Once you arrive in Misool, you are surrounded by one of the most fascinating landscapes you can imagine. Hundreds of small islands all shaped by time into sculptures that only nature can produce. The topside it’s out of this world but once your head is under the water you start to understand the concept of variety of colours. The soft corals are unbelievable, all kind of colours and at all depths. It is not unusual to be among a dozen of different ones only a metre or two down!
On the way from the Bandas to Papua a stop in Koon is mandatory. The name of the dive site says it all: “Too many fishes”. With the right current the diving could be unforgettable, millions of fish, schooling jacks, barracudas, sharks… but never too many… we always need more!
Obligated stop to go for a cultural tour, the fort, the governor’s house, the church, nutmeg plantations, the chance to have a beer on land with the locals…
Let’s not forget the diving, both Pulau Run and Pulau Ai have pristine clear waters, lovely walls and good fish life, we might go a bit deeper in search of more hammerheads, big fish can be seen here as well, napoleons, schools of black snappers, bumpheads etc.
In diving there are a few really unique areas in the world and the dive under the pier of Banda Neira is on of them… The size of the mandarin fish are just out of this world, you might need a wide angle lens!
Hey, if you have the perfect shot of the mandarin fish and you are looking for other critters, cockatoo wasp fish, flying gurnards, frog fish, juvenile barramundis, , juvenile emperor angle fish, juvenile sweetlips, juvenile local kids… plenty of chances!
We will not miss the hard coral garden under the lava flow of Gunung Api, the impressive volcano that dominates Banda. It erupted in 1988 and now it is a miracle to dive in a garden that has grown in such a short period of time.
Batu Kapal, at the entrance of Banda offers some of the bigger fans you will see and it is full of life, a real fishy dive.
A bit south is Hatta, consisting of an underwater coral garden with a friendly school of bumpheads and some white tips among its highlights. To finish the area in Banda Besar we will dive the underwater window.
A few miles sailing from the Bandas we arrive at Pulau Soangi. A nice wall that ends up in a ridge where encounters with pelagics (tunas, rainbow runners, barracudas, trevallies) are always a thrill, as is the presence of a number of hammerheads that we spot regularly.
The wall itself is worth the dive, huge barrel sponges, even bigger fans, colours, soft corals on the wall and hard ones in the shallows… immaculate conditions!
Only a few hours away from Ambon, but so different, it is the best example we know of a village taking care of a reef. The reef is as it was hundreds of years ago. The locals have protected it and now it is an outstanding diving site, many people’s favourite dive.
The hard corals on the slope are unbeatable, the sandy bottom in the middle offers shelter to sting rays of different sizes, sharks patrolling the depths (white tips and grey reefs) if we are lucky leopard sharks sleeping on the sand, turtles that will pose for us.
By the way, apart from all the fish, life, the perfect state of the reef and the pelagics approaching and patrolling the slope, there are mangroves in the neighbourhood and we have been lucky enough to dive with a resident dugong .
The diving around the island is great, the wreck in the bay is full of life, pilot whales sometimes come close to the pier, but without a doubt Laha offers the best diving and is an unforgettable experience. Laha could be compared with Lembeh, it is pure muck at its best: mimics, flamboyant cuttlefish, rhinopias, ribbon eels, ambon scorpion fish, frog fish by the dozens, ghost pipe fish… you name it, it is all there, and Murphy is normally not around. Photographers… get ready!