Ambon, Diving In Critter Heaven
Diving in Ambon
Ambon diving trips bring you to some world-class muck diving where you can find more than 780 fish species and still more critters are found regularly.
One of these critters is the psychedelic frogfish that is only found in Ambon. It is a remarkable appearance with its white swirling stripes. that covers the complete yellow-brownish body. It was first discovered at the Twilight Zone in 2009.
Beside frogfishes, you can also find here a numerous of other interesting marine life such as Eponymous Ambon scorpionfish, Halimeda ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimps, leave fishes, ribbon eels and lots of different kinds of nudibranchs.
Although Ambon is famous for its macro life there are also dive areas for wide-angle photography. Outside of the bay, you have some wall dives with overhangs and caverns to explore and some beautiful coral reefs with soft corals, barrel sponges, and gorgonian sea fans.
For marine life, you will see here damselfish, butterflyfish and in the blue mackerel passing by. Still, have a good look at the reef because there are plenty of strange critters hiding everywhere.
This is a great vacation for diving and snorkeling when you want to see macro life, beautiful reefs, cleaning stations to spot manta rays and of course not be missed is the dive site Gunung Api in the Banda Sea where you dive along with hundreds of sea snakes.
Ambon Diving Itinararies
Ambon Diving Season
Most liveaboard diving in Ambon is done between September and November or February to May when the dry season is and the weather is at its best. Many liveaboards cruising then from Komodo to Raja Ampat and vice Versa. If you want to dive outside of the liveaboard season you can always contact one of the dive centers in Ambon.
The average visibility in Ambon is around 20 meters and on good days then can get up to 30 meters. Ambon bay, on the other hand, has a lot less visibility but in general, during muck diving, you don’t need it as good as on dives for wide-angle photography.
The water temperature is pleasant with an average of 28 ℃ and most scuba divers can dive here with a 3mm long wetsuit.
Ambon is the capital of the Maluku province that is located in the North-Eastern part of Indonesia. The Maluku archipelago exists out of hundreds of islands in the Banda Sea that is connected to the pacific ocean.
Halmahera, Seram, Ambon, Buru, Ternate, and Tidore and the Aru and Kai island groups are also known as the Spice Islands.
Even tough Ambon island is in a remote area of Indonesia it is pretty easy to get there. Daily flights are operated by Garuda airlines from Jakarta (CGK) international airport to Ambon. The flight cost between €200 and €500 at the moment of writing.
Also, flights from Bali (DPS) international airports have become more frequent but flights from here require a stopover.
Ambon Dive Sites:
There are over 60 dive sites to choose from in Ambon so here are some of our favorites.
1. Air Manis: This dive site is near a pier that was used by local fishermen to load and unload their boats. On this dive, you can go to a maximum of 25 meters deep when you follow the sloping seafloor. The main bottom composition is sand and rocks with some parts that have some corals.
You can easily spend your whole dive exploring the bottom for special critters such as frogfish, Leaf fish, Dragonnet, Shrimps and lots of nudibranchs.
The average visibility is about 10 meters and the current is mild so ideal for those who like to do some photography.
2. Twilight Zone: Probably our favorite dive site in Ambon is the Twilight Zone what looks like a general muck dive with murky waters and nonexisting coral reefs. But from the moment you reach the sloping bottom a world of macro opens up.
There is a huge variety of marine life on this dive from a wonderpus to a Coleman shrimp and everything in between. When you try the photograph one thing your dive guide found the next one already. So make sure your battery is charged for this extraordinary dive.
Other marine life: seahorses, ghost pipefish, demon stingers, leaf fish, mantis shrimp, reptilian eels and tiny cuttlefish.
3. Rhino City: This dive site got its name because of the Rhinopias Scorpionfish that you can see in many color variations.
Also here there is a sloping bottom that consists out of sand and rocks. The deepest point is at 30 meters but you don’t need to go that deep to fully enjoy this dive. Here you can find the mimic octopus, Flathead, Flatworms and if you are not only looking in the sand you might see a white tip cruising by.
4. Airport Jetty: at the end of the airport runway is a long pier where you dive underneath. The columns are covered in sponges and many juvenile batfish are hiding around here.
Also, large schools of small fishes like to hang around here what makes some nice photo opportunities. In the sand, you will find many colorful nudibranchs, lionfishes, moray eels and sometimes a Rhinopias Scorpionfish.
5. Pantai Nama Wall: This is a beautiful wall dive that is covered with corals and sponges.
During your dive keep an eye out into the blue where you see mackerels passing by or at times you will be surrounded by schools of fusiliers.
On the reef, you can see damselfish that hang around the black corals and eels hiding in small crack and holes.
Also on this dive site, your macro eyes should be focused as you can find here Orang Utang crabs and shrimps in the bubble corals.
6. Pintu Kota: This dive site is well known and is translated as the gate of the city. The big rock on the surface has a large hole the forms an arch.
About 16 meters underwater there is also an archway that is covered in sea fans and gorgonians. That makes some good opportunities to use a wide-angle lens.
The sloping bottom is steep so most of your dive you will spend on the arch where you can finish at 7 meters before the safety stop.
even though this is not too much of a muck dive keep your eyes open for some special macro life that is still found around here.
Ambon Diving Summary:
Depth: 5 – 35m
Visibility: 5 – 30m
Currents: In Ambon bay nihil outside of the bay there is a gentle current.
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 26 – 29°C
Experience level: Beginner – advanced
Number of dive sites: 60
Distance: around 3 hours and 40 minutes flight from Jakarta
Recommended length liveaboard cruise: 10-12days