The Forgotten Islands, new best diving destination in Indonesia
Trip report of a journey dedicated to exploratory diving in one of the many remote corners of Indonesia: The Forgotten Islands
In recent years, our diving exploration of the largest archipelago in the world, has allowed us to offer our customers and friends, diving trips to places hitherto unknown: Raja Ampat, Triton Bay, Halmahera and the incredible dive site of whale sharks in Cendrawsasih Bay.
In order to always offer something new diving destination and driven by the thirst of consciousness, we started to explore the remote islands of the Moluccas group, a chain of small islands, which starts from the north-east of Timor and joins the group of Tanimbar west of Papua. Anthropologists call these islands: "Forgotten Islands", because historically had little contact with the rest of Indonesia.
Without airports, inhabited only by small fishing communities, these islands are surrounded by deep and transparent sea waters, open to the currents coming from northern Australia, which is located just over 200 miles to the south. They are ideal for the development of life marina. The human impact is still minimal, and it shows!
The liveaboard boat that will host us for 12 days is Ondina, with us on board an expedition of WWF Indonesia that will make a preliminary study for the future establishment of a marine park in the area. With us travel, a German biologist, who works for the University of Queensland, dedicated to the study, development and variety of larvae and their shifts in currents, 4 Indonesian biologists charged with counts of corals, big fish, small invertebrates. Stuart, an Australian from Melbourne, and resident of Bali is the diving expedition leader.
Precisely because of the lack of airports passengers and supplies -food, fuel, and everything you need for a 12 day cruise, must embark and start the from Maumere, port situated to the east of the island of Flores, well connected with daily flights to Jakarta and Bali. We are therefore faced many hours of sailing before arriving in Saumlaki, main of the islands Tanimbar, where our journey will end.
DIVING THE FORGOTTEN ISLANDS
For the first few days we proceed rapidly, making diving in the daytime, in the islands of Adonara, Kavula, and Alor, and sailing at night. This is an area already known, but still offers a excellent diving, especially macro, also pelagic, plus views of extreme beauty, between volcanoes emerging from the waters and small fishing villages, who come under the edge with their canoes to greet us and browse.
The first island of the Moluccas is Wetar, where we have an encounter, thankfully little closer with a huge saltwater crocodile, which begins to turn over the area where the divers are underwater. Luckily the guys manage to get him out deals before the end of the dive. A small population of those dangerous animals lives in a lagoon of brackish water, which is at the center of a small fishing village. Often dusk Crocodiles can be seen on the beach of the village where they love to spend the night. However the latent danger that these animals represent to the villagers, no crocodiles are killed, because in some traditional cultures from Indonesia, the crocodile is sacred or any case it life respected.
Romang, Nyata, Leti, Lakor, Moa, Dai, these are the names of the major forgotten islands, the more you move to the east and the greater marine life, diving are all in the walls, the platform of the islands always falls for hundreds of meters not far from the coast, the visibility is excellent. The corals are beautiful, many different species and large density. For lack of space, a species often grows above the other in a continuous struggle for a few inches of rock to cling to. The marine life offers a lot of pelagic, the impressive number of groupers -some of them really huge-, big napoleons, rivers of trevally and barracuda, tuna -even these often very large-, groups of 50-60 bump head parrot fish, then turtles, batfish, surgeons, fusiliers, and all the fish barrier –a diving paradise-.
Sharks, were not very many, but we have seen of each species, fox, silvertips, white and black tip, gray nurse. As throughout Indonesia even here the macro subjects are varied and numerous. Biologists are impressed by the wealth of the seabed.
In a dive to 5 meters deep, when we were going up finishing the dive we came across two sharks hammers in our ascending way to the dinghies. What a grand finale for a dive! But not for all. A Dude missed the bizarre sight and a new dive site was born: “No Hammer For My Pal”.
Regarding the hammer sharks, a parenthesis must open. In the Banda Sea are increasingly frequent sightings of large schools, from 40-50 up to groups of 300-400... Stuff of The Galapagos!
The presence of large amounts of hammerhead sharks, along with beautiful of the seabed, could be the spring that will develop diving tourism in this region. The more frequent encounters with the hammer sharks, took place in a tiny atoll, away from it all, where they think there might be a point of reproduction, and also near the Banda islands.
The limit is the fact that the Banda Sea is an open sea, without many harbors and shelters, and to avoid from June to September, on the dry months, but with strong wind coming from the South-East, which makes the rough sea, and from December to March, when the monsoons and sudden storms. Remain the months of October / November and April / May, when the sea is usually calm.
During this diving trip we often immersed in places never visited before, often in conditions of low current, causes an eclipse of the moon, and although some dives were of a very high level, higher than the most beautiful dives of Komodo, other dives were just optimum always with pelagic, a lot. Only in a very few cases –les than handful-, the diving was normal or disappointing. The new dive points have been baptized with names that recall what you see below: “Forgotten Magic Corner”, “Buffalo Reef” –cause enormous bump head parrots fish-, “To Dai-dive- For”, or “No Hammer For Pal”.
The Forgotten Islands and atolls that surround them have great potential for liveaboard diving, and we will hear talk so much about them in the near future.
LIVEABOARD DIVING TRIPS
Crusing Indonesia organizes liveaboard divig cruises in the region in from October to November and from April to May. The minimum duration of the liveaboard diving trip is 10 nights, due to the remoteness of the region from the nearest ports. Fish Action-Adrenaline Rush Guaranteed!
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