A spice surrounded by history

Nutmeg and Mace Banda Islands Spices

Treasure from Banda Islands

Nowadays Nutmeg & Mace are common spices used almost all around the word. In fact the Nutmeg pod provide two spices, the Mace: the red lacy coating and obviously the Nutmeg seed. Banda Islands were considered as the only place in the world where you could find this precious spice until the end of the 18th century.

Mace & Nutmeg

Explore the Banda islands & dive with Hammerhead Sharks!

Diving Cruise BANDA SEA & ALOR | 12 Days / 11 Nights

Cruise through Banda Sea & Alor, 
Ambon to Maumere 
Departure 2022:
26th April

347$ per day instead of 480$
Total 4158$/person FULL BOARD

Up to 4 dives/day

Please refer to the FAQ Section

Boat Rating *

Life Onboard
Itinerary *
Boat & Cabin

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Liveaboard Banda Sea & Alor

Day 1 : Embarkation in Ambon

Once landed in Ambon airport, the cruise team will be waiting for you to drive you to the harbor and the boat. You will be offered a welcome drink and have a quick safety & boat briefing. Later, you will be taken to your cabin where you will have time to settle and unpack. In the afternoon, we will go for a dive in Laha and go back in the water in the evening for a night dive.

Day 2 : Ambon Bay

Today, we will go for 4 dives in Ambon Bay. Many exotic critters are living in this area and it will be an exciting start for you! After dinner, we will sail to Nusa Laut at the end of afternoon.

Day 3 : Nusa Laut

Nusa Laut is a small island located to the East of Ambon. We will go for three great dives there. We will go on the dive sites located between Saparua Island and Nusa Laut, this is a deep channel, but we will focus on the reef, the slopes and the walls that are the most interesting parts of the area. Later, we will cruise to the South toward Pulau Suanggi.

Day 4 : Banda islands

We finally arrived in Banda islands small archipelago. In the morning we will go for two dives and in the afternoon, we will set foot on land, in Banda Neira where we will be able to get the full history of the area with a guide who will show you around the fort and in the old town. In the evening, we will go for a night dive to admire the spectacular Mandarin fish.

Day 5 : Manuk Island

Today we will explore Manuk Island area, where the signs of volcanic activity are clearly visible underwater. The warm waters of the area attract specific marine life, we will find an important community of cold-blooded sea snakes that enjoy this warmness. We can also admire hundreds of reef fishes as well as tuna, jacks and sharks. Hammerhead sharks have been seen here a few times. 3 dives are scheduled during the day.

Day 6 : Nila Island & Nil Deperandum

We will go for one dive on Nila Island and 2 dives on the Nil Deperandum reef. This reef is lost in the middle of Banda Sea and offers a magnificent wall that often welcomes hammerhead sharks at this time of the year.

Day 7 : Damar islands

Today, we will drop the anchor next to this idyllic archipelago where the pristine water, coral reef and unspoiled walls make the underwater world extremely precious. The reef is a kaleidoscopic explosion of colors and shape-shifting forms where you will find yourself surrounded by curious schools of fishes. 3 dives are scheduled in this area.

Day 8 : Nyata Island

Once we reached Nyata Island, you will see that this island is exceptional by its topography, straight inspired by Jurassic Park movies: the land is covered by green and undiscovered jungle. We will go for 3 dives in the area, discover the wall covered with barrel sponges, sea fans and you can spot oceanic white tip sharks in the blue. We will also dive along the slope composed of many soft corals and important fish diversity.

Day 9 : Wetar Island

We will dive on the Eastern part of the island, where we can find great drop offs and excellent visibility. The area is full of life, big schools and stunning marine flora. We will also go for some incredible macro dives for a total of 3 dives in Wetar.

Day 10 : Alor Island

Today, we will go for 3 wonderful dives in Alor area. The dive sites will be chosen according to the current weather conditions and according to your expectations. At the end of the day, the cruise will sail to Komba Island.

Day 11 : Komba Island

Komba is located next to Lembata Island, it is a volcanic island with Mount Batutara has its active ruler. The underwater landscape consists of colorful shining corals on the reef, hard and soft coral that grow on the roots of the volcano. The warm waters shelter a multitude of species, and you can find some purple fire goby! We will go for 2 dives in this area.

Day 12 : Maumere

Once arrived in Maumere, we will do enjoy a last breakfast onboard, share pictures and videos of the trip, say bye to the crew and start the check-out. After what, the team will take you to the airport or to your hotel if you wish to stay a bit longer in the area.

* Please note that the itinerary and services mentioned above are subject to be changed if force majeure, unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances require the captain or the crew to do so. However, we will always do our best to stick to this program.

What’s so precious about Nutmeg?

Even if we  have track of the Nutmeg since the 1st Century A.D, things changed drastically in 1511, when the Portuguese first landed their foot in Banda territory, these spices became extremely popular in Europe. This exotic spice always brings a specific and celebratory taste to our cakes, coffee and food. It was no difference by the past, and Europeans even give medicinal properties to this spice, it was believed that it could help warm people up, fight off head colds and stomachaches… So many great properties about this spice that when other European’s merchants knew about it, they came all the way to Banda. And as expected the Nutmeg price increased substantially, as explained by the culinary historian M. Krondl, at this time the value of Nutmeg could be compared to the iPhone of the 16th Century… 

The golden Spice of Banda

Who enjoyed the trades of this spice?

Well, everyone but the locals enjoyed the trade of this spice! At that time the fight to control the Spice Routes was rough, and the strongest Europeans nations were in war in Banda territory for a bit more than 3 centuries. The Bandanese started trading it at first with Portuguese, but then with Dutch and British merchants in turns. Without mentioning the Javanese, Malay, Arab, Chinese and Indian merchant who were also enjoying this fruitful trade. The area was considered as a spices gold mine as the price of this precious Nutmeg was multiplied by 300 when brought back on European territory. Rich Bandanese merchants were able to trade this spice against European goods such as steel knifes, copper, medicine and decorations, but local inhabitants were mostly forced to work as laborer in Nutmeg plantations.

Fort Belgica in Banda Neira

What did this spice trade bring to the Banda?

The Nutmeg trade in Banda can be considered as totally harmful for the region and its population. Only a few local traders put money in their pockets, otherwise it brought so much greed and conflict to the area as every colonial empire wanted a piece or the monopoly of this brown gold. Dutch definitely enforced their monopoly over the Banda’s spice trade with an unfeasible treaty that were made and forced to sign by Bandanese at gunpoint. The non-respect of this treaty was only an excuse for the Dutch to launch a punitive massacre against the islanders. After that, most of the local population flee the islands and Dutch brought some new imported slaves, convicts as well as immigrants from elsewhere in Indonesia to work in the spices’ plantations. Later, few native Bandanese were brought back as their savoir faire and expertise in Nutmeg cultivation were much needed.

Greedy Hermit Crabs

Banda Spice Islands

Banda archipelago is composed of 11 islands of which only 7 are inhabited. This huge volcanic area is for sure home of the Nutmeg tree, but also offers an incredible underwater biodiversity, so let's add some spice to your dives and get blown away by Mother Nature.

Hammerhead Shark Diving


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