To get to the departure port of this cruise, fly to Ambon Domestic Airport (AMQ) from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK).
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 6 – 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.
Pulau Ai and Pulau Run:
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.
We will dive at Batu Kapal, which when translated means “the rock boat”. This submerged pinnacle has a boat-shaped rock breaking the water surface, hence its name. Various types of fish are present here such as, Dogtooth tunas, trevallies, groupers in large numbers, as well as huge gorgonians and truly monumental sponges.
Your second dive will be at Pohon Miring. On this site, a large reef fissure creates a deep passage through which you can drift and observe the sponge-covered wall. Large moray eels can be spotted at the top of the wall as well as shoals of humphead parrotfish and a very varied fauna.
We will go back in time together as we walk through the village of Banda Neira.
We will then enjoy the view of Gunung Api, a 650 metre high active volcano, from the top of Fort Belgica, located in the historic town of Banda Neira, and built by the Dutch in 1611. Cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon are still the main spices grown here. You will stroll through this village with the magical smell of spices that once ruled the world.
If the sea conditions allow it, we will set sail for Manuk Island, which requires a night navigation of around 14 hours. As you approach this volcanic island, you will smell sulphur and see fumaroles rising from the steep slopes that plunge into the sea. Underwater, hot rocks and rising bubbles remind us that we are indeed on the “ring of fire”. On land, Manuk is a haven for myriads of magnificent seabirds, including frigatebirds and boobies soaring overhead as they flock to enjoy the rich marine life.
Underwater, Manuk is home to many sea snakes who ripple in the waters. Lots and lots of sea snakes…
The geothermal vents present in these waters are thought to attract cold-blooded snakes in droves. In addition to these distinct natural wonders, the island’s reefs are a stunning combination of walls and slopes covered in corals of all sizes and colours. Exceptional quantities of reef fishes congregate on the shelves while predators such as tuna, trevallies and sharks, including hammerhead sharks, lurk along the walls!
Day 7 – Nusa Laut
Early in the morning, we will arrive at the beautiful Amet reef. Although located only a few hours from Ambon, it is an excellent example of successful conservation efforts. Locals have implemented sustainable methods to protect their reef and, as a result, the corals are exceptional! This makes it a site of choice for diving enthusiasts. White tip sharks and other reef sharks patrol the depths while playful turtles can also be spotted. For the lucky ones, hammerhead sharks and dugongs have also been seen on this site. After lunch, we will sail toward Molana Wall.
It’s a shallow wall broken in places where at the bottom of which, in the sandy slopes, one can find ribbon moray eels and small pipefish. On the top of the reef, we see turtles feeding in the magnificent coral garden. In the afternoon, we will sail toward Ambon.
Day 8 – Disembarkation in Ambon
After a last souvenir photo with the crew, it will be time to say goodbye… Our team will transfer you to Ambon 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.