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Dive Review of Mermaid II in

Mermaid II, Oct, 2014,

by Graham McGregor, Kilmacolm, GB (Top Contributor Top Contributor 37 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 7774 has 1 Helpful vote.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Overall, a great liveaboard diving experience. Mermaid II was billed in advance as "good but not luxurious" which I felt was a bit unfair. The cabins were fine (I was single occupancy, with a two bed bunk arrangement cabin on the main deck). The cabins are either on the main deck (and appear to be the best) and below deck. There was a normal shower room cum toilet with a basin. Electric showers meant hot water was available for showers. There was a good sized dive deck, with all dives being from the two ribs. We had 16 divers on board which meant that the ribs took groups of divers out in two waves. Groups rotated on a daily basis between being in the first or second groups. In fairness none of the dive sites were more than a few minutes away in the ribs. We had a dedicated dive guide for our group for the week. The saloon, where all dive briefings took place was comfortable and of a good size. There was a range of complimentary sweets and coffee, soft drinks, water, juice available at all times. The rear sun deck was also comfortable albeit it got a little croded when all 16 divers chose to sit there. There is a sun deck up front where you can relax and lie out. The boat had a crew mwmber who doubled as a masseuse and this is where the massages happen. I'd say that Mermaid II compares to a good quality Red Sea liveaboard. We were assigned kitting up stations with a box for our own gear. Because diving was in two waves of two groups, there was generally adequate room for kitting up. The deck crew helped with set up and kitting up. They also rinsed gear and hung up wetsuits at the end of dives. Every diver had their own post dive towel which was avaialble at the end of each dive. After each night dive, hot chocolate was also waiting, which was welcome! Nitrox is available, for an extra charge. We used Nitrox on every dive and the cost was 96 for the week.You pay about the same again for Komodo Marine Park charges. Mermaid II pliees the Bali - Komodo route for about 7 months od the year before going to Raja Ampat for the rest. We overnighted in Bali and Mermaid II crew picked us up at our hotel at 2pm for the short journey to the boat. As soon as the remainder of the guests had arrived (at around 3pm) we set sail. Be aware that Komodo is about 300 miles from Bali! As a result you spend a fair amount of time steaming. On the first day/night we steamed for about 17 hours to Moyo Island, just over half way to Komodo. We had a couple of good dives there and then steamed for a further 11 hours the next nigh to get close to Komodo. We had three full days in Komodo National Park and then basically repeated the journey back, stopping in broadly the same areas albeit at different dive sites.
The diving was excellent. We had 20 dives in total, although 5 were night dives. These ranged from white/black sand critter dives; good quality coral reefs, a couple of ripping cureent dives, using reef hooks and a couple of exceptional Manta dives in Komodo (where the water temp dropped significantly from the usual 28C to about 20C, so bring a vest and hood to augment a 3mm wetsuit or you will be very chilly!). In fairnes there were only a couple of dives in this cooler water, most were on the North side of the archipeligo and were arounf 27/28C.
The crew were excellent and the briefings comprehensive. My back up computer went phut before I even started and they gave me a loaner to use as a backup free of charge. Nitrox fills were pretty consistent at just under 32. We saw some grear big and small stuff! The two dives at Manta Alley were amazing with 9 or more Mantas on the second dive - all over the place. We saw a few sharks, not as many as I expected and mainly whitetips with a few black tips. Quite a few turtles, loads of schooling fish, trevally, jacks, batfish, tuna and many types of reef fish. We also saw bumphead parrotfish, eagle ray and banded sea snakes. Macro life was a also good with many nudibranch; and several pygmy sea horse sightings. The food on board was plentiful and good.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos; Palau; Malapascua; Sipadan; Maldives; Cuba; Caribbean (various); Cozumael; Hawaii; Florida; Red Sea; Oman; Spain
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 20-28°C / 68-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-30 M / 49-98 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were led by a guide (4 divers per guide in our case). Generally max dive time was 70 minutes (day) and 60 minutes (night) which was perfectly adequate
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a separate camera table and rinse tanks on the dive deck
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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