Mini Expeditions

August – November

As well as offering day trips and liveaboards in Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat, Mikumba Diving also runs several epic mini expeditions a year.

Manggarai West to East

One of our new Trips, this is a small expedition to explore the West, North and East of Flores Island.

After a few days in the heart of Komodo National Park, visiting the home of the Komodo Dragons, with unforgettable dives and spectacular scenery, we’ll begin the journey along the north side of Flores, also known as Manggarai Kingdom.

“Flores” comes from the Portuguese language, meaning “Flower”, because of the “Cape of Flowers” on the eastern part of the island.  When we’re on our way, from a distance, we’ll see white sandy beaches and rainforests, small islands and local boats cruising along.

The cruise will take around 2 days, depending on the planned stops and exploration dives we’ll do.  There have been previous sightings of Sharks, Dolphins and breaching Whales which should keep us entertained if we’re lucky.

One of our stops will be an inactive volcano, to see where the lava used to flow from previous eruptions with some bubbles coming out of the rocks on the way to the surface.

Once reaching the East, we plan to gear up again, in an area that looks like you’re in the Maldives – an atoll of sand in the blue – with Mantas getting cleaned below us.

Different Shark species are roaming these waters, from White and Black-tip Reef Sharks, Grey Reefs, Nurse and Hammerhead Sharks.

But we won’t forget to look out for critters and reef fish, Pygmy Seahorses in Gorgonian Fans and the champions of hide and seek – various species of Octopus that can be found here.

This trip means it’s the end of our Komodo season, and the boat will then make her way over to the East and North of Indonesia for the next few months to explore new dive sites and have some more adventures.

East Manggarai and Beyond

Maumere is a town on the eastern end of Flores, a place yet to see big tourist numbers.  Here, in this “off the beaten track” area, you can expect beautiful landscape and the feeling of exploring new dive sites.

Endless walls, cracks in the rocks from the earthquake in 1992, beautiful table and staghorn coral fields and white sandy beaches are just a few of the things you’ll find here.

Given the position of the dive sites, we can expect anything from various shark species including Scalloped Hammerheads, to Mantas and Eagle Rays, as well as whales and dolphins passing by on surface intervals.  With a good portion of luck, they might cruise by on a dive as well, so you should keep one eye in the blue all the time.

Macro fans are not left behind, as there is Frogfish, Seahorses, tiny shrimps and a variety of octopus trying to hide from us in the calm bay.

Trips here are 10-day trips and take us further to the East, visiting the volcano Komba on the way, where we can be amazed with nature’s firework while relaxing on deck.

We’ll also be diving lesser-known areas – the north coast of Adonara and Serbete Islands are just a couple of the highlights not to be missed.

Our Trips here focus on the months of late July until September.

Volcanic Spice Tour

Departing from Maumere, we cruise along the far end of Flores into the area of Alor, on to the Forgotten Islands, crossing the Banda sea, ending the trip in the bay of Ambon.

Passing active and inactive volcanoes we’ll have the chance to dive incredible sites, from endless drop-off walls, where we look out into the blue for pelagics, to black sandy patches, which makes the macro heart beat faster than usual.

In Alor, famous for its colourful vibrant reefs, we expect colder water, where the incoming tides bring Thresher Sharks, Mola Mola and Hammerhead Sharks closer to the surface and Rhinopias, Frogfish and mesmerizing Nudibranchs can be found in the calm bays.

Heading northeast, where the water gets warmer again, we dive the endless walls of the Forgotten Islands all the way up to Banda Neira, giving us a hint of what the sailors must have felt when they came here in search for spices and other trade products.

One of the big species we’re looking for on this trip, are the Hammerhead Sharks, which aggregate in the Banda Sea for their mating meetings.

During surface intervals keep an eye out on the open ocean as chances are high to spot pods of dolphins and whales cruising alongside the boat.

Ever dreamt of diving with a dozen sea snakes on a single dive? We know exactly where to drop to see them up close and personal.

After leaving the Banda Sea and reaching the South Maluku Islands, the boat will sail into the bay of Ambon where it’s all about the small and weird… the “Holy Grail” we’re looking for is the Psychedelic Frogfish!

