THE GREAT CRUISE FROM THE BANDA ISLANDS TO THE RAJA-AMPAT ARCHIPELAGO
Ambon - Sorong
ITINERARY 12 DAYS – 11 NIGHTS
Approximately 30 dives
Amazing liveaboard dive holiday in one of the best world richest marine biodiversity !
Day 1 – Embarkation in Ambon
We will begin our cruise from Ambon city, where we will meet you at the airport or your hotel and transfer you aboard the Wisesa.
After a welcome mocktail and during the safety briefing, the crew will weigh anchor and the Captain will set sail for Suanggi Island, the first part of the Banda Islands.
It’s a 12-hour sail that will allow you to prepare your diving gear and cameras, as well as socialise with the crew and fellow passengers. Keep an eye on the sea as many whales are present in this area
Day 2 to 5 – The Banda Archipelago
Here are the different islands and dive sites that we can visit during the cruise :
Karang Hatta is a reef located southeast of Pulau Hatta. The dive sites in this area are closest to the Banda Trench which plunges 6,000 metres deep, making it an intriguing area as chances of encountering large pelagic species are quite high. Schools of trevally, barracuda, tuna, turtles, as well as hammerhead and grey reef sharks can be spotted near this seamount. You will dive twice in this area depending on the conditions.
The Wisesa will then sail to the main island of Pulau Hatta where you will dive past the west coast beach, where a 5 metre hole in the reef opens into the depths. You can dive through this hole to find yourself on what appears to be a bridge within the reef. Its “deck” is covered in soft corals and large gorgonians which are home to various pygmy seahorses. At the end of the afternoon, you will snorkel dive at sunset under the Banda jetty. In the shallow waters and among the stones of the collapsed dykes, you will be in one of the best places in the world to observe mandarin fish.
An almost secret location, this isolated islet in the middle of the Banda Sea is only accessible by boat. Perfectly preserved,very few divers have the opportunity to visit this reef. This area acts as an oasis for pelagics patrolling near these pristine hard coral reefs teeming with fish. High potential for hammerhead sharks and large pelagics.
Among the dive sites on the Ai island is “Umbrella Rock”. Its name is explained by the many overhangs located along the drop-offs of the island. You can drift along the wall and enjoy the sight of thousands of tiny reef fish moving in and out of cracks and crevices. We will also explore “Little Manhattan” which is next to Run Island. In 1667, the English exchanged Run Island for “Little Manhattan”, giving the Dutch full control of the Banda Archipelago. Slopes of white sand interspersed with large coral heads, and a healthy reef makes this place a very beautiful dive site. A shoal of resident humpback parrot fish can be spotted here, as well as passing eagle rays. The third dive in the sector will be an exploration dive off Pulau Run. This region is full of virgin dive sites, so the Banda Sea is the ideal place to discover new underwater treasures.
Day 6 – Koon island
After leaving the Banda archipelago we head towards the southern islands of the Raja Ampat archipelago, but halfway is the island of Koon, a particularly isolated place where very few people have the chance to to be able to dive in its extremely rich waters.
Witness the exuberance of Koon Island where all the currents of Seram and the Banda Sea converge, producing an explosion of marine life near surreal white sand beaches. Magnificent dive sites like the aptly named “so many fish”!
Day 7 to 10 – Misool area, South Raja Ampat
Here is a description of the places and dive sites we will visit in the Misool area:
Boo is located southeast of Misool and includes some of the most famous sites in the entire archipelago such as “Boo Window” which has one of the most impressive coral covers in the Raja Ampat Park! The site is made up of two tiny islets connected by a series of absolutely magnificent small underwater canyons. Hard and soft corals mix there and are sometimes difficult to see as the density of fish is important. “Karang bayangan” or “Magic Mountain” is the dream site of many divers!
A large underwater reef that is home to an exceptionally varied fauna! Of course, what made the nickname of this majestic site “Magic Mountain” is an underwater ridge that sinks to 20m, above which oceanic Manta Rays are very regularly seen. These giants stand out from the deep blue of the ocean to come hovering above us with their absolute grace. Nearby you will also find “Boo Est”, another site that offers sumptuous corals and intense life, or “Eagle nest”, where the oceanic Manta Rays are also one of the wonders observable here.
