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Biodiversity Special Trips

Maumere - Alor - Banda Sea - Raja Ampat - Sorong (or reverse)

16 days / 15 nights

 

You must be a PADI Open Water diver or equivalent and have logged a minimum of 30 dives to join this safari.

 

As with all diving activities, the dive guide has the final decision regarding any divers competency to complete any particular dive.

 

Biodiversity Special itineraries run twice a year as the boats relocate from one location to the other each season. Up to 51 dives are offered on these extended trips which operate from Sorong to Maumere (or in reverse) and include fantastic diving locations in Alor, the Banda Sea and Raja Ampat. Book your spot on one of these sought after 15 night trips for a magical experience diving remote untouched reefs in Indonesia. Expect anything and everything from manta ray encounters to the smallest of critters residing on huge gorgonians, massive schools of fish, sea snakes, wall dives, swim-throughs, pinnacles, colourful shallow reefs, warm dives, cooler dives and some topside adventure. 


The M/V Mermaid I comfortably accommodates 15 guest, and the MV Mermaid II 18,  in a variety of cabins with en-suite bathrooms (apart from budget cabins), a fridge, TV and modern amenities for a comfortable journey of discovery.  Mermaid I has five deluxe (one single) and master state cabins all offering panoramic sea views; the two budget cabins are below deck. Mermaid II has eight deluxe cabins (main deck) offering  panoramic sea views and featuring a double bed and single bunk (max occupancy is two), en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. The budget cabin (below deck) features twin bunks, shared bathroom and air conditioning. Both boats have a large dive platform at the stern, with two exit ladders and plenty of space and facilities for cameras. The restaurants offer Asian and European cuisine. Take time to relax between dives in the comfortable saloon or up on deck where there are shaded areas available.

 

The itinerary will vary depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites.

 

It is almost impossible to put together a daily itinerary due to the magnificent diving everywhere we go. No trip is the same with so many different sites to visit and explore. If there is somewhere in particular you really have your heart set on please discuss with the Cruise Director who will do their utmost to get you there – conditions, ship and your safety allowing! However here is rough guide just to whet your appetite!

 

Itinerary Highlights

 

Dampier Strait:  The best known dive sites are Cape Kri, Sardine Reef, Chicken Reef, Mioskon, Blue Magic, Mike‟s Point, Manta Sandy, Arborek Jetty, Mangrove and Citrus Ridge. All the dive sites around the Strait are known for the huge amount of schooling fish; barracudas, bigeye trevallies, oceanic triggerfish, spadefish, surgeonfish, and snappers. Apart from schooling fish, this is an area where we get to see blacktips, whitetips, and wobbegongs sharks. Some of the best manta dives are here at Manta Sandy and Blue Magic. Manta Sandy is a sandy slope with several bommies that the mantas use as a cleaning station. Blue Magic is a  small pinnacle where giant mantas congregate for cleaning. Some of the best mangrove dives are also located in the Strait, around the islands of Yanggefo and Gam. The area is also well known for the bommies to  found in shallow areas of the reefs. Some of these bommies are covered with beautiful soft corals and host a profusion of glassfish. Of course we can't forget the  dive sites in some of  the local villages, where the pillars of the jetties are covered in soft corals and small critters. 

 

Misool: The most southern island in Raja Ampat is surrounded by several hundred small islands and rocks. Some of the nicest soft coral reefs in the world are located in Misool. It is impossible to describe only several dive sites since there are literally hundreds of them. Every year new dive sites are discovered around Misool. Many of the dive sites around Misool are just as fishy as the ones from the Dampier Strait, with same schools of barracudas, spadefish, pinjalo snappers, and zillions of fusiliers. But Misool is also a great macro place. It is known as the kingdom of the pygmy seahorses, as well as having small allied cowries in the gorgonian seafans, and nudibranches. Within each of the following areas, there are always several dive sites. Wagma, Farondi, Balbulol, Sagof, Daram, Yellit, Boo, Warakaraket, Fiabacet, Kalig, Wayilbatan, Wayil, Pele and Nampele (Blue Water Mangroves).

