Ambon, South Mulukus, Indonesia
What to see: Mainly muck/macro, there are some reefs as well. Many rhinopias and frogfish, mimic octopus, bluering octopus, bobtail squid, shrimp (loads of bumblebee and urchin bumblebee! tiger, harlequin and as many variations of marble shrimp you could possibly imagine), crab (inluding easy to find boxer crabs), nudibranchs and other sea slugs (different sidegill slugs, umbrella shell), stargazers, bobbit worms and bamboo sharks
Level: All levels. However, for the muck diving good buoyancy control is required, especially as a lot of good stuff can be found in very shallow water as well
Who should go there: Divers who are looking for special critters, small stuff and underwater photographers.
How to get there: Flight from Jakarta or from Bali over Makassar to Ambon (from USD 30) and transfer to resort/accommodation (the shops except Dive into Ambon are only 5 minutes from the airport in Laha, taxi ride costs around IDR 50’000, 4 USD). Dive into Ambon organizes airport transfers for USD 25.
Where to stay: When diving with Bluemotion or Blue Rose you will be staying in a guest house which are available from IDR 150’000 (USD 11), ensuite double room with AC for around IDR 250’000 (USD 19). Or for more luxury staying and diving with Dive into Ambon which are resort setups (around USD 220 to 285 per day including accommodation, full board and 3 dives per day). It is also possible to stay at a guest house and dive with the later operations. Maluku Divers closed their doors May 31, 2018.
Alternatively the region can be dived on liveaboard transfer trips between Raja Ampat and Komodo.
Climate: Around 30°C all year round, rainy season June to August
Water temperature: 28-30°C in summer, 26-27°C in winter
Exposure protection: depending on the season, shorty or better 3 mm to avoid stings, during winter 5 mm
Visibility: 5 to 20 m
Season: Best season is dry season November till May, diving is no possible during rainy season. The resorts are closed in June and July. Try to avoid the time when the liveaboards come through (April and September).
Diving rates: One tank dive with guide and a short boat ride from Laha will be between IDR 250’000 (Bluemotion) and 350’000 (Blue Rose), 19-27 USD. The resorts offer dive packages (see above) including 3 dives per day.
Favorite dive sites: The twighlight zone / Laha 1-3 in front of Bluemotion, especially the night dives.
My trip: I flew from Makassar to Ambon and stayed at Patra guest house for IDR 250’000 per night including breakfast, this is a very basic accommodation, don’t expect too much. Food is available at some warungs (local restaurants) very close by. From Patra it is a 100 m walk to Bluemotion. The shop is located directly at some of the best dive sites Ambon has to offer. It is possible to just jump in from the resort and go explore the area without a guide. Besides the housereef boat dives are offered to the surrounding area. It is possible to do 3 guided day and one night dive or to just flexibly go diving in the housereef. The shop also offers nice seating areas, hammocks and entertainment (from dice games to badminton and volleyball). The guides know the area well and the whole organization is very relaxed but professional. I did have a wonderful time, the staff is amazing and the schedule/dive site planning is very flexible. I will definitely be back.