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Dive Review of Mermaid Liveaboards/Mermaid 1 in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Mermaid Liveaboards/Mermaid 1, Mar, 2014,

by Harvey S. Cohen, NJ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 18 Helpful votes). Report 7548.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my 2nd trip on Mermaid 1 (1st was Komodo). Very comfortable, uncrowded with full 15-diver load. Great food, and great people. Dive operations superb-- efficient, safe, and with extraordinary level of service. Dives are all dingy dropoff and pickup, usually ending shallow on wonderful coral. Typical dive times more than one hour, so four dives are really a full day.
It's a lot of flying to get there, but worth the trip.
We spent an hour watching 9 mantas parade around the Manta Sandy cleaning station. On another dive, we were cruising a coral head and several mantas joined us-- zooming past repeatedly at arms-length. Then there was the manta who pulled up to keep me company in the blue as I did my safety stop. These were all ocean mantas with wingspans around 25 ft.
Wobbegong sharks were a dime a dozen, blacktips and whitetips pretty common. One walking shark. Huge fish, big schools of all kinds. Lots of pygmy seahorses. Great critter and muck diving.
This is a really remote area, and I like the security of a twin-engine steel-hull boat. Mermaid dive guides all carry Nautilus Lifeline radios. I carried my own, but never used it after the initial radio check. I think it's smart insurance, though.
If you're traveling solo, the one single cabin is a good deal. But you usually need to book it a year or more in advance.
Websites Mermaid Liveaboards   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Coral Sea, Palau, Galapagos, Fiji, Caribbean, Florida, New Jersey
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-90 Ft/ 12-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions requested 5 minute safety stops (because no deco chamber anywhere nearby)
SMB required (but they will loan you one).
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 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Subscriber's Comments

By Jeff Moore in FL, US at Apr 03, 2014 21:21 EST  
Was water safe to drink in Raj Ampat and Jakarta hotel? Do you need to bring Rupias or will U.S.$ be ok? Can you use credit cards? Did you take anti-malarials? What % for crew tip? I go on Raj Ampat Explorer in May 2014. I'd really appreciate your response soon so I can prepare.
By report author: Harvey S. Cohen in NJ, US at Apr 04, 2014 11:32 EST  
These are questions that your travel provider (Grand Komodo, in your case) or travel agent really should answer. However, for what it's worth... Indonesian airports charge a departure tax, and you must have cash in Rupia for that. I think Jakarta is 150,000 and Sorong is 50,000. If you have excess or overweight baggage, you are also likely to need cash Rupia to pay the airline. I took an anti-malarial, but most divers on the boat did not. Service on the Mermaid 1 was outstanding; the crew was extremely efficient and worked very hard. I tipped 10% of the basic price. Wishing I were back on the boat right now. Enjoy your trip!
By carl berenson in WA, US at May 06, 2014 19:57 EST  
jeff-be sure to write a review of the Raja ampat explorer as I am going in Oct and would appreciate your views on the trip and boat. Thanks.
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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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