Halmahera Liveaboard Diving
Halmahera is in the Coral Triangle and sits right in the path of the Indonesian Throughflow. This force of nature brings with it an abundance of nutrients, making this area the most biodiverse in the world.
Coralia Liveaboard visits this fantastic, remote destination as part of several different cruises. You can start or finish with the outstanding diving of Raja Ampat. Or include the magnificent diving in Lembeh Strait.
Best Places to Dive in Halmahera
Coralia cruises in several different areas during a Halmahera cruise. It depends on the itinerary which places you will visit.
Between Misool and South Halmahera there are two small rocks and two islands. This area is called Pisang Island. If the current is running this area can be very fishy. There are large coral heads in the shallows and pretty soft corals in the deep. A school of bumphead parrotfish live here and we might see some passing pelagics like tuna or mackerel.
In South Halmahera there are pinnacles, walls and coral gardens to enjoy. The pinnacles are full of schooling fish, the walls covered in stunning soft corals and sea fans and reef sharks swim around the coral gardens. Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, turtles, blacktips, whitetips, schools of jacks and barracuda all populate the reefs here. There are black sandy slopes providing excellent critter filled muck diving, especially for the night dive.
The Goraici Islands have beautiful white sandy beaches. The people here have been actively protecting their reefs here, keeping them healthy and in good condition. The reefs are packed with fish and there are pristine hard coral gardens. At another dive site there is a wall covered in corals where black tip reef sharks cruise around.
Pantini Strait is a channel between Halmahera and Bacan Island. The islands in the Pantinti Strait are rarely visited. There are healthy reefs covered in orange soft corals and large coral heads. Large numbers of anthias add colour to the reefs. Currents can bring in reef sharks including grey reefs, plus tuna and barracuda. There is a great drift dive through a channel. Walking sharks can be seen on the night dive.
On Bacan we can offer a land excursion organised by the Tourism Department of South Halmahera. There is an old Portuguese fort, traditional dancing and a local market. Stunning walls and canyons are open to the ocean so we can expect some currents on some dive sites. Sea fans, soft corals and large coral heads decorate the coral gardens where you can see reef sharks, napoleons, bumphead parrotfish and large schools of barracuda and jacks. There is a good muck night dive here too.
Makian and Ternate
In Makian there is black sand diving, similar to Lembeh Strait. An excellent macro dive site where good critters life can be found. Strange creatures are seen here, including bobbit worms, nudibranch, frogfish and even walking sharks.
In Ternate there are a few wrecks in front of the mosque at a good dive depth. Nudibranch, crocodile fish, ghost pipefish have all been spotted here.
Tifore is home to a huge school of barracuda, said to number over 1,000! Tifore is a small island between Halmahera and Lembeh. Just off the island there is a submerged reef that slopes down to healthy hard and soft corals and huge shoals of schooling fish. Grey reef sharks sometimes pass by here too.
On trips that start or finish in Manado we will dive in the famous Lembeh Strait. Some say this area is the Capital of muck diving. The black sandy slopes here provide habitats for numerous weird and wonderful critters. We can look for octopus, frogfish, nudibranchs, pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish – there really are critters galore here!
Halmahera Liveaboard Diving Highlights
- Pinnacles, walls and healthy coral gardens
- Fantastic muck diving in the Lembeh Strait
- The huge school of barracuda at Tifore
- Spectacular diving at the Goraici Islands
- Common sightings – black tip sharks, napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, leaf fish, ghost pipefish, plus many more special creatures
- Special sightings – wunderpus or mimic octopus, grey reef sharks, tuna, Rhinopias, frogfish, giant school of barracuda
Best Time to Go
Halmahera can be dived all year round but it is best dived on a liveaboard cruise. Coralia visits Halmahera in April and May.
How to Get There
Coralia’s cruises in Halmahera depart from either Sorong, Bitung or Ternate, depending on which itinerary you choose. The airport codes are SOQ for Sorong, Bitung is close to Manado (MDC) and TTE for Ternate. The international airport with the best connections is Jakarta (CGK). You can also route through Bali (DPS) if you prefer. Manado also has direct flights from Singapore (SIN).
Garuda runs flights on some of the routes. At the time of writing, Garuda offers an extra 23kg per person for dive gear. Be ready to show your diving certification and that your extra baggage is made up of dive equipment.
Please remember that if you fly in the morning, at the end of the cruise, then you might be restricted on the number of dives you partake in the day before. Usually, on the last full day on board, we will do two dives in the morning. Finishing by around 1pm.
You can take an international flight into Bali, Jakarta or Manado to connect with your domestic flight or directly with the boat in Manado. We recommend arriving at least one day before your domestic flight. We also recommend you book your return international flight for one day after the end of the cruise.
Useful Halmahera Liveaboard Cruise Information
- All levels of divers and snorkelers can join a Halmahera cruise. Good buoyancy is essential at the muck diving sites, especially in the Lembeh Strait.
- Transfers to and from the airport are included. From Sorong airport to the harbour is around a 10 minute drive. From Manado airport to Bitung harbour is around one hour. Ternate airport is around 20 minutes to the harbour. You will then be transferred by a short speedboat ride to Coralia.
- Water temperature – it is warm all year round, about 27°C and 30°
- Visibility is usually very good, ranging from 20-30 metres. Inside the bays the visibility may be less, especially in Lembeh, but it’s ok because here we’re looking for critters!
- Halmahera is part of Indonesia. The currency is Indonesian Rupiah or IDR.
- The official language is Bahasa Indonesia. Although there are over 300 different native languages spoken in Indonesia.
- There may be some opportunities to buy souvenirs so bring some IDR.
- If you would like to bring gifts for the children of Halmahera or Manado, we would have the opportunity to distribute them during the cruise. Please do not bring items wrapped in plastic as this plastic will not be disposed of appropriately. It is also best not to bring plastic toys or balloons. Most useful are things like pencils, pencil sharpeners, books, crayons, clothes, hair bands for girls, etc.
- Other on board options include kayaking, paddle board, beach visits
Visit Halmahera with Coralia Liveaboard Indonesia !
Please have a look at Coralia’s cruise schedule to join us on an unforgettable diving adventure.
Also, please feel free to CONTACT US in case you have any questions. We look forward to assisting you.