Forgotten Islands Liveaboard Diving Indonesia - All 4 Diving Liveaboards

Forgotten Islands Liveaboard Diving Indonesia - All 4 Diving Liveaboards

Diving in the Forgotten Islands is the ultimate liveaboard adventure. Volcanic islands rise out of the deep blue waters and vast seamounts are home to schooling hammerhead sharks.

Forgotten Islands Liveaboard Diving is the ultimate scuba diving adventure. A remote arc of islands, they are isolated even by Indonesian standards. This archipelago chain in the east of Indonesia, stretches from Timor in the southwest to West Papua in the northeast.

Volcanic islands rise out of the deep blue waters and vast seamounts are home to schooling hammerhead sharks. Uninhabited islands are fringed by untouched reefs. Underwater pinnacles are so isolated that the reefs are immaculate. All dive sites are packed full of fish life. And some are visited by large pelagics.

Giant barrel sponges and gigantic sea fans line the deep walls. Visibility is almost always crystal clear, with warm water. The diving offers large schools of fish and beautiful corals. The Forgotten Islands can only be reached by liveaboard. So, book your next adventure today!

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.

Forgotten Islands Liveaboard Diving Indonesia - All 4 Diving Liveaboards - 36 LIVEABOARDS

From $360 / day

Kurabesi Liveaboard in Indonesia

A traditional wooden schooner for up to 14 guests diving and visiting the main areas of Indonesia.

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From $2,000 / day

A'boya Liveaboard in Indonesia

A'boya is a unique Phinisi offering custom-built cruises in Indonesia for groups of 8.

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From $433 / day

Coralia Liveaboard in Indonesia

Coralia creates sustainable and unforgettable human-nature experiences while conserving the oceans.

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Best Places to Dive in the Forgotten Islands

The Forgotten Islands cover a vast area. Liveaboards will dive at different spots depending on the embarkation and disembarkation points. Here we will cover the most renowned dive sites in the Forgotten Islands.

The Forgotten Islands are in the Banda Sea. Please see our Banda Sea destination page for more information about this area.

Nil Desparandum

Nil Desparandum, meaning “don’t despair” is a large atoll with a deep drop-off. This dive site has become known in recent years for its schooling hammerhead sharks. A vast underwater plateau is covered in some of the healthiest hard coral formations you will find. There are also immense barrel sponges that must have been growing for hundreds of years.


Dusborgh is another hotspot for hammerhead sharks. You might get lucky and see a school of hammerhead sharks at this dive site. But individuals have also been at the shallow cleaning stations.


This island is surrounded by amazing dive sites. Almost every section of the shoreline has beautiful reefs and stunning walls. Some dive sites have immaculate soft corals. While others have very healthy hard corals. There is resident school of barracuda at one section and a colourful swim through at another.


The shallows at this dive site are an example of the most pristine and beautiful corals you will ever see.  Mini walls are topped by hard corals made colourful by the thousands of anthias darting in and out of the coral. At the corner of this island there is sloping section of the reef where you can see a resident school of barracuda.


Damar is one of the larger islands and provides calm anchorage for liveaboards. There is a shallow wall where the colours of the corals stand out even more against the black sand. This area is great for an afternoon dive or even a night dive.

Turbang Utara

South of the island of Damar is Turbang Utara. Pristine beaches stretch out to beautiful coral reefs. At the edge of these reefs are unspoiled walls. Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish and turtles can be seen here.

Turbang Selatan

Turbang Selatan is the southern Turbang. The walls are very dramatic. There are ledges and crevices all along the wall. Here an unusual species of soft coral drips down from the overhangs like colourful stalactites. Nudibranchs, leaf fish, crocodile fish and pygmy seahorses are some of the macro critters that make the wall their home.


Manuk is the most easterly volcano in Indonesia. Upon arrival at the island, masses of seabirds will circle the ship. Frigates and boobies use Manuk as a sanctuary. It is a very unique dive site due to the number of sea snakes. Scientists believe that the underwater geothermal vents attract the snakes.

Underwater the coral covered walls and deep reefs are home to a myriad of fish. Fusiliers school on deep ridges. Big schools of trevallies circle above the black sands. Turtles munch on the corals. And hammerheads have been seen here too.

Forgotten Islands Liveaboard Diving

Forgotten Islands cruises might visit these remote islands exclusively. Other cruises through the Forgotten Islands might also visit other great destinations. Many Forgotten Islands cruises will go through the Banda Islands. Cruises might begin in Alor and finish in Ambon, or vice versa.

Read more here about these other great destinations.

Diving in the Banda Sea is all about deep, endless walls topped by untouched coral gardens. Crystal clear blue water and schooling fish. Best accessed by liveaboards, book your cruise to this exciting destination now!

For more information about the Banda Sea, please click on the photo.

Banda Sea scuba diving destination

Alor offers the ultimate liveaboard diving adventure. Drift dives over anemone covered reefs, critter hunts in Kalabahi Bay and ancient tribes of the Abui people await you.

For more information about the Alor, please click on the photo.

Alor destination scuba diving Alor

Ambon is one of the best critter diving locations in the world. Liveaboards visit this fantastic destination as part of an extended cruise in and around the Maluku Archipelago.

For more information about the Ambon, please click on the photo.

Ambon Dive Destination

Forgotten Islands Scuba Diving Highlights

  • Common sightings - colossal barrel sponges, moray eels, schools of barracuda, napoleon wrasse, schooling pyramid butterflyfish.
  • Special sightings - schooling hammerhead sharks, silvertip sharks, eagle rays, grey reef sharks, pygmy seahorses.
  • Topography - Forgotten Islands dive sites are mostly deep walls with beautiful, shallow coral garden plateaus at the top.
  • Visibility - the Banda Sea is renowned for its clear, blue water. Visibility is usually 30+ metres.
  • General information - Forgotten Islands diving is open to all adventurous divers.

Other Activities

The Forgotten Islands are so remote that there are not so many land excursions or other activities. Your liveaboard might offer a visit to a local village on one of the islands.

Best Time to Go

The Forgotten Islands are in the Banda Sea. The brilliant dives sites of the Forgotten Islands are best visited in March and April and during September to December. Liveaboards restrict their visits to the Forgotten Islands to these calmer times. The weather in the Banda Sea can be inconsistent out of these periods.

All the marine life is present all year round. Water temperatures do not vary, except during strange climate phenomenon such as El Nino. The Banda Sea is known for the fantastic visibility, and this will usually be a constant.

How to Get There

There are two main ports of entry into Indonesia - Bali (DPS) and Jakarta (CGK). From there you can take a domestic flight to the departure point of your liveaboard.

Liveaboards offering the Forgotten Islands as a unique destination will depart from Saumlaki. You can fly into Saumlaki (SXK) on the island of Tanimbar via Ambon.

To join liveaboards for a cruise through the Forgotten Islands you may need to fly into or out of Ambon. Bali does not have direct flights to Ambon so you will have to change planes in Surabaya (SUB) or Makassar (UPG). There are direct flights from/to Jakarta.

Your liveaboard cruise may begin or end in Maumere. Maumere (MOF) can be reached with a short domestic flight out of Bali (DPS).