Ambon Diving: Haruku Island
Haruku Island is just next to Pombo Island, Maluku (Indonesia). The Island used to be a place for labor camps for Prisoners of War (POW) during the Japanese colonialization in Indonesia (1943-1945). There were numbers of Dutch and British soldiers captured by the Japanese then sent to Haruku Island as POW but, later on, they were forced to work as Japanese slaves to build Japanese war defense infrastructure.
Thankfully Haruku Island is no longer a place for POWs labor camps. It is relatively smaller island compared to Ambon Island but certainly lots bigger than Pombo Island. The island is not a touristic destination in Maluku, however, the dive sites around the island is fascinating to dive. The Haruku Strait has an unusual dive site called as “Hard Boiled” where ‘hydrothermal vents’ – hot water bubbles come from the sandy seabed and the water surrounding was warm, as well the seafloor. Our dive masters cooked six eggs on top of these hot water bubbles until they were hard boiled. I guess that’s how the name of the dive site earned.
Interestingly there were still numerous marine life around it. Nudibranch and flatworm were common to see and for the first time, I saw the most beautiful flatworm I have ever seen, it was called as Persian Carpet Flatworm. Some Indonesian scuba divers preferred to call it as “Batik Flatworm” – well, the flatworm is also a native to Indonesian water, right? As a matter of fact, the flatworm’s body pattern reminds me of Indonesian Batik patterns!
We visited three dive sites, but there were more dive sites in Haruku Island such as Shark Cave – where the scuba divers could dive into a cave. The common thing about dive sites around Haruku Island: colorful of nudibranch and critters. Too many of nudibranch that we started to spot several mating nudibranch, maybe it was the mating season in Haruku. A weird marine species that I spotted on Haruku Island was Mushroom Coral Pipefish. They live inside of the mushroom coral and keep moving around unstoppable. I had a hard time taking their pictures. There were like four of them in the coral. Nevertheless, this species was unforgettable one because it was successfully giving me a headache how to capture their image at the depth of 20 meters!
Practical Information on diving in Haruku Island
- The island can be reached easily via Ambon, around 45 to 60 minutes by speed boat
- Be prepared for possible cold water temperature – 24 to 28 degree Celsius (75 to 82 degree Fahrenheit)
- Diving season is March to May, and September to December. Avoid January to February, and June to August.