Great Eastern ArcFrom South Raja Ampat via Seram Laut and Watubela into Kei
Our itinerary ‘Great Eastern Arc’ combines two world class dive regions in a single cruise: the Southern islands of Raja Ampat and the Eastern rim of the Banda Sea. Both areas have their own unique attractions, and hence this itinerary offers some of the best diving in the country along many different dimensions.
Upon leaving Sorong, our first stop is at the Southern shores of the island of Batanta, one of the 4 Kings comprising Raja Ampat. We dive a series of black sand bays, a prime habit for critters like nudibranches, ghost pipefish and seahorses. Next, an overnight passage brings us to the karst island-dotted seascape lying to the East of Misool. Over the next couple of days, we sample some of the best dive sites in all of Raja Ampat, with brilliantly colored soft corals and myriads of schooling fish.
From Misool we cross the Seram Sea to reach the small island of Koon in the Seram Laut Group. Here, strong currents from the depth create an environment that attracts feeding fish, big and small.
Continuing on further south along the Great Eastern Arc, we reach the Watubela chain of islands. Crystal clear water with 40m + visibility, steep walls, stunning underwater rock formations, and some of the best hard coral gardens await us here. What’s more, large batteries of barracuda and big gatherings of Napoleon wrasses are also among the highlights of diving Watubela.
The night before disembarkation, the Tambora we will pull into Tual harbor, from where you can catch your flight back into Ambon and onwards across Indonesia.
Dive Blog - Dive Blog – Great Eastern Arc
Check out our dive blog and read up on some spectacular dives we had on this cruise itin!
27-April: Sardine Reef
One of the best dives we have ever had on Sardine Reef, with clear water and big schools of just about every fish imaginable, as black tip sharks were dozing in the sand off the slope. And watching a large adult Napoleon wrasse for minutes on end and from very close while she was getting cleaned next to a rock was awesome!
24-April: Wagmab Wall
Thanks to rather poor visibility (!), there was an abundance of food in the water, resulting in thick clouds of glassfish in the shallows just about everywhere all along the wall. And, their predators were around in large numbers, too: countless mobula rays, large schools of blue and bludger trevally, and even some giant trevally.
21-April: Batu Kalig
With only a slight current running, we managed to make a full tour around the rock, which is equally beautiful on all sides. However, the clear highlight was the ridge, which was very fishy and had four sharks patrolling it at various depths all the time.
18-April: Balbulol Ridge
As so often here, visibility was rather poor. However, thanks to hitting this site at slack tide, we had a superb dive. We backrolled from our tenders directly into a mixed school of batfish and giant trevally. As they moved on, a large eagle ray came through, followed by a mobula ray. The first 10 minutes had past already, and we had not moved one inch from where we had dropped in! As we started to swim around, one by one all the other residents of this site appeared: the jacks, barracudas, pinjalo snappers.
17-April: Nudi Rock
One of the best dives we ever had on Nudi Rock! With only a slight current and good visibility, we drifted back and forth along the north side of the rock and could have take in the two pinnacles to the East. The fish appeared to have agreed separate territories among themselves, with the immediate north face of the rock belonging to thousands of fusiliers, the open water at tiny bit further out to pinjalo snappers, and the pinnacles to jacks and barracuda. Fish soup, and spiced up by three dolphins that swam past!
15-April: Too Many Fish
It had been a while since we last visited Koon island, the Easternmost island in the Seram Laut Group; and we were all the pleased to see that the diving here, if at all, had been getting even better since! On both dives we did here, we were greeted by crystal clear waters, a stunningly beautiful and intact reef scenery, and abundant fish life: an enormous school of batfish in the deep, and a second one over the reef flats; big-eye trevallies everywhere; the silvery reflections of giant trevallies circling very deep down the undulating wall; and, large snappers and barracuda. And with all this fish actions going on around us, one of our guides still managed to spot a ghost pipefish!
14-April: Three Drunks
We hit this spot at almost perfect conditions, towards the end of a rising tide, with just enough current running to allow us to drift along without much effort. The variety of underwater topographies this dive site offers is stunning – starting with the large rock boulders covered in blooming soft corals, over the current swept plateau with its low growing sponges, soft coral and large table corals, all the way to the caves and overhangs in the shallows – all in one and the same dive! And the large schools of unicorn surgeonfish and bluefin trevally greeting us on the plateau gave this dive an extra kick!