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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
- 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)
- International flights & visas
- Snorkeling equipment rental
- Travel and health insurance
- Alcoholic drinks, laundry, and general sundries