12 nights
Duration
Feb
Month

Journey with us onboard the beautiful Mermaid II Liveaboard through the stunning reefs of the Togian Islands, swim alongside the whalesharks of Gorontalo, and explore the critter capital of the world-Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi. This 11-night snorkeling safari is all about exploring the seldom-visited reefs, atolls, and bays of northern Sulawesi.

The focus of this unique trip will be the Togian Islands and the whalesharks of Gorontalo, but because the most convenient start and finish point for this itinerary is in Lembeh, we will, of course, spend time snorkeling the unique reefs in the area which are just packed with the weird and wonderful bottom dwelling critters like seahorses, nudibranchs, wasp fish, frogfish, and so many more!

The Togian Islands are one of the final frontiers for snorkeling in Indonesia, a set of islands located in the Gulf or Tomini in Sulawesi, they are home to some truly outstanding shallow coral reefs in clear blue water. What’s more is that just north of the Togians, around the town of Gorontalo whalesharks have been known to congregate in this large bay as they feed on plankton. With a bit of luck we will be able to find one or several to snorkel alongside!  Mermaid Liveaboards have been pioneering safaris to this area, and we are thrilled to be able to charter Mermaid II for this snorkeling-specific liveaboard adventure.

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

whale shark swimming next to snorkeler

*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.

11th Feb 2025 - Arrive in Jakarta

Arrive into Jakarta and check into your hotel for the night.


12th Feb 2025 - Fly to Manado & Embark

After breakfast we’ll take a flight to Manado where we’ll be met by a member of the Mermaid team who will drive you to the port-about one hour-where the Mermaid II boat is waiting. Here you will be able to meet the rest of the group as well as the tour leader. There will be a full boat briefing as well as a brief overview of the following day’s itinerary. If everyone arrives before noon, there may be an opportunity for an afternoon snorkeling session.

13th Feb 2025 - Snorkeling in Lembeh

Our first full day of snorkeling will include three snorkeling sessions at different sites around the Lembeh Strait. Here, we will explore the shallow reefs for the unique critters that dwell there.
Each day aboard Mermaid II 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, will board the smaller zodiac boats so we can safely be dropped in the shallows. 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 hot beverage served (you will not go hungry on this cruise!). Dinner is a 3 – 4 course meal.

We will offer 3 – 4 snorkel sessions a day. On certain days we will organize a sunset or night snorkel as the fourth snorkel of the day, depending on the conditions and sites in the vicinity. There will also be a day or two when we have to make a longer crossing overnight.  Mermaid II is staffed with an excellent masseuse as well as kayaks.

14th - 22nd Feb 2025 - Tomini Bay

From Lembeh, we will sail overnight to the mouth of Tomini Bay to an area called Tajung Flesko. We will spend the day here exploring the many beautiful walls and slopes known to this area. This is also where we will call our contacts in Gorontalo to see what the whaleshark situation is like there. If they have been sited in the area we’ll then make the journey into the Gorontalo area in search of these giant polka-dotted sharks, after our last snorkel. While considered to be one of the more predictable places to find and snorkel with whalesharks, they are wild animals with unique migratory patterns. If we happen to get unlucky on that day, we’ll either head over to the Togian islands for some stunning reef snorkels, or into Gorotnalo to snorkel some of the sites in there and hope for better luck the following days. Regardless of what we do, we will stay in contact with the authorities monitoring the whalesharks to give us the best chance of finding them.

whalesharks in triton bay

We will concentrate our time, either before or after we’ve (fingers crossed) spent our time with the whalesharks, around the fringing reefs and atolls of the Togian Islands. The reefs here come right up to the surface and in places, just seem to go on and on. You can expect to see a whole array of reef fish who call these pristine coral gardens home.
On one day of our snorkeling safari around the Togians, we will even get to explore a jellyfish lake, which is accessible by a short walk. The jellyfish in this particular lake can number in the thousands but are completely harmless as they are stingless. The experience, on a good day when the jellyfish collect closer to the surface, can be absolutely amazing!
The final day of snorkeling will take place on one of the more eastern reefs of the Togians. We will plan for two morning snorkeling session to give everyone enough time to dry and pack all their gear away as we cruise back to Lembeh, which will be an overnight crossing.

23rd Feb 2025 - Disembark and return to Jakarta

After breakfast and check out and say goodbye to our hosts- the amazing crew of the Mermaid II. We will then all transfer to the Manado airport together and check in for our onward flight to Jakarta. The tour ends upon arrival in Jakarta where we bid farewell to our new friends.
Please speak to a member of our team before booking any international flights. We are also available to help should you like assistance with booking these 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


    2025 Tour Dates

    11 – 23 February

    Deluxe Cabin – US $8,150 per person

    Budget Cabin – US $7,400 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:

    • Round trip flights from Jakarta – Manado – Jakarta with 40 Ibs of luggage allowance
    • One night at a Jakarta hotel with breakfast 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
    • Marine park fees, port fees, and fuel surcharges

    Excludes:

    • International flights & visas
    • Snorkeling equipment rental
    • Tips
    • Travel and health insurance
    • Alcoholic drinks, laundry, and general sundries
    Coral reef with many reef fish and snorkelers above
    Mermaid II guests looking and dolphins riding bow wave
    Mermaid II Cabin
    white eye moray with cleaner shrimp
    close up of whale shark and snorkeler
    Colorful coral reef with snorkelers above
    guest kayaking in Raja Ampat
    hard coral reef with snorkeler above
    whale shark swimming on the surface
    Blue and orange nudibranch
    Dive deck on mermaid II
    snorkeler with whale shark feeding
    orange frogfish
    whale shark swimming
    Anemone fish in anemone
    Coral reef with many reef fish and snorkelers above
    Coral reef with many reef fish and snorkelers above
    juvenile batfish on the surface
    Aerial view of snorkelers and coral reef with palm trees
    two whale sharks feeding on the surface
    snorkeling guests posing on the front of a boat
    Coral reef with many reef fish and snorkelers above
    Coral reef with many reef fish and snorkelers above
    coral reef with many colorful reef fish and blue water
    Two snorkelers photographing hard coral reef
    whale shark tale
    Aerial view of snorkelers swimming around island in Lembeh