Keep the macro lens on and we go hunting for Fingerprint Shrimps, Boxer Crabs, Wonderpus, Rhinopias, Frogfish, Candy Crabs, and more – all can be found here – our dive guides will show you what it’s all about!

The journey and the diving on this trip is something else – exploring new areas, finding new dive sites, land visits to see old tribes and the Dutch Fort, sharing some of the local Moonshine “Arak” – the list could go on, but we can guarantee something different.

Due to the conditions in the Banda sea, this trip is limited to be between September and November.

Maluku to West Papua

Ambon, Nusa Laut, Banda Neira, Pulau Hatta, Pulau Koon, Misool and Central Raja Ampat are the areas we’re sailing and diving on this trip.

Ambon is the muck diving paradise where we’ll spend our dives in the sand and corals, looking for all the weird and wonderful critters, often only a few mm in size.  Hairy Shrimps, Boxer Crabs, Frogfish, Pipefish, DonaldDuck Shrimps to name a few – be sure your camera batteries are fully charged and ready for action.

We then head to The Banda Sea, following the Spice Route of the Portuguese, descending next to never-ending drop-off walls and stunning rock formations and coral covered slopes.

Depending on the conditions, we’ll go as far as the island of Gili Manuk, to see the Banded Sea Krait, bubbles coming out of rocks, amazing sponges and Gorgonian Fans and with some luck, get a glimpse of someHammerhead Sharks out in the blue.

In South Raja Ampat, in Misool, we’ll indulge ourselves on dive sites like Nudi Rock, Boo Window, Magic Mountain, only to be amazed by all the fish life passing by, Manta Rays getting cleaned on the various cleaning stations and the most colourful corals you could ever wish to see.

We’ll also take a small hike up an island and jump into a lake, to swim with thousands of sting-less Jellyfish before going for a dive at a dive site called Farondi.

Of course, the Fam Islands and the diving in Central are not to be missed out on.  Manta Ridge, Mike’s Point, Cape Kri, Blue Magic, My Reef, Melissa’s Garden, Mayhem – the selection of amazing diving spots seems endless, and we’ll make sure to cater to what you want – whether a calm dive or white knuckle current action with grey reef sharks fighting over the feeding area with Giant Trevallies.

Don’t forget to try to challenge your dive guide to show you as many Pygmy Seahorses as possible -there are5 different species hiding in the soft corals of Raja Ampat.

We’ll also be climbing up to the viewpoint at Piaynemo – it’s so rewarding, with a view from a postcard that you can enjoy while sipping an icy cold beer.

These are not just diving trips – they are  exploratory journeys, many of the dive sites are not named, or even on the maps!  Over the past years we’ve swum with Orcas in the open sea, found and dived a seamount with an undocumented number of hammerhead sharks. We have found underwater caverns, explored 16th century Dutch East India forts, sailed by an erupting volcano, dived an island saturated with sea snakes and had super-pods of dolphins surround the boat.

There’s no strict itinerary and you must be comfortable with that!  For a preview of what you may see, check out some footage from our previous trips.

Before booking please have a look at our Terms & Conditions.

Please note, these trips are only available for experienced divers and for those who don’t need their creature comforts.

We are often out of phone signal, so no Facebook or Twitter, and no knowledge of what’s happening in the rest of the world – pure bliss!  We need to be careful who joins us on our expeditions – the staff all love to be away from the stresses of the outside world, our whole lives are diving and enjoying life on board and you need to be comfortable with this too.

To join us on one of our dive expeditions, you will need at least 50 dives.  Currents can be unpredictable, but not always, we will be going to virgin dive sites, you will be the first divers to some.  One of our guides even discovered a new site –  “Mikumba’s Delight” is one we’ll share with you (but make sure you keep it secret!).

Our expeditions go to far away places and even when we do get to see land, medical facilities aren’t the same as Western standards.  Hospitals for diving related incidents are a minimum of 12-24 hours travel time away and we aren’t necessarily close to airports when we do these trips.  Of course, we have a satellite phone for emergencies just in case.

As safety is our primary concern for our guests and staff we have strict guidelines that need to be followed.  Before your booking can be accepted you will need to complete a medical statement and get clearance from your Doctor stating you are fit to dive if you have any of the conditions on the form.

