Check-in on board MV Mermaid I. As our guest arrivals take place all through the day depending on flights, you are welcome to board when you arrive and spend some time unpacking and setting up your equipment, etc. Following the boat and safety briefing, Mermaid I will start cruising to the area of Misool. The first cruising will be done overnight, 90 nautical miles.
It is almost impossible to put together a daily itinerary due to the magnificent diving everywhere Mermaid I goes. 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!
Misool is the southern island of Raja Ampat. Misool has many groups of islands and there are literally hundreds of dive sites around this magnificent area for all our guests. This is the entrance to divers’ paradise and we will be here for a few days.
Soft coral heaven and gorgeous gorgonian sea fans are the highlights of Misool. Pygmy seahorses are easily found in almost all the dive sites of Misool! Pinnacles and underwater seamounts with masses of fish, and visits of pelagics such as Giant Manta Rays, sharks and more await you in Misool.
Some of the best areas in Misool include Sagof, Wagmab, Farondi, Boo, Fiabacet, Yuliet, Wailbatan, Warakaret and Pele.
After the third dive of the day in Farondi or Sagof, there is a chance to spend some time going around the lagoons in the dinghy. Enjoy the natural beauty of this area and look for some amazing wildlife. Then Mermaid I will start heading towards the northern part of Raja Ampat.
(3 Night Dives & 1 Sunset Dive)
Perhaps you will spend a day around the southern part of Batanta Island, where the diving is done on a black sand environment. This is where all the weird and wonderful creatures that you have seen in coffee table books like to live!
Dive around the island of Kawe, a great place for schooling fish with beautiful reefs covered in black coral bushes and a very good chance to have encounters with Manta Rays.
There is a pearl farm in Aljui Bay, where you can take a tour to learn about the entire process of pearl farming. You can even buy pearls if you wish! Diving in Aljui bay is good for macro as well as wide angle. You will find walls covered in soft corals and sea fans, lots of nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses. There is also a great night dive at the jetty where some of the highlights are the Raja epaulette shark (a species of “walking shark”), wobbegongs, crocodile fish, toadfish, frogfish and more.
Heading to the central part of Raja Ampat dive around the island of Yanggefo, with beautiful mangrove areas, stunning reefs covered in orange and purple soft corals and submerged reef with lots of schooling fish.
Arborek and Sawanderek Villages are some of the most beautiful islands to visit and great to dive under their jetty! The jetty pillars are covered in soft corals – a photographer’s delight and also good for macro such as signal gobies, nudibranchs, pipefish, blue ringed octopus and more.
The Mantas are then calling Mermaid I to visit the famous Dampier Strait in the central part of Raja Ampat. Here Mantas hang out at their cleaning stations along with all the schooling fish that the sites have to offer. At some of the sites in the Dampier Strait, the macro marine life is amazing with critters such as the seamoth, Pontohi pygmy seahorse, pipefish and more.
The Dampier Strait is also well known for an incredible amount of schooling fish. There are several pinnacles with zillions of fish. The tips (capes) of several islands are also home to lots of schooling fish – barracudas, bigeye jacks, snappers, zillions of fusiliers and surgeonfish and much more. As if that weren’t enough, here you can find lots of wobbegongs too.
(4 Nights Dives)
The last two dives of your cruise will be done in Dampier Strait area, where big schools of fish and glorious corals are simply amazing! After the second dive MV Mermaid I must go back to Sorong. The crew will take care of rinsing your equipment and there’s time to pack during this 5 – 6 hour run.
After breakfast, Mermaid I staff will transfer you to the airport.
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to changes beyond the operator’s control. The exact itinerary, route and amount of dives for your cruise may be adapted to best suit the weather conditions, tides and currents, season and other prevailing events.