MSY Aurora is a liveaboard based in Indonesia and sails to Raja Ampat, Komodo, the Banda Sea and the Maluku Islands.
“We cannot thank you enough for the fantastic experience we had whilst on-board the Aurora. The crew were amazing – hard working, helpful, professional and very attentive. The diving was of course brilliant and was very well-organized. The entire trip was just superb – thank you once again!”
“Our trip aboard the Aurora was simply amazing. Everything from the diving to the shore excursions to the attentive crew far exceeded our expectations. The boat was extremely comfortable with plenty of space for our group, and we made and shared some wonderful memories that will forever be with us. We hope to climb aboard the Aurora again soon.”
Sample Liveaboard Itinerary in North Maluku
Journey length: 12 days, 11 nights (can be customized and extended to 12 or 13 nights on request)
Journey start and end location: Ambon and Sorong
Guests will be met at the airport in Ambon and Aurora staff will assist with a seamless transfer to the boat. Once all guests have boarded, the vessel will set sail to the first destination of the trip, Nusa Laut.
The extensive coral gardens and stunning coral reefs at Nusa Laut are a perfect starting point for Aurora guests. If conditions are unsuitable at Nusa Laut the boat will head to Saparua Island instead. Divers can hope to see massive schools of surgeonfish, trevallies and an abundance of smaller reef fish. The first night dive for the trip will be a critter-filled dive under a pier.
As the Aurora approaches the magnificent reefs on the outer edge of Banda Neira, guests will have the chance to see and hear a wide variety of exotic birds that live on the island nearby. The diving at Banda Neira is fantastic with sharks, tuna and all sorts of reef fish in abundance.
The dive sites are Karang Hatta and Pulau Hatta are varied and teeming with marine life across the vertical walls and sloping reefs. Divers can spend the time making the most of this great diving destination and are likely to see eagle rays, turtles, dogtooth tuna, barracuda and even sharks on occasion.
On the fifth day, guests will travel towards Koon Island, a small island boasting a dramatic vertical wall and a sloping reef where the current is known to curl around bringing a wide variety of marine life. A major highlight of this dive are the enormous groupers which tend to frequent the area, some of which have measured in the region of 3 metres. Aside from these larger than life groupers, divers can hope to spot barracuda, reef sharks, batfish and trevallies.
Over the next few days, liveaboard guests will have the chance to visit the fantastic Misool National Park with its numerous islands and multitude of dive sites. The crew appreciate how important it is to make the most of the time in this stunning area, which is why they enable divers to get as many dives in as possible. Usually the visited sites include the islands of Wajil, Walib, Jef Pele, Jilliet, Fiabajet, Boo and Mesenta.
The Islands of Farondi are located roughly 20 kilometres to the east of Misool Island and offer yet another fantastic dive spot for liveaboard guests. These dive spots in particular are very popular due to the many underwater caverns, tunnels and walls in the area.
For many people, Fam Island is the very definition of diving perfection. Not only is the underwater scene superb featuring colourful gardens of coral and an immensely diverse marine environment, but the above-ground landscapes are just as beautiful.
On the morning of day 11, Aurora guests will have the chance to dive with Wobbegong sharks and manta rays in Arborek before enjoying a shore visit to a traditional fishing village.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and after a farewell breakfast on-board it will be time to transfer guests to the Sorong airport in accordance with their onward travel plans.
Banda Sea Liveaboard Itinerary
The Banda Sea is host to the famous Spice Islands, known for their historical significance in supplying nutmeg, cloves and other spices. The landscapes are truly beautiful in this area, with lagoons of emerald-green and white sandy beaches, not to mention an abundance of wild vegetation and a fantastic underwater scene.
The Aurora will sail around a number of islands in the Banda Sea including Lucipara, Gunung Api, the islets around Banda and eventually onto Ambon. Each night the Aurora docks in a new bay, giving guests the chance to see some magnificent sights along the way.
Guests will hardly believe their eyes as they traverse the seas between Asia and Oceania – the diverse landscapes seen on this trip are definitely worth writing home about. The area experiences its dry season from September to March, however rainfall is fairly regular throughout the year, adding an even more vibrant colour to the already green covered rocks.
The reefs that surround the underwater pinnacles are teeming with marine life and healthy hard corals and are certainly a highlight of the trip for the divers on-board the Aurora.
Komodo Liveaboard Itinerary
The Komodo Itinerary is one of the best liveaboard journeys as it offers some fascinating and extremely unique sights. The trip travels through 2 oceans and passes a swift flowing current from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. The mix of the two oceans, with their differing temperatures and levels, makes for some fantastic diving opportunities as well as some interesting landscapes.
