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What to Expect On a Saumlaki Liveaboard
Liveaboards to Saumlaki serve as the gateway to a group of islands known as the Forgotten Islands. The Forgotten Islands make up roughly 1000 km of very remote, beautifully preserved archipelagic islands that stretch from Timor in the southwest, through the Banda sea, to West Papua to northeast Indonesia.
The island of Saumlaki forms part of the Tanimbar Islands. It is situated on the southern tip of Yamdena Island, and is the chief town of the Tanimbars. Liveaboard diving in Saumlaki is generally the first stop in this area.
Liveaboard diving from Saumlaki
Saumlaki liveaboards have the opportunity to visit many islands and even more dive sites while sailing through the Forgotten Islands. These islands are so remote, that the overwhelming majority of sites have never even seen a diver. It is safe to say that diving here feels like a real adventure, and many dives will be exploratory. Divers can expect to do 3 -4 dives per day on their Saumlaki cruise.
Visibility around most of these islands is very good, especially surrounding the islands that have been formed by volcanic activity. The lack of soil erosion, and steady climate, means that visibility can be in excess of 130 feet (40 m). Muck sites have reduced visibility, but this is to be expected. Ocean temperatures vary between 81 Fahrenheit (27∞C) in July and 86 Fahrenheit (30∞C) in December.
Among some of the known sites that your Saumlaki liveaboard will visit are Wetar, Nunukae, Leti, Babar, Pantar, Palu and Nusa Laut. If so desired, it is often possible to create your own custom itineraries to suit your diving experience and also to visit sites that you want, or indeed do a spot of exploration.
Sailing from Saumlaki often involves a visit to the island of Wetar, a favourite for many divers who have been lucky enough to dive this region. The rugged terrain largely consists of rocky outcrops with coral-encrusted walls and very big fish.
Black sands surround the island of Palu, which features a spectacular patch coral reef system. Shoals of fusiliers and pyramid butterflyfish accumulate above coral bommies, while batfish and eagle rays stay close to the sand. It is even possible to see oceanic whitetip reef sharks patrol the spaces in between the coral.
For big pelagic species, Manawoka has become a go-to site. Very large shoals of barracuda can be seen here, alongside manta rays and gigantic groupers. The strong currents attract blacktip reef sharks, while hammerhead sharks have also been spotted lurking in the area.
Nusa Lauthas some of the prettiest coral gardens, with turquoise vases and large orange and yellow sponges. Shoals of vibrant anthias can be seen almost everywhere, alongside surgeonfish and ghost pipefish. Barracuda typically like to patrol the skirts of the reef, while hammerheads are attracted by the abundant sources of food.
Getting To Saumlaki
Reaching Saumlaki usually involves several flights, owing to the remoteness of the location. As with many other liveaboards in Indonesia, we begin our journey by catching a connecting flight to Singapore. From here, we make our way to Jakarta via Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Although an international airport, most long-haul flights are not able to fly directly to Jakarta.
To reach Ambon from Jakarta, it is possible to take a direct flight, and finally, a flight to Saumlaki where your liveaboard vessel will be waiting.