Mutiara Laut – Bali

The Captain and crew of the luxury liveaboard dive yacht, Mutiara Laut, welcome you aboard as you embark on an 8-10 day cruise to some of the most remote and beautiful tropical islands of Indonesia. The Mutiara Laut, Pearl of the Sea, is a classic two-masted schooner that takes pleasure seekers on an amazing scuba diving vacation that can only be described as an adventure of a lifetime. Whether traveling solo or as part of a sailing charter, you will enjoy the best cruising and scuba diving available during each season of the year. Comprised of some 17,000 islands, the Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago that extends over 3,100 miles (5,000 km.), and straddles the equator just to the north of Australia and to the south of both the Philippines and Malaysia.

Between April and August the Mutiara Laut departs from Bali or Labuhanbajo and travels to the region of the Dragon Islands where you will visit the National Park of Komodo, Flores, and Sumba. During September and October you will sail to the beautiful islands of Wetar and Alor, making a stop in the area of the Banda Sea. Cruises at this time of year can depart from Maumere or some other port in that area. Between October and January, the Mutiara Laut departs from Sorong or Timika and crosses the Banda Sea as she makes her way to the Maluku Islands, also known as the Mollucas, or ancient Spice Islands. Itineraries are always flexible, as guests choose their dive sites. Of course Mutiara Laut’s expert crew is always available to advise and inform on the best dive locations and conditions for any of the islands and reefs you may wish to visit.

Komodo Island

At the global heart of marine diversity is Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers a total land and marine area of approximately 695 square miles (1,800 square kilometers). Marine life here is abundant, thanks to the convergence of nutrient rich waters from the oceans and currents. Komodo National Park is home to more than 70 species of sponges, 1,000 species of fish, and nearly 400 species of reef-building corals. The underwater terrain varies from calm, sandy flats, to dramatic vertical walls and pinnacles. Considered to be one of the best dive sites in the world, the waters here are replete with vibrant soft corals and exciting animal life that ranges from Pygmy Seahorses to Eagle Rays, Sunfish, Mantas, and Whale Sharks. Ashore on Komodo Island you will hike the hills and enjoy spectacular views. The park is a sanctuary for some 280 species of animals, including the renowned Komodo Dragon. Photographers and videographers alike will enjoy countless opportunities to record every encounter.

High season at Komodo Island is between April and December. These are dry months, with July and August also being the coolest. Temperatures at this time of year average 86°F (30°C). Even though January to March is the rainy season, the region receives very little precipitation and is sunny virtually year round.

While scuba diving at Komodo Island can be enjoyed all year, the Mutiara Laut’s diving season at Komodo runs from April through August. Sailing along the Dragon Islands, you will experience a scuba diving and cultural journey to the National Park of Komodo, Flores, and Sumba. All dives are done from zodiac boats. Dive depths range from 16-130 feet (5-40 m.), and visibility is from 16-100 feet (5-30 m.). The currents can be very strong—as much as 8 knots—with surface conditions ranging from mild to rough. Water temperatures vary from 68°-85°F (20°-29°). Because of the number of dives you will be able to make each day it is recommended that you wear a 3-5 mm. wetsuit for sufficient thermal protection. Whether you are a beginner or advanced diver, you will enjoy any number of the more than 35 dive sites in this area.

Raja Ampat and West Papua Province

Just north of Australia lies New Guinea, the world’s second largest island. The province of West Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya, covers the western peninsula of New Guinea, and is home to Raja Ampat, considered to be the most biodiverse marine region in the world. Home to more than 1,200 fish species, Raja Ampat boasts the richest coral reef life on the planet, and will surely bring your scuba diving fantasy to life. On land, Irian Jaya presents amazingly diverse ecological zones that range from montane forests, alpine grasslands, and foothill jungles to snowfields and ice-capped jagged peaks, and then suddenly to savannahs, peat swamps, and mangroves. The world renowned Asmat Tribe continues to inhabit this region of New Guinea.

The coastal region of Raja Ampat has a hot and muggy climate, with temperatures averaging 81°F (27°C). Temperatures in the mountainous highlands are cool, and even cold. The southwest monsoon season runs from May through September. The mountain region sees rain while the coastal region remains relatively dry. During the northwest monsoon season between November and April heavy rains fall on the north coast, with downpours across the highlands from December through March.

The main islands of Raja Ampat are known as the Four Kings: Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta, and Misool. Countless smaller islands surround these, with beautiful white beaches contrasting against ragged limestone cliffs. The greatest collection of coral and fish species make their homes in these stunning outcrops, while equally striking birds co-exist in the virtually untouched natural habitat.

With some 200 scuba dive sites at Raja Ampat, the diving is excellent virtually year round. During the Mutiara Laut’s dive season in Raja Ampat surface conditions can be calm although the currents can be strong. Dive depths range from 16-130 feet (5-40 m.) with visibility between 35-100 feet (10-30 m.). Water temperatures vary from 81°-86° (27°-30°C). Because of the number of dives you will be able to make each day it is recommended that you wear a 3-5 mm. wetsuit. And, because the currents can be strong at this time of year, dive sites here are recommended primarily for intermediate to advanced level divers.

Banda Sea and Halmahera

The Banda group of islands is comprised of three large and seven small islands, all perched on the rim of the Banda Sea, Indonesia’s deepest. This archipelago, once the prime destination of those in search of cloves, nutmeg, and mace, is known as the original Spice Islands. These islands are home to some of the world’s healthiest coral reefs which, when combined with the large pelagic fish population, offer some of the most idyllic scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in the region. It is believed that the largest and most diverse population of big fish in Indonesia is found in the Banda Sea. The waters around the Banda Islands are also home to the Maluku Sea Gardens, replete with vibrant corals and teeming with color fish life.

