11 Days/10 Nights Maumere – Maumere Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Embarkation in Maumere
Day 2 Serbete Reef / Adonara Island (3 to 4 dives)
A perfect place for a checkout dive, this site has shallow reefs and sandbars. In addition to the exquisite coral gardens in the shallower areas, there are also fantastic walls that make for some nice, varied diving. Reef sharks, turtles and pygmy seahorses can all be spotted here.
After the first dive we will move to the southwest corner of Adonara Island, east of Flores. There is a very healthy reef in the shallows. Juvenile harlequin sweetlips and barramundi cods wiggle around inside the hard corals. Ribbon eels and numerous nudibranchs can be found between the reef and the slope that slowly drops down to around 25 metres/75 feet. At the west end of the dive site there are ledges extending along the sea floor with blue spotted stingrays, white tip reef sharks and sweetlips sheltering underneath. The eastern part is home to the ‘holy grail’ of fish the Rhinopias. We have found the weedy and paddle-flap scorpion fish here.
Day 3 Kawula Island (4 dives)
In the south-west of Kawula Island there is a bay with world class muck diving sites.
This dive site is a mixture of reef and white sandy slope full of amazing critters. Here we have another chance to see the allusive Rhinopias camouflaged in the coral slope. This is a perfect environment for different kinds of ghost pipefish including the very rare Halemeda ghost pipefish. Wunderpus and blue ring octopus were spotted here before. During the night dive juvenile brown-banded bamboo sharks, Helmut flying gurnards and frogfish crawl around the darkened site. A full day can easily be spent here in order to discover all the wonderful creatures.
The Frog and Catfish
So named due to the number of giant frogfish and the huge school of catfish found here the first time we dived this large jetty for the local ferries. The jetty provides an excellent place for giant frogfish to laze around the concrete posts. Rhinopias, mantis shrimps, ghost pipefish, nudis and leaf fish have also been found here. Diving at this site is dependant on the local ferry schedule and permission from the authorities.
Day 4 Pura Island (north) / Kalabahi Bay (4 dives)
Dives in the Alor/Pantar Strait promise a variety of thrills as the sites present a wide array of exciting possibilities, with topography ranging from dramatic shear drop-offs, spurs jutting out from the shore mingling together with shallow reefs where the light brings out the full colour of the dazzling corals covering all surfaces. The water temperature can be a little cooler in this area dropping from the normal 28/29 degrees Celsius (82-84 Fahrenheit) to a possible 24 Celsius (75 Fahrenheit).
Here you can see the famous Pura Island villagers splash out of their wooden dugout canoes diving underwater with homemade googles made out of wood and the ends of glass bottles.
During the day we will also look out for large pelagics who use the Pantar Strait as a thoroughfare. If there are any sightings of whales, dolphins or even Mola Mola we may forego a dive and head out in the tenders with snorkelling gear to see if we can have a lucky encounter.
At Yan Village there are several wonderful spots to dive. Walls covered in sponges topped with shallow hard coral reefs where you can spot the elusive Mandarin fish to black sandy slopes where fans of macro will get their fill too. Some examples of the critters here are frogfish, weedy scorpionfish, all sorts of nudibranchs and yellow, blue and black ribbon eels.
For the night dive we will head into Kalabahi. See day 6 for more details on Kalabahi Bay.
Day 5 Pantar Island (4 dives)
The beach in front of a tiny village nestled inside a calm bay on the south of Pantar Island provides a whole day of great diving. Between dives go for a walk in the village and visit the hot springs right on the beach.
The whole beachfront here is great muck diving. The black sand hides a whole host of critters including Rhinopias, frogfish, ghost pipefish, seahorses and a variety of nudibranchs. You can also see many different types of octopus here including wunderpus, mimic, coconut, starry night and white V.
Outside the bay on the right hand side (Kanang) corner (Tanjung) there is a wall with some separate coral heads in the deep. Look for tunas and mackerels passing by and on the wall enjoy the corals blooming in the currents. In the shallows ribbon eels and crocodile fish can be seen in the sand between the hard corals.
Day 6 Pura Island / Kalabahi Bay (4 dives)
We can dive in the morning around Pura Island or spend the day in Kalabahi enjoying the fantastic muck diving on offer.
Mucky Mosque and Rocky Church
These dive sites are two of the great muck dives possible inside Kalabahi Bay on Alor Island. The ‘holy grail of fish’ Rhinopias can be found here, with a chance to see both the weedy and paddleflap scorpionfish. Ghost pipefish, soft coral crabs, frogfish, various octopus including the wunderpus and mimic, snake eels, sea moths, sand divers and many other remarkable creatures The only way you are likely to see stranger ones is if you do a night dive here when unimaginable ones begin foraging out of their holes.
