Banda Sea dive sites
Ambon is another Indonesia dive destination with world class muck diving. It wasn’t always that way, Ambon Bay used to have beautiful coral reefs. But dredging and road building with the coral after World War II destroyed fringing reefs.
So now days it’s all about hunting for the small stuff on sandy rubble reefs. Although Ambon Bay is over 500 metres deep in it’s centre there is plenty to see on the shallow fringing reefs which start just below the surface. Visibility ranges from 5-20 metres.
Local guides around Ambon are excellent at finding all the cool stuff underwater. They have the regular places where they know to find critters. They also know the eating and habitat characteristics of each species. So if you have a particular desire to see, for example, a fingered dragonet, there is a good chance that your guide can find it for you.
What can you see on a dive at Ambon?
Some of the more interesting fish life to look for are ringtail cardinalfish and cockatoo waspfish. Frogfish are common but divers need good eyes to spot them as they are excellent camouflage artists, often being overlooked as just another sponge. Clown frogfish are particularly colourful.
As well as common bearded scorpionfish divers can find the eponymous Ambon Scorpionfish in various shades of pink, green, orange, yellow and red. Also look closely for other members of the scorpionfish family. These include spiny devilfish, genuine stonefish, zebra lionfish, ragged-finned lionfish and scorpion leaf fish, all in all a pretty dangerous family!
Crocodile fish can be found hiding in the sand at the edge of reefs. Several moray eel species are also resident, including snowflake, fimbriated and white eyed morays. The latter often come out of their holes to look at their reflection in photographers’ dome lenses.
Look in seafans and coral crevices for seahorses, including pygmy seahorse. Also look for ornate ghost pipefish and the extremely rare halimeda ghost pipefish. Halimeda ghost pipefish are similar in shape to a robust ghost pipefish but the same green colour as Halimeda algae.
At dusk it is possible to see mandarin fish pairs coming together in a mating dance a few inches above their coral shelters. Night dives have just as many wonderful sights to see. Spanish dancers can be found. So can stargazers, peering up from the bottom.