The Aurora will sail around the many islands surrounding Komodo, stopping overnight at a different bay most evenings.
In the months of June to September, the landscape is quite dry which is atypical for most of Indonesia. Most other areas of Indonesia are green all throughout the year, even though rainfall is very rare during the area’s dry season.
The majority of reefs in the Komodo area are relatively shallow fringing reefs although there are some deeper dives where the corals, fans and sponges grow to impressive sizes.
On the north end of Komodo, Rinca and the Lesser Sunda Islands, divers will find an abundance of rich, colourful and well-preserved reefs, many of which are covered in table corals and are truly a fantastic sight. The reefs are also teeming with life here including plenty of odd-looking invertebrates.
Although the Indian Ocean is usually characterized by warm, clear waters, the temperatures along the southern coast are far cooler and are usually in the range of 24°C. The reefs tend to be found in shallower waters and an abundance of healthy corals both hard and soft can be found on the reefs. Divers along the southern coast can hope to see manta rays, sharks and oceanic sunfish when diving here.
Banda Sea Liveaboard Itinerary
On the Banda Sea Route, the Aurora will visit a number of islands including Lucipara, Gunung Api, Banda and Ambon. The vessel will anchor in a different bay each night, giving guests the chance to see somewhere new every night.
The Band Sea Itinerary can be customized somewhat to requirements and can travel the route over 11, 12 or 13 nights.
Guests will be welcomed at the airport by the friendly, helpful Aurora crew who will then assist with a transfer to the boat. Depending on when all the guests arrive, there might be time for a check dive in Maumere and possibly even an exciting night dive in the area.
On their first full day aboard the Aurora, guests will have the chance to dive in a few spots in East Flores. The first choice would be Serbete where divers can experience walls, gardens of coral and sandbars, not to mention pelagic life and macro life all in one spot. Napoleon wrasses, sea turtles, reef sharks and pygmy seahorses are all regular sightings around Serbete.
For muck diving enthusiasts, the bay on the west of Kawula is a fantastic choice and is considered a top-notch site for macro life. The bay features a large mangrove population and frogfish, ghost pipefish and flying gurnard are regular sightings. The area is also great for a night dive with crabs, shrimp and Spanish dancers all making an appearance once the sun goes down.
At Tanjung Gedong in the north east of Flores, divers will experience deep dives with lots of large soft and table corals to be seen. There are also regular encounters with large groupers and reef sharks.
On the third day on board the Aurora, guests are in for an exhilarating time. Komba is an active volcano, and divers will have the chance to swim along its sandy slopes and rocky areas observing the variety of marine life that call this area home. After all the excitement of the dive, liveaboard guests will have the chance to tour around the volcano, which erupts every 20 minutes or so!
The next few days will be spent in the glorious Alor Strait beginning in Timor. Every kind of dive is possible here from magnificent muck dives to dramatic drop-offs featuring strong currents. When the Aurora reaches Pulau Ternate and Pulau Pura divers are treated to vibrant coral gardens and an abundance of marine life in the clear, warm waters. A major highlight for many divers is the beautiful and evasive mandarin fish which can be seen in the evenings. From the boat, divers might be able to see dolphins and pilot whales breaking the water’s surface from time to time. Guests will also have the chance to visit a local village where the tribe still lives in the traditional way. This is a must-see for those wanting to experience the Indonesian culture.
The boat moves north of Timor on day 6 towards the island of Wetar. This area is well-known for its pelagic life and divers are sure to feel exhilarated after diving the deep drop-offs around Wetar.
The trip includes a few days at an area known as the Ring of Fire, and this is bound to spark some interest from divers and non-divers alike. The first of these volcanic islands that guests will have the chance to visit is Manuk, also known as “Snake Island” where an abundance of sea snakes can be seen beneath the water’s surface together with tuna, mackerel, sharks and barracuda.
A wreck site that is well-worth visiting is the Nil Desperandum where divers might hope to see hammerheads during certain times of the year.
On day 11, the Aurora will arrive in the northern region of the Banda Sea’s outer reefs known as Pulau Suanggi. Whilst travelling aboard the boat, guests should look out for the many exotic birds that call this island home. Once beneath the water however, there’s far more to see in the way of fish in all shapes and sizes, tuna and reef sharks.
The next destination is in the region of Karang Hatta and Pulau Hatta where divers can experience dramatic vertical walls and long, sloping reefs affected by a strong current. Sea turtles, sharks, eagle rays and barracuda can be expected in this area.
On day 12, liveaboard guests will head towards the south of Seram towards the islands of Maluku. Healthy hard corals, all sorts of reef fish, frogfish and even the ghost pipefish can be seen. Nusa Laut and Molana are the names of two reefs that divers can experience, and there is the opportunity to spot sperm whales if you’re lucky.
