Unspoiled dive sites, wall drift dives, crystal clear warm blue water, non-stop pygmy seahorse, lagoon sightseeing, unexpected encounters, all in one-weird critters to schooling fish, black sand dives.
Generally calm, except while crossing in the open sea through the Malukus where it could be a bit choppy.
March to November is dry season. Most of the climate is determined by monsoon winds. Refreshing breezes onboard throughout most of the season.
NATURE OF DIVES & CURRENTS
This is one of the cruises that offer adventurers the possibility to dive in the large unexplored area of Halmahera, and dive on untouched reefs where unexpected encounters may occur. Like many places in Indonesia, currents can be varied. A reef hook can be very helpful while watching and filming in the currents.
Avg. 27° to 30°C.
Sorong • PAPUA BARAT or Bitung • SULAWESI
The WAOW staff will pick you up in your hotel or await your arrival at Sorong Airport to assist and accompany you on board SMY WAOW at Sorong Harbour, only a short drive of around 15-20mins away. Our experienced staff will look after your luggage and transfer it to your cabin onboard SMY WAOW while you enjoy our “refreshing welcome drink”. As soon as the last guests are onboard, you will be introduced to our team and have plenty of time to settle in, get everything ready and enjoy life onboard with us.
Bitung • SULAWESI or Sorong • PAPUA BARAT
Early breakfast befor disembarkation & transfer to the airport or hotel between 06.00am and 11.00am at the latest.
From the easternmost part of Indonesia, where the limestone karsts meet the lagoon labyrinths in the nutrient rich waters of Raja Ampat, to the green mountainous islands, where coastlines are white sand and beautiful turquoise waters with active volcanic islands in the distance of Halmahera, all the way to the black volcanic sand of North Sulawesi, sitting just above the Equator in nice, warm, tropical waters.
This cruise lifts the anchor in Sorong, the heart of the triangle of marine biodiversity, then cruises across the lagoon labyrinth of Misool in the Seram Sea, passes through the historical crown of Halmahera, the
‘Ring of Fire’ right in the Maluku Sea and all the way through to the world Mecca of muck diving, the famous Lembeh Strait near Bitung, a small harbour town in the North of Sulawesi. This is one of the cruises that takes you across 2 major Seas of Indonesia, the Seram and the Maluku Sea. We cover many nautical miles on our way, roughly 650 NM. One of the great things about this cruise is the variety of reefs and their topography. There are vertical walls, reef flats, slopes, ridges, sea mounds, mucky mangroves, lagoons and pinnacles, soft coral, and then there are the fish, lots of them, in more shapes and sizes than anywhere else in the world. Not only are there loads of fish, but all the levels of the food chain are well represented – from pygmy seahorses to top predators or masses of schooling fish all of which are affected by varying degrees of current bringing life to the reefs. In a place “off the beaten track”, don’t be surprised if you hit on a new species without even knowing it, or an opportunity to dive one of the unexplored sites that wait for you in Halmahera’s Crown! For adventurous divers, probably one of the best things about Halmahera’s Crown is that it remains largely unexplored.
Typical dive sites
DAMPIER Strait, Airborek & Manta Sandy or Cape Kri
Welcome to the majestic land of magnificent Manta rays. Here is the most reliable site to observe manta ray‘s behaviour, especially when you approach them right! If you keep your position, they will make loop after loop or swoop by again and again often somersaulting through the water while being cleaned. Besides cleaning, the manta rays also come to feed on current borne plankton, so be prepared for strong currents and reduced visibility.
Other dive sites like Airborek Jetty, Sardine Reef, Cape Kri and Mioskon are some of the very finest wide-angle photo opportunities. Beautiful hard coral bommies are hosts to dazzling soft corals and rainbow-colored crinoids with a foreground of oriental sweet lips, snappers, a swirl of glassfish and anthias, and a background of schooling surgeonfish, batfish, barracuda, jacks and the occasional tuna. When the visibility is right, this can be an underwater photographer’s heaven.
One of the most radiant reefs in all of The 4 Kings, each dive is never an ordinary dive, it’s always special and there’s always a new scene to be found. The reef is covered in short growth pastel soft corals that form larger purple and pink soft coral, red and white sea fans and enormous barrel sponges jutting out from the steep slopes and walls. Excellent fish life: Fusiliers, surgeonfish, small schools of barracuda and profuse schools of anthias all milling about in the rising and falling tides.
MISOOL, Fiabatjet & Boo
Not to be missed, “Boo Rock”, the gully called “The Windows”, where two rocks connected by magnificent soft corals and sizzling with fish. The surface crashes through the top of these window arches creating a constant pounding noise, which can be felt through your whole body. The fish life is outstanding with jacks and dogtooth tuna feeding in the surge and schooling bannerfish sitting behind sea fans catching tiny bits of plankton floating in the current. Hardly a spot on the reef is left uncovered by sea fans, soft coral and thick schools of baitfish.
Don’t be confused by the name as in Indonesia any island with bananas growing on it is called Pulau Pisang, meaning Banana Island! This one here lays just half way between Misool and Halmahera, surrounded by very deep water. Dive sites are mostly steep sloping reefs with some swim-through’s and overhangs but not as special as the Misool area and not as rich in terms of hard and soft coral. Just a few sea fans and barrel sponges, however the schooling fish life here is excellent! As an oasis in the middle of the sea, and especially when the current is flowing, anything can happen in this oasis.
The Patinti Strait is a channel between Halmahera and Bacan Island which holds excellent reefs full of blooming orange soft corals packed with anthias, plenty of large soft coral covered bommies in all different colours and different species. It is a good drift dive area with lots of reef sharks; black tip, white tip and grey reef sharks are resident here as well as rays and many big napoleon wrasse. The sites around the Patinti Strait offer great day and night dive sites with many calm bays which provide good shelter for many critters like robust & ornate ghost pipefish, bobtail squid, even blue ring octopus and includes rare encounters with epaulette sharks “the walking sharks” which are also found here.
Pulau Goraki and Terumbu Gora
The Pulau Goraici group has many great dive sites with one of the most amazing fish life zones in Halmahera. The reef is covered with hard & soft coral, sponges teaming up with sweetlips on the foreground and lots of red and black snapper, napoleon wrasse in the distance, huge size dogtooth tuna and reef sharks while the current flows around these sea mounds.
Rising midway between Halmahera and Sulawesi, in the very deep open Sea of the Maluku, the dive sites around Tifore are mostly plateau’s with sheer walls and steep slopes plus great visibility in clear blue water. The topography here makes all the dives seem like just floating in the deep blue with lots of action around. This is one great adrenalin dive.
Welcome to the macro mecca – Lembeh Strait – well known for the volcanic black sand that is home to many weird and wonderful critters that the sea has to offer, where “muck diving” all began. Very often the divers tend to disappear in this underwater world of Lembeh longer than they expected, with performances of those rare critters, all playing hide and seek in their homes of those manmade debris along the sea bed. This is one of those places where, before the dive you can easily hand out your critter list and at the end of your day, it will mostly be ticked off– That’s how rich the wonderfully weird marine life in Lembeh is.
Sit back and relax in our comfortable tenders while we take you cruising into the labyrinths of a thousand lagoons, islands and caves through the magic surrounds of Misool Island. Or enjoy a ride with one of our canoes or SUP’s among the many islands.
A Water proof bag is ideal here to transport your camera and other electronic devices[:]