Colors of Kei
Eastern Banda Sea & Triton Bay

The cruise ‘Colors of Kei’ combines two dive regions that are both world class but very different one from another: the chain of islands at the eastern border of the Banda Sea; and, Triton Bay, just off the Papuan mainland.

Our cruise commences in Saumlaki, the main city on the island of Tanimbar, in the deep Southeast of the Banda Sea. Soon upon leaving Saumlaki, we will start diving the many surrounding islands and islets; some of the diving here still has exploration character, since the area is very rarely visited let alone dived. Moving north, we will next dive the Watubela chain of islands; here, crystal clear water, steep walls, and some of the most amazing table coral gardens await us. We the currents are running, there is a fair chance to see batteries of barracuda and the biggest Napoleon wrasses anywhere to be found!

Leaving the Moluccas, we will cross over to the Papuan mainland and Triton Bay to experience a very different scenery both above and below the waterline: densely forested mountains, their peaks more often than not veiled in clouds, make a dramatic backdrop to underwater slopes alive with the most delicate and colorful soft corals over which big schools of fish are feeding and hunting. Given the close proximity to the mainland, visibility varies significantly, and we will need to select our sites and time our dives with this in mind.

On the day prior to disembarkation, we will visit the huge limestone labyrinth inside the bay, prior to pulling into Kaimana. From here, guests can continue to Ambon, Sorong or Jakarta. Saumlaki, our port of embarkation, can easily be reached by plane from Jakarta or Ambon



Dive Blog - Colors of Kei

Check out our dive blog and read up on some spectacular dives we had on this cruise itin!

30-Nov-14: Batu Kelapa
Arguably the dive that holds the record on this cruise for highest fishcount and biomass in the shallows. As we backrolled and went down to 5-10m, we literally almost could not see the reef shallows, so thick were the streams of fusiliers and surgeonfish. As we moved deeper and onto the ridge, and oceanic manta swept in for a thorough cleaning job at the local station.

28-Nov-14: Sunken City
Fish all around, all softcoral open and blossoming, even though the current was very mild. Some divers saw only part of this extensive and varied dive site, as an oceanic manta came in an got cleaned and still was not satisfied with the result, as the divers already needed to head for shallower waters.

26-Nov-14: Tatumbar Point
There was current, and the yellow and orange tubbastrea were all open, at what bis arguably one of the best wall dives in all of Indonesia. Besides enticing the soft coral to feed, the current alos brought in lots of fish, including many large Napolean wrasses and some giant trevally, while schools of bumphead parrotfish were trying to defy the current and keep munching away!

24-Nov-14: Mid-Ridge
With almost the entire top of the ridge covered in silversides, we watched as schools of hungry mackerels scads, yellow-spotted trevally and tiny bonitos shot through the shimmering clouds of tiny fish. The numerous Napoleon wrasseds appeared to be among the few fish here not caught up in a feeding frenzy!

07-Apr-14: Ancient Reef
Once again we had a terrific dive on Ancient Reef. In a fairly mild current and with superb viz, we drifted along the Eastern edge of the reef which was packed just with fish. A little bit off the Eastern edge, we saw a hammerhead shark; we also saw oceanic mantas at two different cleaning stations.

04-Apr-14: Enchanted Forest
While visibility was rather poor, our afternoon dive on Enchanted Forest probably marked a new record with respect to biomass, or fish count, for this invariably very fishy dive site. There were thousands of fusiliers and surgeonfish; hundreds of snappers; a large school of batfish; Napoleon wrasses of all ages, sizes and colors; two giant groupers; countless silver and oriental sweetlips; clouds of bannerfish; pairs of angelfish just about everywhere. The only characters we were looking for but missed were the snubnose pompanoes we frequently see here … they might as well have been around but hopelessly outnumbered by all the rest!

02-Dec-13: Bat Cave
Throughout the dive, we were torn between: cruising at low heights over the forests of black coral, looking at silver sweetlips, oriental sweetlips, and searching for critters; and, looking up at the clouds of glassfish, shifting endlessless under the surface, thereby creating arrays of formations that every know and then got punched right through by marauding Spanish mackrels or blue trevally.

30-Nov-13: Tg. Pala
We started the dive amidst a large school of batfish, prior to proceeding down the ridge, searching for marbled rays on the sandy bottom of the ridge, for woggebongs under the many rocks, and looking at the forest made of tubbastrea, black and soft coral.

29-Nov-13: Enchanted Forest
In addition to all the usual characters we typically see on this world-class site – Napolean wrasses of all sizes and ages, the rare snubnose pompano, dozens of oriental sweetlips, pairs of angelfish everywhere, wobbegong sharks, large schools of surgeonfish and fusiliers – today we were greeted by a whaleshark!

27-Nov-13: Ancient Reef
On our dive here today, the entire reef was packed with fish of all types, at all depths, while the water was clear as glass. And the hammerhead shark patrolling a little off the reef was the just the ice on the cake!

03-Apr-13: Tatumbar Point
While not quite as fishy as typically, this dive was clearly one of the highlights of the cruise. Blessed with 50m+ visibility and propelled by a very gentle current, we drifted along the deep wall, past the the steep cracks and over the deep pinnacle. There was just enough current for the yellow and red tunicates to open must of their buds, and their colorful stands appeared to extend all the way down the wall and into abyssimal depth. Over on the plateau in the shallows, a school of still sleepy giant trevallyes emerged one animal after the other from a large rocky cave, getting ready for the daily hunt as the tide would soon start to rise.

01-Apr-13: The Hospital
Due to an extremely strong current we had a rather challenging dive, and had no choice but to hop from bommie to bommie where we hooked in and watched what was going on around us – which at times was difficult since there was action everwhere! Mutiple schools of barracuda stopped by to check us out, jacks swirled past, a giant grouper of amazing dimensions circled amongst the bommies, and every now and then a virtual curtain made of of thousands of fusiliers streamed past, almost totally obscureing our view!

31-Mar-13: Tg. Pala
Our timing to hit this typically current swept site was perfect: we had only a gentle current, and very clear water. Within minutes upon backrolling from our dive tenders, we were mobbed by a large school of batfish, and the school kept growing as a sheer endless stream of batfish coming out of the depth decided to join in. As we worked our way down the ridge, and stopped at a marbled ray taking a rest on the sandy bottom off the ridge, a large school of giant trevallies suddenly appeared and immediately began circling us, with the closest animals no further than an arm's length away from us!

30-Mar-13: Selat Iris Bagan
What can you say when you spend an entire dive with a whaleshark? There was only one this time, however he was as friendly and curious as whalesharks get, doing his first couple of rounds under the bagan to check us all out, one by one, and then showing off for our photos and videos, which thanks to clear water came out really well!