Banda Sea - Raja Ampat

Combine the historic Banda Sea with the islands of Raja Ampat!
The Banda Sea, with its spice islands played an important role in history in the 15th to the 17th Century. For centuries the indigenous people traded with nutmeg and thus came into the focus of the Europeans, because this special seasoning was found only on these islands. The islands were first colonized by the Portuguese before the Dutch took over the colony in fierce fighting. Meanwhile, the islands are again visited by sailors, fishermen and divers, especially due to the extraordinary world of fish. Because many remains of the colonies are still visible, this area is especially exciting to visit.
© copyright by Dr. Peter Hardt

West Papua, known locally as Irian Jaya, is a unique dive region. Probably the best known archipelago is "Raja Ampat" which roughly means "united kingdom". The area has over 1,500 islands. The four main islands are Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo.

The word "fantastic" summarizes the region "Raja Ampat" well. Photo-and videographers find the best opportunities to create macro shots at its finest. But also wide-angle shots of the beautiful reef life are recommended.
© copyright by Otto C. Honegger
© copyright by Eric H. Cheng

There are countless dive sites, all with different characters. The attentive viewer can find all sorts of "macro-animals" in crevices and on terraces of steep walls. "Raja Ampat" is also a Mecca for lovers of pygmy seahorses. These cute dwarf seahorses are found here in every shape and color, red, yellow, orange, purple or white. Other places offer an overflowing abundance of fish along exposed underground rock saddles. Napoleon fish, mobulas, white tip reef sharks and schools of other pelagic fish can be seen in the blue when you can drag your attention away from the walls. Manta rays, barracuda, rare wobbegong and epaulette sharks guarantee plenty of variety.
Banda Sea-Raja Ampat cruise itinerary
Pindito puts great importance to plan the best possible tour for their guest. When planning the route, many factors play an important role. The most important factor is the weather. Since there can be storms in the tropics at any time, Pindito might change routes and itineraries at short notice.
© copyright by Pindito

The cruise runs from Sorong, West Papua's capital, to Ambon, the capital of the Moluccas (or vice versa). Here is an example itinerary: The cruise starts from Ambon in direction of Saparua, and Nusa Laut to the Banda Islands. Following the east coast of Ceram we head directly to the islands around Misool. We continue via Jef Fam into the Dampier Straight before the journey ends in Sorong.

Nusa Laut
Right in front of village Ahmed, a varied reefscape with beautiful coral gardens, and no shortage of fish waits for the divers. Schools of surgeon fish, big eye jacks, and a variety of reef fish including barracudas sweeten the dive. With some luck you can even see hammerhead sharks. Another highlight is the night dive under the pier, where we "hunt" critters. Angler fish, scorpion fish, pipe fish and many other creatures are on display.
© copyright by Pindito
© copyright by Pindito
© copyright by Eric H. Cheng


Banda Neira
Banda Neira is the main island of "Banda Islands", which are part of the Maluku archipelago. The "Banda Islands" consists of 10 small volcanic islands. Visit the old fortress of the Dutchman on Banda Neira, or climb a volcano is part of our program. Over 20 years ago lava flowed into the sea and formed a hard coral garden in this "short time".
© copyright by Dr. Peter Hardt
© copyright by Dr. Peter Hardt
© copyright by Dr. Peter Hardt

The reefs here excel through their unique underwater fauna in all colors and shapes. Large schools pass by and the macro world is ever present. With a little luck at dusk dives, the mating ritual of the mandarin fish can be observed. The coral gardens in the lava units with their 5-meter-wide plate corals are just a small sample of what you can see here.
© copyright by Pindito
© copyright by Pindito


Koon
A famous dive site which the Pindito lovingly calls "Sh.. place". Everything a diver could wish for can be seen in this canal, which flows towards the Banda Sea. It guarantees a unique school of fish spectacle; Giant groupers, large Schools Barracudas, snapper, surgeon fish, sweet lips in the midst of beautiful coral. Many a photographer despaired at this place, because you often do not know where to look first and. The sometimes violent currents cannot guarantee the best visibility, but it is a big chance to see large fish such as manta rays, sharks and even mobulas.
© copyright by Otto C. Honegger
© copyright by Franco Banfi
© copyright by Eric H. Cheng


Misool
Diving in the endless maze of the islands of Misool is a very special treat for any diving career. It is paradise for macro enthusiasts, but encounters with larger fish such as manta rays are often possible. Misool is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world with fish, corals, sponges, soft corals, shrimps, crabs and countless nudibranchs and other invertebrates. Huge shoals of sardines are a definite highlight. Soft corals and sea fans (diameter of 3-4 meters) in all sizes and colors dominate the underwater landscape.
© copyright by Jürgen Freund
© copyright by Otto C. Honegger
© copyright by Otto C. Honegger

One of Pindito’s special places is called "Vrenelies Gärtli" (in English it means Vreni’s Garden). It is a legendary dive site that has it all, because of its very diverse landscape. Overhangs, huge caverns with swim throughs, lush steep walls with all kinds of corals are found here.
© copyright by Franco Banfi
© copyright by Otto C. Honegger

There is also plenty to do on land. With a unique speedboat ride you will explore the beautiful scenery. Crystal clear, turquoise water awaits you as well as a variety of exotic tropical plants such as orchids and even carnivorous plants.
© copyright by Franco Banfi
© copyright by Franco Banfi
© copyright by Franco Banfi


Dampier Straight
The Dampier straight separates the “Vogelkop” (Birdshead) Peninsula from Waigeo and Mansuar. The name comes from the Dutch colonial times. It refers to the shape of the peninsula on the map, but it is also a paradise for many rare bird species.
© copyright by Daniel Gut
© copyright by Eric H. Cheng
© copyright by Franco Banfi

Here the Pacific Ocean meets the Halmahera Sea, with an explosion of marine life as consequence. With regular strong currents, big fish feel especially comfortable. Manta rays, reef sharks, different schools of mackerel, tuna and barracuda are seen again and again. Even dolphins and whales (Bryde's whales, pilot whales) keep spending time in the Dampier straight Since May 2011, we offer a special Whale-Macro tour that combines the macro-diving with whale and dolphin watching. This tour is accompanied by a marine expert in whale and dolphin behavior.
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