Manta Rays.. (photo by Parvita)

Manta Rays.. (photo by Parvita)

The waves tossed around the rubber boat that took the six of us to the dive point. Doubt and hesitant started to emerge, but the flowing adrenaline then overtook, as we were expecting to meet one of the most beautiful marine creatures. And we didn’t have to wait for long at all. As soon as we back-rolled from the boat and started to dive, we were immediately greeted by one, two, three, four of 2-3 meters wide manta rays. We continued to descent to 27 meters depth, and more manta rays appeared. The healthy coral reefs around us with all its occupants were momentarily forgotten as we enjoyed the beautiful performance of dozens of manta rays that come and say hello. Komodo archipelago waters was really spoiling us..

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Diving at Banda... (photo by Nia Aritonang)

Diving at Banda… (photo by Nia Aritonang)

Visiting Banda would not be complete if we do not enjoy the stunning underwater scenery offered around the islands. The beauty of the underwater garden around the archipelago, located 213km to the southeast of Ambon, is already well known to the entire world, attracting tourists to enjoy the beauty and diversity of more than 300 types of hard coral in Banda underwater. And that is precisely what we are doing. We have come all the way from Jakarta and Timika, surely we would not want to miss the opportunity to dive into the crystal clear waters of Banda.

Due to the archipelago’s remoteness from other densely populated islands and also because it is surrounded by the deep sea, the waters are very clear in the Banda Islands. Visibility of 30 meters or more is a common thing in these waters. Healthy coral, which also means the numbers of reef fish in the area, is also an added value. All of those, we would prove them ourselves right in the first day we arrived in Banda Neira. We did not wait for long. After checking in to the hotel Maulana, where we stayed during the trip, we were immediately met with Tuta & Micha from Dive Bluemotion to conduct the briefing for the first day dives. Just after 10 am, we were already on the boat, taking us to the first dive spot today, Soekarno Wall.

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Anemone Fish... (photo by Nia Aritonang)

Anemone Fish… (photo by Nia Aritonang)

Today is the fifth and last day of the trip.

Our Temukira ship anchored at the south-east of the Kri island. In the morning, there were also other pinisi ships anchored in this area as their divers also prepared for their first dive of the day. Chicken Reef is our first dive point today. Most of us opted to dive without their camera and just wanted to enjoy the dive and the scenery down there. “We will do another negative entry this morning, straight to the depth of 25 meters…” Weka told us during the briefing. Another strong current area, apparently. Soft corals and hard corals filled the slope, and again we met two turtles who were busy with their breakfast. The third group had small problem when Hadi lagged behind his group due to the current. As per procedure, Joni-Franky-Hari-Reza climbed straight back to the surface. Hadi was already on the boat with the Open. He also immediately climbed back up to the surface and Open’s watchful eye on the boat immediately recognized him and came over. Great crew!

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Wayag panorama, breath-taking landscape...

Wayag panorama, breath-taking landscape…

Third day of the trip…

Early morning  I woke up, as Temukira started moving again. After dawn, I went up to the upper deck. The ship had stopped in the calm waters, and it gave me the opportunity to photograph the sunrise from the top of the ship. But apparently I still had to wait until the day becomes brighter, because as calm as the water was the boat was still moving and it didn’t allow me to shoot photos with slow shutter speed. And the clouds on the eastern horizon was still blocking the morning sunrise. As the day went, I tried to shoot a few frames before the red color of the morning disappears, and quickly joined the others as we prepared the first dive in the third day…

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