped erupting, the pressure is released underwater in streams of bubbles on one of the Komba slopes.
We’ll leave in the afternoon in order to get closer to Flores Island & do our last dives of the trip.

Day 11: Gedong, Flores
We plan two dives in Gedong. Depending on your flight’s schedule you can pick the type of dive you wish to do: a very shallow macro dive (5-8m) or a wooden wreck located in the bay, or both! The afternoon will be dedicated to restful time in this quiet bay.

Day 12: Maumere, Flores – Goodbye!
Maumere harbor has a colorful local market where the women sell an array of handwoven ikats, fresh vegetables, meats and fish. Strategically located on the northern coastline, Maumere has a mixed population of Christians and Muslims, eager to meet tourists interested in their culture.
Breakfast will be served onboard before you disembark and are transferred to the airport or to your hotel. We wish you a safe onward journey, and hope you enjoyed your time on Adelaar as we cruised through some of the of the most beautiful diving regions of the world.

Exploration to the Banda Sea (Saumlaki – Ambon) & (Ambon – Saumlaki)

11 nights / 32 dives
DOWNLOAD PDF

Exploration to the Banda Sea (Saumlaki – Ambon) & (Ambon – Saumlaki)

11 nights / 32 dives

Exploration to the Banda Sea (Saumlaki – Ambon)

Day 1: Welcome onboard – Saumlaki
We organize early morning hotel or airport transfers to collect you for the 11AM boarding on Adelaar. Once settled aboard, there will be a briefing to familiarize you with our safety procedures and to introduce the crew. Our chefs serve lunch as we move to our first dive site for a check dive on a sandy slope in the bay. We spend time here looking around for small critters who inhabit this area.

Days 2-3: Pulau Dai, Pulau Nila, Pulau Serua
We make our way up through the eastern Forgotten Islands, where our first dives will be in Pulau Dai. While enjoying the many walls and drop-offs, we make sure to keep an eye on the blue for pelagics, as it will be migrating season.
Entering the Banda Sea our first stop will be in Pulau Nila, where the thriving hard coral gardens tend to attract tuna, groupers, and barracuda. At Dusborgh, we will drift with the current for an opportunity to see sharks among the jacks & eagle rays. Current carries us over Nil Desparandum. We fly among the napoleons and jacks, hoping to catch a glimpse of schooling sharks the area is well known for.

Days 4-5: Pulau Manuk
As we travel through this evolutionary transition zone between Australia and Asia, we make a stop on the island of Manuk. A bird breeding sanctuary also referred to as ‘the island of serpents’. The dives here have all the typical volcanic features, bubbling sand and schooling fish. Yet the stars are the sea snakes and sea kraits, which seem to be everywhere.

Days 6-9: Pulau Hatta, Pulau Banda, Pulau Ai, Pulai Run
We arrive today in the fabled Spice Islands, nine jewel-like volcanic islands which are extremely remote. This area was once the global center of the trade in rare and lucrative nutmeg and mace. Banda Neira was once the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies, who forced out the locals to monopolize the trade.

Fort Belgica erected in the 17thcentury to defend the region, was restored in 2019, and still stands. We will go ashore for a look around, and perhaps wander through the small natural history museum. In the vicinity of the island of Banda Neira are some of the most iconic dive sites: Batu Kapal and Lava Flow.
To the east, lies the island of Hatta, named after Mohamad Hatta, Indonesian’s first vice president. He lived here in exile, until the eve of the Japanese invasion.

The area lies closest to the Banda Trench, with a depth of 6000 meters. With its sloping reefs and vertical walls, it is famous for schools of trevallies, barracudas, and tuna. In the shallows, among the stones, mandarin fish congregate, waiting for dusk to make their appearance. A real bonus for photographers!
It is the hammerhead and the grey reef shark that draws divers from around the globe to this remote location. We have the chance to see schooling hammerheads along the steep drop-offs of Kurang Hatta. As we swim through the dive site, Hole in the Wall, we exit out to a dramatic drop into the open ocean. Finally we’ll dive Pulau Hatta, a sloping reef filled with reef fish and frequented by turtles.

