The Sea Of Banda

Diving in the Banda Sea offers some of the most unique diving adventures to be found in Indonesia. Once sought by Columbus and Marco Polo, the Banda Islands were the original Spice Islands and the most coveted destination on earth, particularly by the Dutch and Portuguese, who colonized the islands and exported the indigenous nutmeg and cloves. History tells of a violent past under colonial rule.

Now, the seas around these tropical paradise islands are coveted for their spectacular diving and snorkeling on some of the world’s richest reefs, unspoiled corals, and large pelagic fish. Steep drop offs, impressive hard coral and some fast currents make this area absolutely breathtaking. Schools of jacks are a familiar sight, as are large tuna, many turtles, Napoleon wrasse, groupers, rays, sharks, large lobsters and sea snakes. There are also special critter sites for the macro enthusiast including the chance to dive with unusual critters at sites around Ambon Bay. Along the crossing, it is possible to revel in the spectacle of thousands of seabirds, including the comical yet attractive frigate birds and boobies.

Enjoy a land excursion that covers the historical Banda Neira and surrounding islands. Visit the local museum and enjoy the art work and many antiquities from the Portuguese and Dutch. Learn about the land trade of the island of Run and Manhattan between the Dutch and the British. 150 steps or so up a hill and you will be intrigued by the old fort building design. Next, we head to the nutmeg and spice farm. Enjoy Tante’s homemade cinnamon tea accompanied with her secret recipe snacks and nutmeg jam. Fresh nutmeg jam, nutmeg and yours to order cinnamon sticks are for sale. On your walk back to the pier visit the old Dutch governor’s mansion “House of VOC”, which was recently converted to a hotel. Original master pieces including the 6 old tiles were restored and kept in it’s original location within the property.

Dive Gaia offers trip itinerary that embarks in Maumere (Flores) and disembarks in Ambon (Ceram). Click here for trip dates (enter weblink) and (weblink) for route map. Part of the Banda Sea itinerary is also covered in our Tual (Kei Islands) to Ambon (Ceram) itinerary and in our Ambon (Ceram) to Sorong(West Papua) itinerary.

Useful Information

Visibility: 5 m to 30 m (15 ft to 99 ft)
Depth: 10 m to 30 m (33 ft to 99 ft)
Currents: Light ~ Strong (can be strong in some sites)
Suited For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced
Water Temperature: 27 C to 29 C (80 F to 85 F)
Sea State: Calm

Season: Year round
Best Time: April to May & October to November
Air Temperature: 27 ~ 31 degrees celsius
Precipitation: October to November being the dry season. Periodic rainfall for the rest of the months like all tropical countries.

Domestic Airport: Ambon (AMQ), Maumere (Frans Seda Airport), Saumlaki
International Airport: Denpasar / Bali (DPS), Jakarta (CGK)
Check in time: Dependent on flight arrivals
Check out time: Dependent on flight departures
Routes: International in bound flights into Indonesia will have to be through Jakarta, Bali.

Saumlaki Ambon route map

* Routes illustrated may vary and can be subjected to changes.