When we talk about critters heaven in Indonesia, we often refer to Lembeh strait. However, another less known and less crowded critters destination, offers exceptionnal dive sites full of amazing small and weird creatures. It’s Ambon, capital of Maluku province, island in Banda Sea.
Ambon city is capital of the vast archipelago province of Maluku. With its long history since the day of the famed spice trade by Dutch colonists, it’s now a bustling hub and center of trade, education, culture and development. The city of Ambon was found around late 1500s, and covers now the area along Ambon bay and Baguala bay. The Ambonese are of mixed Malay – Papuan origin. They are mostly Christians or Muslims.
Muck diving in Ambon is unique, most of the dives are located in Ambon bay, where critters choose to make a home in black sand. You will frequently observe critters as rhinopias, many species of frogfish, mandarin fish, ghost pipefish, spider crabs, harlequin shrimp, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue ring octopus, seahorse, stonefish to name a few, along with hundreds of different species of nudibranch.
The south side of Ambon island is coral covered caves, reefs and walls full of marine life.
Dive are not deep (max 20m) and can last 70mn. Visibility can reach 15m and site are affected by a moderate to strong current. Water temperature reaches 28° in dry season, and may drop to 24°in rainy season.
Ambon might be qualified as critters heaven without a diver crowd.
The dry season goes on from September to April, then rainy season takes place from May to August. Diving all year round is possible, but it’s better to avoid rainy months of June and July.
Getting to Ambon is pretty easy. Daily flights from Jakarta and Denpasar are scheduled, as also regular flights from Manado and Sorong.
An alternative to resort stay, is Banda Sea liveaboards which operate from September to December, and in April – May. They deserve Ambon bay, but also Banda and Seram islands.