|ประเภทการดำน้ำ||Muck diving is essentially diving in shallow depth, slowly and patiently, over sediment of black sand. Muck dive sites are sometimes covered by fish carcasses, trash, tires, or old fishing equipment (lines and lures). The visibility generally tends to be poor, but it can be as clear as 10-15m in good conditions.
If you’re wondering why in the world anyone would want to go scuba diving under such conditions, it’s because the most uniquely disguised and fascinating critters live in these habitats!
I remember when I dived in Anilao Philippines for some muck diving, one of the best dives of my life was at a site called the “fish market,” which was exactly that – a pier off of a local fish market where the underwater world was filled with fish bones, rotten food, plastic bags, candy wrappers, diapers, and other man-made trash. That dive site provided non-stop action with some of the most interesting creatures I had ever seen.
But not all divers are into muck diving. I have met plenty of experienced divers who’d much rather see bigger creatures in the open sea such as manta rays, whales, and sharks.
Muck diving is a special type of scuba diving that is addictive to those who enjoy hunting, exploring, and getting rewarded with a special discovery.
For me, the joy is in seeing a life that I have never encountered before.
Some of my highlight encounters while diving in Ambon are:
Psychedelic, Giant and Painted frogfishFlamboyant cuttlefishRhinopiasPsychedelic Batwing nudibranchCountless well-disguised crabs and shrimps
Due to the dive area and environment (mostly sediments), muck diving requires an excellent buoyancy control. You will need to be very comfortable with frog-kicking, otherwise you will stir up the sediments, cause poor visibility and most certainly make your dive buddies upset!
|ระดับการดำน้ำ||Beginner - advanced|
|ความลึก||5 - 35 m|
|ทัศนวิสัยใต้น้ำ||5 - 15 m|
|กระแสน้ำ||Gentle but can be occasionally strong|
|อุณหภูมิน้ำ||26 - 29°C|
Muck diving or Critter (Macro) Diving, as we prefer to call it, gives you the chance to see some of the rarest and most beautiful underwater creatures. There are two main factors that make a great muck diving locations.
Nutrition. You need lots of nutrition in the water to feed the small crustacean and fish that will form the beginning of a plentiful food chain. While crystal clear blue water is wonderful, it is also lacking in the nutrients that allow great critter diving. In great muck locations the visibility is never good. The particles in the water are eaten by small crustaceans and juvenile fish. These in turn become a plentiful food supply to larger fish. And as these muck locations also contain a lot of sandy areas, as either a predator or prey, you need great camouflage to take advantage to the environment. This means very interesting critters. Frogfish, Seahorses, Scorpionfish, Octopus, Crabs, Shrimps, Eels, Nudibranchs, Puffers, Soles and so much more thrive is this environment.
|ฤดูท่องเที่ยว||- September to mid-October: Muck Diving only- mid-October to mid-May: Muck diving and all the clear water south and east coast sites- mid-May to end of June: Muck Diving only
|สิ่งที่น่าสนใจ||The eponymous Ambon scorpionfish is one of the rare creatures that can be found by divers here with some frequency. This incredible critter comes in shades of pink, green, brown yellow or red, with variable skin flaps and filaments; but is characterised by its very long growths above each eye.
Also a rare find anywhere are Halimeda ghostpipefish. This cryptic creature has green-grey rounded fin lobes resembling leaf-like segments of Halimeda algae, where they shelter in pairs or solitarily. To spot this one, look closely at anything that resembles a twig!
Elsewhere along the outer coastline of this horseshoe shaped island, you'll find some colourful soft coral wall diving, with many overhangs and several caves to explore. There are plenty of the reef fish here that are synonymous with Indonesia and the sites are a pleasant break from the muck dives of the bay.
Ambon Bay, where the muck diving is, has an incredible array of rare critters, including Ambon Scorpionfish, Rhinopias, Mimic and Wonderpus Octopus, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, many many Nudibranchs, Frogfish, Harlequin Shrimp, Coleman Shrimp and much much more.
There is also always the chance to see perhaps the rarest underwater critter, the Psychedelic Frogfish, only ever found in Ambon.
Laha - About 3 kilometres inside the bay, on the northern coast, is the best macro dive site in Ambon called Laha. The reef here consists of a slope from 2 metres deep, overgrown with a few simple corals and rubble substrate, featherstars, fire urchins and sea squirts, on a sandy bed. The slope levels off a little at 12 metres before continuing down again into Ambon Bay's murky depths.
As you make your way into deeper water from the shallows, you'll see inquisitive black-saddled tobies considering your movements, and ringtail cardinalfish lurking motionless amongst the rubble. Small orange painted frogfish can be found perched on the coral branches, and shrimpfish and white cockatoo waspfish gently sway back and forth in the light water movement.
A little further into your dive, and you'll approach the nearby jetty, used by the local Ambon fishermen. Here you'll see loads of discarded rubbish and fish remnants from the fishing trawlers, scattered across the sea bed. This simple and accessible feast acts as an attraction for plenty of marine life. In this small area alone it's easy to spot up to 10 moray eel species - white eyed, snowflake, starry, undulated. you name it, it's here - and several species of lionfish and stonefish, including the evil looking spiny devilfish and spotted devilfish.
