Lying to the east of Ambon, the island of Nusa Laut possesses some stunning hard coral seascapes – the sheer size and variety of corals here is absolutely stunning
Day 2 of our Banda Sea trip saw us heading from Ambon to Nusa Laut, a small island that’s just to the east of Ambon and en route to the Banda Islands. The reef around Nusa Laut is protected by the locals and the effect of such protection is immediately apparent. It’s hard to imagine a bigger contrast to Day 1’s muck diving in Ambon – where we’d spent our first day grubbing around in murky water over trash-strewn black sand, Nusa Laut was blessed with 30 metre plus visibility creating an incredible deep blue canopy over a jawdropping array of hard corals. (See photos below for a small glimpse of what it really looks like).
Giant Plate Coral, Nusa Laut © Chris Mitchell
Topographically there was a gentle slope down to around 15 metres before a steep dropoff, and the slope was utterly encrusted with every kind of coral hard and soft. It was the huge plate corals – wider than the full length of a diver – and fan corals that really stole the show, but the size of some of the sponge corals – up to a metre across – was also impressive. Apparently the viz is not always so good here, so I feel very lucky we got to see it in these conditions. It’s the sort of dive site that involuntarily makes you say “wow!” when you first jump in – it really is that good. For those who have been to Raja Ampat, Nusa Laut reminded me a little of the lush corals around Misool.
The night dive here was also awesome, as while we had lost the grandeur of the daytime seascape we encountered that rarest – and most dangerous – of creatures, the tiny Blue Ring Octopus.