It is not understated to say that this impressive Banda Sea Liveaboard crossing between Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands of the Moluccas is a world-class route. It offers some of the very best and remotest dive sites of the Indonesian Archipelago. Suitable for experienced divers, this cruise is a great blend of diversity in terms of regions and dive areas. There are high chances to encounter various large ocean creatures –most noteworthy the oceanic manta rays and hammerhead sharks as well as some of the most elusive critters like the rare mandarin fish.
This remarkable cruise features the option of visiting various land sites on the way. Visit the historic Spice Islands and swim into the mysterious but spectacular Tomolol cave in Misool. Finally, go for a trek to see the paradise birds or stop by in a traditional Papuan village. See here how to interact with local when you visit a village.
Banda Sea Liveaboards departs from Ambon in October/ November towards Raja Ampat. The return back to Ambon from Sorong is in March/April due to the change of monsoon season.
The highlights of a Banda Sea Liveaboard are Diving the Habour of Ambon, visiting the Spice Islands Banda, Diving the remote outcrops of Seram and entering into the heart of Raja Ampat through the biodiverse Misool.
Find our sample itineraries below. Please note, each Cruise is different and the detailed day-day itinerary and sites will be tailored to suit guests’ preferences as well as to weather and ocean conditions. If you would like to visit a certain Land or Sea site, please let us know beforehand. Moreover, the Cruise Director onboard will work with you to design a suitable day-day plan. Especially for remote Routes and Crossings, the itinerary is not fixed.
Banda Sea Diving Cruise: Itinerary
First of all, this epic Raja Ampat Ambon starts with the departure around midday from Ambon – the capital of the Molucca Islands. After going through a “Safety and Boat Briefing”, get ready for a check dive in the Bay of Ambon. The area is famous for the great variety of critters – considered as heaven for macro enthusiasts. Afterward, the journey continues while cruising towards the Banda Islands.
Dive in the Banda Sea around the Spice Island. Pulau Run and Batu Kapal are some of the top ranked dive sites of this area. This vivid diving site is mostly well-known for extraordinary visibility and an abundance of fish.Spend the afternoon in the picturesque harbor of Banda Neira. This historic site is famously known as a formercapital of the “spice trade”. Moreover, nowadays it is great place to visit the rare mandarin fish along the harbor walls. As you stroll along the sleepy harbor streets of Banda Neira, be sure to try the local specialty – kenari nut sweets!
On your second day around the Spice Islands, cruise further towards Pulau Hatta and Karang Hatta. These magnificent diving spotsare very close to the 6000m deep Banda trench and offer a good chance to encounter various pelagic and large sharks – including schooling hammerheads!
Afterwards, continue en route en route the striking Koon Island.
Koon lies in the Banda Sea, 10 kilometerseast of Seram. Around the island, you may notice the reef rises flat to 5 meters below the surface in most places and drops down towards a steep wall with an ever present current. Most noteworthy, the wall and the slope that comes to the point of the reef are heavily covered in soft corals, including the ubiquitous bright orange dendronepthya. Moreover, on certain areas on the island, there is a great chance to encounter large schools of pelagics, enormous groupers and various shark species. Furthermore, here is a good chance to encounter schooling hammerheads.
Your day will end as you make your waytowards the epic Misool in south Raja Ampat.
Cruising the Banda Sea into Southern Raja Ampat
Before we go back to the Gili Islands during lunch time, we have the opportunity to go on another exploration of Secrets Islands’ white sandy beaches, to swim or snorkel in the crystal clear water or to simply relax on deck or on the beach.
Central Raja Ampat
The Dampier Strait that flows between Waigeo and Batanta boasts some of the most spectacular diving spots in Raja Ampat. Dive sites include Cape Kri,Manta Sandy, Chicken Reef, Otdima Reef, Kerupiar Island, Sardine Reef, and Mioskon. Due to the nutrition rich water these sites offer some of the largest concentrations of big fish in Raja Ampat. Most noteworthy are the large schools of trevallies, barracudas, sweetlips, tuna, and snappers congregate on these sites. Furthermore, there are large reef sharks in Cape Kri and mantas on Manta Sandy. Moreover, check out the famous Blue Magic,a small seamount where you may have a chance to see the giant oceanic – a manta ray with a wing span of up to seven and a half meters with beautiful markings on their backs.
Alternatively, you may skip a dive to visit the authentic and secluded Papuan Village or go for a short trek to encounter the famous paradise birds.
Finally, after breakfast and a last chance to exchange photos (and memories) with the crew and fellow guests. Bid farewell upon arrival at Sorong after this Raja Ampat Ambon crossing. The crew will take you to the airport or your hotel.