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Dive Review of Mermaid Liveaboards in
Indonesia/Sorong to Maumere

Mermaid Liveaboards: "The premier liveaboard dive cruise", May, 2015,

by Harvey S. Cohen, NJ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports with 14 Helpful votes). Report 8229 has 2 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 [ link]
[ link]
The 15-day Biodiversity Cruises on Mermaid 1 and Mermaid 2 are the world's best liveaboard dive trips. Twice a year the boats reposition between Raja Ampat and Bali and offer this 1500-mile journey through the Spice Islands with about 45 dives. (True believers can continue from Maumere to Bali for another week). The dive sites include all the natural diversity of the Coral Triangle-- walls, bommies, muck-- and offer a wealth of big pelagics, macro, hard and soft corals. No wrecks.
IMHO Mermaid is the best combination of quality and price in the region. The rooms, food, and service are resort-standard, and the dive operation is superbly run. The boat is a steel-hull twin-engine, which seems to me an excellent thing for remote waters.
Because the cruise involves several open-water crossings (mostly at night), it can be a bit rough. There was only a single one-day case of seasickness among the divers, but at times the boat would roll hard for several hours while under way. None of this affected the diving, when the boat was anchored in more sheltered locations.
Diving is from zodiacs, in groups of 3 or 4 guests to 1 guide. Divers could stick with the guide, with a buddy, or solo. Divers surfaced with a (required) SMB and were picked up by a zodiac. The guides are expert at spotting and pointing out interesting stuff, so people typically follow them. Divers on these trips tend to be experienced and skillful, but the crew will do EVERYTHING for you if you let them-- carry gear, rinse and hang wetsuits, etc.
Almost all divers doff their tanks and fins in the water and let the driver haul the gear into the zodiac. Back at the boat, the crew takes all gear from the zodiac and gets it ready for the next dive. Divers normally wear their tanks to walk (about 10 feet and a short staircase) from the dive deck to the zodiac. But two divers (while expert in the water) could not safely handle the weight, so the crew carried their BCDs and tanks to the zodiac for each dive.
Websites Mermaid Liveaboards   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bali, Komodo, Raja Ampat, Fiji, Coral Sea, Galapagos, many Caribbean locations, New Jersey, Florida, Gulf of Eilat, National Aquarium, Dutch Springs
Closest Airport arrive Sorong, depart Maumere Getting There I strongly recommend booking in-country flights and hotels through an agent based in that part of the world. If anything gets screwed up or needs to be changed, you want someone who knows the turf. I've had good experience on several Pacific trips with
Sorong and Maumere are jet airports served by a few domestic carriers. The most convenient connections are via Jakarta or Bali. Try to fly via Bali and stay over for at least a day to enjoy the local culture and beaches.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 79-85°F / 26-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-90 Ft/ 12-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Carry SMB. Surface with SMB. 5-minute safety stop.
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 Camera table, rinse tanks, chargers, compressed air were fine. Camera-handling by crew for dives very good. Divers bring their own PCs if they want to process pics or videos during the cruise.
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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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