Though mainly practised in mainland India, some snake charming skills could come in handy joining Mermaid Liveaboards on one of our Biodiversity Specials. Crossing the Banda Sea, there are a couple of volcanos in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where you get the chance to dive with rare Olive Seasnakes. We got lucky, and found ourselves surrounded by these beautiful (and quite inquisitive!) reptiles. Only wished I’d paid more attention during those flute lessons back in Primary School…

Another highlight was the Banda Islands. Rich in history, and complete with its own little volcano and mini fortress, diving here was really good – crystal clear waters, stunning walls and lots of fish. We saw Eagle Rays, Napoleons and big congregations of Jackfish, Surgeonfish and colourful Butterflyfish.
But let’s not forget the first part of the safari, which took us to some of the most famous divesites in Raja Ampat. Lots of Manta Rays, plenty of Reef Sharks and a unique dive in the mangroves left us longing for more (in fact, several of the guests onboard signed up for next season in Raja Ampat!) before heading south to the beautiful Misool area. Here we enjoyed some of the best soft coral reefs in the world, with big schools of Jackfish, Barracudas and Batfish.
On the way to Flores, we spent a day in the scenic Alor area. Spectacular walls, healthy corals and blue blue water.
Approaching the final destination of Maumere, we rounded the trip off with a very nice nightdive, right at the foot of the active volcano of Watu Warawutun. Stargazers, Upside-down Jellyfish, Bobtail Squid, Octopus, Fingered Dragonets, Indian Walkmans, Ghost Pipefish and a whole selection of Snake Eels made this a most suitable last dive!

Biodiversity Special:
Sorong-Raja Ampat-Banda Sea-Alor-Flores-Maumere, April 18 – May 3, 2013

PJ Widestrand
Tourleader and Video-Pro
Mermaid 1