Alor is renowned for its spectacular coral reefs with great diversity. East from the archipelago lies  the Banda Sea arc, known as the Southeast Moluccas, are not a single compact region, but rather a 1,000 km long chain of islands and atolls, stretching from Timor to West Papua on the island of New Guinea. Remote, undeveloped and far from the beaten paths, each of these islands has its own charm: some are shaped and dominated by remnants of their incredible history, some are lush wild tropical nature havens, while others are impressive volcanoes or hubs for huge colonies of sea birds.

Alor & The Banda Sea
(Maumere – Ambon)

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Alor & The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Maumere)

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The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Ambon)

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Alor & The Banda Sea
(Maumere – Ambon)

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Alor & The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Maumere)

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The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Ambon)

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Alor & The Banda Sea
(Maumere – Ambon) & (Ambon – Maumere)

10 nights / 31 dives
PDF MAUMERE-AMBON
PDF AMBON-MAUMERE

Alor & The Banda Sea
(Maumere – Ambon) & (Ambon – Maumere)

10 nights / 31 dives

Alor & The Banda Sea (Maumere – Ambon)

Day 1: Maumere

After boarding Adelaar in Maumere in the North of Flores, you will enjoy your first day on board whilst cruising eastwards along the Flores coast.

Day 2: Adonara 

The submerged seamounts off Adonara are covered by a diverse mix of hard and soft corals. They provide shelter for a variety of reef fish and attract bigger predators such as jacks, tunas, and black tip and grey reef sharks. Juvenile silvertip sharks are often seen patrolling the typically clear blue water. (3 day dives)

Day 3: Pantar

We start the day with an adrenalin filled dive with the objective to see schooling hammerhead sharks, followed by a second morning dive on a stunning wall that is covered so completely in soft corals that we might get a sensory overload. The afternoon and night dive take place on a patch reef that is well known for harboring rhinopias. After the afternoon dive, we let the locals show us around their picturesque village. (3 day dives, 1 night dive)

Day 4: Pura

Today’s diving takes us on a unique site that is dominated by sheer endless carpets of anemones and regularly visited by thresher sharks and mola molas, a spectacularly beautiful hard coral reef, where one of the attractions is observing local freediving fishermen and a impressive big overhang where critters such as clown frogfish, pontohi seahorses or halimeda ghost pipefish can be found. Very likely Adelaar will be boarded in between dives by a group of local ikat weavers that offer their beautiful fabrics for purchase. (3 day dives)

Day 5: Wetar 

After a night’s crossing we arrive in the morning in the Moluccas! We are diving the walls and slopes of Reong and Wetar. Depending on the prevailing current they can be very rich in fish. Grey reef sharks, bamboo sharks, giant trevally, schooling big eyed jacks, rainbow runners and tunas are often seen here. On the quieter dives there are areas completely covered in zebra anemones. With a bit of luck, we may spot the beautiful but rare leopard shrimp that lives in symbiosis with them. We will set the sails as we start our journey into the heart of the Banda Sea. With a bit of luck, we may see some of the whales that migrate through these waters during this time of the year. (3 day dives)

Day 6: Gunung Api 

Gunung Api means simply volcano in Indonesian. It is an old, lonely volcano that arises from the depth of the Banda sea. It attracts a huge colony of resident seabirds above the waves, while under water the island is home to schools of jacks, surgeonfish, tunas, barracudas and other pelagic fish species – as well as a lot of sea snakes. 

These venomous but unaggressive reptiles can be encountered on each dive around Gunung Api, sometimes in great numbers, which makes these dives absolutely unique. (4 day dives)

Day 7: Lucipara Maisel Archipelago 

The Lucipara archipelago consists of several uninhabited low profile sandy islands with lush tropical vegetation. The islands themselves are inaccessible, protected by very shallow fringing reefs that extend several hundred meters from the islands themselves. At the edge these huge coral shallows plunge steeply into the typically crystal-clear abyss of the Banda Sea. Diving these remote locations has by definition an exploratory character – their location in the middle of the deep sea with no other islands around is very inviting for passing pelagics to hang around, thus increasing chances of close encounters between divers and bigger species such as tunas, rainbow runners, thresher sharks, silky sharks or hammerhead sharks. (4 day dives)

Day 8: Lucipara Penyu Archipelago 

Similar kind of diving to yesterday spoils us today. Apart from the chances to see pelagics other strong points of these dives are the general healthiness and sheer vastness of the reefs. Some of the walls and steep slopes are studded with luxuriant soft coral growth, in other parts the landscape is dominated by huge barrel sponger or immense sea fans. The shallows are mainly intact hard coral gardens inhabited by myriads of different species of reef fish. (4 day dives)

Day 9: South Ambon 

After two morning dives on the exposed south coast of Ambon island that are both stunning from a topographical and coral cover point of view, we enter Ambon Bay where we will go hunting for critters. Thorny seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, rhinopias, frogfish and ribbon eels are just a few examples to illustrate the extraordinarily rich muck diving of Ambon Bay. (3 day dives. 1 night dive)

Day 10: Laha 

Laha’s muck diving sites are world renowned. Apart from a plethora of nudibranchs, cephalopods, ambon scorpionfish and different species of leaf scorpionfish, Laha is also famously the only place in the world where – with some luck! – the beautifully weird psychedelic frogfish may be spotted. (2 day dives)

Day 11: Ambon

After a last delicious breakfast, it is time to say goodbye and disembark – until the next time.

