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 Raja Ampat in the east to Lembeh Strait to the west.
The focus of this unique trip will be Halmahera, but because the most convenient starting point for this itinerary is in Sorong-the port to Raja Ampat, we will be spending about 3 days snorkeling some incredible reefs around Misool before we move west towards Halmahera. In Raja Ampat we’ll spend time among the amazing soft coral reefs that surround Misool island, we’ll explore manta aggregation areas, some of the world’s most pristine reefs which are full of fish, and with a bit of luck we’ll be able to get in the water with a whale shark or two.
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 6 days snorkeling over the beautiful shallow coral reefs in complete seclusion – the chance of meeting divers or other snorkelers is extremely unlikely.
While in the area, we’ll encounter a diverse range of fish and corals. Cruising blacktip reef sharks are regularly seen and large rays often pass by, as do Napolean wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, tuna, and giant trevally. The reefs are mostly gently sloping from the small islands in the area and have a wide variety of coral species including beautiful fans, huge barrel corals, fields of staghorn coral, and lots of colorful soft corals swaying in the shallows. Some snorkels will also be over more sandy patches littered with broken-up and dead coral pieces. Here we can hope to find lots of parrotfish and triggerfish building nests, scorpionfish hiding, and some weird and wonderful critters like sea moths, garden eels, frogfish, and more. We can expect to see large schools of mackerel, batfish, and unicornfish on most of our snorkels. Schools of trevally are also common sights, as well as turtles, sea snakes, eels, various crabs, shrimps, pipefish, and of course, nudibranchs. Walls of pink and purple basslets cloud the reef along with schooling yellow snapper and fusiliers. It is not uncommon to see 5 or more species of each- butterflyfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, anemone fish, angelfish on each snorkel site!
Night snorkels are great in this area with lots of 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 bamboo “walking” shark) which can be seen scurrying along the shallows after dark.
Not to mention the incredible topside scenery where volcanoes and tiny islands jut up from the turquoise waters. From Halmahera, we’ll track west towards North Sulawesi.
Our final 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.
This snorkeling safari is escorted by a Snorkel Venture team member.
Marine Life Guide
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
24th February – 8th March 2023
8th March – 20th March 2023
Deluxe Cabin – US $7,495 per person
Budget Cabin – US $6,950 per person
How to book your place?
Initial deposit to secure your booking $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
- 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