- Centre of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is the most biodiverse place on earth.
- Sunset Dive for the Mandarin fish in Banda Neira.
- Chance to see hammerheads, manta and other pelagic action combined with colourful pristine reefs.
- Copious fish life, immense colours and mysterious critters, truly something for everyone.
- Visit the original Spice Islands.
The Ambon to Sorong cruise is special because it takes in two magnificent regions in the one cruise. Beginning in Ambon we head first to the Banda Islands (original Spice Islands) before rounding the east coast of Seram and rejoining the south and central sections of Raja Ampat. The Banda Islands will offer the opportunity for some pelagic action, hopefully hammerheads too, before diving arguably one of the best dive locations worldwide, South Raja Ampat.
This cruise will take in the Banda Islands plus the Southern and Central sections of Raja Ampat.
- Banda Islands: Pohon Miring, Batu Kapal, Batu Kapal Pinnacle, Banda Neira Jetty and Lava Flow
- Banda Land Visits: On this cruise we visit Banda Neira to see the nutmeg plantation, historic forts and small Maritime Museum. A half day excursion
- Raja Ampat Central Section: Gam, Penemu, Arborek, Cape Kri Area
- Raja Ampat Southern Section: Daram, Wayilbatan, Fiabacet, Pelee
Explore the map below for dive sites and descriptions.
Click dive site markers for detailed descriptions.
Dive sites & areas that we may visit are subject to weather conditions.
Set in the heart of Indonesia in splendid isolation are the Banda Islands, which have a rich and important history. These islands are blessed with some of the finest scuba diving in Indonesia.
- Pohon Miring -
The impressive rock structure of Pohon Miring is located on the northern tip of Banda Besar. A deep swim-through has been created by a large crack in the reef – ideal for a picturesque drift dive to view the sponge-covered walls. Southern and northern currents meet here, attracting a host of different fish including bump-head parrotfish.
- Batu Kapal -
Batu Kapal, which means 'Ship Rock' in Indonesian, has a plateau top reef full of soft coral, that slopes down to a sandy bottom from around 20m. A pleasant drift dive that lets you enjoy schooling jacks, trevallies, snappers, fusiliers, barracuda and sweet lips.
- Batu Kapal Pinnacle -
Batu Kapal Pinnacle is a rock sticking out above the water. The dive site is a vast plateau at about 5 meters that has beautiful corals and sea fans, and two more pinnacles at 12 and 15 meters. There can be strong currents around here so keep your eyes open for the bigger pelagics in the blue.
- Banda Neira Jetty -
Located at the pier of the Banda Neira airport, this dive site offer a shelter for many juvenile fish. Covered with sponges and soft coral, the columns welcome schools of small fish, juvenile batfish, and many small critters like moery eel, lion fishs, nudis and sometimes Rhinopias.
- Lava Flow -
Gunung Api is a small volcanic island located to the west of Banda Neira and is another “highlight” of the Banda Sea. During the last eruption of the volcano in 1988, lava flows destroyed the reef. But since then the regeneration of the hard coral reef on top of the solid lava platform has been phenomenal. Large schools of fish cover the reef including snapper, fusilier, butterflyfish and batfish.
Arborek has excellent dive sites with lots of schooling fish. Mantas and stingrays are common here.
- Arborek Jetty -
Arborek Jetty is the entry to the village of Arborek, located at the south west corner of the Island. Lying on a sandy bottom, this dive site offers some pretty coral bommies where you can find wobbegong sharks relaxing, file fish and huge giant clams. Mantas have also been known to show up during dives, and on a night dive you might meet the Raja Epaulette shark.
- Lolasi -
Lolasi which means 'fusilier' in Papuan, is a hard coral seamount, located on the western side of Arborek. This site is full of marine life when the current is strong. The long reef is perfect for a drift dive full of action.
- Manta Sandy -
One of the iconic dive sites of Raja Ampat, Manta Sandy is a manta cleaning station, located in a sand channel that runs between coral bommies. Divers will enjoy the show of dancing mantas while staying behind dead coral blocks, where you might have the chance to also find some fantastic small critters like pygmy seahorse or pegasus fish.
Cape Kri Area
- Blue Magic -
This submerged ridge running east to west is composed mainly of hard corals with a few colorful bommies on the eastern end. An impressive variety of fish enjoy this spot such as tuna, jacks, barracuda, and fusiliers. You might also meet oceanic mantas at the cleaning station on the top of the seamount.
