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The Banda Sea – What is the attraction?


During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Malukus islands became extremely popular due to the unique spices that grew there, re-labelling the location as the “Spice Islands.” The small archipelago of the Banda Islands became the hot-spot for these unique and extremely sought after spices.  One endemic spice became popular with Europeans, and  following claims of its medicinal qualities and a possible cure for the black plague the Banda region became a battle ground for control for the sought after spice, Nutmeg.


Common sense depicts that remote locations with limited access to human interaction holds an abundance of unspoiled beauty.  The Banda Islands compliment this theory very well with a huge array of bio-diversity above and beneath the surface.  The Bali, Flores and Banda Sea all connect to create a voyagers delight.  Sat on deck beneath the sails one always has the opportunity of dolphins or whales breaching across the watery expanse.  In the early evening the spectacle of the sun bursting into the water, emitting shards of orange and yellow streaks across the sky raise a smile for those in the moment and living a unique experience.  In these moments you, like I, may feel the link between voyagers of a bygone era and our own experiences.  The sunsets and sea creatures before you ultimately display the same images witnessed hundreds of years before.  Pretty unique in the modern world.


With so much depth and water movement, the Banda Sea creates a huge attraction for thousands of aquatic species.  Until recently the Banda Sea was merely a passageway for liveaboards between Raja Ampat and Komodo with the odd dive here and there. It is now very apparent that it is fundamentally a scuba diving heaven.  The diving is seasonal with September to December being the prime months for the most action.  October is a particularly good month to dive as the waters are oxygen rich attracting schools of Pelagics such as Manta Rays and schooling Hammerheads. 


Most dive operators running liveaboards in the Banda Sea will operate between various destinations with the most common being Maumere, Flores, and Ambon Island, Maluku. 

There are plenty of flight links into Maumere via these airports:

  1. Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi
  2. Kupang, Nusa Tenggara
  3. Denpasar, Bali
  4. Labuan Bajo, Komodo


Domestic flights within Indonesia are extremely busy and it is common for small delays in the morning to have a knock-on effect in the afternoon. Plan ahead and wherever possible book early departure times to avoid lengthy delays or even missed connections.

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