Located in the extreme south of the archipelago, this island and its surroundings have many dive sites where soft corals and magnificent gorgonians, of exceptional beauty, literally suffocate the reefs. Same impression with “Nudi Rock”, this tiny islet, which from the boat looks like a nudibranch. Underwater we realise that the reef also has colours!
Nearby on an underwater pinnacle is the hunting ground for various sharks, king mackerels, or even barracudas that are easily approached. A site you won’t forget! You can also dive “Tank rock” or “Whale rock” 5-star dive site with surprising coral cover, where the fish gather in tight formation to face the current! Big gorgonians where pygmy seahorses live, sublime coral gardens and life-covered pinnacles are the least you can expect from the Misool Archipelago.
The westernmost area of Misool is full of fabulous dives that can be enjoyed from sunrise to sunset! Among the many sites, Daram is a vertical drop-off with two underwater pinnacles where sharks and kingfish are often present.
The clarity of the water and the colour of the corals give this underwater landscape the look of a painting. Another site such as “Warna berwarna” also awaits you for more vertical walls, more corals and more fish!
Juliet (& Romeo)
Romeo and Juliet will never come together, but these two islets will be side by side forever! And above all, we will be able to explore their two reefs. On Yuliet beach is one of Misool’s “Ranger” stations.
The coral plateaus of the two islands are the habitat of barracudas, napoleon fish and blacktip sharks. But it is especially home to the epaulette shark (or walking shark) endemic to Raja Ampat! Large coral potatoes on the top of the reef offer an original topography where reef fish sneak in their meanders, giving this site a dramatic effect.
Located to the west of Fiabacet, this region has varied underwater topographies offering absolutely magnificent landscapes! Depending on the conditions we will dive “Four King”, four underwater pinnacles connected by a reef covered with corals, themselves covered with multitudes of fish! Impressive groupers sometimes visit the site and giant trevallies guard the place. If luck smiles on you, oceanic Manta Rays will pass nearby.
“Wedding Cake” is a site where the pinnacle features superb corals in front of which trevally, tuna and sharks swim gracefully. If the current allows it, we will be able to do the entire tour of the site to finish the dive in a luminous coral garden with some Batfish.
Another site, “Neptune fan”, offers a valley of gorgonians whose scale is insane! A paradise for pygmy seahorses, or even “Barracuda rock” with its underwater ridge where turtles and schools of soldier fish huddle under huge overhangs. In Wayilbatan, you will also have the opportunity to admire the “Love Lake”! After a 20-minute ascent you will reach a platform overlooking this wonder of nature. The reef and the hills that border this marine lake have naturally given it the shape of a heart. With the sea in the distance, the turquoise blue of the reef and the deep blue of the center of the heart, this lake is an exceptional landscape.
A paradise in paradise!
Day 11 – From Misool to Sorong
Depending on your return flight times, we will make a last farewell dive in the North of the Misool archipelago. After which it will be time to salute this magical place that is Raja Ampat one last time and to begin our last 15-hour navigation to Sorong.
Relax and enjoy the comfort aboard the Wisesa, a perfect time to share your memories and the many photos you will have taken during this cruise. And above all, keep your eyes on the ocean because it can always have good surprises in store for us
Day 12 – Disembarkation in Sorong
After a last souvenir photo with the crew, it will be time to say goodbye… Our team will transfer you to Sorong Airport where you will fly to your next destination.
No two cruises are alike aboard the Wisesa. Each expedition is tailor-made to create a unique experience! The following itinerary has been carefully chosen to give you the best possible cruise. Depending on weather and sea conditions, the itinerary may change at any time without notice. In this case, an alternative route will be offered.
Cruise Indonesia is our passion and whether you dive, snorkel, surf or Stand-Up-Paddle, we’d love to share our next adventure on WISESA with you.