A liveaboard cruise exploring the Banda sea offers a unique opportunity to explore some of Indonesia’s – if not Asia’s – finest diving. The remote islands of the ‘Ring of Fire’ have escaped much of the development of the modern world and remain pristine outposts for Asia’s extraordinary marine environment, offering untouched reefs, prolific marine life and plenty of bigger species-including sharks. The current-swept dive sites throughout the inner arc of volcanoes are a mix of steep drop offs and sloping reefs, decorated with spectacular hard corals, huge sea fans and giant sponges, all bursting with marine life. Giant groupers, dense schooling fish, turtles, mobula rays, tuna, sea snakes and hammerhead sharks are all commonly seen. Add in some astonishing biodiversity and exciting muck diving in both Alor and Ambon, and you have what is probably the perfect diving experience.
Raja Laut means ‘King of the Sea’ and stepping on board this schooner-style -inspired yacht, built from tropical hardwood, you will experience a truly regal sense of sailing the Indonesian seas in freedom, style and comfort. She comfortably accommodates 12 guests in 6 cabins (3 double bed cabins, 3 twin bed cabins), each with ensuite, individually controlled air-conditioning and fan.
On the same level as the cabins is a lounge area, fully air-conditioned with a 49″ HD flat screen, movie, music & book library, board games and mini-bar.
On the stunning teak upper deck are multiple beds for sunbathing or lounging, both in the sun and under shade, and a central dining table where meals are served alfresco under a large awning.
All diving is done from two large RIBs with outboards to get you to the perfect dive spot every time. She offers free nitrox, all diving and safety equipment and two dive guides. SMBs are provided free of charge on-board.
The Banda Sea cruise is for those with the spirit of adventure, as we set sail to rarely dived sites, islands and atolls. There are several ways to sail the Banda Sea and this depends mostly on the weather and depths of the thermoclines to encounter the amazing hammerhead sharks. Crossing is generally done in September/October when the prevailing winds are changing between the seasons. Seldom dived sites, active volcanoes, hammerheads and pelagic action, plus a visit to the mythic Banda Islands (original Spice Islands), make this a once in a lifetime cruise.
In Alor, there is plenty of opportunity to find those rare critters like frogfish, mimic octopus, fire sea urchin and even rare rhinopias in the hundreds of bays and coves in the island chain. Dolphins and whales are often encountered as this area is also part of the migration routes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. If you don’t mind the water being a bit ‘frisky’ from time to time, this itinerary is beautiful and often quite extraordinary.
Please note: In parts of Alor Strait, water temperature can drop dramatically to around 20 degrees Celsius. It is highly recommended to bring a 5mm wetsuit and/or hooded vest. There are 600-700 nautical miles to cover during this 12 night cruise. We are mostly diving three dives a day and then travelling at night.
Flights are from London Heathrow by Emirates airlines to Bali, a overnight stop in Bali at the Holiday Inn and then an internal flight with Garuda airlines to Alor. Transport to London Gatwick will be available from Cheltenham and Gloucester if there is sufficient demand.