The crossing is undoubtedly the most amazing diving trip you could ever do in Asia, and some might argue the world. Where else can you spend sixteen days on a beautiful boat, Mermaid II, diving the most remote and pristine reefs, walls, and pinnacles available available in what the scientists have proven to be the most bio-diverse waters of the world.
Starting in Raja Ampat, the kingdom of coral, on April 26 Mermaid II left for our Crossing through the Banda Sea and into Maumere, eastern Flores, escorted by beautiful weather, calm seas, and at times dolphins and whales!
Beneath the gently rolling waves, walls cascading with rainbow-coloured soft coral were a staple though the Banda Sea along with thriving schools of pelagic fish like giant and big eye trevally as well as colourful reef fish like the clouds of pyramid butterfly fish. Groups of scalloped hammerheads were spotted in the blue on a handful of locations as well as huge tuna and even a sleeping leopard shark!
The protected bays in the Banda Islands led us to a pod of melon head whales which seemed to take up the entire bay. There were a hundred or more of these small-toothed whales resting on the surface allowing us to snorkel with them for some time. Floating on the surface surrounded by fifty or more singing whales was easily one of the highlights of the entire trip.
Alor was also one of the higher points of the trip with its crazy beautiful reefs which offered some truly unique diving. Several sites were several-kilometre-long reefs which were literally covered by anemones, like some strange bubbly carpet. For the photographers on board, the surreal beauty was almost too much to handle. At various times during the dives in Alor we would suddenly be greeted by some exuberant diving children flashing giant smiles as their fathers would also come free-diving down for several minutes at a time as they hunted with homemade spear guns and wooden goggles!
It took some serious concentration for all of us divers to concentrate on one thing as one amazing moment was interrupted by another and another! It didn’t matter where we dived, every thing was just absolutely incredible, pelagic chaos everywhere, and we were the only boat as far as the eye could see!
Mermaid II, Diving Cruise at Raja Ampat-Banda Sea-Alor-Maumere
April 26 – May 11, 2018