Conservation Expedition: Banda Sea, a Place of Legends


  • 12
  • From $8,790.00*
  • 12 (Approx.)
  • 11




10 - 21 October 2020

Conservation Expedition

Wildiaries has teamed up with Pindito Expeditions and SMY Ondina who have been running small ship cruises in eastern Indonesia for nearly 30 years. Working with vessels who have an exemplary safety and hospitality record, these specialist trips present the opportunity for guests to be directly involved in gathering important and new information that can help lead to better decision-making for protection of marine species and locations.  



For many, seeing a Blue Whale in the wild is enough to bring them to tears. The impact is profound when you realise how and why the largest animal that ever lived on Earth came to be in this this place 

... when we talk at Wildiaries about ‘a new way to see’, this is what we mean. Banda Sea is a place that has all the majesty of the Himalayas but the mystery of a place forgotten and much concealed beneath a vast ocean. 

One of my favourite images, from 2019, taken in the shadow of an oceanic volcano (below), features the speck of a traditional boat, one of many that migrate 100 miles over open ocean each season, to fish in these rich waters. It’s a humbling feeling being dwarfed by wilderness and wildlife on such a grand scale - and all the more reason why it’s important to contribute something back as an investment in its people, nature and places.

Blue Whales and the myriad of other sea creatures that live here offer a glimpse into the abyss, a chance to connect with the oceans and to understand the fundamental forces of nature, that created life on Earth.     

This special trip is designed to give us extended time with Blue Whales ... great for photographers and explorers. It also allows us time to gather important information and start conversations in support of protecting these important places. For those who love snorkeling or diving, there is warm water and an abundance of coral reef and animals to see. 

I am looking forward to sharing your company in the Banda Sea in October 2020 for this fantastic and revealing expedition.


Simon Mustoe. 

Wildiaries founder.

For just a few months of the year, fuelled by nutrients from the deep, the Banda Sea plays host to one of our ocean’s greatest wildlife events. Blue Whales migrate here from southern Australia and congregate to feed on copepods. 

We sat on the ship and saw perhaps as many as 20 Blue Whales feeding within site, diving every 10 minutes and surfacing almost on the spot”  Simon Mustoe, Wildiaries

These rich waters are also home to curiously-named and rarely seen species: Rough-toothed Dolphins and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales. Occasionally guests site a Dugong (a snorkeler on one trip was fortunate to have one swim right past). Whale Sharks and Manta Rays are frequently observed and Hawksbill Turtles are abundant. 

On this trip you’ll join local experts, seasoned explorers and scientists, to learn about and observe rare creatures in one of Earth’s wildest places. You’ll visit remote oceanic volcanoes on the edge of a 7,000m deep abyss; discover the rich cultural history of Banda Neira, with its Dutch fortress and legendary spices that launched European economies. 

Above all else, this is a chance to relax and have a wonderful holiday in the company of like-minded and adventurous people.  

Indicative itinerary

Itineraries are kept deliberately flexible to respond to conditions and animals’ behaviour. 

Indicative Itinerary (11 days, 10 nights)

  • DAY 1 Depart Ambon
  • DAY 2 - 5 Travel, search for and spend time with Blue Whales
  • DAY 6 - 8 Manuk Island and Banda Neira 
  • DAY 9 - 11 Misool / Raja Ampat
  • DAY 12 Flights depart Sorong

Diving (optional) will be possible on at least day 1, 2(AM), 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12(AM) (latter only AM as determined by flights).  


  • Full Board on board, Tea, Coffee, Snacks and 1 Soft Drink at lunch and Dinner.
  • Transfers from/to nearest airport to/from the vessel
  • Accommodation in a double or twin bed cabin with en-suite shower bath, toilet and AC
  • 2 snorkel / dives* (optional) and 1 night dive unless weather conditions or long sailing distance do not permit it. First and Last Cruise days are excluded due to safety reasons and flight schedules. These dates we will dive accordingly.
  • Land excursions when clearly specified in the cruise planning.
  • All entrance fees to National Parks
  • Diving tanks and weights for divers and snorkeling gear for non-divers
  • Multilingual guides
  • Continual wildlife-watching and interpretation, plus zodiac excursions. 
  • Expert guides on hand 24/7


  • Any flights to and from departure city / cities.
  • Any pre/post tour accommodation and meals.
  • Insurance of any kind.
  • Any kind of beverages while in transit.
  • Emergency rescue costs (local/international).
  • All expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone bills etc.
  • Bank transfer charges (directly paid to your bank).
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend per guest/day EUR 15.00 / USD 20.00)
  • Harbour fees (payable on board) (€200)
  • Dive insurance (from 2013 onwards mandatory for all cruises)
  • Souvenirs onboard 
  • Dive courses (i.e. Nitrox course. Note, OW and AOW will not be provided on this trip)
  • Nitrox and gear hire (for divers). 

*PRICE is USD 5890. The price in AUD is estimated at an exchange rate of 1$AU = 0.67$US. The final amount will vary. 





