Halmahera is the largest island in the Maluku Islands. It is part of the North Maluku province of Indonesia and Sofifi, the capital of the province, is located on the west coast of the island.
The island of Halmahera, and its main neighbors of Morotai in the north and Bacan & Obi in the south, sit right in the path of the Indonesian Throughflow – the phenomenal force of nature and life source of the Coral Triangle. Studies by Conservation International indicate that northern Indonesia, from Sulawesi to the western part of Papua, has what is probably the highest marine biodiversity in the world.
However, a significant indicator of Halmahera’s potency is the 2005 rapid survey that Dr. Gerry Allen, the celebrated coral reef fish authority, conducted in the south-western part of Halmahera and over 37 hours underwater at 28 locations, he recorded a total of 803 species of reef fish – compared to the 828 species he recorded in Raja Ampat during a similar survey conducted over 60 hours in 2001.
At the altitude of Ternate Island, we will set course west, crossing the Moluccas Sea. On halfway, we will stop at the small island Gureda, located in the middle of the North Maluku Strait. With a little luck, we will be able to see whales on their journey to the South. Continue northwest to North Sulawesi and to our destination Bitung at the southern end of Lembeh Strait.
Day 1: Your flight will arrive in Sorong.
Day 2 – 10: If possible, we offer 3-4 dives daily. When crossing, only 1-2 dives a day can be scheduled.
We reserve the right to change the itinerary or specific agreed services if force majeure, unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances require us to do so.
Some of the destinations on our journey:
Notable Dive Sites
Bacan: There is a quiet anchorage with an excellent muck site in front of a small village, here, we can find all the usual classic black sand critters and get plenty of fresh coconuts to make the evening cocktails.
This is an area where mangroves meet deep open ocean reefs, said to have wonderful marine life. Groupers, sharks, Napoleon wrasses, and Bumphead parrot fishes all have been spotted in large numbers. But a lot is still to discover.
On the whole, great area for big fishes, pelagics, beautiful coral gardens, and reefs full of marine life. It’s also good for critters and wonderful beaches in the Goraici group.
Halmahera Strait: A great chance here for big fishes and outstanding pelagic fish action, when currents are performing right. In the mainland of Halmahera is possible to go on shore with the locals for a closer look at the bird life, and to see all tropical birds like parakeets, lorikeets, and if usually hornbills.
Tifore Island: Located midway between Manado in North Sulawesi and Halmahera, in open ocean waters, this island offers great pelagic action, diving an underwater sea mount, we have a chance of grey reef and other sharks, big schools of barracudas, lots of Fusiliers, surgeons and dramatic scenery around the giant rocks that form this site.
Goraici Island Group: Having great dive sites, here we have it all, great fish-packed reefs, and one of the most pristine hard coral gardens which surround the whole island. One of the best sites is a coral-covered wall where all the big pelagic cruise by off-reef, colorful coral-packed sloping gardens with black tip sharks all around.
We can spend lots of time within this great area of the Goraichi islands, to dive on more pristine reefs with excellent fish life and reef scenery. Also worth going in search of critters on the reef slopes. Good for night dives too.
Patinti Strait: These islands are very rarely visited and tourists are very welcomed into this region. We dive on the west side of an island for the big fish, great chances to see reef sharks, big Napoleon wrasses, and lots of great schooling fish life. Depending on the current we will dive north of the island for the reef scenery and the best schooling fish action.
Great drift dives through a channel, starting on a huge coral ridge, slowly heading shallower, and drifting up along the sandy slope where lots of big fish hang out, also there is a great area for critter hunting. Also a good place for our night dive! We can spend quite a few days in these straits.
Day 11: Final day of diving and cruising back to Ternate.
Day 12: Check-out after breakfast or lunchtime – depends on your flight time. We say goodbye to our guests and wish them farewell. The MARI crew will organize the transfer to the Airport and assist at check-in for onward flights.
Corals and sea fans, hard corals, seagrass beds, mangroves, shallow reefs, deep drop-offs, caves, black sand, and white sand. Giant manta rays, sea turtles, sharks, cuttlefish, pipefish, various seahorse species, and massive schools of reef fish are the norm, plus the delightful wobbegong sharks and epaulet sharks inhabit these waters too.
The last dive will be on the penultimate day of the trip at around 10:45 am. Divers are recommended to wait for 24 hours before flying after the last dive.