Dive the most biodiverse seas on earth, home to pristine coral reefs, manta rays, whale sharks and spectacular species - deep in the heart of the coral triangle...
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The Mermaid Liveaboards are amongst the finest dive vessels operating in Indonesia – known for their exemplary service, great food, high standards of service, comfort, and exciting dive itineraries. These modern vessels have been designed and built specifically for diving, drawing on many years of experience to create the perfect Indonesia liveaboard adventure.
Mermaid Liveaboards started life in Thailand where the company ran trips to the Similans and other locations. Using their experience and knowledge gained over many years, the company commissioned the build of the Mermaid 1 in 1999, launching the vessel two years later. Soon after, the company launched the Mermaid II, with its incredible above-deck cabins with panoramic sea views. Both boats were designed with diving in mind and feature broad dive decks at the stern with twin access ladders and plenty of room for dive gear and cameras. The Mermaid I and II now operate in Indonesia, but have kept hold of a few details from the past, in particular serving amazing Thai food alongside Indonesia and western dishes.
Both vessels offer some exciting itineraries, giving guests onboard the opportunity to explore some of Indonesia’s finest diving. From diverse and pristine reefs and volcanic black sand slopes, to pinnacles, current-swept channels and mangrove forests, these trips have something to offer everyone. The destinations explored by the Mermaid liveaboards include Raja Ampat, focusing on the sites in and around the Dampier Strait and Misool, southern Halmahera, the Banda Sea including spectacular islands such as Manuk and Gunung Api, Seram and Ambon, Wetar, and Alor and other locations in Nusa Tenggara Timor, as well as the famous Komodo National Park. Each vessel has its own particular area of focus with Mermaid I concentrating on the more remote destinations, Mermaid II Bali to Komodo and Raja Ampat.
The Komodo National Park lie close to Flores to the east, and separated from Sumbawa to the west by the Sape Strait. Covering over 1,730 square kilometres, the park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. On dry land, Komodo is justifiably famous for its incredible landscapes. The park’s rugged terrain is dominated by jagged peaks, mountain slopes covered in dry savannah and dense stands of deciduous forests that cling to life in the sheltered valleys - a testament to the park’s dry conditions. Erosion has carved the the coastlines of the islands into deep bays, inlets, channels and isolated beaches, creating some of Indonesia’s most spectacular scenery. Locations such as Komodo’s ‘Pink Beach’ and the incredible view from Padar looking across back-to-back, circular bays, are worth the trip alone!
The national park was founded in 1980 to protect its infamous resident - the Komodo dragon. This extraordinary species is the world’s largest land-dwelling reptile and can still be observed in the wild on both Komodo and Rinca islands. Komodo dragons can grow to over 70kg in weight and are thought to have evolved from giant monitor lizards that once roamed across Australia and Southeast Asia - before the arrival of man drove the lizards to extinction in all but the most remote corners of Indonesia’s archipelago.
Komodo’s dramatic landscape continues beneath the waves, and the diversity of different habitats is matched by the park’s incredible species biodiversity. In fact Komodo is one of the richest marine environments in the world, and the reefs, channels, seagrass beds and mangroves are home to over 1000 species of fish and 250 species of corals. The islands of the park lie within a channel that funnels a huge volume of water between the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean - part of the famous Indonesian Throughflow. The result is nutrient-rich upwellings from the deep surrounding waters, and dramatic currents that sweep past the islands with every tidal change - perfect conditions for the an incredible diversity of marine life, as well as superb diving.
Raja Ampat is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands and reefs surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo - the ‘Four Kings’ from which Raja Ampat takes its name. The area is part of the newly-created province of West Papua and, despite its allegiances to Indonesia, the islands of Raja Ampat feel very much like part of a different world - one with a promise of exploration and discovery.
Papua is home to an incredible diversity of flora, fauna and cultures. The rugged terrain and the relatively late coming of the outside world have helped to preserve the unique biological and cultural diversity here better than probably anywhere else in the Asian tropics. Much of the mainland is made inaccessible by rugged mountains and dense jungle and new endemic species are being discovered here every year. Below the surface of the sea, the rich reefs of Raja Ampat are a similar treasure trove of unique species; in fact Cape Kri on Mansuar Island in the Dampier Strait holds the record for the most number of fish species recorded on a single dive. Raja Ampat is so species-rich and such a vital area for reef conservation that the entire area has been protected as part of the Bird’s Head Seascape.
The islands of Raja Ampat may not be as isolated as they once were. Resorts are being developed throughout the archipelago and liveaboards run regular schedules around the famous sites of the Dampier Strait and beyond. But this string of beautiful islands still holds on to a lingering sense of being perched at the edge of the world - remote, beautiful and exhilarating, the ‘Four Kings’ rightly hold on to their crown as offering some of the best diving on the planet.
