By Dian Hasan | July 21, 2010
Unbeknown to many visitors who are familiar with Bali, that the island has evolved into a cruise center, from where cruises carrying divers and surfers ply the oceans east of Bali to explore Lesser Sunda Islands of Sumba, Sumbawa, Flores and West Timor. The leading attraction in these waters is of course the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) giant monitor lizard that inhabits the island that forms the Komodo National Park.
Unlike the cruise industry in Alaska, Florida, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, that are centered on large-scale cruise liners, Bali’s are mostly the smaller, human-scale live-aboard ships fashioned from the traditional Phinisi schooners and converted into modern ocean-plying sail boats. Venturing into Indonesia’s many diving and surfing sites in Derawan (East Borneo/Kalimantan), Wakatobi (Southeastern Sulawesi/Celebes), Lembeh, Gangga, Sangihe, Talaud (all four in North Sulawesi), Banda (in the Moluccas), and everyone’s ultimate destination: Raja Ampat in West Papua.
Most of them are just that – traditional – offering a rustic experience, not too dissimilar from the way the Bugis people built the original Phinisis. Now finally a sense of design that brings a level of sophistication unseen before, is emerging.
Archipelago Adventurer II represents this new breed of cruise ships. Luxuriously appointed, with clean modern lines, gourmet food, tasteful amenities and furnishing incorporating good design. A breath of fresh air indeed.
An excellent example of fusing the historical and the modern. The hull and exterior are made of traditional Indonesian wood and give the boat a sleek classic feel; unabashedly modern featuring a brushed-metal alloy finish, and contemporary furnishings.
Being such a large vessel at 35 meters with additional interior space, there is an abundance of lounging area both inside and out, whether in the large air-conditioned lounge equipped with full entertainment facilities, the dedicated dining room, relaxing with cocktails on the shaded upper deck, or tanning on the expansive sundeck.
With 10 beautifully finished en-suite cabins and an emphasis on fine dining, a trip on the Adventurer II through the Banda Sea is an experience in relaxation and luxury living, coupled with days full of world class diving. If you’re enriched air certified, then why not take advantage of the free nitrox usage onboard.
Banda Sea Liveaboards
Very few places in the world have such historical and cultural significance as the Spice Islands in the Banda Sea. Liveaboards cruising this region are delighted in exquisite culture coupled with outstanding diving. Banda Sea cruises is an overall experience, as it is not limited to underwater, but gives divers an opportunity to immerse in the rich history where Spice Islands began, impacting global trade to this very day.
How many people realize that there would be no New York City, as the greatest city on the planet, if it weren’t for 16th century history where the Dutch and the British agreed to exchange Run Island with that of Manhattan! Al for the prized possession of gaining control to the spice islands, which at the time was considered more valuable than the future potential New York City held. If only one could look into the future….
Once sought by Columbus and Marco Polo, the Banda Islands were the original Spice Islands and the most coveted destination on earth, particularly by the Dutch and Portuguese who colonized the islands and exported the indigenous nutmeg and cloves. History tells of a violent past under colonial rule. Now, the seas around these tropical paradise islands are coveted for their spectacular diving and snorkelling on some of the world’s richest reefs, unspoiled corals, and large pelagic fish.
Steep drop offs, impressive hard coral and some fast currents make this area absolutely breathtaking. Schools of jacks are a familiar sight, as are large tuna, many turtles, Napoleon wrasse, groupers, rays, sharks and large lobsters. Great visibility is a blessing here, and there are also some special critter sites.
The Banda Sea is surrounded by islands from the large islands of Buru, Halmahera, Ambon and Seram in the north towards Gorom, Kei and Aru in the east, the islands of Tanimbar, Wetar and Reong, and a series of smaller islands such as Babar and Moa, touching East Timor in the south. Ambon Bay is host to some of Indonesia’s best critter diving. The nearby island of Halmahera is still largely unexplored and has recently produced some stunning sites.
As an area that has remained untouched for many decades, the Banda Sea has scenery which is also striking. The imposing 600 meter volcano Gunung Api creates fantastic back drop for sunrise and sunset views.
Without doubt this region has every ingredient necessary to create a voyage of discovery, through exploration or diving.