Payment Terms

1. RESERVATIONS Reservations are confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $A500 per person or per booking, or the amount specified on your booking. On receipt of your reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your selected travel module. Additional deposits may be required and will be advised at time of booking. Final payment of land costs are due at least* 60 days prior to arrival and all reservations will be cancelled if full payment is not received by the due date, with loss of deposit. On receipt of your payment, we will send tour information and vouchers. Please ensure that you receive the information before you travel. Bookings made at least* less than 60 days prior to departure must be paid in full. Due to time constraints, tour information and vouchers may be collected on the first day of departure with Wildiaries from its tour guide. These arrangements will be confirmed to you in writing prior to travel. Every reservation amendment will incur an AUD$50.00 charge, subject to availability. Note that if travel documents have been issued, the fee will be AUD$100. *Special conditions may apply to some trips. You will be notified if this is the case. 2. CANCELLATIONS All cancellations must be made in writing to Wildiaries, and all tours are subject to the following cancellation charges based on the number of days before tour departure: Over 60 days:   No refund of tour deposit Between 0 and 60 days:   No refund of tour cost There is no refund for any unused portions of the tour once the tour has commenced. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy which you hold, then any such charges will normally be refunded to you by the insurance company, subject to the terms of your insurance]. Any cancellation fees imposed by hotels, ground operators or other principals or suppliers of goods and services will be charged to you in addition to the cancellation amounts stated above. 3. BAGGAGE Baggage restrictions may apply to charter air travel and small group tours and must be strictly adhered to. We recommend that you ensure you adhere to any weight restrictions indicated. 4. WILD ANIMALS Please be aware that travel may take you into areas of extreme weather conditions [eg. heat] or bring you in close contact with wild animals. Cases of dehydration and attacks by wild animals are rare, but no tour can guarantee that this will not occur. Neither Wildiaries, its contractors, agents or staff can be held responsible for any injury or incident on your tour. Neither does Wildiaries guarantee sightings of any wild animals, even if these are listed as animals possible to see on a tour. 5. PASSPORT, VISAS & DEPARTURE TAX The onus is upon you to ensure that passports and visas are valid. Wildiaries, their contractors, agents or staff cannot be held liable for any visas etc. not held by you. The onus is on you to ensure departure tax is included when the airline ticket is purchased prior to arrival in any country. 6. RESPONSIBILITIES Wildiaries, its contractors and agents act only as agents for the passenger with respect to services provided, including, but not limited to hotels, restaurants, touring, and all forms of transportation. Wildiaries shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, late or non-confirmation or acceptance of bookings, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, injury or death, whether occasioned by negligence or not. In addition Wildiaries shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any tour or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details, and in the event of any tour been rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, avalanches, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be your sole responsibility. Wildiaries may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the passenger’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the foregoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behaviour of the passenger, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person/s included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all of the other person/s so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her. 7. CHANGES TO SCHEDULES Although every effort is made to adhere to schedules it should be borne in mind that Wildiaries reserves the right to alter any tour arrangements due to local conditions while providing similar tour inclusions. 8. REFUNDS Whilst Wildiaries uses its best endeavours to ensure that all anticipated accommodation is available as planned, there shall be no claim of any nature whatsoever against Wildiaries for a refund either in the whole or part, if any accommodation or excursion is unavailable or the passenger was unable to use that service. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy it is your responsibility to refer the matter to your insurance company to seek a refund]. 9. INSURANCE You must take out comprehensive insurance cover before travel for cancellation, medical expenses, personal baggage and money. This should be arranged at the time of payment of the deposit to cover you for cancellation at that time. 10. PRICES We will do the utmost to keep to the prices published. Should increases be forced on us by tour operators, etc. Wildiaries reserves the right to surcharge without notice. All tour costs are based on all known costs at the time of publication. 11. This agreement is made subject to and shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of Australia. 12. Wildiaries cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or changes which may occur after that time. All materials contained in any brochure and web site including text, maps, graphics and photographs remain the property of Wildiaries and may not be copied or reproduced. 13. Clients with special dietary problems are advised to warn us in advance of departure. 14. For flight information on how to get to the starting point of your tour, contact your travel agent. Please ensure that you re-confirm all your flights prior to air travel. 15. It is vital that persons with medical problems make them known to us well before departure. The tour leader has the right to disqualify anyone at any time during a tour if he or she feels the tour member is incapable and/or if a tour member’s continued participation will jeopardise the individual involved or the group. Refunds are not given under such circumstances. The tour leader’s decision is final and neither Wildiaries nor the tour leader shall be subject to any claims or liability in respect of such disqualification. 16. MEDICAL & HEALTH Hospital facilities in remote locations are often unavailable and evacuation can be difficult and expensive. Wildiaries assumes no liability regarding provision of medical care. A Medical Certificate must therefore be filled out and returned to Wildiaries. If you are aged 65 or older, the Medical Certificate must be signed by your physician. Once you have been confirmed on a trip, normal cancellation penalties apply if your doctor does not approve the Medical Certificate. 17. CONSENT The payment of the deposit OR any other partial payment for a reservation on a tour constitutes consent to all provisions of the conditions and general information contained in this brochure. The terms under which you agree to take these tours cannot be changed or amended except in writing signed by an authorised officer of Wildiaries. PLEASE NOTE (a) Share Basis for Single Travellers Accommodations (both hotels and tented) are usually based on double occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a room-mate if possible. If there is no one with whom you can share, or if you prefer single accommodations, you are requested to pay a Single Supplement Fee. (b) Tour Information Whilst Wildiaries makes every effort to ensure accuracy in tour information and descriptions, we are reliant on the tour operators and accommodation providers providing us with accurate data. Since tour operators and accommodation providers are constantly changing facilities and services, we cannot be liable for any errors or omissions herein. If any feature is of critical importance to your holiday, it is your responsibility to ask Wildiaries to check whether such features will be available at the time of occupancy. NOTE: Payment of your deposit is acceptance of terms and conditions. I/we understand that by sending the deposit(s) on behalf of myself and everyone in my party is acknowledging that we have read and accept the Wildiaries Terms & Conditions.

Booking Guide