Dive in Banda Islands
The Banda Islands, about 132 kilometers southeast of Ambon, consists of three larger islands and seven smaller ones, perched on the rim of Indonesia’s deepest sea, the Banda Sea. Near the island Manuk, the water reaches a depth of more than 6,500 meters. Of the three biggest islands Banda, Banda-Neira and Gunung Api, the first two are covered with nutmeg trees and other vegetation. The third however, is entirely bare and highly volcanic. The seas around Banda are the site of the famous Maluku sea gardens with their bright corals and colorful fish darting through the crystal- clear waters and makes it suited to dive, snorkel or even just sightseeing.
The Banda Islands Dive Sites :
Sonegat : The nearest site for a decent dive is just five minutes by boat from the hotels. It is in the sonegat-sea arm- between Banda Neira and Gunung Api, just offshore from a little seaside house owned by Des Alwi, the Bandas most famous son. The drop off here is steep and the wall extends down 25 meters to a grey, sandy bottom. There were few fish around, but a good sized dogtooth tuna cruised by and some beautiful blue girdled and emperor angelfish.
Batu Belanda: On this site, you will find many barrel and tube sponges and small caves and cracks. The fish were varied and plentiful: a school of snappers, large emperor and blue-girdled angelfish, wrasses, a large pinnate bat-fish and numerous bannerfish
To Ambon :usually fly from Denpasar Bali via Ujung Pandang. To Banda Islands :fly from Ambon by small plane/Merpati Airlines. Or you could try this one :Flying from Ujung Pandang to Ambon. Then you’d have to wait for the ferry (once every two weeks), and stay at the Bandas for 17 days until the ferry returned.
There are plenty of small, very inexpensive places to stay around Bandas that you can choose to stay with varied price and facilities
Many days can be spent around these lush islands. Spices are still grown here and the local people still make traditional food and snacks using these once very rare and sought after spices. Short walks to see the forts left behind by the Dutch, visits plantations of nutmeg. The trek up Gunung Api will surely leave a lasting impression with amazing panoramic views if the islands surrounding Banda Niera.
There are only a few small restaurants with varied of Indonesian foods.
Try to buy some local souvenirs here or traditional foods and snacks.
Other Things to See or Do
For non divers need not worry about boredom, beside snorkeling in the lagoon right off Banda Neira, there are tennis courts and go on a short pleasure trip around Banda Neira. For those who bring their children, they can swim in calm waters or watch the sharks, fish and turtles in two enclosures in the lagoon.
-Diving is possible all year round, but the monsoon may restrict your choice of dive sites from July to September,
-Diving is usually comfortable, with good visibility and calm waters, but some of the dive sites are subject to conditions that make them suitable for experienced divers only,
-Don’t forget to equipped yourself with diving equipments, surf board and snorkel, Try to hire equipment from larger firms as these tend to be more reliable, but remember the responsibility of checking the equipment is ultimately yours.
-Bring a bathing suit and extra clothings.
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