- Cape Kri -
Cape Kri in the Dampier Strait is one of the most famous dive sites of Raja Ampat. The reef is en extention of the south side of Kri Island and is one of the best sites for big fish in North Raja Ampat. Beautiful coral, the huge density and variety of fish including barracudas, sweetlips, emperor angelfish, snappers, giant trevally and grey reef sharks make this a site not to be missed.
- Chicken Reef -
Chicken Reef is a submerged pinnacle on the outskirts of Pulau Kri. Quite shallow, the slope is dotted with large coral bommies and plenty of critters can be found hiding within the gorgonian fans, anemones and soft coral formations.
- Mike's Point -
Mike's Point is famous for its strong currents and the pure density and variety of fish found here. A spectacular dive just of Kerupiar Island which was bombed by allied planes during WWII after being mistakenly identified as a Japanese Ship.
- Mioskon -
The Mioskon dive site offers a beautiful reef covered in the Northen Raja Ampat signature purple soft coral and schools of Yellow Snapper, Napoleon Wrasse, big groupers and Wobbegong sharks.
- Sardine Reef -
Sardine Reef is a highlight of the Dampier Strait area. An oval shaped reef patch, it sits right in the middle of the open ocean. Around the reef, schools of fusiliers, Surgeonfish, Snappers, Damselfish and butterflyfish surrounded by predators, such as Barracuda, Spanish Mackerel, Giant Trevallies and several types of Jacks. On occasion you might even find some Grey Reef Sharks cruising around.
The Dampier Strait flows between the mainland of West Papua and Batanta Island and the large island of Waigeo to the north. This strait has extremely rich marine life thanks to the large amount of water passing through.
- Citrus Ridge -
Citrus Ridge is one of the most stunning dive sites in Raja Ampat. The ridge with sloping sides is completely covered with marine life. The shallow bommies offer the most impressive and colorful orange coral, and the action overhead with schools of barracuda, giant trevally, fusilier and other reef sharks make it a dream for divers.
- Dalam -
Located in Yanggefo Island, on the west side of Gam, Batu Dalam a.k.a. Deep Rock is a submerged plateau covered with soft and hard coral, beautiful bommies and seafans. Schools of fusiliers, giant trevally, and barracuda dance in the current, while wobbegong sharks can be found hiding under table corals.
- Mayhem -
Mayhem is a large long subemerged pinnacle which lies along the western edge of the Dampier strait, just off the Island of Gam. Large schools of fish will enjoy the beautiful edge of the reef when the current is slow, which creates a magic ambiance. This site has a great variety of encounters, from large schools of fusiliers, snappers, jacks and batfish to wobbegongs and pygmy seahorses on the bottom.
Located in the archipelago of Gam, Penemu (or Piaynemo in Indonesian) is sculpted by various bays and inner lagoons and owes to its very special shape. Famous for its limestone rocks with sugarloaf shapes and nice beaches, Penemu also has magnificent reefs.
Non-Diving Excursions: A walk to the panorama of Penemu, with stunning views of the lagoon and limestone rocks.
Here are some possible dive sites you may visit:
- Barracuda Point -
Barracuda point is a long and oval shaped reef in the northen tip of Penemu. Huge schools of fish especially barracuda, fusiliers and bannerfish show up when the current is strong. Reef crevices are filled by batfish and surgeon fish waiting to be cleaned by the wrasse at their cleaning stations.
- Galaxy -
Galaxy is a very extensive reef running from north to south on the eastern side of Penemu. Its particular shape makes the spot special when the current is running with great fish action and beautiful soft coral covered bommies on the top of the reef.
- Melissa's Garden -
3 little rocks just off the coast of Keruo island hide a large reef which simply cannot be explored in just one dive. In the shallows is a healthy and vibrant coral garden with a field of blue, yellow and pink stag horn coral. Napoleon wrasse, trevallies and schools of fusiliers are common here. Underwater ridges provide a subway system for pelagics and sharks rising from the deep.
- My Reef -
Located on the southern side of Penemu Island is an underwater ridge with its peak 7m below the surface and covered with coral and surrounded by an impressive abundance of fish, such as yellow tail barracudas, jack fish, reef sharks and groupers.
- Andiamo -
Andiamo is comprised of two small islets west of Candy Store. The marine life on the reef is magnificent, with healthy soft and hard corals, schools of fish such as fusillers, anchovies, barracuda and Jacks.
