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Dive Review of Mermaid/Mermaid I in

Mermaid/Mermaid I: "Raja Ampet on Mermaid I", Feb, 2016,

by Laurie Pemberton, CA, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 8840 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We just returned from the Feb 20-Mar 1, 2016 charter on Mermaid I diving the Raja Ampet area. Great boat, good crew, fun diving. This was the second trip we've made on Mermaid I (did Bali-Komodo in Oct 2014), and we are already looking at maybe another trip in 2018.

Mermaid I accommodates a max of 15 divers, and has a crew of 16 people. They put the divers into groups of no more than 4 divers with a dive guide. All dives are backrolls off dingys. The crew is friendly and helpful. Dive guides are good at finding various critters.

There were all types of fish life on our dives: from pygmy seahorses to manta rays. Every dive had both macro and wide-angle opportunities. We had some current at a few dive sites - a disadvantage to going at full moon. Other dive sites were calm. We had good visibility at all but maybe 2 dive sites (out of 32-33 dives). Water was 82-87F. I wore a full 1mm wetsuit (I'm a woman) with a beanie.

We saw healthy reefs. Some had so much growth and colors, it was almost overwhelming. We took lots of photos (now the challenge to identify the best).

A fun part of the trip was meeting new people from all over: England, Europe, US, etc. Dive briefings are in English, but the dive guides speak several languages.

We flew international to Jakarta, and spent a couple of days to adjust to the new time zone. We did not do any sightseeing in Jakarta, and enjoyed our say at the FM7 Hotel near the airport (but very quiet, clean, and has a good restaurant in the hotel - also nice pool). We got to Sorong the night before getting on the boat, and stayed at the Swiss Belhotel (also quiet, clean, has a restaurant).

Flying between Jakarta and Sorong is the only part that was so-so. We flew Lion Air, and did not realize when I made the reservation that Wing Air (leg to/from Sorong) had a 10kg weight limit. If you are taking your own dive gear, you know that is almost impossible. We had to pay extra since our checked bags were 20kg. So, my advice would be to check baggage weight allowances in deciding which airline to take to get to Sorong.
Websites Mermaid   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caymans, Turks, Cozumel, Curacao, StKitts-Saba, Florida, California, Sea of Cortez, Socorro, Palau, Yap, Fiji, Bali-Komodo
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There If flying international to Jakarta, then will need to take domestic flights to Sorong: watch baggage weight!

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-87°F / 28-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 20-100 Ft/ 6-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nitrox and computer restrictions. Suggested dive length is 70min for days and 60min for nights, but dive guides were flexible and let us dive longer on most dives if we still had plenty of air.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There were at least 5 rinse buckets just for cameras. Camera table had plenty of space. We used the cubbies on one wall of the dive deck to plug in our battery chargers.
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Lenny Zwik in TX, US at Aug 02, 2016 13:31 EST  
We did the same itinerary in Mar 2015 but flew Air Garuda. We had no baggage or weight issues with them.
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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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