DISCOVER THE FORGOTTEN ISLANDS WITH ARENUI LIVEABOARD

Forgotten Islands - for true explorers and divers seeking out something new and unusual as we take you from one secret paradise to another.

The Forgotten Islands are part of a remote archipelago in the south-east corner of the Moluccas (Maluku Tenggara). The port of Saumlaki - capital of the Tanimbar Islands - is roughly 600 kilometers south east of Ambon and further east than Alor and East Timor (roughly 630 kilometers east of the capital Dili). Despite the remote feeling in other parts of Indonesia (such as Alor or Banda), the Forgotten Islands are isolated even by Indonesian standards, covering an area that spans from the West Papua area of New Guinea all the way to the island of Timor.

Cruises that include the Forgotten Islands can either begin or end in the unique destinations of Alor or Ambon. This ensures that taking a Forgotten Islands cruise will be a truly exciting adventure as you will visit and dive in two top destinations.

FORGOTTEN ISLANDS DIVE SITES

Diving in the Forgotten Islands you can expect to find plenty of rare and unusual critters and stunning corals, but you will also have fantastic opportunities for pelagic sightings and schools of larger fish such as barracuda and mackerel, as well as the chance to meet schooling hammerhead sharks.
Dive sites in the Forgotten Islands are in the Banda Sea and are particularly noticeable for the crystal clear blue sea, deep walls and huge sponges. The stunning walls of the Banda Sea are beautiful and healthy due to the isolation of these areas. The sunlight in the shallows of the dive sites light up the dancing anthias that really look like someone is throwing up ‘confetti fish’!

Dawera Island is a definite stop on our Forgotten Islands itinerary. As well as the diving we can visit the isolated tropical island village nestled on a beautiful white sand beach and sheltered by a line of palm trees and a bamboo forest. There is a seamount off this isolated island, which in our eyes counts as one of the best dive sites in the world! The local villages don’t even fish here because they can catch all that they need from the surrounding area. It has hardly been dived either, hence an immaculate, untouched reef so full of fish you don’t know where to look. On the current side the entire reef is covered with pyramid butterfly fish and when they mix in with the hundreds of neon fusiliers and surgeon fish the colourful effect is striking. There’s a resident school of thousands of big-eyed trevallies that zoom back and forth across the dive site. A big school of batfish also make this pinnacle their home. White tip reef sharks, eagle rays, grey reef sharks and, most excitingly, silver tip reef sharks can be spotted here.

OCEAN LIFE FOCUS

In the Forgotten Islands expect long walls with extremely healthy coral life and immaculate, untouched seamounts. Look for the giant barrel sponges and immense sea fans. In the shallows the hard coral gardens are decorated with colourful anthias. ‘Big stuff’ can include schooling hammerheads, silver, white and black tip reef sharks, napoleon wrasse, mobula rays, bumphead parrotfish, eagle rays, turtles, thresher sharks along with schooling jacks, barracuda, surgeonfish and fusiliers. ‘Small stuff’ includes pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, octopus, triggerfish, lionfish, moray eels, scorpionfish and dragon shrimps.

The Forgotten Islands are fast becoming famous for the schooling and individual hammerhead sharks that can be seen there. There are several areas where the sharks have been seen - at Dusborgh, Nil Desparandum, Manuk and in the Banda Islands. Dusborgh and Nil Desparadum are sea mounts far from any islands and are surrounded by very deep water. Manuk is the most eastern volcano in Indonesia. Here sea snakes are abundant and very curious! Diving here you will soon got used to the snakes coming at you from all directions to take a sniff at your fins or even your face!! Manuk attracts frigates and brown and red footed boobies so surface intervals can be spent watching these birds souring above the volcano.

Always a very popular land excursion with our guests is the tour of Banda Neira in the Spice Islands. You will visit the Banda Islands during the North Forgotten Islands cruise. Disembarking by the old colonial balustrades of the seafront hotel you feel that you have stepped back in time. The clean, quiet streets of Banda Neira are a pleasure to stroll around. The quaint little museum is the first stop on the tour and an old diving helmet is one of the other artifacts on show there. A short stroll up the hill takes you to the old Dutch fort with wonderful views over the harbour and to the neighbouring volcano. The town is so peaceful and undeveloped that it feels like the view really hasn’t changed in centuries. Back down the hill on the other side and through a nutmeg plantation your guide will demonstrate how to pick the ripe nutmegs. With the glove and cinnamon trees, the fresh smell of spices assails your nose. The final stop on the tour is at the plantation owner’s house for a mid-morning snack of cinnamon tea and nutmeg cake and jam under the shade of the cocoa tree.

Indonesia is not greatly affected by seasons that prohibit diving, so instead it is more important to factor in the weather and the calmness of the seas in terms of enjoying the crossings, when planning a trip to this remote archipelago. There are usually calmer seas between September and November, so our cruises are scheduled to fit within this window. Any earlier in the year can be affected by strong winds, but then any later into December or the early months of the year can be prone to monsoons and the rainy season.

FORGOTTEN ISLANDS - USEFUL INFORMATION
INTERNATIONAL HUB Jakarta (CGK)
CURRENT gentle to strong
DIVING DEPTH 5 - 30 mt
NUMBER OF DIVE SITES 43+
SEA CONDITIONS can be rough in Banda Sea
SUITABLE FOR intermediate to advanced
VISIBILITY 10 - 40 mt
WATER TEMPERATURE 25- 30℃