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Raja Ampat - Banda Sea - Ambon

12 days / 11 nights or 11 days / 10 nights in reverse

 

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.

 

This trip offers diving in three completely different areas: Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, and Ambon –  the biodiversity will be amazing! 

The itinerary allows you to explore the pristine beauty of Raja Ampat both above and below the water. The variety of marine life can be astounding offering encounters with enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, manta rays and turtles. The islands are mostly uninhabited, with only the faint glow of a few night lights from small villages and fishing boats on the horizon and this lack of population pressure ensures abundant marine life and vibrant habitats.  The Banda Sea is a vast expanse of water in eastern Indonesia, the remote region includes the Banda Islands, Seram, Ambon, Wetar, Kai and Aru Islands. Divers are treated to an explosion of marine life on the pristine reefs, as well as steep drop-offs, huge schools of fish, a plethora of pelagic species, sea mounts and critters galore, not forgetting the world class muck diving sites of Ambon. Your liveaboard voyage will give you the opportunity to dive some of the best sites in Indonesia.


The M/V Mermaid II comfortably accommodates 18 guests in a variety of cabins, all have en-suite bathrooms, a fridge, TV and modern amenities for a comfortable journey of discovery.  Eight deluxe cabins (main deck) offer panoramic sea views and feature 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.The boat features a large dive platform at the stern, with two exit ladders and plenty of space and facilities for cameras. The restaurant offers 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.

 

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.


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.

 

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. 

 

Ambon: Off the beaten track, Ambon island is home to a number of clear water dive sites, but it’s Ambon Bay which has emerged as a world-class muck diving location. For the few who travel here, the rewards are immense. The dive sites range from black sand and rubble to jetties and wrecks, all home to a prolific marine life including but not limited to rhinopias, frogfish, octopus and seahorse. In contrast to the muck of the Bay, the clear water sites on the south and east coast offer a spectacular topography with seamounts, caves and archways adorned with soft corals. It’s at these you can expect to see larger pelagic species such as Napolean wrasse, shark, ray and grouper.

 

Nusa Laut:  A small island, next to the island of Saparua with some beautiful hard coral fringing reefs as well as walls similar to those of the Banda Islands. 

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