Over 13,000 islands, 3000 species of fish and around 600 species of coral are three great reasons to visit Indonesia. With diverse dive sites and liveaboard options, there is an Indonesian adventure for every diver and all budgets.
Divers can sail the islands aboard traditional wooden phinisi sailing yachts and Dutch Schooners, or cruise the islands on a luxury floating hotel. The Empress II liveaboard is a great budget option for diving Komodo and Raja Ampat. She offers many diver comforts, such as an electric lift to lower divers into the water (eliminating the need for a giant stride entry), and there is a decompression chamber onboard. Empress II liveaboard safaris visit the Komodo National Park, Ambon, Raja Ampat, and the Forgotten Islands.
Batu Balong, Komodo
This huge pinnacle just to the west of Komodo Island reaches a depth of 250 feet (75 m) and is primarily a wall dive. Fisherman have long avoided this area due to the rocky terrain and exceptionally strong currents, leaving Batu Balong in absolutely pristine condition. Scuba diving deep, divers are likely to see huge Napoleon wrasse and oceanic whitetip sharks, while hundreds of reef fish can be enjoyed at shallower depths.
Manta Alley, Komodo
True to its name, this dive site attracts manta rays and consists of several channels. The rocks are lined with bright orange soft corals, which are home to a wide variety of critters including harlequin shrimp. The channels are at 60 feet (18 m) depth and divers can spot giant trevallies, barracuda, and even black spotted ribbontail rays.
Cannibal Rock, Komodo
This is perhaps one of the best dive sites to explore whilst enjoying a Komodo liveaboard. It is an all-round beautiful site and has green, pygmy seahorses perched on purple gorgonian fans, blue anemones, and incredible shoals of fusiliers.
Bird Wall, Raja Ampat
Bird Wall is the best dive site at Waigeo Island and lies to the south of the island. This dive site features gentle slopes that level off at 100 feet (30 m). Coral bommies are scattered throughout the site, attracting dense congregations of reef fish, nudibranchs and an array of other critters. This is the perfect dive spot for macro photographers, who can take advantage of the fantastic light conditions made possible by 100 foot (30 m) water visibility.
Cenderawasih Bay, Raja Ampat
This famous dive site is almost completely sheltered from the winds and features one of the best whale shark encounters in Indonesia. Divers can witness the fascinating relationship between whale sharks and fisherman at Cenderawasih Bay. The fishermen give fish to the whale sharks to bring luck, and numerous whale sharks can be found there year-round. Cenderawasih Bay is also the location of an unknown number for World War II wrecks, providing a fantastic assortment of dive sites.
Ambon is known for its fantastic muck diving and Laha, on the Northern coast of Ambon, is no exception. It is a large muck diving site that has been categorised as three neighbouring dive sites, Laha I, II and III. Considered one of the best dive areas in Ambon, the species at the three sites seem to migrate between the different sites, making each dive feel very unique.
Laha is renowned for an overwhelming number of eel species including blue ribbon, chain moray, snowflake, and many more. The highly venomous blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and wonderpus are all frequent visitors. Fingered dragonets, stargazers and crocodile fish can be spotted camouflaging themselves into the muck, while leaf scorpion fish tend to congregate near the coral bommies.