The island nation of Indonesia straddles the equator between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and lies at the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’ - the epicentre of the world’s marine biodiversity. Nowhere on earth can visitors experience such a range of spectacular diving - from encounters with huge whale sharks and oceanic manta rays, to muck dives with beautiful Rhinopias and the exceedingly rare psychedelic frogfish.
Mikumba Diving offers budget-friendly and flexible diving throughout Komodo and Raja Ampat. With a choice of multi-day liveaboard cruises to remote destinations, or comfortable, hassle-free day-trips to top dive sites, Ratu Pelangi and Nusantara offer something for everyone.
- Excursions offered on every trip, including treks and tours of remote islands
- Ratu Pelangi - sociable and budget-friendly liveaboard with dormitory option
- Nusantara - comfortable day-trips to Komodo on a liveaboard-style vessel
Mikumba Diving offers three budget-friendly ways to experience some of Indonesia’s top diving. Its liveaboard yacht, the Ratu Pelangi, sails throughout Komodo National Park on multi-day trips during the summer months, then heads to Raja Ampat for multi-day cruises from November to May. For those after even more flexibility, its second ship, the Nusantara, is a liveaboard-style yacht that runs day trips around Komodo.
Whatever the destination, Mikumba’s vessels offer comfortable facilities, complete with spacious decks and plenty of lounge areas. The crew is experienced with local conditions and wildlife, crafting unique itineraries according to diver interests. Head North for some of the area’s wildest current diving with huge pelagic life, or stay in Central Komodo for aquarium-like reefscapes, huge schools of fish and the chance of Manta Rays. On all trips, the team at Mikumba tailors days so guests get the most out of their time in the region.
Komodo National Park is situated close to the coast of Flores, with Sumbawa and the Sape Strait to the west. Covering over 1,730 square kilometres, the park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. The park’s rugged terrain is dominated by jagged peaks and mountain slopes covered in dry savannah and dense stands of deciduous forests. Erosion has carved the coastlines of the islands into deep bays, inlets, channels and isolated beaches, creating some of Indonesia’s most spectacular scenery. Locations such as Komodo’s ‘Pink Beach’ and the incredible view from Padar looking across back-to-back, circular bays, are worth the trip alone!
Komodo’s dramatic landscape continues beneath the waves and the waters are some of the richest marine environments in the world. The reefs, channels, seagrass beds and mangroves are home to over 1000 species of fish and 250 species of corals. The channel surrounding theses islands funnels huge volumes of water between the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in nutrient-rich upwellings and dramatic currents that sweep past the islands, creating the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of marine life and superb diving. The national park was founded in 1980 to protect its infamous resident - the Komodo dragon. This extraordinary species is the world’s largest land-dwelling reptile and can still be observed in the wild on both Komodo and Rinca islands.
Raja Ampat is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands and reefs surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo - the ‘Four Kings’ from which Raja Ampat takes its name. The area is part of the newly-created province of West Papua and, despite its allegiance to Indonesia, the islands of Raja Ampat feel very much like part of a different world. Although resorts are being developed throughout the archipelago and liveaboards run regular schedules around its famous sites, this string of beautiful islands still holds on to a lingering promise of exploration and discovery.
Papua is home to an incredible diversity of flora, fauna and cultures with the rugged terrain and relatively late development having helped to preserve the unique biological and cultural diversity. Much of the mainland is made inaccessible by rugged mountains and dense jungle and new endemic species are being discovered here every year. Below the surface of the sea, the rich reefs of Raja Ampat are a similar treasure trove of unique species; in fact, Cape Kri on Mansuar Island in the Dampier Strait holds the record for the most number of fish species recorded on a single dive. Raja Ampat is so species-rich and such a vital area for reef conservation that the entire area has been protected as part of the Bird’s Head Seascape.
The Banda Sea lies just south of the equator in Eastern Indonesia and is bounded by the islands of Buru, Ambon and Seram in Maluku to the north, Sulawesi to the west, curving arcs of volcanoes and reefs to the east, distant islands of Nusa Tenggara and Timor to the south. Within the basin itself are two chains of islands - an inner arc of rugged volcanoes that rise from the deep waters of the central area and an outer arc of low, limestone islands that mark the eastern boundary of the sea. These remote islands of the ‘Ring of Fire’ have escaped much of the development of the modern world and remain pristine outposts of Asia’s extraordinary marine environment, offering untouched reefs, prolific marine life and plenty of bigger species.
This remote area once lay at the heart of the lucrative spice trade - in fact, Banda and its neighbour, Run, were the original ‘Spice Islands’ sought after by explorers and fought over by nations. Today the islands of the Banda Sea attract a different type of adventurer - drawn by the opportunity to dive remote, pristine reefs, visit islands rich in history and culture, and explore a part of Asia that, despite its previous fame and fortune, has become a pristine backwater.
