When it comes to legendary figures in the diving world, Peter Hughes sits right at the top of the list.
The chance to share time with him – both above and below water – is one not to be missed, and that makes Emperor Divers’ trip from Maumere to Ambon on board Emperor Harmoni in October a very special opportunity.
Peter has chosen to be a member of the party on the 12-night adventure, when he will be happy to share his knowledge and stories from 65-plus years of diving.
Renowned worldwide as a pioneer of the liveaboard trip, Peter has been diving since the 1950s and has received numerous awards and accolades, not least a place in the DEMA Hall of Fame.
However, despite all he has seen and done over many years, the Banda Sea is a part of the world Peter has yet to explore.
He said: “This is an area of Indonesia I have not experienced before, so I am anxious to see everything it has to offer. I am confident I will not be disappointed.
“My experience diving Indonesia has always been Komodo National Park, with one trip only to Raja Ampat. I preferred Komodo for some reason, but my knowledge of the geography of the Indonesian archipelago is limited at best – even though my wife and I took a cruise there over 21 days in 1983, which was one of the best experiences of our lives.
“I have not been diving for a while now and I am keen to get back underwater. And what better place than somewhere as special as Indonesia.
“In real estate they say it’s about ‘location, location, location'. Indonesian diving is ‘marine life, marine life, marine life'. The water in Indonesia is very close to, if not actually being, the most-prolific place to experience a variety of tropical marine life, from the teeniest to the biggest, in the world today.”
As someone who knows a thing or two about the liveaboards – his DEMA Hall of Fame award was for his part in developing and evolving the industry – Peter is very excited about getting the chance to see Emperor Harmoni for himself.
This beautiful, traditional phinisi-style vessel only welcomed guests on board for the first time back in September, and Peter is keen to get his chance to sample the fantastic experience she offers.
He explained: “I cannot wait to see Harmoni as, from past experience in Indonesia, I know she will be a shipbuilding work of art!
“There are many amazing liveaboards built of steel, aluminium and even fibreglass operating around the world today. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I am a traditionalist at heart. I appreciate the workmanship, the great talent, that goes into the building of a vessel such as Harmoni.
“Back in the late-1990s I had the privilege and pleasure of being involved with the Ombak Biru, which was doing business as the ‘Komodo Dancer’, and then the Dewi Nusantara, which was known as ‘Paradise Dancer’. It was when I was able to visit her build site, on the bank of a river in the jungle, that I realised the amazing skill of the traditional shipbuilders of Indonesia.
“What I most look forward to, beside the diving and reconnecting with special friends, is just sitting quietly, perhaps by myself once in a while, with a nice gin and tonic in hand – after all diving, of course – and letting my mind wander as to exactly where and how this amazing vessel came to be and immerse myself into all that it is!”
Not that Peter will be averse to sharing the odd tale or two.
“If I say so myself, I tend to be a quiet and pretty modest individual, but under the right circumstances (after a couple of adult beverages) and with the right audience, I can go on for hours with my story telling!”
And why choose Emperor for his return to diving?
“A very simple choice – I know any operation under the ownership and control of Alex (Emperor Divers CEO Alex Bryant), and his team will leave nothing to chance and will always offer a first-class experience.”
The Alor and Banda Sea trip takes place from 8-20 October and will give you the chance to discover some of the most breathtaking dive sites in Indonesia and learn from one of the most-respected names in the diving industry.
And it will be done in fine style, as Harmoni provides exceptional accommodation, world-class cuisine, and fantastic amenities. There are very limited spaces left available to join this once-in-a-lifetime trip in the company of a diving legend.