12 nights
Duration
Sep
Month
19 People
Max Group Size

Journey with us onboard the beautiful Mermaid II Liveaboard to the incredible reefs of the Banda Sea, more commonly known as the Ring of Fire, as we’ll be surrounded by and snorkelling beneath volcanoes for the duration of the tour!

The Banda Sea is a very special part of Indonesia as its remoteness makes it logistically difficult to run tours, which is why vessels such as Mermaid II only run a select few every year. That being said, the infrequency of snorkelers and divers visiting this isolated piece of ocean has kept its reefs in absolutely stunning condition! On this tour, you can expect shallow reefs full of colour where the most exquisite species of reef fish thrive in clear blue water.

The Banda Sea is one of the final frontiers for snorkelling in Indonesia, a smattering of islands located between Eastern Flores and North to Ambon. Mermaid Liveaboards have been pioneering safaris into the Banda Sea for years now, and they know the area best, particularly when it comes to snorkelling sites.

We will board the vessel in Maumere, the easternmost port of Flores Island. We’ll then sail east to Alor for some fantastic snorkeling in that region, and then continue our way east to Wetar and beyond for some more fantastic shallow reefs.

As we leave Wetar we’ll start to island hop in a gentle arc towards the North. This is where we’ll enter the Banda Sea and the landscapes become very different as we have now left the larger southern chain of islands behind, and have entered the open ocean where we’ll be exploring the shallow atolls and semi-dormant volcanoes of the Banda Sea. One of the main attractions of the Banda Sea, outside of the fact that we will most likely be the only boat in the area, is the reefs. They are absolutely mind-blowing.

For most of the sites, the coral is so dense you will be hard-pressed to see any patches of the reef’s limestone foundation. Many of the reefs are large fringing shallow plateaus that extend from the island or atoll which eventually drop off into deep blue walls covered in sponges, colourful soft corals, and sea fans.  If weather and sea conditions permits, we can also visit one of the “Snake Islands” where a rare species of sea snake-the Chinese Sea Krate or Black Banded Sea Krate-live in very impressive numbers. In one snorkel it’s not uncommon to see anywhere from twenty to thirty of these beautiful (not dangerous) animals as they hunt on the reefs in groups. There are only a few places in the world where you can encounter this, and we will have the opportunity to spend a day here.

Before arriving to our final port in Ambon, we’ll spend a few days around the actual Banda Islands, which are historically significant as these were the original spice islands which stimulated the entire spice trade. We will have the opportunity to get a full tour of Banda Neira town which still have fully intact colonial buildings and even a fort which we’ll get to explore. We’ll then get to see the old nutmeg plantations and enjoy some delicious teas and biscuits garnished with nutmeg jam!

This snorkeling safari is escorted by a Snorkel Venture team member.

*Please note that this particular itinerary covers a lot of territories and therefore involves multiple overnight crossings between regions where we will be in the open sea and more exposed to the elements, particularly swell.  If you have any reservations or hesitations about what it’s like onboard a liveaboard, please get in touch with us and/or read this blog about what you can expect from a liveaboard itinerary such as this. 

Marine Life Guide


This tour is partnered with Thrive Conservation. Find out how we support Thrive Conservation via this tour here.

 

*Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to sea and weather conditions. 

20th Sep 2025 - Meet the group in Jakarta

On arrival in Jakarta (CGK) you will check into the hotel and relax before a group dinner where you can meet your fellow tour snorkelers and the Snorkel Venture group leader. We will spend the night here.


21st Sep - Arrive in Maumere

After breakfast, we check in for our flight as a group and then fly to Maumere. On arrival in Maumere we’ll be met by a member of the Mermaid team who will drive us the short distance to the port where the Mermaid II boat is waiting. We will check in, unpack and relax before a full boat briefing as well as a brief overview of the following day’s itinerary. The boat will depart for an overnight crossing to Alor. This will be a non-snorkeling day.
Mermaid II liveaboard cruising in front of Raja Ampat islands

22nd Sep - Snorkeling in Alor

The first day of snorkelling will include a full day in Alor, which is a fantastic area to begin out tour as we run many tours to this area and we are very familiar with the sites.
Each day begins with a “light” breakfast before starting a site briefing for our first snorkel session. Each snorkel session will run for 60 – 90 minutes. From Mermaid II, we will board the smaller zodiac boats so we can be safely dropped in the shallow. All the snorkel sessions have surface support, and you can jump on a tender and return to the main vessel if you prefer a shorter snorkel session.  After our morning snorkel, we will return to our boat and dry off. There will be dry towels waiting on the dive deck for us. A full hot breakfast will then be served.
After breakfast, we hit the water again for another snorkel session on a nearby site. We return to the main boat for a delicious buffet lunch, usually 2 – 3 courses. After a little break to allow our food to digest, we prepare for the third snorkel session of the day. Afterward, there is a snack and beverages served (you will not go hungry on this cruise!). As we need to cover a lot of territory on this tour, we will most like begin moving to our next destination, which will typically involve an overnight crossing. There will be a few nights where we will be on a mooring or anchor, but expect to be moving for most of the nights.

