Season: June - November
Diving, Snorkeling, Wildlife
The Forgotten Islands is a remote part of the archipelago that comprises a total land mass of 75,000 square kilometres and encompasses 1027 islands where terrains vary from forested mountainous peaks to flat islands mostly dominated by savannah, mangroves and broadleaf forests. Surrounded by deep and translucent waters providing some of the best diving in the archipelago and home to rare fish and mammal species and a migratory route for whales, including blue whales and other large marine animals such as the hammerhead and whale shark. The open ocean currents provide a thriving environment for pristine reefs, colourful corals and barrel sponges while pinnacles, overhangs and swim through’s satisfy the more experienced divers looking for an adrenaline rush. On the topside the vast landscapes and white sand beaches are the perfect way to take in the scenery or trekking within the jungle to spot some rare wildlife and bird species.
Only a handful of the islands are inhabited and some virtually untouched with little to no tourists venturing there and the perfect place for cruising. The Aru Islands are at the easternmost corner of Maluku with flat forested jungle most known for their Pauan fauna and resident kangaroo, cassowaries, palm cockatoos and birds of paradise. Below, the marine life is rich and diverse providing the livelihood of the area with Arus capital a long time trading centre for pearls, sea cucumber and shark fins. To the south west of the Maluku regency lies the Wetar, Sermata , Babar and Leti Islands. These cluster of islands form a part of the outer Banda Arc which boast a bountiful underwater ecosystem where several marine biota can be spotted including mackerel, grouper, tuna and yellow tail. These sub districts hold fertile grounds amongst mountainous ranges and the perfect foundations for the cultivation of many of the Forgotten Islands main exports such as rice, coconut pals, tobacco and fishing. While the mountain of Pulau Wetar is a habitat for freshwater crocodiles a stark contrast to the other low lying islands.
Tanimabar Islands are a group of about 65 islands and separate the Banda Sea and Arafura Sea. Saulamaki is the largest town and is a major centre for the production of traditional handcrafts like ikat cloth and carved wooden statues. Housing and villages are still traditionally kept and located amidst natural environments and distinct fauna to which eight species of bird endemic to the archipelago live. The port of Saumlaki is on the south coast of Yamdena main island.
Five tiny atolls which lie in the middle of the Banda Sea are at the tops of the undersea mountains which rise up over a mile from the ocean floor. Beautiful long white sand beaches surround them and the opportunity for some spectacular wall dives to see great coral growth, abundant fish life with good visibility.
The forgotten islands are still relatively unknown and follow two titanic ocean ridges,. Among the islands are many active volcanoes, stunning coral reefs and sea mounts which support the underwater ecology and large schools of fish which thrive in these waters. For dive and snorkeling enthusiasts the region provides a plethora of activity and underwater photography opportunities.