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 ...
SMY Ondina focuses on the essentials, providing flexible, sociable, & affordable dive itineraries around Raja Ampat, Banda, the Forgotten Islands, & Cenderawasih Bay. With great diving facilities and experience in catering to professional and newly-qualified divers, SMY Ondina is able to satisfy every guest.
SMY Ondina is a classic Phinisi vessel built from tropical wood and constructed using traditional methods. The purpose-built liveaboard has been cruising indonesia’s inner seas since 2001, providing comfortable experiences and professional diving services which are both affordable and flexible enough to cater to all levels of divers. SMY Ondina does away with expensive and irrelevant luxuries and focuses purely on the essentials – creating a comfortable, informal, and affordable liveaboard experience.
This liveaboard is European-owned and boasts an accommodating attitude towards the diverse needs and interests of its guests. SMY Ondina’s crew are experienced in working with mixed groups of professional and newly-qualified divers, making sure dive groups are kept small and guests are involved in the planning of a flexible itinerary. Amenities include a large sundeck, secluded excursions, and superb photography facilities as well as dedicated photography trips with professional special guests.
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.
SMY Ondina is a 32-meter classic Phinisi vessel built with tropical wood and traditional methods. This liveaboard can accommodate up to 16 divers in 6 triple cabins and 2 twin cabins, each featuring air-conditioning and an ensuite bathroom. SMY Ondina provides plenty of space to relax between dives, with a comfortable air-conditioned dining room and a spacious sundeck equipped with sunbeds and hammocks as well as an outdoor shower for cooling off. Indonesian and international cuisine is freshly prepared using local ingredients and served buffet-style in the saloon. Guests can also choose to enjoy their meals al-fresco and all dietary requirements can be catered for with advanced notice. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, fruit and snacks are provided free of charge with beer, wine and espresso available to purchase.
The spacious dive deck is well-equipped for a day of adventurous diving including 3 dinghies, and both 12 and 15-litre aluminium and steel tanks – DIN and Int connections are available. Rental equipment is provided onboard, including dive computers, with prior booking required. Nitrox is also offered to qualified divers at an additional cost. SMY Ondina boasts a wide range of photography facilities including a dedicated camera room with plenty of space for storing and preparing gear, padded rinse tanks, a pressure gun for drying equipment, and a CD/DVD disc writing service. Special photography trips are regularly organised by this liveaboard, with several departures featuring professional special guests, such as Deb Fuggitt. PADI and SSI courses are offered onboard including Advanced Open Water and specialities such as Underwater Photography, Marine Biology, and Nitrox. SMY Ondina is fitted with all the necessary safety equipment including GPS, a Garmin sounder, and a Simrad radar for night navigation, VHF radio systems, and oxygen and first aid kits, as well as life jackets and life rafts.
SMY Ondina offers several multi-day trips around Raja Ampat and the surrounding area. An example itinerary last 10 days and departs from Sorong, travelling to Dampier Straits overnight. Guest will explore site such as Sardine Reef, Blue Magic, Mioskon and more. SMY Ondina then offers an opportunity to see the birds of paradise on Gam before dives at Mike’s Point, Cape Kri, Yenbeser, Arborek, and Mansaur.
The vessel will then move to the Penemu area, exploring My Reef, Melissa’s Garden, The Lagoon, and more, before an overnight sail to Aljuy Bay in West Waigeo, where guests can visit the pearl farm. The following day, SMY Ondina explores Wayag, diving Pelagic Rock and Figure Eight with a possible night dive in the lagoon. In the north, guests can dive one of the cave systems in Uranie, as well as other signature sites such as The Cathedral and Magic Mushroom. SMY Ondina then sails overnight back to central Raja Ampat to visit Eagle Rock, Changgo, and Black Reef. On the final day guest can do 2 dives before sailing back to Sorong.
SMY Ondina offers several multi-days trips around Banda and the surrounding area. An example itinerary for its Banda Sea journey last 10 days and departs from Kalabahi Bay. Guests will then dive the most renowned sites in the Alor Straits such as Clownfish Valley, Cave Point and Babylon, before an overnight voyage to Wetar to explore Tanjung Nunukae and Reong, and then visit a nearby village to look for salt water crocodiles. The vessel arrives at Gunung Api the next morning to dive with the many sea snakes before another overnight journey to Lucipara and Penyu. SMY Ondina then visits the Banda Islands with a cultural visit around Bandaneira and multiple dives before travelling overnight to Nusa Laut to dive Ameth’s Knoll. Finally, the vessel will explore the south coast of Ambon before heading to port.
SMY Ondina offers several multi-day trips around the Forgotten Islands. An example of the northern Forgotten Islands itinerary starts in Saumlaki before heading to the islands of Dawera and Daweloor for beautiful walls and seamounts. SMY Ondina will then travel to Pulau Dai to see schooling barracuda, jacks and trevallies, and then search for sharks around the volcanic island of Pulau Teun. Guest can spend full days exploring Dusborgh atoll and Nil Desperandum, where hammerheads are commonly sighted, with a possible night dive in Pulau Nila. Pulau Serua is visited next before diving around the small islands in West Kai. Guests will complete their last dives near Tual before heading to port.