We will typically offer 3 – 4 snorkel sessions a day. There may be a day or two when we have to make a longer crossing where we will do two longer morning snorkels. You are not obliged to participate in them all. Mermaid II is staffed with an excellent masseuse as well as kayaks.

23rd Sep - 1st Oct - Wetar - Ambon

From Alor, we will sail east to Wetar and then onwards and upwards through the arch of islands which are often called the Forgotten Islands. Each day we will wake up to new islands, or an atoll where we will spend the day snorkelling and exploring the stunning reefs, before moving onto the next location. This trip is all about adventure!
Towards the end of the tour we will reach the Banda Islands, which are five smallish islands with emerald green jungles, small villages with a colonial history, and turquoise waters. We will most likely spend a couple days here as there are great spots for mooring up at night, not to mention tons to explore underwater! We will also have the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the Banda Neira village where we’ll get a full historical breakdown of how the Banda Islands became the original Spice Islands and the role these tiny islands played in the world. We’ll also get to see an active nutmeg plantation as well as a tour of the old Dutch fort that sits upon the hillside.

2nd Oct 2025 - Disembark and return to Jakarta

After departing the Banda Islands we will make our final overnight crossing into port Ambon where we will wake up. This will be our final day onboard and so we’ll have a big breakfast, say farewell to our lovely Mermaid II crew, and then transfer to Ambon Airport for our flight back to Jakarta. Upon arrival into Jakarta, we will bid farewell to our new snorkelling friends and part ways.
Please speak to a member of our team before booking any international flights.

The Mermaid II

M/V Mermaid II is a 33 meter, twin-engine steel motor yacht. One of the most comfortable liveaboards in Asia, she easily accommodates 20 guests in 8 deluxe cabins and 4 guests in a lower deck budget cabin. All deluxe cabins are located on the main deck and offer a choice of either double bed only or twin bed configuration. Each deluxe cabin offers large panoramic sea view windows. Individually controlled air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms.

Deluxe Cabin: Twin/Bunked Configuration
Deluxe Cabin: Double Bed Configuration

Below deck, the budget cabins have twin bunks, vanity sink, air conditioning, and share a bathroom with one other cabin via adjoining doors.

There is a wide stern gear up platform with two exit ladders and fresh warm water showers. The back deck is huge with plenty of room to gear up, individual boxes for your snorkel gear, camera tables, and plenty of rinse tanks. Enjoy fresh fluffy towels after each snorkel and hot chocolate after your night and sunset snorkels!

The dining room is at the front of the main deck where delicious Asian and western meals are served. The saloon is large and spacious with comfortable lounges, big windows, a bar fridge, and complimentary fresh roast coffee, tea, soft drinks, and juices. There is a multimedia entertainment center including a large flat-screen TV for briefing and movies, a large library, and a full selection of marine life books.

There are two outside decks–the shade-covered party deck with its comfy cushioned lounge suite around nearly the whole deck and the sun platform in front of the wheelhouse give you the choice to sun bake or not!

Vessel Guide

We will be reaching most of the snorkeling sites via a zodiac RIB as pictured below, there is a ladder and the Mermaid crew are on hand to assist with water entry and exit. A certain level of fitness is required to climb the ladder – if you have any questions on this you can contact us here.

On this page you will find our Tour Dates & Pricing (see below contact form), a Booking Form and Details of Payment schedule including deposit and final balance. If you have any further questions please complete the form and we will reply within 24-48hrs.


Make an Enquiry or Book this Tour

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    2025 Tour Dates

    20 September – 2 October 

    Deluxe Cabin – US $8,150 per person

    Budget Cabin – US $7,350 per person


    How to book your place?

    Initial deposit to secure your booking is $800 per person

    12 Months before departure interim deposit of $1000 per person

    6 Months before departure interim deposit of $1000 per person

    Balance due 3 months before departure

    Includes:

    • Domestic flights from/to Jakarta in Economy Class with 40 Ibs of luggage allowance
    • One night at a Jakarta hotel at the start of the trip with group dinner and breakfast included
    • Group transfers throughout
    • 11 Nights on-board the Mermaid II Liveaboard with all meals and snacks, drinking water, soft drinks, tea, and coffee
    • Daily snorkeling activities with Mermaid snorkel guides
    • Services of Snorkel Venture tour leader throughout
    • Guided snorkel sessions as specified
    • Marine Park and Port Fees (subject to change)

    Excludes:

    • International flights & visas
    • Snorkeling equipment rental
    • Tips
    • Travel and health insurance
    • Alcoholic drinks, laundry, and general sundries

    Please note our cancelation policy:

    • 1 Year or more: 150 USD penalty per person to switch to a credit note for use within 2 years
    • 12 months or less: Loss of deposit and interim payment
    • 90 – 28 days: 25% Refund (includes your final balance payment)
    • 28 – 0 days: No Refund

    We recommend that you purchase travel insurance to protect your deposit in the event that you have to cancel your trip.

    Mermaid II guests looking and dolphins riding bow wave
    white eye moray with cleaner shrimp
    guest kayaking in Raja Ampat
    hard coral reef with snorkeler above
    Anemone fish in anemone
    Blue and orange nudibranch
    Mermaid II Cabin
    octopus standing up
    guest snorkeling in Raja Ampat
    Dive deck on mermaid II