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  1. #1
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    Banda sea, Indonesia, day diving recommendations?

    Hi,

    Has anyone done any day diving in the Banda sea, if so any recommendations or is it really a liveaboard destination?

    Thanks

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    Not exactly in the Banda Sea... but I've been to the Wakatobi and Alor in Indonesia, and the north of Timor Leste. None of those places were live aboard and they all have amazing and very different diving experiences! I know that there are live aboard that run trips through the Banda Sea, but can't name any off the top of my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhite View Post
    Has anyone done any day diving in the Banda sea, if so any recommendations or is it really a liveaboard destination?
    We were on a liveaboard when we were there but if you are going to somewhere like Banda Neira, there are dive operators there who run trips in the area IIRC. There's lots of sites nearby. One of the most interesting ones include an underwater lava flow from the 80s that has grown the most astonishing hard coral garden since then (not many fish though but the coral growth has been so rapid it is of scientific interest). Another dive is the dockside at Banda Neira itself, where they have mandarin fish that are quite bold (so easily spotted) just yards from where the boats tie up. The island is also worth a visit for being the original home of all nutmeg plants, having a nice colonial era star fort there overlooking the town itself and a climb up the active volcano in the bay is also quite nice apparently, albeit an exhausting climb and you need to take a big stick to clear the spider webs from the path!

    [Edit] Ambon is also in the Banda Sea area and there's lots of muck diving to be had around there.
    Last edited by jturner; 04-10-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  4. #4
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    Been to Alor a couple of times, staying at Alor Divers. Wonderful place. Other than very large whales passing by we have't seen anything bigger than a dog tooth tuna. There are hammerheads and grey reefs at Yellow Corner but we didn't see them. Other sightings when we were there were a marlin and a thresher shark. There's always a chance of big stuff but it is more of a biodiversity, fishy, coral and muck diving area.

    Saying that we did the 10 day Banda Sea crossing from Ambon to Maumere and were very underwhelmed. We did the crossing in May and we were quite disappointed that many of the reefs had obviously been heavily fished. Not many large fish at all. None of the Banda sea is protected and remoteness isn't what it was now everyone has big Honda engines on the back of their boats!

    Of all the places on the trip, Alor was our favourite, hence why we returned a few months later and again in 2018.

    Sharon

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    Quote Originally Posted by frogfone View Post
    Been to Alor a couple of times, staying at Alor Divers. Wonderful place. Other than very large whales passing by we have't seen anything bigger than a dog tooth tuna. There are hammerheads and grey reefs at Yellow Corner but we didn't see them. Other sightings when we were there were a marlin and a thresher shark. There's always a chance of big stuff but it is more of a biodiversity, fishy, coral and muck diving area.

    Saying that we did the 10 day Banda Sea crossing from Ambon to Maumere and were very underwhelmed. We did the crossing in May and we were quite disappointed that many of the reefs had obviously been heavily fished. Not many large fish at all. None of the Banda sea is protected and remoteness isn't what it was now everyone has big Honda engines on the back of their boats!

    Of all the places on the trip, Alor was our favourite, hence why we returned a few months later and again in 2018.

    Sharon
    Thanks for that. I thought the Banda sea was the place to see sharks in Indonesia. May be in reality apart from reef sharks in parts of Komodo and north Bali they do not exist these days? Maybe I should just stick to Tulamben and around there and Lembongan for manta. I enjoyed both area before but thought a change would be nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhite View Post
    Thanks for that. I thought the Banda sea was the place to see sharks in Indonesia. May be in reality apart from reef sharks in parts of Komodo and north Bali they do not exist these days? Maybe I should just stick to Tulamben and around there and Lembongan for manta. I enjoyed both area before but thought a change would be nice.
    I will qualify my statement, for 9 days in May 2016 it was not a shark hotspot! The first reef we dived was in the middle of a bleaching event, all the hard corals and many of the soft corals were white and covered in slime, desperately trying to live through the 31/32C heatwave. It was an el nino year and it was the only reef like that, the cold water in the deep Banda Sea seemed to keep the temperatures down elsewhere. Some of the dives on the trip dropped from 28 to 23 on the same dive. I honestly can't remember seeing any sharks, even reef sharks, although there were a bunch of crazy Singaporeans that went to 47m on 28% Nitrox to see a single hammerhead.

