The embarkation port for many of these special trips is Maumere, north Flores. This is easily accessible from Bali, sometimes with a non-stop flight. The other ports of embarkation or disembarkation will be Saumlaki on Jamdena for the majority of cruises and Tual, the capital of the Kei Islands for the rest. Both Saumlaki and Tual require transiting through Makassar airport on Sulawesi and Ambon.
Where are the The Forgotten Islands?
Adventure, unknown dive sites, spectacular scenery off the beaten track.... this is The Forgotten Islands. The Forgotten Islands are part of Indonesia’s south Maluku province, a region located at the extreme south eastern boundary of the country and less than 200 nautical miles from the northern tip of Australia. These cruises concentrate on the most unexplored regions of the country and will start or finish in either Maumere, on the north coastline of east Flores or at Saumlaki on Jamdena, the largest island of the Tanimbar group. These itineraries will give guests the opportunity to dive some of the fabulous sites of East Nusa Tenggara around Lembata, Pantar and Alor during the cruise as well as exploring the fascinating reefs, walls and topside scenery of the islands further east, the mysterious and rarely visited Forgotten Islands.
East Nusa Tenggara
For cruises that start from Maumere, the Indo Aggressor will initially be covering areas that we have been visiting for many years, the line of islands that include Lembata, Pantar and Alor. These areas were part of our initial eastern explorations many years ago when the Indo Aggressor was brand new and features incredible clear water wall and reef dives. The topside scenery during this section of the cruise is dominated by awe inspiring active volcanoes, particularly the fire breathing beast at Komba out in the Flores Sea. Alor, located at the very end of the Nusa Tenggara archipelago is the last large landmass you will see before we move further east and enter the region known as The Forgotten Islands, the most southerly part of Indonesia’s Maluku province. These smaller island groups mark the southern boundary of the immense Banda Sea to the north. The Banda Sea is a huge expanse of open ocean approximately 200 nautical miles from north to south and 450 nautical miles from west to east and in certain parts over 5,000 metres deep. Around the south-east edge there are two distinct lines or arcs of islands that appear as the sea gets shallower, the inner line and the outer line, these are The Forgotten Islands.
The Damar Ridge
The most northern or inner line of islands guests will visit are located along the top of a marine mountain range known as the Damar Ridge and take in the islands of Wetar, Romang, Damar, Nila, Serua and finally Manuk as well as their numerous satellite islands and associated shallow reefs and atolls. Composed of a chain of high jungle clad volcanoes and surface breaking coral reefs that run up in a curve from south-west to north-east, the Damar Ridge is a mini “Ring of Fire” and their close location to the extremely deep waters of the Banda Sea makes them a magnet for all manner of marine life. The southern arc of islands, which extend eastwards from the island of Timor are in shallower water and are larger with the topside consisting of barren limestone hills and mangrove forests. The coastlines are fringed by white sandy beaches shaded by swaying palm trees before the sea begins to run over extensive reefs and atolls.
South to Saumlaki
This southerly line starts in the west at the Leti island group and continues to the atolls and island of Sermata, Barbar, and the Tanimbar Islands before finishing at the Kei and Aru island groups, made famous as the final destination of the “Ring of Fire” television documentary. The diving and anchorages across this southern line are for the most part more sedate than those on in the north, although they are certainly not lacking in vibrant reef life and incredible topside scenery.
Saumlaki to Tual
In addition to the Indo Aggressor’s adventure cruises between Maumere and Saumlaki there will be two more special trips each year from 2018 to 2020 that will concentrate on the region even further east. These will cruise between Saumlaki on Jandema to Tual in the Kei Islands to explore far out to the furthest reaches of this remarkable island nation, Indonesia.