Journey with us onboard the beautiful Mermaid II Liveaboard to the reefs of Raja Ampat, Halmahera, and the critter capital of the world-Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi. This 11-night snorkeling safari is a one-way route from Lembeh Strait in the west through Halmahera and finishing in Raja Ampat.
The focus of this unique trip will be Halmahera, but because the most convenient starting point for this itinerary is in Lembeh, we will of course spend a full day snorkeling the unique reefs in the area looking for those unusual critters before moving on to Halmaherea and then later Raja Ampat, where we will spend the last few days of the trip.
Halmahera is one of the final frontiers for snorkeling in Indonesia, a string of islands located between North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat. Mermaid Liveaboards have been pioneering safaris into Halmahera for the last few years, there are only a few operators that have experience in this remote archipelago and many of the snorkeling sites we visit are yet to be formally named. We’ll spend about around five to six days snorkeling over the beautiful shallow coral reefs in complete seclusion – the chance of meeting divers or other snorkelers is extremely unlikely.
Our first snorkeling day of the tour will take place in Lembeh Strait where the type of snorkeling will shift slightly as we scour the shallow reefs and black sand slopes for some of the most unique marine critters in the world. Here we’ll be focusing on finding things like multiple species of frogfish, leaf scorpionfish, nudibranchs, and with a bit of luck some seahorses.
As we enter Halmahera, we’ll encounter a diverse range of fish and corals. Cruising blacktip reef sharks are regularly seen, as are Napolean wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, tuna, and bluefin trevally. The reefs tend to offer a large shallow plateau which will usually slope away from the islands. Halmahera is famous for its wide variety of coral species which includes beautiful fans, huge barrel sponges, fields of hard corals, and on certain sites colonies of colorful soft corals. With regards to marine life, one of the things most iconic to Halmahera is the constant explosion of masses of colorful reef fish, like chromis and anthias, from the reefs. Other creatures you might come across are sea turtles, sea snakes, eels, various crabs, shrimps, pipefish, heaps of anemone fish, and nudibranchs.
Night snorkels are great in this area with opportunities for cuttlefish, various octopus species and squid out hunting, small rays and crocodile flatheads out and about, as well as the Halmahera Epaulette Shark (a type of epaulet “walking” shark) which can be seen plodding along the shallows after dark.
From Halmahera, we’ll track east towards Raja Ampat where the underwater beauty and bounty will continue, only now we have the opportunity for mantas and wobbegongs!
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 several 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 for 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.
Day 1 - 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 participents, and the Snorkel Venture group leader. Over night in Jakarta.
Day 2 - Arrive in Manado
Day 3 - Snorkeling in Lembeh
Day 4 - 11 - Halmahere and Raja Ampat from Mermaid II
Day 12 - Disembark and return to Jakarta
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
2024 Tour Dates
7 – 19 March | Lembeh – Halmahera – Raja Ampat
Deluxe Cabin – US $7,895 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 Jakarta Airport Hotel at the start of the trip
- Group transfers throughout
- 11 Nights on-board the Mermaid II Liveaboard with all meals and snacks, drinking water, soft drinks, tea and coffee
- Services of Snorkel Venture tour leader throughout
- Guided snorkel sessions as specified
- International flights & visas
- Snorkeling equipment rental
- Port clearance, Harbour tax, National Park Fee: 275 USD Paid on Board
- Travel and health insurance
- Alcoholic drinks, laundry, and general sundries
*Note: Fees and surcharges are subject to change