12 days - 11 nights private charter or shared cabin trip
Ambon/Banda season: October - November
DDiscover the spice routes of the old VCO by ship
while exploring pristine reefs and isolated Islands
This voyage, suitable for true explorers, is unique. The Banda islands are spectacular and remote, due their location in the Banda sea. The crystal clear waters, with their colourful healthy reefs, are on every divers bucket list. This place is home to the Hammerhead shark. The Banda islands, also known as the Spice islands, were famous for their trade in spices, especially nutmeg. The Dutch took control of these islands in the 17th century and many historical remains can be visited. Many adventurous stories are still told around the islands. Follow the old spice trail on board one of our ships in Indonesia. We offer a combination of cultural history and the best diving in the world.
The Banda Sea, once known as the spice trail, can only be visited by ship due to its remote location, still untouched by humans, the waters are rich with life. A treasure of historic stories can be told about these islands. The dutch VOC left their mark and many old fortresses still stand here... an historic adventure off the beaten track for true pioneers.
In Ambon, the harbour is called Tulehu, from here the ship will start the adventurous cruise to the Banda islands. Ambon can easily be reached by domestic flight from Bali. Your ships crew will welcome you at the airport and accompany you to the ship. On board you will be offered a welcome refreshment and a tour of the ship, after short safety briefing the journey begins. Enjoy the steady cruising while looking at the beautiful scenery around you. Let the chef surprise you with the sensational flavours of this region.
In the morning you will wake up in the middle of stunning nature. After a wonderful breakfast we are ready for some diving. The first dive will be at Pulau Suanggi, large schools of fish swim here. Pulau Suanggi is a tiny islet and is part of the Malukku islands, it is mostly covered with dense forest. After we have enjoyed our first dive, we sail to Pulau Nailaka, where we can do two more spectacular dives. Enormous steep slopes are covered with beautiful corals and lots of reef life. Some big hunters, such as sharks swim around these parts of the sea. The island itself is absolutely beautiful with its tropical blue water and white sand. After diving, enjoy a delicious lunch and spend the afternoon on the beach, or enjoy some water sports such as paddling and kayaking. We moor here for the night.
Our first destination for today is Pulau Run. This is one of the smallest islands of the Banda Islands. During the 17th century this island was of great importance to the export of nutmeg and mace that grow here. There is a very healthy reef which is home to a large school of Bumphead Parrot fish. Princes reef, which is covered with hundreds of different species of sponges is home to the rare Pygmy Seahorse. After diving we will have lunch onboard, while sailing to Pulau Ai. We will arrive at night and moor here. Enjoy the cruising while sunbathing, or reading a good book on deck.
This is a very relaxing island with just one single village. We can visit the village, where the friendly locals will show you around their nutmeg and almond plantation. There is a nice dive spot here which is also very suitable for snorkelling. We find unspoiled coral gardens with enormous schools of fish here. It is also a great place to see whales and pods of dolphins migrating through the ocean. Today we will enjoy a sunset dive at the Banda jetty where we can observe the mating ritual of the tiny coloured mandarin fish, a very rare and special phenomenon. We set sail for Pulau Pisang.
We are now right in the center of the old spice route of the VOC. This is where trading of the precious, and in that time very expensive, spices took place. There is interesting and exciting history to be found here. We will visit the local town and see the old graves of the VOC, there is also a big, and very well preserved, fortress named Fort Belgica. The fort dates back from the 17th century and was build to protect the nutmeg trade. Climb up to the top and enjoy a spectacular view all around the Banda islands. We can also see the nutmeg trees here and walk around the island to find more historical remains, such as the well preserved colonial houses. When we return to the ship lunch is served, in the afternoon there is time to dive on Banda Besar. Here we will have a great view of the majestic volcano mountain Gunung Api.
Today we spend our time around Pulau Hatta, a really remote picturesque island with marvellous snorkelling and diving spots. You can go on an adventure in the jungle or chill out on the beautiful beaches. In this very special place one can truly experience the “back to basic” feeling. The reef here boasts a unique feature: a swim through made by a opening in the roof in the reef. Once through the hole there is a short drift that will bring you into a magnificent coral garden. Spot leaf fish in soft corals and pygmy seahorses. On to our next exiting dive spot at Karang Hatta, where on the outer reef we can often spot huge schools of Hammerhead sharks. Afterl this much adventure a rest on our luxurious ship will be welcome. Enjoy a delicious and sumptuous dinner under the stars. During the night the ship will sail to Nusa Laut.
In the early morning we arrive in Nusa Laut. This is the smallest Island of the Ambon Islands. There are small villages here, all in colonial style. We will visit a fortress which played an important part in Dutch history named Fort Beverwijk, a guide will take you on a tour of the fort, and tell you interesting stories about the VOC. This location is also known as a divers paradise. The truly unspoiled reefs around the island are teeming with life such as: Reef sharks, turtles and large Bumphead Parrotfish. There is such a variety of marine life surrounding you, you will not know where to look first. We have at least two dives here and possibly three. The reef is well protected and looked after by the local village people of Amet. Take some time to relax onboard, while our chef prepares a delicious meal consisting of various local dishes.
Enjoy your last day on board the ship and muse on all the wonderful things you have experienced. When your bags are packed and it is time to leave, our crew will escort you to the airport for your journey back home.