Banda is a compound where 13 small islands nestled; with its prominent islands are Banda Besar Island, Gunung Api Island, Run Island, Ay Island, and Pisang Island which also called Syahrir Island. In the 16th century, Banda was famous as the spice island and became the trade centre to the surrounding islands such as Ternate, Tidore, Aru, and West Papua. Some Indonesian prominent figure, namely Mohamad Hatta, Sjahrir, and Dr. Tjipto Mangunkusumo had live in exile in Banda during the Indonesian struggle for independence.
In 1978, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the legendary ocean explorer, arrived in Banda with his iconic research vessel, Calypso, to dive and filming the underwater jewel of Banda. There are more than 20 dive sites pinned around Banda. It can be said that, in general, dive sites in Banda are the one with the best coral cover in Indonesia, one of the best visibility in Indonesia and also one of the area in Indonesia where you actually dive just next to an active volcano
For instance is in Gunung Api Island, the volcanic eruption in 1988 had damaged the underwater environment. But nature has its own system and plan, it turned out that minerals that flown the ocean with the lava was very useful for corals regeneration. Hence the natural hazard gave birth to a new dive site called Lava Flow.
The pristine water of Banda may bless with abundance and healthy colorful corals covering the seabed, a view to kill for divers and underwater photographer, but the density level and the variety of fish are far from high. Don’t be sad! Banda is a heaven filled with mandarin fish that belong to the family of dragonet. Up at dawn for a sunrise dive and spend sunset to dusk underwater, you’ll see the unique fish with attractive colors and patterns come out from their cubicle just less 20 meters from the shore.