(Actual itinerary might vary depending on weather and sea conditions)

* Our itinerary Ambon-Maumere follows the same journey steps in reverse (download both PDFs above)

The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Ambon)

10 nights / 30 dives
DOWNLOAD PDF

The Banda Sea
(Ambon – Ambon)

10 nights / 30 dives

The Banda Sea (Ambon – Ambon)

Day 1: Ambon

After boarding Adelaar in Ambon, you will enjoy your first day on board whilst cruising straight into the heart of the blue Banda Sea.

Day 2: Ai & Gunung Api 

Our first day of diving is along the steep walls surrounding the whole island of Ai. From a plateau with pretty hard coral gardens, these walls, beautifully decorated in yellow soft corals, plunge deep into the dark blue clear Banda Sea. With a bit of luck we might already meet the first hammerhead shark of the trip. In the late afternoon everybody will be on deck to witness the goose bump moment of the arrival into one of the most spectacular and beautiful natural harbours in the world between the islands of Banda Neira, Gunung Api and Lonthor (Banda Besar). (3 day dives, 1 night dive)

Day 3: Banda Neira 3 

After a guided visit to the historic town of Banda Neira, the fort, museum and spice plantations, we have traditional Bandanes breakfast before strolling back to port through the bustling market of this lovely town. One of today’s dives is on a new reef that has been growing naturally on the spur of the lava from Gunung Apis 1988 eruption – it is a fantastic example of nature’s ability to recover from natural disaster. In the evening we will dive at dusk to try and spot some romantic mandarin fish. (2 day dives, 1 dusk dive)

Day 4: Banda Besar & Sjahrir 

On today’s menu is a spectacular submerged pinnacle covered in dense schools of fish and a couple of drift dives. The unique location of the Banda archipelago enhances chances of close encounters with pelagics such as big tunas, Spanish mackerels, giant jacks or even thresher sharks. In the evening we have a farewell dinner from Banda Neira in the tropical garden of a beautiful house from the colonial period. (3 day dives)

Day 5: Hatta 

The diving off Hatta, the easternmost Island of the Banda archipelago, named after Indonesia’s first vice-president, is our first day of diving dedicated to seeing schooling hammerhead sharks. The sight of groups ranging from a handful to literally hundreds of those majestic animals is an unforgettable experience – and one of the main reasons diving in the Banda Sea is so special. (4 day dives)

Day 6: Manuk

Manuk – “bird” in javanese – is an old, lonely volcano that arises from the depth of the Banda sea. 

It attracts a huge colony of resident seabirds above the waves, while under water the island is home to schools of jacks, surgeonfish, tunas, barracudas and other pelagic fish species – as well as a lot of sea snakes. These venomous but absolutely unaggressive reptiles can be encountered on each dive around Manuk, sometimes in great numbers, which makes these dives absolutely unique. (4 day dives)

Day 7: Sarua

There are no words that can do justice to the sheer awesomeness of the hammerhead site of Sarua. So we do not even try. (4 day dives)

Day 8: Sarua

As mentioned above. That’s why one day is not enough. (3 day dives)

Day 9: Run & Nailakka 

Back in the Banda archipelago we dive around Run, an island that used to be the most desirable piece of real estate in the whole world. So desirable that it was reluctantly and under a lot of pressure traded by the English to the Dutch against an undesirable piece of land on the other side of the world called Manhattan. Apart from its history, Run is beautiful – on the surface covered in nutmeg trees and under the water the steep slopes are studded with huge gorgonian sea fans. It is yet another place that attracts schooling hammerhead sharks and other pelagics. We finish the day with a few drinks on the beach of Nailakka, the beautiful, but tiny island that was home to the English for several years after they lost Run to the Dutch. (3 day dives)

Day 10: Manukang 

On the way between Run and Ambon we stop for a couple of dives on a volcanic outcrop that is according to Moluccan lore known to be haunted – this we cannot judge, but what we do know, is that it attracts its fair share of pelagic visitors that swim along its underwater ridges that are covered in huge barrel sponges. After the last dive we set sails and start our trip back to reality. (2 day dives)

Day 11: Ambon

After a last delicious breakfast it is time to say goodbye and disembark – until the next time.

(Actual itinerary might vary depending on weather and sea conditions)

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