*please check our "Agenda" for your date.
Generally calm. Can be choppy while crossing in open sea.
The WAOW staff will pick you up in your hotel or await your arrival at Ambon Airport to assist and accompany you on board SMY WAOW, only a short drive of around 30mins away. Our experienced staff will look after your luggage and transfer it to your cabin onboard SMY WAOW while you enjoy our "refreshing welcome drink". As soon as the last guests are onboard around 2:00pm, you will be introduced to our team and have plenty of time to settle in, get everything ready and enjoy life onboard with us.
Early breakfast befor disembarkation & transfer to the airport or hotel between 06.00am and 11.00am at the latest
The Banda Sea is the deepest of the numerous seas that make up the beautiful Indonesian archipelago. Typically, with depths over 4,500m, and the deepest point being over 7,300m, it is a very large body of water stretching for over 1,000 km East to West, and 500 km North to South. The Banda Sea is located North of Flores and South of Seram. While there are island chains on the edges of the Banda Sea, it retains a very “oceanic” feel to it with vast stretches of deep blue water. Within the mid-section of the Banda Sea there are very few mostly tiny islets sticking out of the water from the vast depths, with the next outcrop many miles away. MSY WAOW takes you to those remote places: spots that rise from the abyss to the surface, and therefore provide a haven for marine life to concentrate around. The topography of the sites is a divers dream: to one side slopes or walls covered in a myriad of hard and soft corals, huge barrel sponges and other benthic life forms surrounded by clouds of reef fish - to the other side the deep blue of the Banda Sea – a depth from which spectacular pelagic sea creatures are likely to rise from below. One of the main objectives of this voyage are encounters with those big fish: schools of tunas and jacks, barracudas, Spanish mackerels, but also different shark species – grey reef, silky, silvertip, thresher, and the occasional tiger shark has been spotted by our guests on the dive sites of this itinerary. But the real stars of the show are the hammerhead sharks – on quite a few different locations off the atolls and islands we have found preferred places for schooling hammerheads.
Most of the dives are dedicated to the search for pelagics. This makes this trip unique for this part of the world – there is still plenty of macro fauna to be found on most dives (it is still Indonesia, after all), but this is not an itinerary specifically for macro photographers – apart from the notable exception of the mating mandarin fish in Banda Neira and the critters found in Ambon Bay. Talking of unique: how about the day spent diving around Manuk, a volcano that breaches the surface and whose slopes serve as habitat for sea snakes in large numbers…
Another highlight of this ocean going trip is the visit of the Banda Archipelago - the original Spice Islands! A truly magical, goose bump inducing place, as deeply steeped into living history as it gets; we spend three days both visiting the old town with its forts, museums and historic buildings, as well as exploring its rich reefs and enjoying the spectacular exotic topside scenery in between dives.
All in all, this trip can be the trip of a lifetime, with a chance for unforgettable encounters and moments both above and below the waves of the Banda Sea - a stunning place with a certain "off the beaten track" appeal…
The Intensity of marine life in this Bay is unrivalled; with a combination of nutrients pushed into this large bay with lots of small coves where critters can benefit from the passing currents but are still protected by sheltered waters. A unique combination creates conditions that nourish an incredible eco system that makes this bay one of the richest and interesting places to dive. Ambon Bay is also famous for weird species like the Psychedelic Frogfish, right here at a dive site named the twilight zone, where many different kinds of moray eel, sea moth, ribbon eel, stonefish take habitat too. The Ambon shipwreck, a Dutch cargo vessel that sunk during 1950s, is also a very photogenic site and teeming with life.
A secret place in the middle of the Banda Sea, reached by live-aboard only, makes this another unspoilt reef where not many divers witness the true nature of Pulau Suanggi and Pulau Ai. This area acts like an oasis for pelagics that cruise by these pristine hard coral reefs full of fish, which they all call home. Napoleon wrasse, green & hawksbill turtle, tuna, rainbow runner, huge schools of barracuda mixing with schools of bannerfish, redtooth triggers and fusiliers that sometimes-just cloud the whole reef.
The Banda area offers a good variety of dive sites, from volcanic rock at Pohon Miring to the black sand in Banda’s harbour, muck diving with flying gurnards spreading their electric blue wings, nervously moving sea moth, nudibranchs and the mandarin fish, which are seen in many places around the harbor of Banda Neira.
Approaching Manoek Island the odor of sulfur and the sight of fumaroles escaping the steep slopes reminds us that we are definitely in a volcanic zone. Once underwater the hot rocks and ascending bubbles are another reminder of this. Manoek is also one of the largest shelters for thousands of birds. Not only birds but sea snakes, lots and lots of sea snakes.
The volcanic islands and submerged reefs in the middle of the Banda Sea are calling out for exploration. Drop offs, drift dives, great visibility and the possibility of “pelagic action”.
A treasure closely guarded and lost in the middle of the Banda Sea, this isolated reef runs for several kilometers and is an oasis for pelagic life. Schools of jacks patrol the edges of the reef and are joined by large numbers of hammerhead sharks on a regular basis. The coral is in good health and lovers of the macro fauna won’t be disappointed, however it is more often than not that our heads are facing into the deep blue for a special spectacle.
The 5 Atolls in the middle of the Banda Sea are the tops of undersea mountains, hidden world-class sites with sheer walls surrounded by crystal clear, blue water. An amazing site with lots of barrel sponges in the deep blue which is alive with rainbow runners, schooling surgeonfish, dogtooth tunas, jacks and barracudas which occasionally fade away from sight of hammerhead sharks. The uninhabited beaches around the atolls are also ideal green turtle nesting sites.
Enjoy the view of Gunung Api, a 650 metre high active volcano, from the top of Fort Belgica, built by the Dutch in 1611 and located in the historical town of Banda Neira. Clove, Nutmeg, Marc and cinnamon are still the main spices that are grown here. During the cruise SMY WAOW will walk you through the magical smell of the spices that once ruled the world.