This large jetty provides shelter for a plethora of critters and the gentle sandy slope creates the perfect environment for more weird and wonderful critters. Small colonies of sponges house the very special tiger shrimp. Fire sea urchins provide protection for Coleman shrimps and zebra crabs. We have also seen Rhinopias, leaf fish, different types of octopus, frogfish, ghost pipefish juvenile batfish and barramundi cod and many types of nudibranchs.
Day 7 Pura Island (south) / Kalabahi Bay (4 dives)
Back at Pura Island we will dive the southern part of the island for the first two dives and then head back into Kalabahi Bay for the night dive.
One exceptional dive site on Pura Island is probably the only place in the world where you will see this phenomenon. The entire reef is completely covered in anemones of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy a drift dive along this site and enjoy the abundant fish life, with thousands of colourful anthias and damsels dancing off the reef. Take a look at photos of Clown Valley and other wide-angle opportunities in Alor here.
Day 8 Visit traditional Abui tribe village / Reta Island (1-2 dives)
In the morning we will visit Takpala or Latevui village, both villages still living by their old Abui traditions. The villagers will perform the Lego-Lego dance wearing traditional clothing with brass anklets that make a wonderful jingling sound as they perform. Afterwards there is an opportunity to purchase handmade ikat, woven fabrics of various colours and motifs, as well as jewellery and wooden artifacts. Take a look at our photo album of these villages at Alor Abui Tribe.
After the village tour we will do one more dive in the muck of Kalabahi and then travel out into the Alor/Pantar Strait to Reta Island where we will do one more dive. The number of dives on this day is dependant on the weather and currents.
This dive site is on Reta Island and has beautiful vertical walls with overhangs, undercuts and a deep plateau at 25m/75ft. It is full of hard and soft corals, barrel sponges and whip corals. At the top of the wall is a coral garden teeming with reef fish. In this area you should always keep an eye out into the blue for Mola.
Day 9 Kawula Island (2-4 dives)
Next to the north of Kawula Island there is a beautiful, calm bay overlooked by Lewotolo volcano. We spend the day diving here.
Tanjung Bacatan is within view of Lembata and Komba volcanoes. Tanjung means corner and the dive site is situated on a point on the north shore of Kawula island. The dive site consists of a wall covered in crevices and ledges covered in soft corals and large sponges with hard coral gardens in the shallows. At one end the wall turns into a white sandy slope hosting many varieties of reef fish and triggerfish. A resident school of barracuda can be seen here as well as turtles and maybe even large trevallies passing by.
In the middle of the bay there is a seamount we call Takat Prau. There is a small wooden fishing boat wrecked in the deep right next to a sea fan with pygmies. There can be schooling fusiliers here with small reef sharks patrolling the pinnacle. Leaf fish make their home in the shallows and large reef octopus are often spotted hunting in the hard coral.
This dive site has two sections. A huge expanse of white sand extends to the south and a mini wall and reef comes out from the corner of the island. In the sandy area look for waspfish, flounders, stingrays and ghost pipefish. On the wall algae shrimp, moray eels, lionfish and beautiful angelfish hide out. At the top of the reef there are healthy staghorn corals where you might spot a mandarin fish. At night the wall and reef come alive with shrimps and crabs and there is a chance you will see Spanish dancer nudis. Or hunt around in the sand for stargazers, bobtail squid and frogfish.
Visit to Pulau Komba, the volcanic island
Recently Komba volcano has gone quiet. If she is active again we will do two morning dives and then travel north into the Flores Sea to Komba to check out one of the “fire-breathing monsters” located in the middle of the ocean. The volcano rewards visitors with a fiery spectacle every 15-25 minutes complete with the dazzling sight of molten lava flowing down the mountainside and the sound of thunderous crashes as dust clouds are blasted out from deep inside the island.
Day 10 Tanjung Gedong / Pulau Babi (1-2 dives)
Depending on the overnight travel from Komba and the weather we will either visit Tanjung Gedong on the northeast of Flores Island or Pulau Babi close to Maumere.
This dive site is on the northeast of Flores at a corner called Tanjung Gedong. The reef slopes down into sandy areas with large coral heads. The deep sections are beautiful with soft corals and large table corals decorating the reef. Reef sharks and groupers can be seen here.
Pulau Babi literally means ‘pig island’. Its north end is bordered by a wide coral reef and faces the Flores Sea. Further south there is a small tidal flat where two villages were built. At the southern end of the island, the barrier reef tapers. It has deep walls with lots of cracks and crevices with leather corals in the shallows. Babi is home to many dive sites. One, called The Crack, was formed during an earthquake in 1992. Located in a reef 20 metres (66 ft) below the water, the 70-centimetre (28 in) crack reaches a length of 30 metres (98 ft).
After the dive we will travel closer to Maumere and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach or take a kayak around the calm waters of the bay.
Day 11 Disembarkation in Maumere
Total dives: 27-32 dives