Day 13 is all about the macro diving in the north east of Ambon at either Tuleu Bay or Laha. These sites are probably some of the best on the planet, second only to Indonesia’s world-famous Lembeh Strait.
Guests can enjoy a leisurely breakfast on-board the Aurora before disembarking and heading to Ambon’s airport in accordance with your flight schedules.
Raja Ampat Liveaboard Itinerary
Raja Ampat is a diver’s paradise and is known all over the world as the most marine biodiverse area on the planet, which of course guarantees it to be a great spot for diving.
The protected marine reserve is enormous and stretches all the way to Misool and Waigeoo, with tiny islands and a number of straits in between. Raja Ampat’s dry season runs from September until March but rainfall is fairly regularly throughout the year regardless of the dry season.
Both the underwater and topside landscapes boast phenomenal diversity and the area is entirely unique in that a number of different ecosystems function so perfectly together as one.
Amazingly undamaged, the reefs within this marine park are the very definition of busy, with an abundance of marine life not to mention an enormous variety of hard and soft corals. Thanks to strict fishing prohibitions, the marine life at Raja Ampat has been allowed to thrive, and visitors will be astounded at the beautiful conditions under the water’s surface here.
North Maluku Liveaboard Itinerary
The North Maluka Itinerary can be customized somewhat to requirements and can travel the route over 11, 12 or 13 nights.
The landscape in North Maluka consists of a number of islands which continually increase as Papua approaches. The wide variation in these islands is distinctive and a divide can certainly be seen between Oceania and Asia in this region.
The reefs in this region are completely varied and are teeming with marine life in every size, shape and colour imaginable. The reefs are densely populated and divers are certain not to be left unimpressed.
Aurora guests will be welcomed to the Ambon airport by the friendly Aurora crew and will be transferred directly to the boat for boarding. Once everyone is on-board and settles, the Aurora will make its way to the first destination on the itinerary, Nusa Laut and Sarapurana.
In Nusa Laut, divers will discover stunning gardens of coral and superb reefs teeming with colourful reef fish. If conditions are unsuitable, the Aurora crew might opt for diving in Saparua which is an equal if not superior alternative. Divers can also expect to see massive schools of surgeon fish and trevallies. The first night dive of the trip will take place under a local pier where divers can hunt for critters with their flashlights.
As the Aurora heads towards the outer reefs at Banda Neira, guests should look out for the abundance of small exotic birds found on the islands. Under the water tuna and reef sharks are prevalent, not to mention a wide variety of smaller fish. After Banda Neira it’s time to head towards Pulau Hatta or Karang Hatta where divers will be met with stark and dramatic underwater walls as well as gentle sloping seascapes. There is an abundance of marine life here thanks to the currents that pass through: eagle rays, barracuda, fusiliers and even dogtooth tuna all make an appearance on a regular basis. The reef also boats a wide variety of soft corals and leather corals.
Divers are sure to be impressed on their fifth day aboard the Aurora when they are able to visit the island of Koon. Known for its swirling current and wide variety of marine life, the most exciting creature to be seen here is the massive groupers which can grow up to 3 metres long. There are also reef sharks, barracuda and batfish to be seen.
The next few days will be spent visiting the stunning National Park at Misool where there are a number of islands to see and even more dive sites to explore. The Aurora will visit the islands of Boo, Jef Pele, Wajil, Walib, Jilliet, Fiabajet and Mesenta to name just a few.
If adventurous diving is what you’re looking for, day 9 is going to be your favourite day aboard the Aurora. Located around 20 kilometres from Misool, the Farondi Islands are well-known for their tunnels and caverns that are sure to excite adventurous divers. There are also a number of wall dives available in the area.
Recognized as one of the best areas for marine biodiversity, the Fam Island is a brilliant dive spot. Not only is the diving sensational with coral gardens and more fish species than can be named, the landscape above the water is just as beautiful and will make for an enjoyable cruise. Today is definitely the day to take those “Wish You Were Here” postcard pictures.
Divers will have the chance to dive with mantas and the odd-looking Wobbegong shark at Arborek on day 11. After the morning dive, guests will have the option of visiting a nearby fishing village which offers insight into the traditional fishing methods and way of life in the area.
After a magnificent trip aboard the Aurora, it’s time to say goodbye to the new friends, helpful crew and all the wonderful marine life you will have seen on the journey. Breakfast is served on-board and thereafter guests will be transported to the airport in Sorong where they will depart for their final destinations, keeping with them the fantastic memories made aboard the Aurora.