12 Days Diving Itinerary by Mermaid I & II
The most interesting thing about this trip, is diving in 3 completely different areas, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, and Ambon – and so the biodiversity will be amazing !
Day 1. Check-in on board MV Mermaid. 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 Dampier Strait area.
Day 2-4. The next 3 days 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 wobbegongs 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 crocodilefish.
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.
Total 11 dives.
Day 5-6. 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.
Total 7 dives.
Day 7. 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 Manuk.
Total dives 3.
Day 8. 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 the Banda Islands.
Total dives 4.
Day 9-10. 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 Nusa Laut, Saparua Island, or to Ambon.
Total dives 7.
Day 11. The last diving day of the trip will be around either the island of Nusa Laut, or in Ambon Bay. Nusa Laut is a small island, next to the island of Saparua, which has some beautiful hard coral fringing reefs as well as walls similar to those of the Banda Islands. Or we will spend the day around Ambon, where there are several options such as wreaks, caves or doing some really interesting muck dives looking for rhynophias, frogfish (including the psycodelic frogfish), harlequin shrimps, and many other critters.
Total dives 2.
Day 12. 08.00am check out time.
We will arrange transfer to the airport or your hotel.
For the reverse trip, Ambon – Sorong, the route is exactly the same. We would start the first day diving around Ambon, and end the trip in the Dampier Strait. So the dive sites will be a day by day reverse of the above itinerary.