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Diving Halmahera and North Maluku | Indonesia

The North Maluku chain of islands stretches northwards and away from the better-known island of Ambon. Like the entire Indonesian archipelago, this is an area full of scuba diving potential. The region is part of the much-famed Spice Islands so was once an important and wealthy trading hub.

The largest island in the group is Halmahera where the terrain is distinctly volcanic and the diving is – as yet – still somewhat unexplored. However, recently a few adventurous liveaboards started sailing past Pulau Pisang, to Bacan and then Goraici before reaching Halmahera.

There are a wide variety of dive sites including open water pinnacles that are masked by massive schools of barracuda and plenty of shallow black sand beaches that reveal exciting muck dives with plenty of weird and wonderful creatures.

Diving Pulau Siko
North Maluku and Halmahera dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Black corals
Top dive site Babua Island
Seasons All year
Visibility 10 – 40 metres
Water temperature 27 – 30º C
Deco chambers Manado, Bali
Flights to Bali or Manado then internal flight to Ambon or Ternate
Dive operators and accommodation A few liveaboards travel this route seasonally.
Boxer crab in Jailolo Bay

Getting to North Maluku is via Ambon or direct to Ternate, the island opposite Halmahera. Like all Indonesian internal flights, an element of patience is useful as delays are common. The upside of coming to such an unexplored area is the isolation from the development that is sweeping across parts of the country. The downside is that there needs to be more exploration to find the best diving this area has to offer.


Currents can be strong at times (and often extremely strong) and minimal at others. This is because the western side of Halmahera is sited in the Indonesian Through-flow, the current pattern that catches substantial sea movement between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Dive sites included walls, pinnacles and sloping reef mounds. A little more unusual, were the substantial rock formations. Fish quantities were lower than elsewhere and in 10 days we only saw one shark and one turtle. However, macro life was impressive with a lot of muck diving sites and masses of crustaceans.


We were one of the first groups to visit this area and the lack of research showed. There was a good range of dive sites and almost all were pretty and in good condition. The tourism infrastructure here is growing but isn't quite ready yet.

Complete reports on this area are in
Diving Southeast Asia.

The digital edition is on iTunes.

Buy the print edition direct from SeaFocus here.

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