Diving in the Banda Islands

Liveaboard cruises in the Banda Sea

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...Good for: Large animals, small animals, visibility, underwater photography, wall dives, reef life and health, and advanced divers...
...Not so good for: Beginners...

Set in the heart of Indonesia in splendid isolation are the Banda Islands, which have a rich and important history. Nowadays liveaboard divers are discovering the high value of the life beneath its waters' surface. They are blessed with some of the finest scuba diving in the country.

The remoteness of the islands in the wide open Banda Sea, and the low levels of human population, have meant less fishing pressures, and a vibrant, natural and healthy reef system. The results of this is that you can expect reefs bursting with life, huge seafans and sponges, some monumental hard corals, and more fish than your mask can cope with. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions

The Banda Islands

Pulau Ai - This is an isolated low lying island to the west of Banda Neira. It has some small limestone cliffs on its southern coastline and some pretty beaches on its northern shores. Due to its isolation, walls and deep waters, when the current is running, Pulau Ai is one of the top dive sites in the Banda Islands for shark encounters. Hammerhead sharks are frequently seen, and thresher and silvertip sharks are occasionally sighted too. Wahoo and giant trevally visit the island, and chevron barracuda and bluefin trevally hunt here in large schools. Always a memorable occasion for any scuba diver are the squadrons of mobula rays, sometimes flying in formation up to 25 strong. Show more

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How to Dive Banda

The Banda Sea is vast, so to sample the widest variety of diving in the region, including Ambon, we recommend you hop onto an Indonesian liveaboard. For more information on the safari routes and durations, and all the other travel information you might need to visit Indonesia, check out our:


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Diving Season

The amazing dive sites of the Banda Islands are best visited in March and April and during the September to December period. The weather is a little inconsistent outside of these times, so much so that many operators (even land-based) cease diving in the area as surface conditions can really kick up. The Indonesian liveaboards restrict their visits here to the calmer periods.

During these calm periods the marine life is reasonably constant with the Bandas' schools of fish, the snakes of Gunung Api, and the critters of Ambon, all present. Visibility begins to clear up from August and then during the best months it can reach the higher end of the range (15 to 30m). Water temperatures do not vary much during the periods that liveaboards visit, namely from 26 to 29°C

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Where are the Banda Islands and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of the Bandas and their host country Indonesia. Here, you will find information on how to get to Ambon, from where you will cruise to the Banda Islands.

Map of the Banda Islands (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Indonesia (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 30m
Currents: Gentle, but can be strong
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 26 - 29°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~25 (plus ~30 more in the greater Lucipara and Ambon/Seram/Nusa Laut region)
Distance: ~200 km east southeast of Ambon (14 hours), 320 south west of Sorong (West Papua, 16 hours)
Recommended length of stay: 1 - 2 weeks

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Useful References


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