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 ...
MV Pindito has been cruising Indonesia’s most remote locations for over 25 years, pioneering much of the now famous diving in Komodo, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Alor, and the Forgotten Islands. The recently refurbished vessel features luxury amenities such as spa services and water sports, as well as professional diving facilities, exceptional camera room and technical diving support.
The luxurious Pindito has cruised the Coral Triangle for more than 25 years. The vessel was constructed in Sulawesi by Bugis ship-builders, renowned for their craftsmanship, and has been regularly renovated ever since. Its routes vary with the seasons, visiting Raja Ampat, East Flores, Alor, Komodo, and the Forgotten Islands over the course of a year. With just eight cabins on board, the Pindito offers a personalised diving experience in some of the most remote corners of Indonesia.
This liveaboard offers cruises which explore the premiere sites of areas including Komodo, Banda Sea, or Raja Ampat, as well as itineraries centred around specific interests, such as the family diving cruise, whale-macro cruise, or specialised photography route. Pindito also boasts excellent facilities for every kind of diver, from a professional-level camera room to rebreather capabilities. During surface intervals, guests can enjoy remote island excursions, wakeboarding, waterskiing, or divers can just chill out on the huge sun deck or indulge in the on-board spa services.
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.
MV Pindito is a 38-metre luxury liveaboard constructed in the traditional Phinisi style. It can accommodate up to 16 guests in 8 ensuite cabins equipped with double or twin beds, individual climate control and hot water. The main deck features a spacious indoor lounge, complete with a big screen TV, sofas, dining facilities, and a well-stocked library. Meals are a mix of international and Indonesian-influenced cuisine, featuring fresh meat, fish, and a variety of side dishes. Fresh fruit, homemade cakes, cookies, and drinks are all available throughout the day and beer and spirits are served after the last dive of the day. The top deck of the Pindito has been renovated into a large sundeck with a canopy and plenty of sunbeds. The boat also features watersports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing, as well as on-board spa services such as massages, aromatherapy, and reflexology treatments.
The dive deck was renovated in 2017 and now boasts showers, rinsing facilities, and a personal locker for each diver. Full equipment rental is available including dive computers and 4 additional 15-litre tanks – advanced booking is recommended. Nitrox 32% is provided for certified divers and Pindito is also rebreather friendly, allowing guests to bring their own equipment, or rent one of 4 Poseidon Discovery MK VI sets. Bail out tanks, scrubbers, O2 and diluent tanks, and booster pumps are also available to rent. A fully-equipped camera room is located on the main deck, providing plenty of storage, professionally-rated workstations, and multiple charging points. Pindito even offers special photography trips, where guests of any level can improve their photography and post-production skills through hands-on training with professional photographers and videographers.
This tour runs between Bali and Maumere, or back again and heads through the heart of the Komodo National Park. Most of the diving is done around Banta, Rinca, and Komodo, visiting sites such as Banta Wall, GPS Point, Highway to Hell, Yellow Wall of Texas, and Cannibal Rock. Guests can also visit the National Park to see the Komodo Dragons. Pindito may also visit the smaller islands of Gili Lawa Laut and Tatawa Besar, offering great drop-offs with an array of pelagic fish, and a chance to see manta rays. Other possible stops are the islands of Moyo and Sangeang.
MV Pindito offers two ways to navigate the Raja Ampat area. One begins in Sorong, the capital of West Papua, and heads to the south, with most dives being done around the island of Misool. On the return journey Pindito will visit Dampier Strait and possibly Sele Pele or Kofian before returning to Sorong. The second option departs from Sorong and travels north. On this trip guests will visit Wayag Island, which lies west of Waigeo. Most of the diving will be done around the Dampier Strait, Jef Fam, Sele Pele and Wayag, before returning to Sorong.
This cruise runs from Sorong to Ambon, or vice versa. An example itinerary departs from Ambon in the direction of Saparua and Nusa Laut before heading to the Banda Islands. Pindito then follows the east coast of Ceram to the islands around Misool, before continue into the Dampier Strait via Jef Fam. The trip then ends in Sorong.
An example itinerary for Pindito’s Biodiversity Cruise departs from Maumere and heads to East Timor, past the islands of Alor and Wetar. If the weather permits, the route continues towards the Banda islands, and past the famous Snake Island, Gunung Api. In rougher weather, the alternative route is via Romang, Termang, Seroea and Manuk. Koon and Misool are the last stops before Pindito travel through the Dampier Strait back to Sorong.
An example itinerary for Pindito’s East Flores - Alor trip departs from Maumere and sails overnight towards Alor to dive around the islands of Kumba, Ternate and Pura. Here guests can see white-tip and grey reef sharks, giant groupers, mantas, mola-mola, and whale sharks, as well as visit a local village. In the following days, the cruise continues on to the islands of Marisa, Kawula, Solar and Adonara before heading back to Maumere.
Pindito’s Whale-Macro Cruise departs from Sorong and heads towards Waigeo and then on to Batanta, using hydrophones to locate whales and dolphins. The itinerary is laid out to maximise encounters so much of the diving is done in the Dampier Strait, around Batanta, where the majority of sightings occur. The strong currents here also frequently attract manta rays.