Diving with Mermaid Liveaboards
Explore the best diving sites of the Raja Ampat Archipelago (Papua, Indonesia)
Take a unforgeteable exclusive dive safari through the islands of Raja Ampat one of the best dive spots in the world !
Scuba diving in Raja Ampat is diving the worlds richest reefs!
Visit the biodiversity hotspot for marine live – reef fish and corals – Raja Ampat West Papua.
With this exclusive dive safaris you have the opportunity to discover a hidden paradise of the worl.
M/V Mermaid I is the pride of the Mermaid fleet offering 5 star liveaboard diving all year around. From November to April Mermaid 1 runs Raja Ampat liveaboard safaris in the birds head peninsula of the Papua province in north east Indonesia. From May to October you will find Mermaid 1 in the Lesser Sunda islands in Indonesia running Komodo liveaboard safaris from the beautiful island of Bali to Komodo island offering you the chance to walk with the legendary Komodo dragons.
The luxurious MV Mermaid I offers all amenities you can dream of. All 8 cabins are fully air-conditioned and equipped with TV & DVD player, single, twin or double bed, a large wardrobe, plenty of storage room and an en-suite bath room with hot water shower, toilet and sink. We also provide fresh bath towels daily, beach towels, bathrobes, hair-dryers, towels, soap and shampoo for your comfort.
Raja Ampat Dive Cruise
How to get there?
From your home country, you will need to fly to Sorong Airport which located in West Papua – Indonesia. Sorong Airport can be reached from Indonesian following international airports: Jakarta, Denpasar, Manado, or Makassar. We are happy to assist with all internal flights, accommodations, land tours etc.. Please contact us.
Also we are happy to arrange extension nights in Sorong (Raja Ampat Resorts) for you.
Sorong – Raja Ampat – Transfer Times:
We will co-ordinate your arrival and collect you from the airport or your hotel and bring you direct to the vessel. There are several reasonable hotels in Sorong should you wish to overnight before or after your Raja Ampat cruise. Sorong is a small city so most of the hotels located within 10 – 20 minutes to Sorong Harbor, while Sorong Airport it self only located 10 minutes by car from the harbor.
Cruise Option 1:
SORONG – RAJA AMPAT – SORONG – 10 DAYS/ 9 NIGHTS
Ship Mermaid 1
Check-in on board MV Mermaid I. As guest arrivals take place all through the day depending on flights you are welcome to board when you arrive and spend some time looking around Sorong, gearing up etc. Following the boat and safety briefing – its overnight to the Misool area. It is almost impossible to put together a daily itinerary due to the magnificent diving everywhere we go. No trip is the same with so many different sites to visit and explore. If there is somewhere in particular you really have your heart set on please discuss with the Cruise Director who will do their utmost to get you there – conditions, ship and your safety allowing ! –
Misool area – with literally 100’s of dives around this magnificent area we will be in diver’s paradise for a few days. Soft corals, gorgonians – some of the pretties corals in the world – and the kingdom of the pygmy seahorse ! Pinnacles with masses of fish.
Blue water mangroves (crocs depending !) Islands we will thoroughly enjoy the Misool area including Sagof Islands, Wagma and Farondi islands; Wailbatan and Warakaret Island, Kalig, Pele Islands
Fiabacet and Farondi Islands and after the 3rd dive of the day spend some time going around the lagoons in the dinghy for amazing sights and wildlife. Then we may head north to Waigeo Island Perhaps we will spend the day around Batanta Island, a black sand environment – great muck diving !
The Mantas call us to Dampier Strait where they hang out at their cleaning stations. But this place is also fabulous for macro diving with critters such as Pegasus, Pontohi Pgymy Seahorse, pipefish etc. And two dives at a small island called Arborek, with a lovely village and a jetty great for diving ! The jetty pillars are covered in soft corals – a photographer’s delight and also good for macro such as signal gobies, nudibrancs and more Pohtohi’s etc.
Dive around the island of Kawe a great place for schooling fish, and beautiful reefs covered in black coral bushes. And dive Alyui Bay (or a full day around Alyui Bay).
In Alyui Bay there is a pearl farm. We can tour the pearl farm and learn how they harvest the pearls, and the whole process of pearl farming. You can even buy pearls.
