Trip Reports

Oct 24, 2018

KM Raja Manta Banda Sea & Ring of Fire 16-24 Oct

Preparing for a KM Raja Manta trip in the Banda Sea & Ring of Fire is always exciting, expectation is high amongst both guests & crew as everyone is impatient to start our adventures in one of the world's best diving destinations. For this trip we were happy to see more than a few familiar faces amongst our guests, we quickly got settled and were ready for a check out dive close to Ambon. A nice muck dive, we put all focus on small creatures. Rhinophias (lacey scorpionfish) were the highlight but also octopus, ribbon eels, shrimps etc were found. The rest of the afternoon and night we crossed to our first hotspot for hammerhead sharks.

 The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise, excitment was building as we looked forward to 3 amazing dives that awaited us. Regarding hammerhead sightings, we were not too lucky today– we only saw a few – but does it matter when you can dive amongst beautiful barrel sponges, seafans and schooling fish? Lava Flow was the last dive of the day. Abundant and astonishingly healthy hard corals have performed an unbelievable recovery since volcano Gunung Api erupted in 1986, devastating most of the coral in the surrounding shallow water. Later, that afternoon, followed a tour of Banda Naira and Fort Belgica.

An overnight crossing was necessary for the ongoing pursuit of schooling hammerheads. We awoke to another beautiful sunrise. The first dive brought luck: but just a few hammerheads. Later in the day - it really kicked off, what a show! Rarely have we seen so many hammerheads at close quarters. It was out of this world. We opted to stay overnight and history was to repeat itself – phenomenal.

Photo Credit: Edward Chee

Never wanting to dwell too long in one place, for sake of variety and the unknown, we ventured to further Banda Sea riches. An unusual 4 dive day ensued, to make the most of a single day at the new hotspot. We were not disappointed, once again surrounded with hammerheads returning repeatedly for almost 10 minutes. What an amazing experience!

Photo Credit: Edward Chee

Next up.. Karang Hatta – a beautiful atoll with an amazing reef. A few groups got lucky and saw a few hammerheads here too. Beside that we saw a very big school of trevallies, mating octopus and spawning barrel sponges. Then, Pohon Miring. This divesite never disappoints because of it’s amazing swim-through and astonishing seafans. One last shot at the hammerheads that evening brought further success. During our sail we spotted 4 whales breaching – one of them came very close to the boat. We ended the trip with a couple of dives around Nusalaut with focus on coral reefs and small critters in great visibility and a plethora of finds.

What an amazing trip with amazing people.

Author: Kim Mortensen