- Candy Store -
Enjoy one of the most beautiful walls in Southern of Raja Ampat with Candy Store. Clusters of fish gather on the north facing pinnacles such as fusillers, anchovies, giant trevally, spanish mackerel. Huge and beautiful elephant ear sponges, sea fans, and soft corals decorate the western end of the dive site.
- Two Tree -
Two Tree offers a rich plateau where you can spot schools of barracuda, trevally, beautiful soft coral, sea fans, black coral tree and octopus.
Some examples of possible dive sites that you may visit:
- Boo Windows -
Boo Windows was named after the tunnels and the swim through piercing its shallow section. This amazing site has a dramatic topography. Following the ridge heading west, expect to see grey reef sharks, napoleon wrasse, schools of batfish, even ghost pipefish and leaf fish.
- Tank Rock -
Tank Rock (Batu Kecil) is one of the best dive sites in Raja Ampat. A submerged ridge connects Tank Rock to Nudi Rock, and with favorable conditions, you may even be able to dive all the way to Fiabacet’s middle island. It's one of the most extensive and wonderful reef systems in the area. Beautiful fish life surround stunning soft and hard corals.
- Nudi Rock -
Nudi Rock got its name because of the nudibranch-like shape of the island as well as the abundance of nudibranchs that can be found hiding in the corals. The submarine landscape, with soft corals and sea fans in some areas, and hard corals in other areas is fantastic. Find all kinds of fish here in abundance – anchovies, snappers, groupers, Napoleon wrasse, barracuda and tunas too.
- Magic Mountain (Shadow Reef) -
This seamount sits in the depths of Misool with its peak rising to 5 meters. A cleaning station for the different species, Magic Mountain has it all with biodiversity at its best here. Schools of trevalies, napoleon wrasse, groupers, different species of barracudas, sharks, Spanish mackerels, and last but not least Oceanic Manta Rays are often hovering around to get cleaned. Some dolphins and whale sharks have also been spotted there…
- Whale Rock -
Whale Rock has a great variety of pygmy seahorses (Denise or Barbiganti species). To explore this site, we will cross over a little channel in between two small islands. Linked together by an underwater reef and a pinnacle, Whale Rock is full of fish.
Some examples of possible dive sites that you may visit:
- Kaleidoscope -
Located on the western side of Pele Island, Kaleidoscope Ridge is one of the best dive sites in the area. The reef is a beautiful narrow slither of coral, with a sloping and steep side. A kaleidoscope of stunning colors, huge sea fans and fantastic fish life will make this a dive to remember.
- Pelee's Playground -
Pelee’s Playground is located on the most Western side of Waaf island. Witness schools of anchovies being tracked by trevallies, bonitos, and look out into the blue to see if you can spot a squadron of Mobula rays.
- Toblerone -
Toblerone is a shallow reef with a very large tunnel which dissects the dive site from north to south. The top of the reef is covered with healthy bommies and hard coral gardens.
Some examples of possible dive sites that you may visit:
- Barracuda Rock -
Barracuda Rock sits on a sandy bottom with a pretty plateau, and a macro filled undercut. Schooling fish such as trevally, barracuda and reef sharks can be spotted throughout the dive. The slope is made up of a series of limestone steps and beautiful black coral bushes.
- Dunia Kecil -
Dunia Kecil in Indonesian language means 'small world'. Itd is a small rock on the western side of the Wahil Channel, compact enough to be circumnavigated in one dive. The top section is filled with wonderful soft corals, and the walls are covered with huge sea fans where different kind of pygmy sea horses can be spotted.
- Four Kings -
Four Kings is a highlight in Misool! These four underwater pinnacles are full of fish and linked by a ridge. Four Kings is one of the best places to observe schools of anchovies getting hunted by the numerous predators. Action guaranteed.
- Wedding Cake -
This rock located in the lagoon of Wayil, has a mushroom shape with numerous overhangs. It lies from South to North.
Check Dive & Depart Sorong / Ambon
Once onboard there will be a safety briefing, crew introduction, complete and check dive paperwork, cabin allocation and boat orientation. The first dive is a check dive.
Return to Ambon / Sorong
On the last diving day, 2 dives are available in the morning whilst observing the rule of no diving within 24 hours of reaching altitude. We return to port at approximately 1pm and moor here overnight. Evening-time pack up diving equipment and settle any outstanding bills ready to depart for the airport or hotel the following morning.
Advanced, 50 dives
This itinerary is not for beginners with many dives below 18m and currents can vary from medium to extremely strong. We recommend that you have 50 logged dives and require that you are a Deep Diver/Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent to join this trip. Divers may find many dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Diving is from zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points.