The Banda Sea is an incredible place to encounter schools of hammerhead sharks in the months of September – November. Join us on a Banda Sea Hammerheads Shark Extravaganza in 202o with the Samambaia liveaboard.
The Samambaia Liveaboard is one of the few boats that runs more than one trip in the region during the peak season. We have the chance to offer a very well thought itinerary that will start and end in Ambon. This route offers the opportunity to visit the famous Spice Islands of Banda Neira as well as a series of beautiful volcanic islands. These steep walled islands, surrounded by a deep sea, are where schools of hammerhead sharks congregate!
The chance to have close encounters with whales (Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales and others) are very good whilst cruising the Banda Sea.
The Banda Sea itinerary is a difficult trip to book due to the popularity of this cruise. We have been lucky enough to secure space on the Samambaia, one of our favourite liveaboards.
Prepare to be immersed in incredible scenery, historical treasures, exciting shark dives. and some of the most incredible critters dives in Indonesia.
The Samambaia Liveaboard
The Samambaia is one of the newest boats in the region and it’s fitted with all the features of a modern dive liveaboard. With a powerful marine engine, which can reach up to 10 knots cruising speed, is the best way to explore the Banda Sea. During the design process the focus was on the details which make it such a great boat. Functionality was paired with aesthetics and quality materials. The layout of the ship was built around the needs of the guests. Comfort and service are of highest priority on board while the atmosphere is relaxed and cozy. The boat offers many areas for both social activity and private time.
The Banda Sea Hammerheads Itinerary
Day 1: Embarkation
Arrival with plane to Ambon. You will be picked up by crew members at the airport. Embarkation from the port of Ambon. A general orientation follows.
Day 2: Ambon
After an initial general dive briefing, we will do our check dive with you at an easy and protected dive site. Check dive in the sense of you checking your gear and weights, making sure the camera housings are proper sealed and our guides checking your buoyancy. No skill demonstrations are required. We will thereafter offer two more dives in the bay of Ambon. One in the afternoon and one for sunset. All of these days will be muck dives. World class critter hunting. That’s what Ambon is famous for. Rhinopias, Frogfish, Ghostpipefish, Harlequin Shrimps and if you are really lucky: the Psychedelic Frogfish that has been recently found here again.
Day 3: Nusa Laut
In the early morning we will arrive at the island of Nusa Laut. There are four spectacular dive sites here, either wall or slope diving. A great variety of reef fish as well as large schools of jacks. Bumphead Parrotfish like to pass by here and a lot of macro life as well.
Day 4 & Day 5: Banda Islands
The famous Spice Islands, the island group around Banda Neira, an historical treasure. Wars were fought over these islands by colonial powers as these islands used to be the only islands in the world where nutmeg grew.A historical walk through thetown of Banda Neira with it’s museum and two forts is a must. An interesting option forambitious challenge seekers is to climb the volcano Gunung Api, which rises ‘only’ 600 mabove sea level.
The diving here is diverse and spectacular. As these volcanic islands rise up to the surface surrounded by deep sea water, the chance for for encountering pelagics is good. In the past, we’ve often encountered schooling hammerheads here. A dive site called ‘Lava Flow’ is one of the most pristine hard coral reefs you will ever see. After the last eruption of Gunung Api, in 1988, a flow of lava made it’s way down into the ocean and destroyed the whole reef. What has grown back since will boggle your mind. In the harbour of Banda Neira, there is a beautiful Mandarin Fish dive. Other highlights include: ‘The Cathedral’, ‘Batu Kapal’ and ‘Karang Hatta’.
Days 6: Gili Manuk
This island is also known by the name ‘Snake Island’. If you have a phobia of snakes you should definitely go diving here to face your fears. You may encounter dozens of sea snakes on a single dive. These graceful creatures, though highly venomous, are very peaceful, sometimes even curious. There are plenty of reef fish and pelagics around too. Also, thousands of seabirds nest on this uninhabited volcanic island. Our favourite dive site is called: ‘Smoking Hot’.
Day 7: Karang Nil Desperandum
An atoll with steep walls rising from the deep. Weather conditions permitting we will spend a whole day here. Mainly steep walls all around and some sloping reefs. Very nice growth of sea fans and sponges. Here we are looking for the Banda Sea Hammerheads. Schooling sharks have often been seen here in the past.
Day 8: Pulau Nila & Karang Duisborgh
Five miles from the small island of Nila we find another atoll and even prettier coral growth along the walls. Again the focus here is on large pelagic fish passing by out in the blue. The close island of Nila offers us protection for the night’s anchorage and gives us the possibility for a night dive.
Day 9: Terbang Utara & Terbang Selatan
Very remote and untouched by commercial fishing the reefs of these islands are in pristine condition. Schooling Barracudas, Jacks on the hunt and large Tunas passing by whilst well disguised critters blend into the reefs. Our skilled dive guides will find and show them to you.
Day 10: Gunung Api
There are two snake islands in the Banda Sea and on this special itinerary you will get to see both of them. Besides snakes we have seen Silvertip Sharks and Hammerheads here. Usually the waters are gin clear so make sure you look out into the blue so not to miss something big passing by.
Day 11: Lucipara
A group of seven paradise islands in the middle of the Banda Sea. All dives are steep wall dives. The Dutch seafarers named this island group the Schildpad Islands due to nesting turtles.
For those who are flying out the next day, we offer two dives in the morning and some relaxing time on a perfect beach in the afternoon. If you have planned a land based extension in Ambon after the cruise, our dive guides will happily go diving again with you in the afternoon.
Day 12: Ambon – Disembarkation
Depending on your flight schedule, our crew will check your luggage in. You can rest on board and let us shuttle you to the airport when your plane is ready to leave.
Are the dates for our Banda Sea Hammerheads trip not right to you? Check out one of our other Liveaboard Trips for 2019 and 2020.