 

Pulau Koon:  A small island on the southeast of Ceram, half way between Raja Ampat and the Banda Islands. There are walls covered in soft corals, and sandy slopes with hard coral bommies but the most interesting feature is the amount of schooling and pelagic fish; barracuda, bigeye trevally,  red snapper, pompano, batfish, and giant grouper.

Banda Islands: Also know in the old days as the Spice Islands, many of the dive sites around the Bandas are wall dives covered in massive gorgonians, soft corals, barrel sponges with some very interesting swimthroughs. Other attractive dive sites feature pinnacles with enormous groups of schooling pyramid butterflyfish, triggerfish and pelagic fish such as tuna passing through, spectacular hard coral reefs next to the volcano and great muck dives with lots of mandarinfish in the local jetty. The Banda Islands, however, offer  much more than diving, they are  a cultural and historical experience. 

 

Manuk: An extinct volcano about 65 nautical miles south of the Banda Islands, is one of 2 places in Indonesia where there are huge aggregations of sea snakes, chinese sea snakes and banded sea kraits, its an incredible experience to be surrounded on all sides by these creatures. The island is surrounded by black sandy slopes with hard coral reefs, volcanic ridges covered in gorgonians with zillions of fusiliers and pelagic fish such as spanish mackerel and dogtooth tuna.

 

Pulau Nila: Approximately 26 nm northeast of the island of Nila in the Banda Sea,  is a submerge reef called Nil Desperandum, consisting mainly of walls and steep slopes going several thousand meters deep, with beautiful hard corals on the reef top. The reef is several miles long; Napoleons, turtles and reef sharks are usual sightings here. Five nautical miles east of Nila there is an atoll called Dusborgh with similar topography, its crystal clear water makrd it another great place to see pelagic fish, tuna, mackerel, jack and rainbow runners passing by.

Pulau Dama: The 3 small islands surrounding the island of Damar; Neus Leur, Terbang Utara, and Terbang Selatan boast white sandy beaches and are completely covered by tropical forests. They contain some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in the Banda Sea with walls covered in massive barrel sponges and gorgonian sea fans and reef tops full of soft corals and small tropical reef fish. Visibility is up to 50 meters.

Gunung Api:  A small volcano in the middle of the Banda Sea, Gunung Api is one of those very rare and special places that not many divers get to see . Underwater ridges, steep slopes with black sand and walls covered in soft corals, however,  the most amazing feature  is the amount of sea snakes surrounding the island.  Hundreds of frigates can also be observed living  on the island.

Wetar:  Pulau Reong is a small island on the northwest coast of Wetar and separated by a small channel only 700 meters wide. More walls, covered in small soft corals and huge numbers of triggerfish of every species. Cape Nunukae, about 6 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Reong, is a large ridge with slopes on both sides. Its covered with a hard coral reef on the shallow area of the ridge and soft corals on the slopes in the deeper areas. Strong currents can be experienced at the end of the ridge where large aggregations of schooling fish can be found.

Alor:  The Alor Archipelago is part of East Nusa Tenggara, a region that comprises multiple islands and lies 1,000 kilometres east of Bali and just north of Timor. The Pantar Strait Marine Park consists of a chain of three extinct volcanic islands boasting unique characteristics and a bountiful marine life boosted by strong currents. One of the most well preserved coral reef systems in Indonesia, the narrow strait consists of more than 20 dive sites.  The beautiful, densely covered reefs are full of macro life and the chance of larger pelagic encounters including migrating blue whales and hammerhead sharks. Kalabahi Bay is renowned for its muck diving opportunities. Underwater photographers can enjoy a treasure hunt for numerous seahorse species, crabs, shrimp, nudibranch, rhinopias, octopus and squid living on the black sand of the volcanic rock slopes.

 

Kawula Island:  Lewaling Bay, in the island of Kawula offers diving sites on two different capes, Cape Bacatan and Cape Sirumerang. Both dive sites have a mix of ridges, walls with overhangs, white sandy slopes and very shallow reef tops. 

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