    We went to Tubbataha this May and I have never seen so many sharks. White tips on every dive, a school of 25 grey reefs, we did finally see a hammerhead (although it was well off the reef but certainly our best sighting), my guide and I saw a large 10m whaleshark (shame I'm a fat fingered twit and I didn't press the record button on my camera). Absolutely stunning fish life and corals. Didn't see any Mantas. Schools of thousands of Jacks and barracudas, dog tooth tuna, turtles and dolphins. Obviously a live-a-board destination but worth every penny. Five dives a day, all food and drink inc beer. Champion!

    There are plenty of sharks in the Banda Sea, and I'm sure the live-a-boards can get to all the best sites. We are not that bothered whether we see sharks on a dive but it certainly seeing them in abundance in the Tubabtaha indicated that the reefs were well protected and in tip top condition.

    Sharon

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    Quote Originally Posted by frogfone View Post
    I will qualify my statement, for 9 days in May 2016 it was not a shark hotspot! The first reef we dived was in the middle of a bleaching event, all the hard corals and many of the soft corals were white and covered in slime, desperately trying to live through the 31/32C heatwave. It was an el nino year and it was the only reef like that, the cold water in the deep Banda Sea seemed to keep the temperatures down elsewhere. Some of the dives on the trip dropped from 28 to 23 on the same dive. I honestly can't remember seeing any sharks, even reef sharks, although there were a bunch of crazy Singaporeans that went to 47m on 28% Nitrox to see a single hammerhead.

    We went to Tubbataha this May and I have never seen so many sharks. White tips on every dive, a school of 25 grey reefs, we did finally see a hammerhead (although it was well off the reef but certainly our best sighting), my guide and I saw a large 10m whaleshark (shame I'm a fat fingered twit and I didn't press the record button on my camera). Absolutely stunning fish life and corals. Didn't see any Mantas. Schools of thousands of Jacks and barracudas, dog tooth tuna, turtles and dolphins. Obviously a live-a-board destination but worth every penny. Five dives a day, all food and drink inc beer. Champion!

    There are plenty of sharks in the Banda Sea, and I'm sure the live-a-boards can get to all the best sites. We are not that bothered whether we see sharks on a dive but it certainly seeing them in abundance in the Tubabtaha indicated that the reefs were well protected and in tip top condition.

    Sharon
    Thanks, yes I have done Tubahatta a few times. I managed to see 3 whale sharks and 1 of them I snorkelled with for about 20 mins. Plus we saw a few mantas and heaps of reef sharks. I would not go somewhere just to see reef sharks though if it were sharks I wanted. I don't plan to go to the Philippines again though, we want to go to Indonesia this time.

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    Misool had reef sharks, mantas and huge fish biomass. Probably, the best reefs I have ever seen.

    They saw a great white at Nusa Penida last week...

    Sharon

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    Quote Originally Posted by frogfone View Post
    Misool had reef sharks, mantas and huge fish biomass. Probably, the best reefs I have ever seen.

    They saw a great white at Nusa Penida last week...

    Sharon
    Hi Sharon,

    I saw the facebook video of the great white the other week at Penida. It does get quite nippy there, but do you think it is true that there was a great white there?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by greatwhite View Post
    Thanks for that. I thought the Banda sea was the place to see sharks in Indonesia. May be in reality apart from reef sharks in parts of Komodo and north Bali they do not exist these days? Maybe I should just stick to Tulamben and around there and Lembongan for manta. I enjoyed both area before but thought a change would be nice.
    Have a look at Bugdreamer's YouTube channel. He works on the Mermaid liveaboards and regularly posts short trip videos of their cruises. But FWIW, we saw black/white/grey reef sharks, a thresher, quite a few hammerheads and a whale shark on our trip. YMMV


 
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