The Alor region consists of two large islands, Alor and Pantar, as well as 14 smaller islands lying due east of Flores. They are amongst the least developed in Indonesia but offer incredible experiences both above and below the surface of the sea. On land, steep mountains and dry savannahs blend into lush forests that hide waterfalls, hot springs and even an active volcano.
The islands are part of the Lesser Sundas and along with Flores to the west, help to define the northern boundary of the Savu Sea. The famous Indonesian Throughflow is at its strongest in this part of the archipelago and an extraordinary volume of water passes through this region, funnelled through the channels that separate each of the islands. These huge currents bring with them a constant supply of nutrient-rich water, providing the perfect conditions for the marine life that so obviously flourishes around the islands of Alor. These pristine blue waters and swirling currents, along with beautiful reefs, drop-offs, caves and sheltered bays, are home to thousands of marine species in one of the richest biodiverse regions in the world.
Ratu Pelangi is a modern 30-meter Phinisi boat, built in 2003, and extensively renovated in 2018. This budget-friendly liveaboard can accommodate 14 guests in 4 twin cabins and 1 large dorm room. The rooms are serviced by two bathrooms with hot water showers on the middle deck, and one toilet on the lower deck. On the large upper deck, guests will find a shaded dining area, comfortable lounge and plenty of beanbags and sun loungers. Tasty meals, tea, coffee, snacks, fresh towels, linen, water and electrolytes are provided. Soft drinks and cold beer are also available for purchase.
The Ratu Pelangi’s Komodo route gets divers right in the water on day one. The shaded dive deck is fitted with modern equipment including 2 fibreglass dinghies, Nitrox, charging stations, equipment rental and rinse tanks. Dive groups are kept small, and guides are skilled at choosing the best route based on conditions, diver experience levels, and preferences. Ratu Pelangi and its tenders are also fitted with the latest safety features including life rafts, sonar, depth sounder, GPS, satellite phone, lifebuoys, life jackets, flares and 50-litre oxygen cylinders. A range of PADI courses are available onboard, from Discover Scuba Diving through Divemaster, including a Nitrox speciality.
At 20.5-meters long, the Nusantara is one of the largest day trip boats in Komodo. It’s built to accommodate one, two and three-day liveaboard excursions, meaning there’s plenty of space to relax between dives. Onboard is a dining area, huge upper sun deck, and shaded lounge space, as well as Western-style bathrooms with freshwater showers. Breakfast, lunch, and plenty of snacks throughout the day are all served on board. A small bar opens up as the Nusantara cruises back to Labuan Bajo after the day’s dives, so you can take in the Komodo sunset from your bean bag with a cold beer or soft drink. Nusantara is also equipped with plenty of mattresses for sleeping on-deck or gazing at the stars on clear nights. A spacious diving deck at the back of the boat allows guests to gear up and jump straight off the platform.
From May to October, Ratu Pelangi tours the best sites in Komodo over short liveaboard cruises up to 4 days long. These trips run from October to May and are designed to maximise your time in Komodo, visiting up to four dive sites per day, including famous sites such as Tatawa Besar, Batu Bolong and Castle Rock.
The Nusantara departs from Labuan Bajo every day, and offers 3 dives - or two dives plus a trip to see the Komodo Dragons at Rinca Island. Nusantara can also be chartered for 2 or 3-day trips.
The Raja Ampat and Misool cruises are available between November to May aboard the Ratu Pelagi. These trips range from 7 - 10 days, diving up to four sites a day discovering a variety of marine life from pygmy seahorses to manta rays. The route cruises through Kri Island, home of the pelagic-packed Chicken Reef, and continues through the biodiverse Dampier Strait. Longer trips venture further into Misool, known for chance encounters with rare species like oceanic manta rays and wobbegong sharks.
Mikumba Divers also offer two ‘Ring of Fire’ expeditions each year, starting in Raja Ampat and covering 2,000km in 19 days before arriving in Flores. A hammerhead expedition is also offered to the Banda Sea, where depths of 40-50 meters will be reached around Nil Desperandum, Gili Manuk, Hatta Atoll and more, searching for schools of these majestic creatures.
Mikumba Diving is partnered with several local organizations dedicated to marine conservation. The team supports Trash Hero Indonesia, participating in Flores beach cleans as well as organizing their own throughout the region. Experts from the Marine Megafauna Foundation are invited to give presentations onboard Mikumba’s boats about manta behaviour and the threats faced by this species. The team also coordinates with MMF to record and report all manta sightings for analysis and tracking purposes.
Mikumba also works with the NGO Barefoot Conservation, contributing to ongoing projects and offering training for their local guides. The shop is a Shark Guardian Dive Centre, promoting shark awareness through education and contributing to shark species’ monitoring programs.