Maumere - Alor - Banda Sea - Raja Ampat - Sorong (or reverse)
16 days / 15 nights
It is almost impossible to put together a daily itinerary due to the magnificent diving everywhere we go. No trip is the same with so many different sites to visit and explore. If there is somewhere in particular you really have your heart set on please discuss with the Cruise Director who will do their utmost to get you there – conditions, ship and your safety allowing! However here is rough guide just to whet your appetite!
Embark in Sorong. Check-in on board your Mermaid liveaboard. As guest arrivals take place all through the day depending on flights you are welcome to board when you arrive and spend some time looking around Sorong, gearing up etc. Following the boat and safety briefing – its overnight to the Strait of Dampier.
Cruise overnight to the Dampier Strait (40nm).
Total dives 0. Unless the customers arrive on the 7:00 a.m. flight. Then we can make 2 dives.
Dampier Strait – Raja Ampat. The first 2 diving days of the trip will be spent around the Dampier Strait, the strait between the island of Waigeo, the Bird’s Head peninsula and the northern side of Batanta Island. The Dampier Strait is known for the variety of diving, from giant mantas, to mangroves, beautiful reefs, many pinnacles and sea mounts covered in schooling fish, aggregations of sweetlips, schooling barracudas, schools of bumphead parrotfish, massive schools of fusiliers, and lots of wobbegong sharks. It is also a great location for critters and macro subjects, with several species of pygmy seahorses, and a large variety of nudibranches. There are also several jetties to do some great night dives, where we can see raja epaulette sharks, toadfish, frogfish and crocodile fish. In the afternoon, between dives, we can visit several traditional Papuan villages, meet the locals and walk in white sandy beaches.
Cruise overnight to Misool (90nm).
Total dives 7.
Misool – Raja Ampat. The next 2 days will be around the island of Misool, where there literally hundreds of dive sites. Misool is a heaven for wide angle photographers. The prettiest soft corals reefs in the world are located in Misool, as well as having multiple pinnacles surrounded by masses of schooling fish, barracudas, jacks and snappers.
There will be some excursions with the tenders through some amazing inner lagoons, fantastic scenery and wild life sightings.
Cruise overnight to Pulau Koon, Ceram (110nm).
Total dives 7.
Pulau Koon – Ceram. Pulau Koon is a small island on the southeast of Ceram, half way between Raja Ampat and the Banda Islands. Walls covered in soft corals, and sandy slopes with hard coral bommies. But the most interesting feature of this island is the amount of schooling fish and pelagic, barracudas, bigeye trevallies, aggregation of red snappers, pompanos, batfish, and giant groupers.
Cruise overnight to the Banda Islands (80 nm).
Total dives 3 or 4 depending on the weather.
Banda Islands. The next two days will be spent in the Banda Islands, also know in the old days as the Spice Islands. Many of the dive sites around the Bandas are wall dives. Walls covered in massive gorgonians, soft corals, barrel sponges and some very interesting swimthroughs. But there are other attractive dive sites such as pinnacles with enormous groups of schooling pyramid butterflyfish, triggerfish and pelagic fishes such as tunas passing through, spectacular hard coral reefs next to the volcano, and great muck dives with lots of mandarinfish in the local jetty.
The Banda Islands are much more than diving. It is also a cultural and historical experience. We will spend one morning walking around the village of Banda Naira with a local guide, and visit the local museum, the Old Dutch fort, the old colonial governor’s house, the local fish market, and we will have breakfast at a nutmeg plantation.
Cruise overnight to Manuk (65 nm).
Total dives 7.
Manuk – Banda Sea. Manuk, an extinct volcano about 65 nm south of the Banda Islands, is one of 2 places in Indonesia where there are huge aggregations of sea snakes, Chinese sea snakes and banded sea kraits. It is an incredible experience to dive surrounded on all sides by sea snakes. The island is surrounded by black sandy slopes with hard coral reefs, volcanic ridges covered in gorgonians with zillions of fusiliers and pelagic fishes such as spanish mackerels and dogtooth tunas passing through.
Cruise overnight to Pulau Nila (70nm).
Total dives 4.
Pulau Nila – Banda Sea. Approximately 26 nm northeast of the island of Nila in the Banda Sea, there is a submerge reef called Nil Desperandum, consisting mainly of walls and steep slopes going several thousand meters deep, with beautiful hard corals in the reef top. The reef is several miles long, and it can be dived all the around. Napoleons, turtles and reef sharks are usual sightings in this reef.
5 nm east of Nila there is an atoll called Dusborgh, with similar topography to Nil Desperandum, with crystal clear water is another great place to see pelagic fish, tunas, mackerels, jacks, rainbow runners passing by.
Cruise overnight to Pulau Damar (70nm).
Total dives 4.
Pulau Damar – Banda Sea. Day 11 will be spend diving around the 3 small islands surrounding the island of Damar, Neus Leur, Terbang Utara, and Terbang Selatan. White sandy beaches and completely covered by tropical forests, they contain some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in the Banda Sea. Walls covered with massive barrel sponges and gorgonian sea fans. Reef tops full of soft corals and small tropical reef fishes. And visibility up to 50 meters.
Cruise overnight to Gunung Api (108nm).
Total 3 dives.
Gunung Api – Banda Sea. Weather depending, we will be diving day 11 at Gunung Api. A small volcano in the middle of the Banda Sea. Gunung Api is one of those very rare and very special places where not many divers get to go and dive. Underwater ridges, steep slopes with black sand and walls covered in soft corals. But the most amazing feature of this small volcano is the amount of sea snakes that can be found surrounding the island. Spend the time between dives observing the hundreds of frigates that live on the island.
Cruise overnight to Wetar (76 nm)
Total dives 4.
Wetar. After cruising every night for one week, we have finally crossed the Banda Sea and arrived at the island of Wetar. In Wetar we will do 3 dives, in the small island of Reong, and in Cape Nunukae. Pulau Reong is a small island on the northwest coast of Wetar and separated by a small channel only 700 meters wide. More walls, like many of the dive sites in the Band Sea, covered in small soft colors but of a great variety of colors and zillions of triggerfish of every species.
Cape Nunukae, about 6 nm southwest of Pulau Reong, is a large ridge with slopes on both sides and covered with a hard coral reef on the shallow area of the ridge, and soft corals on the slopes in the deeper areas. Strong currents can be had at the end of the ridge, where large aggregations of schooling fish can be found.
Cruise overnight to Alor (98 nm).
Total dives 3.
Alor. Alor is one of the old time favorites dive spots for those people coming to dive in Indonesia year after year due to its variety of dive sites. Healthy reefs, pinnacles, walls, great muck dives, cold water, warm water, strong currents and protected areas. Alor has it all.
Cruise overnight to Lewaling, Kawula Island (50 nm).
Total dives 4.
Lewaling Bay – Kawula Island. The last day of diving will be done at Lewaling Bay, in the island of Kawula. With the background of a volcano rising from the western shores of Lewaling Bay, the last 2 dives of the trip will be done in two different capes, Cape Bacatan and Cape Sirumerang. Both dive sites have a mix of ridges, walls with overhangs, white sandy slopes and very shallow reef tops. Then we will cruise overnight to Maumere.
Cruise overnight to Maumere, Flores (90 nm)
Total dives 2.
Disembark in Maumere.
Total Dives for the trip 48 to 50