Before the troubles Ambon had established a strong reputation as a remote but first rate dive location and the Ambon Dive Center, run by Carol Palmer & Sonny Tjandra, had a loyal following of divers.
Located about 30 minutes southwest of Ambon City at a pleasant beach side location near the village of Latuhalat on the Letimar Peninsular, the dive center provided meals & accommodation and a base from which to explore the numerous dive sites that Carol & Sonny had identified.
Unfortunately the troubles brought all that to a sad end and the dive center was forced to close down in early 2000.
Ambon was effectively closed for all diving until about 2002, when the troubles had subsided and the military restrictions on the area relaxed, but the only way to actually dive there was on the various liveaboards that work the area on their way to Raja Ampat.
Diving Indonesia: Maluku Province – Ambon & Maluku Divers
In July 2005 Maluku Divers took over the lease on the Ambon Dive Centre and reopened the operation using the original premises for four years while they built their new resort on the opposite side of the harbor, at Laha near the Twilight Zone muck diving site.
The new resort is a huge improvement over the old one and has a very nice restaurant, large dedicated camera preparation room and well-appointed rooms!
The resort is run by Dutch expatriate, and avid tech and wreck diver, Marcel Hagendijk with his crew of experienced Ambonese.
To Marcel’s great credit the staff of the dive center is a well-balanced mixture of Muslim and Christians all very well versed in the basic requirement to get on well and ensure that the guests get to see what they came for!
Diving Indonesia: Maluku Province – When to Dive Ambon?
As with most locations in Indonesia an understanding of the monsoon seasons is the key to knowing when to get the best diving conditions – but this is particularly so in Maluku Province.
In Indonesia the general weather pattern is for two monsoon seasons each year consisting of the southeast dry monsoon and the northwest rainy monsoon. The dry season usually starts around May and continues through to September, while the rainy season begins around November and lasts through to March.
But the weather patterns in Maluku Province are different, with the central & southern areas having their dry season from October to March and their wet season between May and August – basically opposite to the rest of the country.
In the northern area of Maluku however the wet season can be expected from December until March, which is similar to the rest of Indonesia and all very confusing…
The bottom line in Ambon is that it’s location between the central & northern areas means that it’s weather is rather unpredictable, but the best conditions can be expected from around the end of February to early May and from the end of September through to early November.
Diving Indonesia: Maluku Province – Getting to Ambon
The Indonesian archipelago is a vast area and Ambon is near it’s eastern edge. However, despite it’s isolation Ambon is relatively easy to get to and is well served by the domestic Indonesian airlines – there are no direct international flights though…
The main international entry points into Indonesia are Jakarta & Bali and it is possible to get to Ambon from both locations.
There are now several flights from Jakarta, including one direct overnight flight with Batavia Air, departing at 00.50 and arriving in Ambon at 06.10
From Bali, Lion Air offers the best option as you can get to Ambon without changing planes, but you will have visited Makassar (Ujung Pandang) in South Sulawesi on the way…
If you arrive into Jakarta and have to overnight before catching your onward flight to Ambon, there is a reasonable Airport Hotel which is in the actual terminal and very handy if not exactly a five star experience.