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Dive Review of Mermaid Liveaboards in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat to Ambon

Mermaid Liveaboards: "Another glorious cruise through the Banda Sea", Mar, 2017,

by Harvey S. Cohen, NJ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 21 reports with 14 Helpful votes). Report 9535 has 3 Helpful votes.

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 N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my 4th cruise on Mermaid 1; they do a lot of repeat business. It was my first time on this particular itinerary. See [ link] for a description of the itinerary, and [ link] for an excellent 4-minute video of highlights for the week I was there. As always, the region's incredible biodiversity and good health make for wonderful diving. Personal firsts for me on this trip were walking sharks and blue-ringed octopuses. One night muck dive featured a very large number of easily viewed mandarin fish.
We saw lots of dolphins from the boat, and 1 or 2 minke whales, but did not get a chance to swim with them.
One benefit of diving remote places is that the other divers tend to be experienced, skilled, and good at getting along with people in a liveaboard setting. On this trip, there were 3 from Hong Kong, 2 others from the U.S., and 9 Russians. The Russians were a scientifically-oriented dive club, and actually brought a microscope so they could bring interesting micro-organisms back to the boat and examine them. Almost everyone spoke conversational English.
The crew can take excellent care of less-experienced divers, but perhaps 1 dive in 5 had significant current.
Rooms are very comfortable, the dive operation runs smoothly, food is plentiful and varied, and crew are always helpful and friendly. Aircon in the cabins is functional but weak. I continue to see Mermaid as the best combination of luxury, service, and price in Indonesian liveaboards.
One small caution-- Mermaid adds Dettol disinfectant to their suit rinse tank. I rinsed my suit separately for the first week and only used the suit tank toward the end of the trip. On the last day I got a mild rash everywhere my wetsuit touched. I suspect it was the Dettol. If you're concerned, avoid the suit tank.
Websites Mermaid Liveaboards   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Gulf of Eilat, Bali, Komodo, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Fiji, Palau, Coral Sea, Galapagos, many Caribbean locations, New Jersey, Florida, National Aquarium, Dutch Springs, Silfra (Iceland), Panama (Pacific)
Closest Airport Sorong (SOQ) - Ambon (AMQ) Getting There Direct flights from Jakarta(CGK) to Sorong and from Ambon(AMQ) to Jakarta. Flying between New York and Sorong/Ambon is brutal (about 25,000 miles round-trip). Book stopovers in at least one connecting city if you can, do some sightseeing, and get some sleep.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 82-86°F / 28-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Everyone dived 32% Nitrox, so MOD was 111 feet.
Carry Surface Marker Buoy. Safety stop minimum 3 minutes; 5 preferred. Stay with buddy or with guide.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
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 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Each cabin has outlets and a power strip for charging. The dive deck has a camera rinse tank, a dry table, and compressed air. The crew is accustomed to supporting divers with elaborate photo gear.
One diver also brought a camera drone and got spectacular above-water video [ link]
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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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