Last update: June 20, 2022
How was our last dive trip from Sorong to Bitung?
This year, Ondina Liveaboard ran the epic trip Raja Ampat, Halmahera and Lembeh Strait on from 15.MAY.22 to 25.MAY.22. The cruise went incredibly well, with good weather and lots of current induced action, large schools of Jackfish and barracudas, and an unusual sight of an Omura whale, a subspecies of Bryde’s whale that is only found in the waters between Philippines, Raja Ampat and Halmahera.
Many liveaboard across the Indonesian Archipelago, now are offering traversing Banda Sea or Molucca Sea while traveling as the seasons change, all these liveaboard cruises offer some of the most exciting diving in Indonesia, but the long trip proposed by Ondina from Sorong to Bitung, is one of the ultimate liveaboard experiences in Asia! Why? Because offers to the divers, the better of 3 diverse regions of Indonesia: Misool, the best wide-angle diving in the entire archipelago of Raja Ampat; Halmahera -actually Halmahera, Bacan and Goraici Island Group in Patinti Strait-, is a vast expanse of sea great to spot pelagic and photograph large schools of fish; and finally, Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi, promises top class macro and muck diving.
Halmahera -actually Halmahera, Bacan and Goraici Island Group in Patinti Strait-, is a vast expanse of sea in North Maluku, Indonesia.
Sorong-Bitung dive cruise departures 2023 & 2024
Book in advance this very special dive cruise that takes place only once a year in the changing seasons. These are the scheduled departure for the dive cruise to Raja Ampat and Halmahera plus Lembeh Strait on 2023 and 2024:
May 09-20, 2023 - 11 nights - Sorong-Bitung - €4.070
July 01-12, 2023 - 11 nights - Bitung-Sorong - €4.070
May 12-23, 2024 - 11 nights - Sorong-Bitung - €4.070
June 24-05-July, 2024 - 11 nights - Bitung-Sorong - €4.070
You only need a small deposit to reserve your dive trip for 2023 or 2024 now!
The better of Raja Ampat, Moluccas and Sulawesi in one lifetime diving trip
This trip takes us from Sorong in West Papua, through the Moluccas Sea for diving Raja Ampat, Halmahera and the best of Manado and Lembeh in North Sulawesi. The 700 nautical mile journey takes us through a range of different land and seascapes. The trip starts in the beautiful Misool Island Group in Raja Ampat. On the south coast of Halmahera we will dive walls and drop-offs with big fish action. The small islands off the west coast of Halmahera home great coral reefs. The end of the trip in North Sulawesi offers you pristine coral reefs, great fish life and spectacular critter diving in the famous black sand of the Lembeh Strait. A diverse trip with something for everybody!
A MIX OF INDONESIA’S FINEST DIVING
The beauty of the Misool Island Group will carry you away. This entire region is one enormous ancient limestone basin and even has limestone as the seafloor. Those who have travelled to Palau can picture these little tropical islands covered of palms, with steep sided walls where wind and sea has worn the rock away.
The islands, or islets, are uncountable. The larger ones, like Misool itself, have canyons and lagoons speckled with white sand beaches ideal for tender boat rides. One can spend hours exploring and never see the same bay. It really is a place of great beauty both above and below the water. It's rightly being considered by the Indonesian government for national park status and by the United Nations as a world heritage site.
Misool is one of the places on earth where you´ll find the most various species of fish, hard and soft corals, sponges, worms, nudibranchs, shrimps and crabs and all kind of non-vertebrates, like cuttlefish and octopus. You will as well come across Wobbegong shark and Epaulette sharks, which you will only find in the region of “Raja Ampat“. Giant clams as well as fantastic tiny shells. Photographers as well as Videographers will have the dives of their lifetime.
Steep walls with excellent soft coral growth, sponges, sea fans and hard corals are the foreground to schools of barracuda, sharks, eagle rays and jacks. Humphead parrotfish, sweetlips and batfish and many other species can be seen here. Visibility is often 20m plus. For the night dive we move to a protected bay in southern Mandiolis.
Goraici Island Group
In the morning we reach the islands of Ado, Gafi and Siko – comprising the island group of Goraici. Here we will spend two days where you can expect diverse dive sites with excellent visibility. Amazing reeftops where hard and leather corals compete for space, submerged pinnacles, walls and slopes all with beautiful coral growth.
In the volcanic island of Makian a fantastic view awaits as we cruise closer to the volcano looms high with the sunrise behind. With an elevation of 600m and thick vegetation this will be a sunrise to remember. The natural beauty continues below the waterline. Under the pier we have a chance to do a great muck dive with frogfish, ghost pipefish, scorpion fish and all kinds of eels amongst the coral covered pillars. In the north of Makian, colorful coral contrasts beautifully with the black sand.
Overnight the cruise continues to the remote island of Tifore which lies in between Halmahera and Sulawesi. We will dive in 3 different spots with big fish action guaranteed. On the submerged reef we have a chance to see a big school of barracuda, and with a bit of luck you will watch as they form a barrel above you. Also look out for bigeye trevally, humphead parrotfish, sweetlips and many more. A dive do not miss.
Arrival in Bangka, North Sulawesi renowned for its diversity, coral growth and beautiful underwater scenery. Exciting dive sites with huge boulders and rocks overgrown with black coral. Rich coral gardens provide habitat for scores of fish. Pygmy seahorses, leaf scorpion fish, ghost pipefish and frogfish can also be found.
Here our journey will end, but not before we enjoy the special critter dives on offer here. The last dives will be on different dive sites in the Lembeh Strait. On the black sand you can find mimic octopus, hairy frogfish, flying gurnards, Pegasus sea moths and so many kinds of nudibranchs. Muck diving at its best.
Diving season: From May to June. The periods indicate are the best times for diving in this cruising route. Rainy season: From January to February and from June to August. Water temperature: 26-30°C. A 3mm shorty should be sufficient. If you feel the cold easily a 5mm shorty is advisable. Visibility: 10-30m. Depths: 5- >40m. Currents: Usually gently but can be strong. Surface conditions: Calm. Experience level: Beginner – intermediate – advanced. Dive sites: >80. Length of stay: Recommended 11-16 days on liveaboard cruise.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airports: Sorong Airport in West Papua and Manado Airport in Sulawesi, both airports are connected with domestic flights from Jakarta, Bali or Makassar, and all these are hub for international flights. Weather: 27-32ºC. Time zone: Sulawesi GMT +8, and Maluku and Papua GMT +9.
Enjoy your diving experience with Ondina Liveaboard in the remote coral reef of Halmahera in North Maluku, Indonesia. Contact now a Liveaboard Specialist