Bima to Ambon via Komodo, Flores & Banda Sea
The Bima to Ambon cruise is a twelve night voyage from Bima on the island of Sumbawa via the Komodo Marine Park, Flores and the Banda Sea to Ambon, or the opposite direction from Ambon to Bima.
Detailed itinerary for cruises from Bima, Sumbawa to Ambon, for cruises starting in Ambon the same itinerary applies in reverse. Please note that this itinerary is subject to change depending on local weather and diving conditions and that all times are approximate.
Day One: Arrival & Boarding
Board in Bima after a short one hour domestic flight arriving in Bima at 1 PM. This will be the orientation day.
Day Two: Sangeang/Banta
Sangeang is very special with its black sand slopes and walls. Great for all kinds of unusual critters like frog fish, Inimicus, Flamboyant cuttlefish, Ghost pipe fish and many species of Nudibranches.
Banta offers a very nice wall dive with Inimicus, Leaf Scorpion Fish, Nudibranches, and with some luck Pygmy Seahorses. For the night dive we have a shallow sand spot with Stargazers, Bobtail Squid, Mantis shrimps, and much more to discover. 4 dives will be offered on that day.
Day Three: Komodo Marine Park
Gili Lawah Laut/Gili Lawah Darat
This day we begin on the North East corner of the park at Gili Lawah Laut. Famous for warm, clear waters, and full of schooling fish, napoleon wrasse, sharks and turtles.
Day Four: Komodo National Park
Kararu Dive Voyages welcomes you to the famous Komodo Island early morning. After breakfast, a park ranger will escort you for a 4 km walk to safely watch the Komodo Dragons at a very close range. Komodo National Park is the only habitat on earth where the dragons still exist. After lunch, you will spend the rest of the afternoon diving in this incredible area.
Day Five: Flores
Pulau Raja offers wonderful drop offs and spectacular reef dives. This is a very special site as it is rarely dived site due to it’s distance from the mainland, Maumere is where most of the dive trips are conducted.
Day Five: Kawula
This will be a fantastic day of muck diving for critters. Expect to see nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, and frog fish all in one dive. In the afternoon we will visit the whaling village.
Day Six: Alor Straight
This area, the famed Alor Strait is another landmark on the Indonesian diving map. Sitting dramatically in the strait between the two large islands of Pantar to the west and Alor to the east are three small volcanoes that have long been extinct. The largest of these, the verdant island of Pura. This is another centre for traditional weaving and the islanders here are Melanesian in ethnicity with dark skin and tight curly hair.
Not only does Pura offer pristine reefs, each village protects the reef on its shores and practices a sustainable fishing system of traditional fish traps and spear fishing, but also the opportunity of seeing the spear fishermen carrying out their trade. The men and kids are a delight, diving down to 20 metres on occasion, to tend the traps or shoot a nearby reef fish. They also make willing underwater photo subjects. There are also great opportunities to take split shots of the small outriggers with the spear fishermen hunting below.
However, when dusk sets, everyone with a camera changes to a macro set-up and prepares for the mandarin fish dive in the shallows in front of the village.
Days Seven, Eight, Nine & Ten: Banda Neira
Banda, has an important place in Indonesian and world history. Dominated by a 2500-foot active volcano, for more than three hundred years these tiny islands were the centre of wealth for the Dutch colonies. They were the only source of the rare spices of nutmeg and mace for centuries and the Dutch, after capturing them from the Portuguese, guarded them jealously from all comers including the English. For centuries, a kilo of these spices held more value than the same weight in gold.
To get the full story guests will need to come aboard and experience the islands themselves. Suffice to say that the islands' rich history is reflected in its architecture, population and the culture.
The diving is also full of surprises. There are some exceedingly good reef dives on the east and north sides of the islands, but the real gem is under the pier and in front of a small hotel's sea wall. Here not only marine life treasures such as pipe fish of all varieties, frog fish of many varieties and colour variations, and a plethora of juvenile fish seeking sanctuary in the calm waters, but also the least bashful and largest mandarin fish ever! These colourful gems are out of their hiding places all day and are in such shallow water that they can be seen from the pier. The vessel takes advantage of the sleepy harbour by being alongside the pier. This is when Voyager's heritage as an old roll-on roll-off car ferry is put to use by lowering her stern ramp to create a swim platform. This enables divers to come and go as they please all day long.
Banda Sea – north of Gunung Api is a remote archipelagic atoll named Lucipara. These atolls are also surrounded by a seafloor that is 13,000 feet below. Consisting of three large islands and a few tiny reefs that just break the surface the islands offer divers vertical walls and visibility of over 120 feet with very mild currents. They are also home to a population of the largest sponges that Kararu has ever seen in Indonesia. Some barrel sponges can swallow a diver in their orifice without difficulty.
Gunung Api - is a volcano that's summit breaks the sea's surface by 800 feet yet which has its base on the seabed some 13,000 feet below. The island created by the volcano is 120 miles from the next nearest landfall and is therefore home to the reef fish that populate it's steep drop offs and walls, occasional visiting pelagics, and extraordinarily an uncountable population of Banded and Olive sea snakes. These marine reptiles have found a sanctuary here among the warm volcanic vents and reef fish that live in the area. It is truly a unique spot that never ceases to amaze divers. In some shots there are over thirty snakes in the frame and they make inquisitive yet docile subjects.
Day Eleven: Nusa Laut
Nusa Laut just east of Ambon was made famous from two of east Indonesia's famous diving pioneers, Larry Smith and Edi Frommenweiler. Larry had said it was his favourite reef in the entire eastern region of this great archipelago. It is truly a spectacular location and a full days diving will be on offer.
Day Twelve: Ambon
Ambon holds an important place in both the rich history of Indonesia, and as one of its best diving destinations. The island was conquered by the Portuguese, later the Dutch, and is speckled with the occupying forces old forts, some of which date back to the late 15th Century. It is now the capital of the southern Malukkus and has a diverse mix of cultures and ethnicity.
Ambon was taken off the tourist map by the government for six years after unrest between two ethnic groups led to turmoil in the city. After the unrest subsided, the army was sent to keep the peace and help repair infrastructure. This was a great shame for the Ambonese, a welcoming and hospitable people, that are proud of the history and beauty of their island as well as the fantastic diving found around their shores.
Ambon harbour is a long, deep harbour surrounded on both sides by steep, verdant volcanic slopes. A true sense of history overcomes one; imagining the great seafarers like Magellan, Cook and others sailing down the same bay's mouth. One gets the impression that the area cannot have changed much since the days of these great explorers.
The first dive site is under a pier close to the Ambon airport and has the boasting rights of being able to call itself the first great muck site in the world, this is normally where one can get a glimpse of the rare Ambon scorpion fish. Also on offer is a pristine wreck covered with hard and soft corals, lots of fish and resting upright in relatively shallow water.
Day Thirteen: Departure
Departure to your next destination will be from Ambon’s airport with daily service to Bali.
available cruises for this itinerary
No available cruises in 2011 for this itinerary
No available cruises in 2012 for this itinerary
No available cruises in 2013 for this itinerary