Cousteau's Nirvana

Day 1: Maumere

After boarding Adelaar and your welcome drink you will have time to settle in, get to know the boat, crew and fellow passengers, relax and enjoy your first day of living aboard Adelaar.

Day 2: North Flores

The sloping reefs, walls and underwater crevasses of the islands to the north of Flores provide ideal conditions for a first day of diving. Typically, clear water, hardly any current and colourful reefs set the tone for the rest of the trip. (3 day dives, 1 night dive)
Day 3: Lembata

After a morning spent hunting for macro treasures like rhinopias, different species of ghostpipe fish or mimic octopus that inhabit the clean patch reefs and sea grass beds of Lewoleba bay, we spend the afternoon exploring the magnificent walls and overhangs of Bacatan. (3 day dives, 1 night dive)

Day 4: Pura

The Straight of Pantar with the island Pura nested in between Alor and Pantar is a fascinating diver’s playground. We discover a unique site that is covered to large parts in sheer endless carpets of anemones, and which regularly attracts pelagic visitors. The next highlight is a steep slope that is virtually exploding in colours of pristine soft coral growth. After lunch we visit a site that consists of a mini wall and a patch reef, where we may stumble again over some rhinopias. Before the night dive, local kids will show us around their village. (3 day dives, 1 night dive)

Day 5: Komba

Komba is a unique place. This island is actually the tip of Batu Tara, a volcano rising from the depth, piercing the blue waters of the Flores Sea. Diving the stark underwater landscape on the flanks of this occasionally still visibly and audibly active volcano is unique. The dark grey substrate gives a beautiful contrast to the colours of the hard and soft coral formations and big barrel sponges towering on top of the underwater ridges. Its remote location, alone in the middle of the sea, typically guarantees excellent visibility and may attract pelagic predators. After the dives Adelaar sets her sails to head toward the Banda Sea in style. (2 day dives)

Day 6: Kaledupa

Our first day in what Cousteau called a ‘Diving Nirvana’! We’ll start with an iconic Wakatobi site on the North East of Karang Kaledupa, a seemingly endless maze of submerged seamounts all interconnected by ridges, shallow enough to be completely covered in pristine corals. In the afternoon we do some gentle drift diving on the entrance of one of the typical Wakatobi atolls – usually very rich in fish life and there is also a chance to spot the odd eagle ray or shark in the clear blue water. In the late afternoon we head over to the world renowned Wakatobi resort for some coffee and their famous home made gelato. (3 day dives)

Day 7: Tomia

The island Tomia, the ‘To’ part of WakaTObi, is the heart of the national park, and its reefs form the epicentre in terms of Wakatobi’s celebrated marine biodiversity. Today’s dives take us on exposed seamounts surrounded by myriads of fish, great hard coral ridges that are studded with sea fans that are home to different species of pygmy seahorses and gorgeous shallow coral gardens. The night dive takes place on a site that is haven to critters such as frog fish, cephalopods and rare crustaceans. (3 day dives, 1 night dive)

Day 8: Runduma

The islands and atolls around Runduma are in the far North of Wakatobi national park. Their remoteness adds to their appeal, as do the schools of fish living on those rarely visited reefs. The sites vary between large seamounts with patrols of giant barracudas, over fringing sloping reefs with giant groupers ad schools of different species of snappers and mazes of completely submerged reef systems that are frequented by eagle rays and pelagic species. (3 day dives)

Day 9: Pasarwajo

The big bay of Pasarwajo in the South East of Buton island is a gem in the treasure that is Indonesian muck or macro diving. Its gentle rubble slopes and sea grass meadows of beaches and sites underneath pillars of old piers give shelter to weird and wonderful critters such as zebra crabs, harlequin shrimps, thorny seahorses, flying gurnards, wonderpus and other cephalopods, amongst others the very rare mototi octopus. At dusk there is an opportunity to observe the mating ritual of bigger than average mandarin fish that are more photographer-friendly than in other places.  (3 day dives, 1 dusk dive)

Day 10: Buton

A couple of hours south of Pasarwajo, beneath the impressive cliffs of South east Buton, lie the two final dive sites of the trip. Before falling steeply deep in the clear abyss, the underwater landscape spoils us with large overhang and terraces. Due to its ocean facing positions surprise encounters with migrating bigger denizens of the deep are always possible here. After the last dive we sail around the southern tip of Buton to our final destination, the harbour town of Bau Bau. There we have a festive goodbye dinner. (2 day dives)

Day 11: Bau Bau

After a last delicious breakfast, it is time to say goodbye and disembark – until the next time.

(Actual itinerary might vary depending on weather and sea conditions)


Cousteau’s Nirvana New!
2024 Dates & Rates: TBD

Wakatobi archipelago lies to the southeast of Sulawesi. Flat islands, palm trees and white beaches make the surface a paradise on earth. Yet, it is the underwater world that the diver and explorer J.Y. Cousteau found fascinating. So amazed by the diversity of Wakatobi's reefs, he refers to it in his travelogue as "the finest diving in the world". This itinerary is also beginner-friendly when it comes to diving!