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Misool, Halmahera & Lembeh on Amira, 10-22 February 2020

Misool, Halmahera & Lembeh on Amira, 10-22 February 2020

This 12 night adventure trip will be run on the luxurious Amira Liveaboard to explore some of the most remote areas in Indonesia, including Misool in South Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Tifore Island, and the Lembeh Strait. The trip promises virgin reefs, Mantas, incredible biodiversity, big schools of fish, rare critters, Wobbegongs and Walking Sharks! Halmahera and Tifore Island are relatively unexplored compared to other areas of Indonesia but already the underwater diversity has been shown to be at least as good as Raja Ampat and many excellent dives sites have been discovered. Highlights include pristine reefs and rich marine life around the Goraici Islands, great pelagic action in the Patintie Strait that runs between Halmahera and Bacan Island, and at Tifore Island a resident school of Barracuda that is often 1,000 fish strong!

Misool, Halmahera & Lembeh 12 night itinerary
The trip starts in Sorong and will first dive around Misool in South Raja Ampat before heading over to Halmahera to dive the Goraici Islands and the Patintie Strait that runs between Halmahera and Bacan Island. Next the trip will head to the small island of Tifore located mid-way between Halmahera and North Sulawesi. Following our dives at Tifore we with then continue on to the Lembeh Strait for more world-class diving. The trip will end in Bitung.

Halmahera & Tifore
The island of Halmahera lies in between Indonesia’s diving hot-spots of North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat. The main island of Halmahera is surrounded by many other small islands including Ternate and Tidore. It is these two small volcanic islands that originally made this area famous as they were the only place in the world where the spice ‘cloves’ grew. Halmahera offers adventurous divers some of Indonesia’s most unexplored diving and biodiversity surveys suggest its underwater diversity is at least as good as Raja Ampat. After plenty of exploratory diving there are now some excellent dive sites emerging in the Halmahera area, including pristine reefs and rich marine life around the Goraici Islands and great pelagic action in the Patintie Strait that runs between Halmahera and Bacan Island. The small island of Tifore between Halmahera and Sulawesi is a particular highlight of the region. At Tifore at a dive site called Pantai Sago there is a resident school of Barracuda that is often 1,000 fish strong!

Lembeh Strait
For anyone interested in Macro Critters and underwater photography there is simply no better place in the world than North Sulawesi and the most famous dive spot here is the Lembeh Strait. Open up any coffee table book featuring macro critters and you can be sure Lembeh’s name will appear again and again. The list of critters that can be encountered at Lembeh is endless and it was in Lembeh that the magnificent Wunderpus was first discovered!

Misool (South Raja Ampat)
On our previous trip to Misool dive sites such as Candy Store, Living Colours and Andiamo wowed us with their spectacular soft corals and perfusion of fish life. At times it was truly like diving in fish soup! Andiamo also provided our first sighting of one of Raja’s famous Walking Sharks! Our diving then continued on to some of the most famous dive sites in Misool – Yellit Kecil, Magic Mountain and Boo Windows. Yellit Kecil gave us our first pelagic action with Grey Reef Sharks mixing with schools of Barracuda, and large Napoleon Wrasse, and at Magic Mountain it was Manta time! Whist plenty of other fish were vying for our attention – schooling Yellow Snapper, Jacks and Barracuda, Napoleon Wrasse, hunting Giant Trevally and even free swimming baby Whitetip Sharks – no one could steal the show from the Giant Manta that performed right in front of our eyes! Boo Windows, is famous for its underwater rock formations that give the appearance of windows and our day dives here threw up schooling Snapper, Bumphead Parrotfish, Grey Reefs Sharks, more baby Whitetip Sharks and schools of hunting Batfish, whilst at night it was the famous Walking Sharks that were making the headlines!

Over the next days we continued to explore Misool’s extensive number of dive sites, including Nudi Rock, Tank Rock, Barracuda Rock, Wedding Cake and Dunia Kecil. Here we found incredible gorgonian fans often harbouring multiple Pygmy Seahorse (Bargibanti, Denise and Pontohi), soft corals with Candy Crabs, whip corals with Xeno Crabs, a host of Nudis and plenty of schooling fish such as Snapper, Sweetlips, Batfish, Giant Trevally, Barracuda, Lionfish and large Napoleon Wrasse. We also got our first Tasselled Wobbegong – a truly iconic Raja Ampat shark! Following a tip-off we also headed to a dive site know as Two Trees. We were hoping to find a bait ball! As we entered the water for our first dive we looked below and there it was, a massive bait ball, our dive was going to be one of the best of our lives! The bait ball was huge, clinging close to the wall its shape was continually changing in response to the divers and a barrage of hungry predators. The stars of the show were the ever present Mobula Rays. We counted at least 40 Mobulas at any one time but it is likely their school was many times this size. The Mobulas were swimming in and out of the bait ball often encountering divers cocooned within the ball of bait fish. But while the Mobulas we’re stealing the show they we’re certainly not the only predators coming in for some easy lunch. Schools of Tuna, Mackerel and Trevally were staying close to the surface attacking the bait ball from above whilst a curious school of Batfish we’re also coming in for the occasional snack. After two bait ball dives in what can only be described as a dive heaven there was still plenty of bait ball left and lots of smiling divers!

Amira was built with locally grown timber by indigenous crafts men using ancient Phinisi boat building traditions. She is equipped with a state of the art navigation system, security and rescue equipment and technology. With a length of 52 meters Amira offers comfortable double, twin and single cabins – equipped with ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and natural lighting. There is a cozy restaurant, a romantic lounge area and several sun decks for relaxation.

On Amira there are nine double cabins and one single cabin available for a total of 19 guests. Double cabins can be set as either twin or double beds. Five double cabins and the single cabin are on the lower deck, while the other four double cabins are located on the upper deck. All cabins are equipped with individual controlled air conditioner plus an extra fan, minisafe, ensuite bathroom with hot/cold water shower and western toilet.

On Amira’s main deck a comfortable, covered lounge invites you to relax between dives. Here you will find the dining area with seating for all guests, as well as the comfortable TV and lounge area and a computer room with computers and DVD/CD burners available for you to edit and save your daily photographs. Amira’s large front deck is equipped with deckchairs and a shade canopy for hot days, whilst her large sundeck is the perfect place to sunbathe or relax. On Amira’s lower deck you will find the covered dive deck. Amira’s dive deck is uniquely designed by divers for divers and offers lots of space for all guests. There are storage areas for cameras, dive lamps etc, and several rinse tanks. The diving equipment stays mounted on the tank during the whole trip and tanks are filled with air or Nitrox. Amira’s bespoke camera room has a 9m long workbench as well as storage areas for guests to use.

There are 6 spaces available on this trip.

Misool, Halmahera & Lembeh on Amira, 10-22 February 2020

The cost of the trip is 5,950 USD in a Lower-deck cabin or 6,195 USD in an Upper-deck cabin. These prices include 12 nights on Amira with up to 4 dives per day (inc night dive), free Nitrox, tanks/weights/weight belts, all meals, beverages (excluding all beverages in cans and bottles) and return transfers between local airport and the vessel. Flights are not included in the price, but can be readily arranged by Equator Diving upon request.

Harbour fee: 115 USD
National Park fee: 240 USD
Fuel Surcharge fee: 360 USD

Trip prices in GBP and EURO are also available upon request.

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