10 - 21 October 2020
Wildiaries has teamed up with Pindito Expeditions and SMY Ondina who have been running small ship cruises in eastern Indonesia for nearly 30 years. Working with vessels who have an exemplary safety and hospitality record, these specialist trips present the opportunity for guests to be directly involved in gathering important and new information that can help lead to better decision-making for protection of marine species and locations.
For many, seeing a Blue Whale in the wild is enough to bring them to tears. The impact is profound when you realise how and why the largest animal that ever lived on Earth came to be in this this place
... when we talk at Wildiaries about ‘a new way to see’, this is what we mean. Banda Sea is a place that has all the majesty of the Himalayas but the mystery of a place forgotten and much concealed beneath a vast ocean.
One of my favourite images, from 2019, taken in the shadow of an oceanic volcano (below), features the speck of a traditional boat, one of many that migrate 100 miles over open ocean each season, to fish in these rich waters. It’s a humbling feeling being dwarfed by wilderness and wildlife on such a grand scale - and all the more reason why it’s important to contribute something back as an investment in its people, nature and places.
Blue Whales and the myriad of other sea creatures that live here offer a glimpse into the abyss, a chance to connect with the oceans and to understand the fundamental forces of nature, that created life on Earth.
This special trip is designed to give us extended time with Blue Whales ... great for photographers and explorers. It also allows us time to gather important information and start conversations in support of protecting these important places. For those who love snorkeling or diving, there is warm water and an abundance of coral reef and animals to see.
I am looking forward to sharing your company in the Banda Sea in October 2020 for this fantastic and revealing expedition.￼
For just a few months of the year, fuelled by nutrients from the deep, the Banda Sea plays host to one of our ocean’s greatest wildlife events. Blue Whales migrate here from southern Australia and congregate to feed on copepods.
“We sat on the ship and saw perhaps as many as 20 Blue Whales feeding within site, diving every 10 minutes and surfacing almost on the spot” Simon Mustoe, Wildiaries
These rich waters are also home to curiously-named and rarely seen species: Rough-toothed Dolphins and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales. Occasionally guests site a Dugong (a snorkeler on one trip was fortunate to have one swim right past). Whale Sharks and Manta Rays are frequently observed and Hawksbill Turtles are abundant.
On this trip you’ll join local experts, seasoned explorers and scientists, to learn about and observe rare creatures in one of Earth’s wildest places. You’ll visit remote oceanic volcanoes on the edge of a 7,000m deep abyss; discover the rich cultural history of Banda Neira, with its Dutch fortress and legendary spices that launched European economies.
Above all else, this is a chance to relax and have a wonderful holiday in the company of like-minded and adventurous people.
Itineraries are kept deliberately flexible to respond to conditions and animals’ behaviour.
Indicative Itinerary (11 days, 10 nights)
- DAY 1 Depart Ambon
- DAY 2 - 5 Travel, search for and spend time with Blue Whales
- DAY 6 - 8 Manuk Island and Banda Neira
- DAY 9 - 11 Misool / Raja Ampat
- DAY 12 Flights depart Sorong
Diving (optional) will be possible on at least day 1, 2(AM), 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12(AM) (latter only AM as determined by flights).
- Full Board on board, Tea, Coffee, Snacks and 1 Soft Drink at lunch and Dinner.
- Transfers from/to nearest airport to/from the vessel
- Accommodation in a double or twin bed cabin with en-suite shower bath, toilet and AC
- 2 snorkel / dives* (optional) and 1 night dive unless weather conditions or long sailing distance do not permit it. First and Last Cruise days are excluded due to safety reasons and flight schedules. These dates we will dive accordingly.
- Land excursions when clearly specified in the cruise planning.
- All entrance fees to National Parks
- Diving tanks and weights for divers and snorkeling gear for non-divers
- Multilingual guides
- Continual wildlife-watching and interpretation, plus zodiac excursions.
- Expert guides on hand 24/7
- Any flights to and from departure city / cities.
- Any pre/post tour accommodation and meals.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Any kind of beverages while in transit.
- Emergency rescue costs (local/international).
- All expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone bills etc.
- Bank transfer charges (directly paid to your bank).
- Tips for the crew (we recommend per guest/day EUR 15.00 / USD 20.00)
- Harbour fees (payable on board) (€200)
- Dive insurance (from 2013 onwards mandatory for all cruises)
- Souvenirs onboard
- Dive courses (i.e. Nitrox course. Note, OW and AOW will not be provided on this trip)
- Nitrox and gear hire (for divers).
*PRICE is USD 5890. The price in AUD is estimated at an exchange rate of 1$AU = 0.67$US. The final amount will vary.