Banda Sea

Situated in the eastern part of Indonesia, Banda Sea is a fascinating destination cherished by nature lovers and history aficionados. There is an abundance of activities to keep you entertained throughout your visit to the sun-soaked volcanic islands. You can hike the active volcanoes, snorkelling over coral-laden lava flows, exploring a 17th-century fort, and ancient ruins. Once crucial in the renowned Spice Routes, these islands have a captivating history.

Many years ago, Banda Island was renowned for its abundance of spices, particularly nutmeg and mace. During the Age of Exploration, the Banda Islands held a complete monopoly on nutmeg production. This sought-after spice could only be found there, and its weight held more value than gold. The Dutch, who were leading European colonisers, aimed for complete dominance and were willing to exchanged Manhattan to attain it. Today, the same seas that once carried ships loaded with spices now showcase a different kind of treasure: an underwater haven of unparalleled beauty.

banda sea diving

Banda Sea Diving

Exploring the Banda Sea on a diving trip is a remarkable experience that diving enthusiasts should not miss in Indonesia. With over 30 extraordinary dive sites spread across this archipelago, the Banda Sea liveaboard promises a once-in-a-lifetime underwater exploration opportunity. The Banda Sea is divided by an underwater ridge into two basins. The northern basin plunges to a depth of approximately 19,000 feet (5800 m), while the southern basin reaches 17,700 feet (5400 m) deep. The actively seismic Gunung Api volcano is surfacing from the ocean floor, ascending from 4,500 meters below sea level to a peak standing 670 meters above the waterline in the southern basin. These pristine locations feature untouched coral reefs, diverse marine species, and impressive pelagic creatures.

What makes the underwater world of Banda truly unique is its remarkable diversity, ranging from magnificent pilot whales to tiny pygmy seahorses, all thriving in a rich underwater environment. The standout feature is the abundance of vivid marine life and massive schools of fish, a sight comparable to popular spots like Raja Ampat but with fewer visitors, offering a more intimate experience. The Banda Sea offers a thrilling diving experience with the chance to see migrating schools of hammerhead sharks, but this spectacle is limited to a specific timeframe each year—primarily in October and early November.

The Banda Sea is also famous for its extraordinary macrolife, including elusive rhinopias, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, nudibranchs, frogfish, mandarin fish, seahorses, and many more small critters. One of the highlights of diving in this area is Manuk Island, where divers can experience a close encounter with a large population of sea snakes.

The Banda Sea typically maintains a water temperature of 26–28 degrees Celsius, though deep water upwellings and thermoclines are common, notably in September and November. It’s advisable to bring a suitable exposure suit for diving. Air temperatures range from 22 to 31 degrees Celsius. Expect good visibility of around 20–30 meters, with currents varying from medium to strong.

When is the Best Time to Visit Banda Sea?

March to April and September to November are considered the best times for diving in the Banda Islands due to the calmer seas. Diving is not recommended from May to August, when surface conditions can get rough. Planning your dive trips during these optimal months will ensure a more enjoyable and safe experience in the Banda Islands.

Where is the Banda Sea?

The Banda Sea is located in Maluku Province, in the eastern part of Indonesia. It is a section of the western South Pacific Ocean, surrounded by the southern islands of the Moluccas in Indonesia. Due to their remote location, the sites can only be reached by liveaboard.

How to Get to the Banda Sea

To reach the Banda Islands, you can fly to Pattimura Airport, located on Ambon Island, approximately 36 km away from Ambon City. Kindly note that this airport only serves domestic flights. Therefore, you must first arrive at an airport in Indonesia that accommodates international flights before proceeding to Ambon. There are several options to reach Ambon, including direct flights from Jakarta, Makassar with an overnight stay, or via Surabaya if you are arriving from Bali or overseas.

There are multiple embarkation and disembarkation points for Banda Sea liveaboard trips. While some trips begin or end in Sorong (Raja Ampat), Maumere (Flores), or Ternate (Halmahera), the most commonly used access point is Ambon. Before making any flight reservations, please ensure that you carefully review your trip itinerary and confirm the designated starting and ending points.