Diving in Alyui bay is good for macro and wide angle. Walls covered in soft corals and sea fans with lots of nudies and pygmys. Also a great night dive in the jetty; Raja Epaulette Shark (walking sharks), wobbegongs, crocodilefish, toadfish and frogfish. Dive around the island of Yanggefo – beautiful mangrove areas, stunning reefs covered in orange and pruple soft corals, and submerged reef with lots of schooling fish, and pygmies.
The Strait of Dampier are also well known for the amount of schooling fish. There are several pinnacles with zillions of fish . Also the tips (capes) of several islands with again lots of schooling fish; schools of barracudas, school of bigeye jacks, snappers, zillions of fusiliers and surgeonfish, etc…. And lots of wobbegongs.
2 dives in the Strait of Dampier. More of the same. Fish, fish, fish, glorious corals and all ! Then back to Sorong we must go. The crew will take care of rinsing and packing your equipment during this 4-5 hour run.
After breakfast we transfer you ashore to continue your vacation…or its time to head home to start planning your next Mermaid Liveaboards cruise ! With so many new itineraries and opportunities to choose from you will be back and back and back for more and most welcome on board Mermaid Liveaboards – Asia’s Premier Liveaboard Fleet !
Transfer to your Hotel or airport in Sorong
Boat & Cabins Descripions
State Room (king size bed), 1 Single and 4 Deluxe Cabins (double or twin beds) and 2 Budget Cabins (double/twin beds) below deck. The master, single and deluxe cabins have ensuite bathrooms, refrigerator and panoramic sea view windows. The budget cabins are below decks with ensuite bathroom and refrigerator.
Each cabin features all the comforts of home:
- Individually Controlled Air-Conditioning
- Flat screen TV and DVD
- Private Bathroom and Toilet with Hot / Cold Water
- Hand Basin and Bathroom Counter Space
- Bath and beach towels
- Hair dryer
- Bed Linens
- Mood lighting
- Wardrobe and Shelves
- Vanity Mirror
- Multiple 2 pin 220V electricity (bring an international adaptor)
- Luggage Space
Our huge purpose built dive deck and wide stern dive platform with two exit ladders and fresh water showers are a diver’s dream. 6 camera rinse tanks means your valuable equipment is well looked after.
Delicious Thai, Indonesian and western meals are served in our “Sawasdee Restaurant” with large windows to enjoy the views or how about trying our delicious BBQs ! On the cruise you have 3 delicious meals daily.
After meals relax in our saloon with our TV/DVD and music center, or select from our extensive library and full range of marine life books.
There are two outside decks, one shaded with outside seating and the fabulous sundeck with sunshade plus cushioned sun beds – a great place to relax.
There are many staff on board, from captain to boat men, all of them are experienced and do their best to make your dives and stay on board very pleasant.
NITROX is available on every cruise.
Rates & Destination 2016
Sorong – Raja Ampat – Sorong
11 days / 10 nights
Dives total: 32-34
Master Cabin: €3800
Single Cabin €3800
Deluxe Cabin €3500
Budget Cabin €3200
Ship Mermaid 1
All rates in Euro per person inclusive tax & service charge.
MV MERMAID I Rates & Destination 2016
|No of Cabins:||1||1||4||2|
|Total # of Guests:15||2 pax||1 pax||8 pax||4 pax|
|Bali – Komodo – Bali||28||10/9||€3500||€3500||€3100||€2700|
|Bali – Komodo – Maumere||28||10/9||€3500||€3500||€3100||€2700|
|Sorong – Raja Ampat – Sorong||30||11/10||€3950||€3950||€3650||€3250|
|Raja Ampat-Halmahera – Lembeh
|Raja Ampat – Banda Sea – Ambon
|Maumere – Alor – Banda Sea
– Ambon (or reverse)
Maumere – Alor – Banda Sea –
Raja Ampat – Sorong (or reverse)
|MMI 05/16RJ||20-Feb-16||1-Mar-16||Raja Ampat||11/10|
|MMI 06/16RL||02-Mar-16||13-Mar-16||Raja Ampat-Halmahera-Lembeh||12/11|
|MMI 07/16LR||14-Mar-16||25-Mar-16||Lembeh-Halmahera-Raja Ampat||12/11|
|MMI 08/16RA||26-Mar-16||06-Apr-16||Raja Ampat-Banda Sea-Ambon||12/11|
|MMI 09/16AR||07-Apr-16||18-Apr-16||Ambon-Banda Sea-Raja Ampat||12/11|
|MMI 10/16RJ||19-Apr-16||29-Apr-16||Raja Ampat||11/10|
|MMI 11/16SP||01-May-16||16-May-16||Biodiversity Special
Raja Ampat – Banda Sea – Alor – Maumere
|MMI In Port||26-May-16||16-June-16||In Port Bali|
Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau. Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
Raja Ampat Regency is a new regency which separated from Sorong Regency in 2004. It encompasses more than 40,000 km² of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya. Some of the islands are the most northern pieces of land in the Australian continent.