Days 10-11 : Pulan Suanggi, Nusa Laut, Pulau Saparua
As we travel toward Ambon, we’ll make a stop in Nusa Laut. Beautiful hard and soft coral reefs await with plenty of schooling fish.
With so few human encounters, the fish seem unaware of divers as we swim in for a closer look. Typically, with mild current and good visibility, Nusa Laut is suitable for all levels of divers. The sites of “Akoon” and “Amet jetty” are the stars of this location.

Day 12: Disembarkation in Ambon
We end our journey in Ambon, as we plan the last dive along a sandy slope in the bay.
Thank you for joining us on Adelaar, as we cruised through one of the most beautiful diving regions of the world!

Adelaar Cruise itinerary to the Banda Sea

Exploration to the Banda Sea (Ambon – Saumlaki)

Day 1: Welcome onboard – Ambon
We organize early morning hotel or airport transfers to collect you for the 11AM boarding on Adelaar. Once settled aboard, there will be a briefing to familiarize you with our safety procedures and to introduce the crew.
Our chefs serve lunch as we move to our first dive site, a sandy slope in the bay, perfect for a check dive. We spend time here looking around for small critters who inhabit this area.

Days 2-3: Pulau Saparua, Nusa Laut, Pulau Suanggi
Leaving the bay of Ambon, we travel eastward to the islands of Saparua and Nusa Laut. Beautiful hard and soft coral reefs await with plenty of schooling fish. Perhaps even a bigger fish encounter as the reef is home to reef sharks, and the occasional pelagic visitor.
With so few human encounters, the fish seem unaware of divers as we swim in for a closer look. Typically, with mild current and good visibility, Nusa Laut suits  all levels of divers. The sites of “Akoon” and “Amet jetty” are the stars of this location.

Days 4-7 : Pulau Run, Pulau Ai, Pulau Banda, Pulau Hatta
We enter the Banda Sea and make our way towards the nine jewel-like volcanic islands which make up thefabled Spice Islands. Although extremely remote, this area was once the global center of the trade in rare and lucrative nutmeg and mace. Banda Neira was once the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies, who forced out the locals to monopolize the trade. Fort Belgica erected in the 17thcentury to defend the region, was restored in 2019, and still stands. We will go ashore for a look around, and perhaps wander through the small natural history museum.

Just off the island of Banda Neira are some of the most iconic dive sites: Batu Kapal and Lava Flow. To the east, lies the island of Hatta, named after Mohamad Hatta, Indonesian’s first vice president. He lived here in exile, until the eve of the Japanese invasion. The area lies closest to the Banda Trench, with a depth of 6000 meters. With its sloping reefs and vertical walls, it is famous for schools of trevallies, barracudas, and tuna. In the shallows, among the stones, mandarin fish congregate, waiting for dusk to make their appearance.

A real bonus for photographers!
But it is the hammerhead and the grey reef shark that draws divers from around the globe to this remote location. We have the chance to see schooling hammerheads along the steep drop-offs of Kurang Hatta. As we swim through the dive site, Hole in the Wall, we exit out to a dramatic drop into the open ocean. Finally we’ll dive Pulau Hatta, a sloping reef full of reef fish and frequented by turtles.

Days 8-9 : Pulau Manuk
We make our way through this evolutionary transition zone between Australia and Asia. Next stop is the island of Manuk, a bird breeding sanctuary also known as ‘the island of serpents’. The dives here have all the typical volcanic features, bubbling sand and schooling fish. Yet the stars are the sea snakes and sea kraits, which seem to be everywhere.
Current carries us over Nil Desparandum. We fly among napoleons and jacks, hoping to catch a glimpse of schooling sharks the area is well known for.

Days 10-11: Pulau Serua, Pulau Nila, Pulau Dai
We exit the Banda Seathrough Pulau Nila, where thriving hard coral gardens are so lovely, and tend to attract tuna, groupers, and barracuda. At Dusborgh, we will drift with the current for an opportunity to see sharks among the jacks & eagle rays. We enter the eastern Forgotten Islands. Our next dives will be in Pulau Dai, where we will enjoy the many walls and drop-offs. As it will be migrating season, be sure to keep an eye on the blue for pelagics!

Day 12 : Disembarkation in Saumlaki, see you soon
We disembark in Saumlaki, on the main island of the Tanimbar Archipelago, ending our journey across one of the most beautiful diving regions of the world.

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