Why Much Diving?
To most people, muck diving sounds like “muck ado about nothing.” But for divers, it’s getting to the nitty gritty of what makes the ocean so mystifying. It’s said that we’ve only discovered 5 percent of the world’s oceans; much of it is probably lurking beneath, hidden from view in the muck.
Muck diving takes place in, well, the muck: a barren, silty or sandy bottom that certain miniscule yet vibrantly colored and patterned creatures call home. Hours can be spent scavenging even just two square feet of ocean floor for clusters of nudibranchs, juvenile fish, frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, and other marine life that grow just up to the length of your pinky. It should not be compared to reef diving, in which the scenery dictates what sites you explore. Muck diving is less about the site itself and more about the photography of these eccentric creatures. This makes muck diving a treasure hunt of sifting through the ordinary to find the extraordinary. With a cornucopia of ever-changing curiosities, it’s a photographer’s Super Bowl.
Maluku Divers Resort
On top of all this, a bonus of muck diving is that it can be done year-round (in the right place). This begs the question: where is the best place to go muck diving? It’s no secret that Indonesia offers divers some of the rarest oddities in the world. This fact alone makes it a great place for muck diving. When you couple this with a world-class diving resort, you’ve got the perfect place for muck diving.
Maluku Divers Resort is nestled in the heart of a muck diving haven, Ambon Bay. Situated 10 minutes from Ambon International Airport, it is the only dedicated diving resort on the shores of Ambon Bay that has pioneered many of the dive sites in the area. It is known as “Critters Without Crowds” and the “Twilight Zone” for being one the most remote yet fertile sightseeing islands in Indonesia. It is undoubtedly the best place in Indonesia – some would say in the world – to muck dive.
One of the numerous reasons Maluku Divers reigns supreme is because the resort has been designed for diving. Waterfront bungalows are dispersed on the shoreline amongst the shade of mature mango trees to create full seclusion. Each abode is just steps from the ocean and provides guests with a wooden terrace to take in the stunning, unobstructed views of Ambon Bay. All bungalows are designed the same: each spacious 645 sq. feet room is equipped with air conditioning and twin or double bed options. Enclosed ensuite bathrooms give extra privacy and have hot water circulation for additional relaxation between dives. The rooms are cleaned daily during your dives, so your only thought will be what time to head back out for your next dive. Achieving the right balance of absorbing and complementing its surroundings, Maluku Divers Resort fully immerses guests in the “real” Indonesia and all its peculiarities.
Each bungalow has two individual editing tables (one per diver) that offer private image editing stations for photographers should they forgo the communal camera room in the dive shop complex. The communal editing room is flanked by tables with numerous convenient power sockets (two round-pronged) for the editing process. Divers can also leave their video and camera equipment overnight to charge fully and ensure they’re ready for the long diving day ahead.
The Maluku Diving Experience
Maluku Divers uses boat dives, the norm for Ambon Bay, because of its close proximity to dive sites outside the resort. Not only is this convenient, but it gives guests more variety. Divers travel with their guide to the site and complete the near 75-minute dive in shallow waters. Air consumption is restricted the deeper one ventures, so guides carefully monitor levels and only let divers go beyond 30 meters if certain creatures are spotted. Some areas are so densely populated with critters that divers come back to the same location at different times of the day to capture new moments of the same animal or try new techniques.
The Diving Day
Divers at Maluku will get maximum dive time over the course of their week long visit. A typical diving day at Maluku Divers begins in the morning around 8:30 with a two-tank departure. Once the first dive is completed, divers spend time on the boat enjoying snacks, drinks, and each other’s company before heading to a different dive site. Divers return back to the resort in the boats after their second dive to charge or clean equipment, download pictures, and eat lunch.
The third dive is usually a single tank departure at 15:00 that returns divers to the resort immediately after. Outside of the three-dive format, there are options for night muck and shore dives that guests can arrange with staff. The staff is committed to making each day a memorable one for divers, educated and trained in delivering optimal diving recommendations.
With upwards of 30 dive sites, there is no shortage of photographing opportunities. Along with that comes the chance to see never-before-seen species. Back in 2008, Maluku divers discovered a new species of frogfish in Ambon while muck diving. The staff at Maluku is the only in Ambon Bay tasked with discovering new species, so who knows… you could be part of a history-making team!