If it turns our that this is incomplete, or you do not have medical clearance from your Doctor we will have to cancel your booking without refund.  We aren’t doctors, and medical staff in remote places are not the same as qualified diving doctors in the West.  It is not fair for anybody – neither our guests nor our staff – for you to put your safety at risk, even if it IS the trip of a lifetime.

Insurance is mandatory.  We require every guest to have travel insurance in addition to diving insurance – this must cover cancellations (by airlines and ferries) as well as treatment for any diving incidents and evacuations.  If you arrive without insurance you will need to purchase some before the trip departs, otherwise you will not be permitted to join.  We do not refund for lack of insurance.  We recommend DAN for diving insurance, and Nomads for travel and cancellations.

While we aim to have as much fun and excitement on the expeditions as possible, the health and safety our all our guests is of the upmost importance to us at Mikumba Diving, and we are serious about ensuring you are well looked after on our liveaboards.

Most expenses are included:

  • Bed/room
  • All meals
  • 2 sheets, pillow and towel – but unfortunately no laundry machine, so please bring your own sleeping bag/liner
  • Soft drinks and alcohol are not included – you are welcome to bring your own
Not included in the price of the expedition:

  • Flights – but we can recommend who to fly with
  • Park Fees
  • Soft drinks and alcohol
  • Land based accommodation
  • Tips (for crew and guides)
  • Any other expenses
Mikumba Diving will always do everything we can to ensure your safety, but accidents can still happen.

Force Majeure and Acts of God are also a possibility, and there is nothing we can do to stop these from happening.

You will need to purchase sufficient insurance to cover all eventualities – diving incidents, flight cancellations and possible evacuations.  We recommend using DAN for diving, and Nomads for the rest, as they provide good cover.  You can purchase DAN insurance for your trip through us if required.

Although we may be in remote places, we do have continual contact with our office via satellite phone, and can help with arranging any assistance that may be needed.

Before booking please have a look at our Terms & Conditions.

Please note, these trips are only available for experienced divers and for those who don’t need their creature comforts.

We are often out of phone signal, so no Facebook or Twitter, and no knowledge of what’s happening in the rest of the world – pure bliss!  We need to be careful who joins us on our expeditions – the staff all love to be away from the stresses of the outside world, our whole lives are diving and enjoying life on board and you need to be comfortable with this too.

To join us on one of our dive expeditions, you will need at least 50 dives.  Currents can be unpredictable, but not always, we will be going to virgin dive sites, you will be the first divers to some.  One of our guides even discovered a new site –  “Mikumba’s Delight” is one we’ll share with you (but make sure you keep it secret!).

Our expeditions go to far away places and even when we do get to see land, medical facilities aren’t the same as Western standards.  Hospitals for diving related incidents are a minimum of 12-24 hours travel time away and we aren’t necessarily close to airports when we do these trips.  Of course, we have a satellite phone for emergencies just in case.

As safety is our primary concern for our guests and staff we have strict guidelines that need to be followed.  Before your booking can be accepted you will need to complete a medical statement and get clearance from your Doctor stating you are fit to dive if you have any of the conditions on the form.

If it turns our that this is incomplete, or you do not have medical clearance from your Doctor we will have to cancel your booking without refund.  We aren’t doctors, and medical staff in remote places are not the same as qualified diving doctors in the West.  It is not fair for anybody – neither our guests nor our staff – for you to put your safety at risk, even if it IS the trip of a lifetime.

Insurance is mandatory.  We require every guest to have travel insurance in addition to diving insurance – this must cover cancellations (by airlines and ferries) as well as treatment for any diving incidents and evacuations.  If you arrive without insurance you will need to purchase some before the trip departs, otherwise you will not be permitted to join.  We do not refund for lack of insurance.  We recommend DAN for diving insurance, and Nomads for travel and cancellations.

While we aim to have as much fun and excitement on the expeditions as possible, the health and safety our all our guests is of the upmost importance to us at Mikumba Diving, and we are serious about ensuring you are well looked after on our liveaboards.

