Best season: October/November and April/May
Pulling up the anchor for a crossing through the Banda Sea is a moment always suffused with a deep feeling of excitement. Set Banda Sea liveaboard for a unique experience in the most sea-isolated islands of Indonesia.
The Banda sea is covering around 125.000 square nautical miles. Lung of the southern Moluccas region, its deep seas are cradled within Sulawesi and Papua. These electric blue waters are lapping Ambon and Seram shores in the North, and Timor and Tanimbar islands on its southern side.
Sitting in between two tectonic plates, the Banda sea is peppered with looming rocks and still-active volcanoes only reachable by boat. Overlooked by the majestic Gunung Api, the little port town of Banda Neira keep being the heart of the Spice Islands, also known as the Banda Island Archipelago.
As the Banda sea liveaboard is quite exposed to the elements, it can only be explored at specific moment of the year. Furthermore, it offers an endless choice of itineraries, depending on your feelings and wishes. Get tempted by the epic crossing from Alor to Ambon. Or you can choose to add a bit of Raja Ampat in your visit of the Spice Islands. Design with us a more intimate route by ending your voyage around the idyllic beaches of the Kei islands. Seek for an ultimate final experience by swimming with the whale sharks in Triton Bay. Ask for a custom-made itinerary
Nowadays, a slow pace is wrapping up the whole area. With yellow sandy beaches, fringed by green hills and pristine reefs, the Spice islands have seen the gradual appearance of a gentle nautical tourism. Tenders ashore passengers to take a stroll around the villages of Banda Besar or Nusa Laut. Villagers welcome you with their cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg slowly drying in front of their colourful houses. Their luxuriant gardens and tidy walk path are releasing an air thick with the aroma of spices.
The Banda sea liveaboard is the perfect playground for modern adventurers, harking back the time of the first European sea explorers. Nights of navigation, without any source of light around, are conducive to unforgettable stargazing and self-meditation. Every sunrise awakes you in another secluded realm, where local tribes’ tradition has held true through time, and where wildlife has full reign.
Remaining mostly untouched, this wildlife haven is one of the main pathways for migrating sea mammals. Keep an eye open to the horizon while navigating, to track surfacing majestic whales. Take a glimpse of a large pod of dolphin cruising the ocean gracefully.
When eventually your vessel reaches some isolated islet at dawn, you will feel like being part of the best nature documentary. A cloud of Frigates, Gannets and sterns are soaring above a sulphur smoking volcanic cone. Tens of Sea snakes are attracted by the seabed warmth, and slithering at the surface.
Enhanced by an exceptional visibility (which can reach 50 meters), the steep walls of the Banda sea are dropping vertically into the abysses. Underwater arches and outcrops are bristled with life, and colonized by huge barrel sponges and massive Gorgonians.
This amazing seascape is attracting the whole range of pelagic, with massive dogtooth Tuna and giant grouper patrolling in the blue. Clouds of bannerfish and blue triggerfish are offering some hypnotic dance on most of the dive sites. Leopard Moray eels ambush into the orange-hued reef. Awestricken Scuba divers and free divers are commonly rushing into large schools of big eyes trevallies and barracudas.
The deep waters of the Banda sea are offering some specific and unique underwater experiences. Swim in the middle of some sea snake’s colonies, get a glimpse of the elusive leatherback turtle, watch hundreds mating mandarin fish spectacle, and get surrounded by a squadrons of hammerheads sharks. Those enchantments attract the most renowned underwater photographers et videographer, and should be part of the check list of any passionate scuba divers.
The main attraction for enthusiast scuba divers is the seasonal schooling hammerheads. They can be spotted from September to early December. The powerful August and July eastern winds create upwelling currents, and bring up the rich and cold deep waters of the Banda sea. In October thermoclines are up to 20 meters, which make the encounters way easier. Hammerheads can even be seen at the safety stop. November displays the best visibility, and better conditions for navigation. The Hammers action is deeper though, around 40 meters below the surface.