M/V Mermaid I is a 28 metre, double engine steel motor yacht which comfortably holds 15 guests in a Master State Room (king size bed), Single and Deluxe Cabins (double or twin beds) and Budget Cabins (double/twin beds) below deck. The master, single and deluxe cabins have ensuite bathrooms, refrigerator and panoramic sea view windows. The budget cabins are below decks with ensuite bathroom and refrigerator. All cabins are air conditioned, have flatscreen TV and DVD players, bathrobes and toiletries and loads of fluffy towels.
The huge purpose built dive deck and wide stern dive platform with two exit ladders and fresh water showers are a diver’s dream, and six camera rinse tanks means your valuable equipment is well looked after. Delicious Thai, Indonesian and western meals are served in the “Sawasdee Restaurant” with large windows to enjoy the views. After dinner guests can relax in the saloon which is equipped with a TV/DVD and music centre, or select from the extensive library and full range of marine life books. There are two outside decks, one shaded with outside seating and the fabulous sundeck with sunshade plus cushioned sun beds – a great place to relax. EANX NITROX is available on every cruise.
M/V Mermaid II is a 32 metre, double engine steel motor yacht. One of the most comfortable diver boats in Indonesia, she easily accommodates 16 guests in a mix of deluxe cabins and budget cabins below deck. All deluxe cabins are on the main deck with large panoramic sea view windows. Each cabin has a double bed and single bed (max two guests per cabin), air conditioning, and private ensuite bathrooms. The budget cabin is below deck with twin bunks, air conditioning and shared bathroom facilities with one other cabin.
There is a wide stern dive platform with two exit ladders and fresh water showers. The dive deck is huge, offering plenty of room to gear up, individual boxes for your dive gear, camera table and loads of rinse tanks. A dining room is located on the main deck where delicious buffet style Thai and western meals are served. The saloon is large and spacious with lounge suites and big windows, bar fridge, tea and coffee facilities, TV/DVD, music center, library and a full selection of marine life books. There are two outside decks – the shade covered party deck has comfortable lounge chairs. The sundeck, located in front of the wheelhouse has full sun and cushioned sun platform. EANX NITROX is available on every cruise.
Guests depart from Benoa Harbour before setting sail for Moyo Island, off the coast of Lombok. The vessel will then set sail once again for Satonda, an island famous for its thousands of resident flying foxes. After an overnight sail, the Mermaid arrives at Sangeang, a volcanic island to the northwest of Komodo, allowing guests to explore the sand slopes for unusual critters, as well as visit the bubbling underwater hot springs.
From Sangeang, the Mermaid heads to Gili Banta and onwards into the waters of the Komodo National Park. The first day is spent around Gili Lawa Laut and diving on Crystal Rock before heading to Pantai Merah for a night dive. In the early morning the cruise continues to sites such as Pillarsteen and Horseshoe Bay at Rinca. Here guests can explore sites such as the famous Cannibal Rock with its incredible critters, and look out for Komodo dragons, eagles and monkeys around the bay.
After exploring Rinca's rich reefs the boat heads to the southern part of Komodo Island to visit the famous Manta Alley. At this time of year, this site has consistent sightings of large numbers of manta rays and is a perfect antidote for the last few days spent searching for critters on the prolific reefs in the south. From Manta Alley the boat heads back up through central Komodo, diving the infamous Current City, and then back up to Tatawa in the north. The Mermaid then completes the trip by stopping off once again at Satonda or Moyo for a last dive, and back to Bali.
Mermaid 1 runs 10D / 9N trips from Bali to Komodo and back. Mermaid II runs 8D / 7N trips.
Depending on the conditions and weather, the itinerary includes the Misool area to the south, including Sagof Islands, Wagma and Farondi islands, Wailbatan and Warakaret Island, Kalig, Pele Islands, Fiabacet and Farondi, all of which are home to extraordinarily-rich reefs.
From Misool, the boat will head back north to Batanta, Waigeo Island and the famous Dampier Strait, offering some amazing reefs, awesome muck diving, and the famous cleaning stations. The itinerary will also include a visit to the famous jetty at Arborek, the island of Kawe, and Alyui Bay. Guests can also visit the pearl farm and learn how they harvest and process the pearls.
During the trip guests have the chance to dive the island of Yanggefo, home to beautiful mangrove areas, stunning reefs covered in orange and purple soft corals, and a submerged reef with lots of schooling fish, and pygmies. Then to round off the cruise, it’s back to the Dampier Strait to dive pinnacles packed with dense schools of fish, several famous sites with amazing diversity and prolific marine life, and plenty of beautiful reefs! The vessel then returns to Sorong.
Both Mermaid I & II run 10D / 9N cruises to Raja Ampat.