Some of the islands in the Banda Sea, including Halmahera remain largely unexplored, and stunning new dive sites are continually being discovered. Scuba diving from the Mutiara Laut in the Banda Sea is spectacular; you will enjoy great visibility and dramatic drop offs. You will encounter large Tuna, schools of Jacks, Rays, Sharks, Napoleon Wrasses, big Lobsters, Groupers, and an abundance of Turtles. In addition, there are large populations of Dogtooth Tuna and Mobula Rays. Enormous schools of Fusiliers and Redtooth Triggerfish, as well as a proliferation of Mandarin Fish and the endemic Ambon Scorpionfish can be seen on every dive. Encounters with large fish and a variety of whales are common.

The best scuba diving conditions in the Banda Sea occur between September and December, and again in March and April. There are more than 30 dive sites in this area. The waters are calm with visibility between 50-100 feet (15-30 m.). Dive depths range from 16-130 feet (5-40 m.), and currents can be both gentle and strong. Water temperatures range between 79°-84°F (26°-29°C). Because of the number of dives you will be able to make each day it is recommended that you wear a 3-5 mm. wetsuit. Diving in the Banda Sea is recommended for intermediate to advanced level divers.

May to November is the dry season in the region of the Banda Sea. Rain is likely between December and April, with the highest amounts of rainfall occurring in January and February. Surface temperatures remain a constant 81°-90°F (27°-32°C), and refreshing breezes help to moderate. Between October and January, the Mutiara Laut departs from either Sorong or Timika in West Papua Province, and crosses the Banda Sea as she travels to the Maluku Islands, also known as the Spice Islands, or the Mollucas.

Dive sites you may visit include Gunung Api and Lucipara. Gunung Api is an isolated volcanic peak that rises in the middle of the Banda Sea. Your unique diving experience here will have you floating amid a multitude of Banded Kraits. Lucipara is comprised of five small atolls that stretch for approximately two miles (3 km.) across the Banda Sea. Nesting Green Turtles converge among these atolls that are the peaks of seamounts rising from the sea bed. On day dives you will enjoy excellent drop offs, while on night dives you will encounter the rare Flashlight Fish.

Alor & Wetar

Alor is the largest island of the Alor archipelago. Its volcanic origins resulted in the rugged terrains that exist today. The diving at Alor and its surrounding islands is marked by amazing walls and spectacular corad gardens replete with a variety of schooling reef fish. Scuba diving at Alor is said to be world class, and offers opportunities to encounter Pilot Whales and Dolphins.

The best diving conditions at Alor occur between May and October, although year round diving is offered. Due to the strong currents in this region, diving at Alor is recommended for experienced divers. One of the dive sites you may visit is Kal’s Dream, highly attractive due to its abundant aquatic life. You will see sparkling Anthias as you make your way down the seamount here. Larger fish are plentiful, and you may encounter Grey Reef Sharks, Rays, Barracuda, Snappers, Surgeons, and schools of Fusiliers.

The dive site known as Sharks Galore is off the coast of Pura Island. Here you will experience a gentle drift dive as you watch the Grey Reef and White-tipped Sharks swim by among the large Dog-toothed Tuna.

The Twilight Zone dive site is a critter-dive paradise with an abundance of wonderful creatures that populate this area. Look for Bobbit Worms, Gunard Lionfish, Snake Eels, and Nudibranchs. Octopuses cover the coral mounds. On night dives you may be witness to the animals leaving their holes to aggressively hunt their prey.

Dive depths at any of the 15+ dive sites in this region are between 40-130 feet (12-40 m.). Visibility is good, and ranges from 40-100 feet (12-30 m.). Water temperatures range between 79°-90°F (26°-32°C). Because of the number of dives you will be able to make each day it is recommended that you wear a 3-5 mm. wetsuit. The dry season in this area is from May to October, and air temperatures range between 81°-90°F (27°-32°C). Departing from Maumere or possibly some other port, the Mutiara Laut sails to Alor and Wetar in the Banda Sea during the months of September and October. Diving in the Banda Sea is recommended for advanced level divers.

Wakatobi

Southeast of mainland Sulawesi lies a collection of small islands known as Wakatobi. The remoteness of this island grouping lends to its serenity as well as to amazing scuba diving opportunities at any of the more than 50 dive sites here. You will see excellent coral formations and spectacular reefs. Vibrant and healthy, these coral fields are home to an abundance of marine life.

The climate at Wakatobi is tropical, with the air temperature averaging 90°F (32°C). The rainy season takes place in January and February. Consistently good diving conditions occur from March through December. The water’s surface might be a bit choppy during the summer months, as a result of the coral spawning. During July and August, the waters are cooler and visibility is reduced due to the rich plankton blooms and large marine animals they attract. The best time to observe Pilot Whales is between November and April.

Dive depths in this region are between 16-130 feet (5-40 m.). Visibility is good, and ranges from 50-250 feet (15-80 m.). Water temperatures range between 79°-84°F (26°-29°C). Because of the number of dives you will be able to make each day it is recommended that you wear a 3-5 mm. wetsuit. Diving at Wakatobi is suitable for beginning to advanced level divers.

Whether you are looking for an amazing scuba diving vacation or wish to charter this luxury yacht for your own private charter, the Mutiara Laut strives to provide scuba divers and vacationers with the highest quality and most innovative liveaboard experience possible. In addition to unmatched scuba diving, guests aboard the Mutiara Laut will enjoy excellent accommodations and delicious meals as part of their vacation package. This Pearl of the Sea affords guests both safety and comfort as she travels to the best diving locations in the seas around the remote islands of Indonesia.