Banda Islands Diving

Banda Sea Dive Sites – Indonesia

Seemingly insignificant islands in the middle of nowhere in the Banda Sea, in fact the Banda Islands are steeped in history and blessed with some of the finest diving in the country. Central to the spice trade of old, and former home to exiled freedom fighters, the islands are now enjoying a growing reputation for what goes on below the surface.

If big pelagics are your thing then an Indonesia dive vacation here could be for you, but from a wider perspective the real beauty of diving in the Banda Islands is the immense variety and volumes of both large and small fish species.

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 are fishes in incredible numbers, huge seafans and sponges, and some monumental hard corals.

Some of the creatures worthy of special mention here that characterise diving in the Banda Sea are the preponderance of dogtooth tuna and mobula rays. At most sites you’ll see enormous schools of fusiliers and thousands of redtooth tirggerfish. At the other end of the size scale, there are prolific mandarinfish and the native Ambon scorpionfish. Cetaceans are frequent visitors too, and Banda liveaboards often report sightings of spinner dolphins, orcas, and various whale species, including melonhead, pilot, blue, and humpback whales. One certainty is that you will see plenty of big stuff as well as no shortage of colourful reef life.

Diving is usually comfortable, with mild currents, good visibility and calm waters, but some of the dive sites are subject to stronger currents that make them suitable for experienced divers only.

Topside, these islands boast climbable volcanic mountains which are covered in lush green vegetation. For a taste of historic atmosphere going ashore in Banda Neira is a must for its remnants from the old spice trade of colonial times.

• Banda Islands tourist information

• View map of the Banda Islands

Diving Season

The months of March and April, and mid/late-September to early/mid-December are the best times for diving in the Banda Sea, based upon surface conditions. Any trips arranged outside of these times would be reliant upon the weather and should be avoided.

Banda Islands Diving Reef Basics

Great for: Large animals, small animals, visibility, underwater photography, wall dives, reef life and health, and advanced divers
Not so great for: Diving for beginners
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), 1,650 km east northeast of Bali (83 hours), 320 south west of Irian Jaya (16 hours)
Access: Indonesia liveaboards
Recommended length of stay: 7 – 14 days

Dive Sites

More detailed information on the dive sites of Banda Islands:

• Pulau Ai • Ambon
• Batu Kapal • Gunung Api
• Karang Hatta • Karnobol
• Pulau Keraka • Nusa Laut

 

Dive The World Recommendations: Karang Hatta, Batu Kapal and Pulau Ai.

Other sites that can be visited as part of a Banda Islands liveaboard cruise:

• Alor • Flores
• Komodo • Raja Ampat – Irian Jaya

 

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• Indonesia scuba diving enquiries

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