Liveaboard Profile: The Blue and White Mantas

Indonesia is a nation of islands and coral reefs. There are more than 17,000 islands and thousands of miles of reef stretching across a 3,000-mile swath of the world's most bio-diverse tropical seas. This region becomes a vast aquatic playground for divers who book a liveaboard trip aboard the White Manta and Blue Manta. These sisterships are operated by Explorer Ventures, and they provide some of the most memorable and exciting diving itineraries on the planet.

Scenic Indonesia
Blue and White Manta cruises take in some of Indonesia's most scenic islands and liveliest coral reefs.

The Boats

With a length of 148-feet, the Blue Manta is one of the largest and most spacious liveaboards operating in Indonesian waters. Its three-deck layout includes 14 ensuite cabins with options to accommodate both couples and dive buddies. The top deck provides both a sundeck and shaded lounge area where passengers can take in ocean views. One deck below offers an outdoor dining area, and six cabins that offer large windows and direct deck access. The main deck is the yacht's social area, with a climate-controlled dining room and an adjacent salon with a digital media center, sound system and widescreen television. Just aft is a dedicated camera room and dive deck, where each diver is provided with a personal rinse tank and ample gear storage. There’re no bumping elbows while gearing up, and crew members are always on hand to assist. A trio of compressors delivers both air and 32 percent nitrox, while there are four launches for diver transport and pickup.

The dive deck on the Blue Manta provides each diver with ample storage and personal space.

The White Manta is the latest addition to the Explorer Fleet, with a length of 152 feet and similar amenities as the Blue Manta. One additional feature is the addition of two triple-berth cabins, which gives buddy teams and groups more options. The White Manta operates three rigid-hull inflatables for diver transport. Both boats provide a 24-hour satellite WiFi connection. Both Blue & White Manta cruises offer up to 6 single cabin spaces through September 2021 with a minimal 10% single supplement – most other boats charge 60-75%.

Upscale accommodations add an extra element to the diving experience.

The Itineraries

Both the Blue and White Manta’s offer seasonal cruises through the islands of Raja Ampat. This region delivers a broad range of diving experiences from shallow reefs, to open-water slopes and walls, pinnacles, caverns, calm water bays and current-washed channels that provide exciting drifts. Sediment-rich shallows provide prime muck-diving opportunities, while blue-water sites offer sharks, schooling pelagics, the chance for whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays. Because the islands of Raja Ampat are located on the border of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the waters offer tremendous variety that includes more than 3,000 fish species, 700-plus species of mollusk and more than 600 coral species. The reefs are home to 96 percent of all hard coral species found in Indonesia, and 75 percent of the species found on the planet. Above the water, green-clad limestone islands and virgin mangrove forests provide a stunning scenic backdrop.

A flight of mantas in the waters of Raja Ampat.

From September through December and April to May, both boats move to the Spice Islands of the Banda Sea. A region of lush volcanic islands rich in underwater discoveries, these waters are noted for lush coral growth, an abundance of fish life and some fantastic underwater formations created during the region's volcanic past. The vast majority of sites the White and Blue Manta’s dive in this region are accessible only by liveaboard, and are visited by few other boats. Itineraries take in a diverse range of sites that can include seasonal highlights such as schooling hammerheads. As a bonus to the pristine reefs, these islands are rich in history and culture. Through the mid 19th century, these islands were the only place on Earth where the spices nutmeg and mace could be found, making the region a lucrative hub for the spice trade. Cruises include shore leave to explore the colonial past on islands such as Banda Neira.

The reefs of Raja Ampat hold more than 500 species of hard and soft corals.

From June to August, the Blue Manta moves to the waters of Komodo. Though best known for its namesake giant lizards, this region of Indonesia is also home to some of Indonesia’s most biodiverse and healthy reef systems. Komodo National Park is home to more than 1,000 species of tropical fish, 260 species of coral, and rare marine mammals such as the dugong. Trips take in everything from submerged pinnacles, drift dives and stunning fringing coral reefs to big fish, sharks, mantas and dolphins.

A passing whale shark adds excitement to a dive in the Komodo National Park.

While the Blue Manta is in Komodo, the White Manta heads to the eastern coast of Borneo, where a group of small islands known as the Derewans deliver some of Indonesia's most pristine underwater landscapes. Sangalaki Island is known as a manta ray breeding ground, with cleaning stations that attract large numbers of the rays. On Kakaban Island, there is a freshwater lake filled with non-stinging jellyfish, while the coast is ringed by sheer drop-offs and walls covered in huge schools of trevally, barracuda, snapper, along with visits by hammerhead, grey reef and blacktip sharks. Maratua, the third island in the chain, adds even more walls and big fish schools, plus potential sightings of thresher sharks.

The waters of Sangalaki are known for pristine reefs, large schools of fish and manta ray cleaning stations.
Sangalaki Island is one of a very few places on the planet where you can snorkel with non-stinging jellyfish.

As two of Indonesia's premier liveaboards, both the Blue and White Manta liveaboards typically sell out months in advance. Fortunately, Caradonna's agents have a strong relationship with Explorer Ventures, and can lock in reservations on these and all other boats in the fleet. We can also handle all the arrangements of travel and transfer, making your Indonesia liveaboard diving adventure an easy choice. To get started, call 800-329-9989 or send a note to