An incredible cruise in the Banda Sea. The journey starts in Ambon and will return to Ambon at the end of the cruise. Full details below
17th – 28th October 2022
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 2022 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.
Of course weather conditions do play a role in our plans but the following is a potential itinerary.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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’.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
A visual aid to the potential itinerary.
Do they dates not work for you? We have an Ambon to Raja Ampat trip running directly after this one. You can find details for our Ambon to Raja Ampat trip here. You can find our full Liveaboard Trip listing here on the Liveaboard Trips page. Or simply send us an email and we can get back to you with more information.
Reservation assistance available 24 hours
Transfers from and to the airport or hotel in the location of embarkation to and from MY Samambaia
Accommodation on board in double or twin bed. Cabin with ensuite shower, toilet and AC.
Full board including all drinks on board (excluding wine and spirits)
Up to four dives per day (no diving on embarkation and disembarkation day) accompanied by qualified dive guides. Missed dives do not result in a reimbursement claim.
Nitrox fills for certified enriched air nitrox divers (courses available on request and subject to charge)
Weights and weight belts
Multilingual cruise director on board
All offered excursions
Pre or post cruise hotels and flights
Cost for excess luggage (domestic and international flights)
National marine park fees, fuel surcharge, and Harbour Fees ($525 USD) Subject to change based on Park policy
Dive rental gear
15 liter scuba tank
Dive and travel insurance (we recommend: DAN & www.travelguard.com)
Crew gratuities (we recommend 5 – 10% of charter price)
Wine & spirits
Underwater Tribe group trips are always led by either Mike Veitch or Luca Vaime and sometimes both of us!