11 nights
Duration
Oct, Nov, Dec
Month

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

marine life guide Raja Ampat Triton Bay

Raja Ampat Halmahera Itinerary Map

Day 1 - Arrive in Jakarta

Arrive into Jakarta International Airport (CGK) and check into the Jakarta Terminal Hotel and relax until the group meets for a late-night check-in for the flight to Sorong.

Day 2 - Jakarta to Sorong, Board the Mermadi II

Fly from Jakarta to Sorong. The Mermaid II crew will be there to greet us and take us by car to the harbor for boarding. After our welcome orientation and safety briefings, we will be shown to our cabins so that we can settle in.

Day 2 - 10 - Onboard The Mermad II

Each day begins with a “light” breakfast before starting a site briefing for our first snorkel session of the day. Each snorkel session will run for 60 – 90 minutes. Mermaid II will take us as close to the sites as possible, sometimes we will board the smaller zodiac boats and get 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 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 lunch (either served buffet style or plated, usually 2 – 3 courses). After a little break to allow our food to digest, we prepare for the third snorkel session of the day. Afterwards, there is usually a snack and hot beverage served (you will not go hungry on this cruise!), before we enter the water for a later afternoon or sunset snorkel, depending on the conditions and sites in the vicinity. Dinner is a 3 – 4 course meal.
sun shining through mangroves with coral reef below
Evenings are spent looking through fish ID books, chatting in the spacious lounge or enjoying the night sky from the deck.
We will offer 3 – 4 snorkel sessions a day. You are not obliged to participate in them all. Mermaid II is staffed with an excellent masseuse as well as kayaks.

Day 11 - Final day of snorkeling

The final day of snorkeling has 3 scheduled snorkel excursions to give everyone enough time to dry and pack all their gear away. We spend the night onboard in Lembeh Strait.
snorkelers over coral reef

Day 12 - 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

    Tour Dates

    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

    Includes:

    • 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

    Excludes:

    • International flights
    • Snorkeling equipment rental
    • Port clearance, Harbour tax, National Park Fee: 275 USD Paid on Board
    • Tips
    • Travel and health insurance
    • Alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries

    Mermaid II liveaboard in front of Islands
    Mermaid II guests looking and dolphins riding bow wave
    school of batfish in coral reef
    manta ray feeding on the surface
    Mermaid II Cabin
    school a chevron barracuda
    Sun rays in mangroves
    octopus standing up
    Aerial view of Raja Ampat Islands
    guest kayaking in Raja Ampat
    Large school of fish over coral reef
    sweetlips over hard coral reef
    Split shot of coral reef below and raja ampat islands above
    Dive deck on mermaid II
    Aerial view of Raja Ampat Islands
    two batfish beneath island
    Vast coral reef with snorkelers above
    Black tip reef sharks in shallow water
    Mermaid II tender in Raja Ampat Lagoon
    orange frogfish
    Anemone fish in anemone
    Blue and orange nudibranch
    schooling fish around soft coral colony
    guest snorkeling in Raja Ampat
    school of batfish in coral reef
    yellow seahorse
    white eye moray with cleaner shrimp
    fusileers over hard coral reef
    juvenile batfish on the surface