Glass bottles have become homes to striped fangblennies and catfish, fingered dragonets crawl across the sand, and sandperches squat on the rubble. Orbicular porcupinefish - the smallest species in its family - stare up at you with their innocent-looking eyes, and large trumpetfish stalk through this aquatic town. Take a close look at the spiny sponge branches in this section of the dive as you may be able to find pink thorny seahorses.
Then finally at a depth of around 10 metres and as dusk approaches, the waters of Ambon Bay come alive to the sight of mandarinfish performing their mating dance. These spectacularly coloured fish put on quite a show and, for most scuba divers, to witness this scene is worth the entrance money alone.
Rhino City - This site lies directly to the west of Laha and is an extension of the same sandy slope. It is named after the Rhinopias - a rare type of cryptic weedy scorpionfish that you can find here.
The slope is dotted with anemones - often carpet or bulb-tentacle varieties in Ambon. These are home to a delightful indigenous species of anemonefish which is black and white striped with pale yellow colouration on its belly. Divers should make a close examination of the anemones as they often house anemone shrimps and porcelain crabs, and ribbon eels are known to burrow close by too. Other types of brightly coloured crustaceans are common too, such as commensal and emperor shrimps, and arrow crabs. The very rare black razor shrimp has also been spotted here so ask your diving guide to show you one!
Other interesting critters to find on the slope include hairy crabs and orang-utan crabs. Jawfish burrow in the sand and can be spotted fastidiously cleaning out the debris from their holes. Check out any sea grasses for the chance to find robust ghost pipefish and short-snout pipefish.
The shallows is a great place to spend the majority of the dive. Here you can rummage around to your heart's content, searching for nudibranchs, moray eels and dragonets.
Silale - On the southern city side of Ambon Bay, close to the bay's entrance, is a small settlement called Silale. The area has 2 dive sites - one being a dark sandy rubble slope, the other being a steeper slope of predominantly elephant ear sponges.
The rubble slope is a renowned area to see many varieties of frogfish. Orange, black and grey frogfish are all commonly seen here, lying in wait to ambush prey, such as small reef reef or even a dwarf lionfish. Large stonefish and scorpionfish can also be spotted by keen-eyed divers.
Elsewhere on the slope, the spectacular wonderpus timidly ventures from one crevice to the next. Seahorses cling to branches and other debris on the sand, small schools of razorfish sway gently across the scene. The tiny Papuan cuttlefish is here in numbers; search near the foot of the mooring lines for these reclusive creatures.
The second dive site, a little further to the west, is more colourful and resplendent in yellow/green elephant ear sponges, often covered with small white sea cucumbers which feed on them. Look under the flaps of the sponges as giant green frogfish often lurk here. Leaffish seem to like this part of the bay too and you can find a variety of colours here - pink, cream, black, brown. Also in the area are cowfish, and twospot lizardfish - identifiable by the 2 'eyes' on their back behind their head.
Perhaps the highlight of this site are the many types of brilliantly coloured nudibranchs that live here. Ambon has a vast number of species for scuba divers to identify, including some huge blue dragons. Often found in the same habitat are pipefish and here you can find black ornate ghost pipefish, as well as the some of the more common types.
Often found in deeper water are flying gurnards, crawling across the sandy substrate. Back in the shallows, mantis shrimp scamper around the rubble.
JETTY AIR MANIS Along the Laha coast, this shallow jetty over a sandy bottom offers lots of fish life in a compact area. Dozens of frogfish, juveniles of many species (lionfish, batfish, flounder), nudibranchs, and eels all call the area home. On a good day, the sun shining through the pillars makes for amazing photos.
SS DUKE OF SPARTA After all this muck diving, switch it up with a good wreck dive. The SS Duke of Sparta, also known as the SS Aquila, is a huge cargo ship, 449 feet (137 m) long, that’s been underwater since 1958. The wreck does not host a massive amount of fish life, but the structure is huge and in great condition, offering easy penetration of some of the cargo compartments.
There are direct flights to Ambon from Jakarta, Surabaya and Makassar as well as from some smaller airports in the Moluccas and West Papua. From Jakarta, Lion Air and Garuda fly twice a day, once without a stopover. The easiest way to reach Ambon from Bali is with Garuda and Lion Air, each with a stopover in Makassar.
If you are waiting at Jakarta Airport, the Blue Sky Lounge in Terminal 1 or the Saphire D`Consulate Lounge in Terminal 2 are the perfect places to wait. There is food, WIFI, showers, comfortable armchairs and much more for 180,000 IDRs. It is located on the second floor right next to the shuttle bus stop, which travels free of charge between the international and national flight terminals. In the meantime, there is also the Sky Train, which departs from the airport opposite. For the bus or train journey one should plan at least 30 minutes. Who has little time, can fall back instead on taxis, to recommend are taxis of the mark Bluebird, which account after taximeter. There are also some transport applications like GRAB, GOCAR, and more available in Indonesia, with which you can find a private taxi. To use the apps you have to download it to your mobile phone.
Indonesian airlines are prone to delays, please allow sufficient time for connecting flights. Some airlines only give 10 kilos of free baggage allowance, but excess baggage can be carried for a fee of 25,000 IDR – 50,000 IDR per kilo. With a nice smile and the friendly statement that you had diving gear with you, you can often give it up for free. Tall people should try to book seats at the emergency exit.
Hyperbaric Chamber แห่งแรกบนเกาะอัมบอนเปิดให้บริการเมื่อปี 2017 ดูแลโดยกองทัพเรือของอินโดนีเซีย