Dive spots Banda archipelago
Visibility: Usually is good (20-30m) except some muck sites close to the harbour or where sand is easily stirred up.
Water Temperature: 20C/68F – 27C/80F
Skill Levels: Dive sites are available from beginner through advanced.
Dive Access: Land based diving, boat diving and shore diving. Many live-aboard start and end their itinerary in Ambon. Good option to add land based diving at the beginning or ending end of you live-aboard trip.
The Lava flow in the north of Gunung Api is probably one of Banda’s most extraordinary dive sites. After the volcano erupted in 1988, the gravel on the bottom of this dive site was covered with lava. Very soon, corals (mostly Acropora) started to grow on the cold lava and since then have formed a huge coral reef with nearly 100% hard coral cover. Why corals were able to grow so quickly is still not totally clear but the surface structure of the lava seems to play an important role. This dive site demonstrates very well how succession in a coral reef can take place. It is not only interesting for coral experts but is also a must for every diver who is visiting the Banda islands.
In general, Batu Kapal stands out because of the amazing visibility that often reaches 40-50 m. This is also the place with a chance to see larger pelagic fish. However, Batu Kapal is also known for its strong changing currents that make diving impossible some times of the day.
Quite a few things make this place one of the top dive sites in Banda. A steep slope covered with coral, a straight and spacious 15-meter long swim-through full of gorgonias that exits next to a beautiful wall covered with sea fans and huge sponges, a rocky plateau full of small critters where big Napoleons and other fish like to play with the current and an amazing visibility that makes it a perfect package for divers who enjoy the current.
Pulau Hatta is known for its great snorkelling sites but it is even better for diving. In front of Hatta’s west shore beach, a 5 m wide hole in the reef top opens up to the open sea. You can dive down through it and will then find yourself looking back to what looks like a bridge on the coral reef. The bridge is covered with soft corals of all colours and underneath it, large Gorgonians that shelter a couple of Pigmy seahorses. You can continue the dive as a relaxed drift along the wall, one of Banda’s most diverse sites in terms of reef fish, shrimps, molluscs and corals. Sea turtle encounters are also quite frequent in Hatta.
Hatta’s other dive sites are similar to the wall of Hatta bridge. Fish and coral diversity is great everywhere, including schooling barracudas, batfish, Napoleon wrasses and much more.
Karang Hatta is a reef located South East of Pulau Hatta. Its dive sites are the nearest sites to the 6000m deep Banda trench, which makes diving interesting as the chances to see big pelagics are the best here. Schooling trevallies, barracudas, tunas and even chances to see bigger sharks (hammerheads and grey reef sharks), as well as many turtles can be seen around this underwater mountain. The reef surface had been bombed years ago but is showing good signs of recovery already.