Most expenses are included:

  • Bed/room
  • All meals
  • 2 sheets, pillow and towel – but unfortunately no laundry machine, so please bring your own sleeping bag/liner
  • Soft drinks and alcohol are not included – you are welcome to bring your own
Not included in the price of the expedition:

  • Flights – but we can recommend who to fly with
  • Park Fees
  • Soft drinks and alcohol
  • Land based accommodation
  • Tips (for crew and guides)
  • Any other expenses
Mikumba Diving will always do everything we can to ensure your safety, but accidents can still happen.

Force Majeure and Acts of God are also a possibility, and there is nothing we can do to stop these from happening.

You will need to purchase sufficient insurance to cover all eventualities – diving incidents, flight cancellations and possible evacuations.  We recommend using DAN for diving, and Nomads for the rest, as they provide good cover.  You can purchase DAN insurance for your trip through us if required.

Although we may be in remote places, we do have continual contact with our office via satellite phone, and can help with arranging any assistance that may be needed.

Before booking please have a look at our Terms & Conditions.

Schedule & Prices

Diving

We’re going out there to explore the unexplored!  We could find anything and everything – and we have done previously – from new dive sites to spectacular scenery above the surface too.  We plan for a certain number of dives on each expedition, but if we come across something unusual such as an erupting volcano or watching a traditional fire dance in a remote village, we think you’d agree that’s worth stopping for.  We schedule a few stops along the way for topping up our fuel and food supplies, but apart from that we have nothing holding us back from just finding what else this beautiful world of our keeps secret from the unadventurous.

Marine Life

We will be diving within the famous Coral Triangle – there are pristine coral reefs, amazing hard and soft corals of every colour of the rainbow.  You have the big stuff, schools of more than 100 hammerheads, masses of dancing mobula rays, curious manta rays coming in close to check you out, and there’s always the possibility of seeing pods of dolphins or pilot whales while you’re chilling on deck.  If you’ve had enough of the big stuff, you can get your fill of macro with tiny shrimps, colourful nudibranchs, and pygmy seahorses.  And if that’s still not enough, we have the weird and the wonderful, from seeing a whole other galaxy in the eye of a crocodilefish, to the fantastic face of a stargazer peering up at you from the sand.  We can be sure you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

Here’s some of the amazing locations we visit on our expeditions

Triton Bay

Being very remote and having just one resort here, the dive sites are visited by only a handful of Raja Ampat liveaboards.  With nutrient-rich waters, colourful soft corals and the usual biodiversity of Raja Ampat, you can see everything from magnificent whale sharks, majestic manta rays and the wondrous wobbegong shark to the tiny pygmy seahorse, transparent skeleton shrimps and the fabulous flamboyant cuttlefish.  Truly a divers paradise!

Banda Neira, Pulau Hatta

This is where the islands on the old spice route lie. Here the Dutch and Portugese once traded nutmeg and cinamon and other valuable spices.  There’s an amazing town with the old Fort Belgica and plantations for dry days.

The diving ranges from Mandarin fish in the harbour, lavaflows on the edge of volcano Gunung Api (Fire Mountain) to steep walls with stunning coral, and in right season scalloped and great hammerheads.

Alor

We usually get colder water here which increases our chances of seeing Mola Mola, tresher and hammerhead sharks as well as, tuna and spanish mackerel.

It’s also amazing for muck dives where we search for rhinopias and all sorts of critters such as frogfishes, octopus and dugongs.

Also a good for land excursions to see tribes doing their fire dances and an opportunity to buy handmade souvenirs like sarongs, necklaces and other souvenirs.

Ambon

This is “muck diving” paradise, you can see everything here from frogfish, rhinopias, hairy octopus, hairy shrimps and more…

There’s also wonderfull coral reefs, caves to be discovered, towns to stroll around areas where dugong have been seen.

This should be on every diver’s list!

Banda Sea (Gili Manuk to Pulau Damar/Romang)

Uninhabited islands, reefs with dropoffs to 3000+ meters.

Known for sea snakes, schooling hammerheads, maybe longimanus and tresher sharks too if you’re lucky.  We also see dolphins and whales while cruising, and dive on spectacular coral fields with a huge variety of beautiful reef fish.