The oceanic natural resources around Raja Ampat give it significant potential as a tourist area. Many sources place Raja Ampat as one of their top ten most popular places for diving whilst it retains the number one ranking in terms of underwater biodiversity.
According to Conservation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. Diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Triangle composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and East Timor. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world.
The area’s massive coral colonies along with relatively high sea surface temperatures, also suggest that its reefs may be relatively resistant to threats like coral bleaching and coral disease, which now jeopardize the survival of other coral ecosystems around the world. The Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed by humans.
The name of Raja Ampat comes from local mythology that tells about a woman who finds seven eggs. Four of the seven eggs hatch and become kings that occupy four of Raja Ampat biggest islands whilst the other three become a ghost, a woman, and a stone.
History shows that Raja Ampat was once a part of Sultanate of Tidore, an influential kingdom from Maluku. Yet, after the Dutch invaded Maluku, it was shortly claimed by the Netherlands.
The first recorded sighting and landing by Europeans of the Ampat Islands was in the person of the Portuguese navigator Jorge de Menezes and his crew in 1526, on route from Biak, the Bird’s Head Peninsula, and Waigeo, to Halmahera (Ternate).
The English explorer William Dampier gave his name to Dampier Strait, which separates Batanta island from Waigeo island. To the east, there is a strait that separates Batanta from Salawati. In 1759 Captain William Wilson sailing in the East Indiaman Pitt navigated these waters and named one strait Pitt strait, after his vessel; this was probably the channel between Batanta and Salawati.
Indonesia straddles the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the north as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the east, it also neighbors Australia to the south, and Palau, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand to the north, India to the northwest.
With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. About 240 million people live in this fourth most populous country in the world — after China, India and the USA — and by far the largest country in Southeast Asia. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia’s population is on course to overtake the US and become the third largest before 2044. In the decade that ended in 2010, population growth remained high at 1.49% each year but there is substantial Muslim opposition to boosting family planning.
Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world is home to more than 195 million people. Mainly Muslims — with substantial Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities. Indigenous tribes still exist in Borneo to Irian Jaya in Eastern Indonesia. The presence of their pagan ancestry can still be seen, heard and felt by those who dare to breach the tourist frontiers.
The largest Indonesian islands are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Sulawesi, and the Indonesian part of New Guinea (known as Papua or Irian Jaya).
Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia, and the slogan is quite true, although not necessarily always in good ways. Indonesia’s tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are being logged and cut down at the same alarming speed. While the rich shop and party in Jakarta and Bali. After decades of economic mismanagement 50.6% of the population still earns less than USD2/day according to figures compiled by the World bank in 2009. This had come down by 6% in the 2 years between 2007 and 2009.
Infrastructure in much of the country remains rudimentary, and travellers off the beaten track will need some patience and flexibility.
According to the “Energy Access” Working Group Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development, in 2001, 53.4% of the Indonesian population had access to electricity and they consumed 345kWh for each person in a year. In the same year the residents of nearby Singapore had 100% access and they consumed 6,641 kWh. A very large percentage of the Indonesian population remain reliant upon wood for a cooking fuel. The central government has in recent years instituted a program of LPG gas access to use as a replacement for the burning of bio-mass sources for cooking.
A wonderfully fullfilling destination, Indonesia is a land of contrasts, a land where the spiritual manifests itself through magnificent temples and artwork. Mother Nature is not to be outdone with dramatic landscapes, active volcanoes and picture-perfect postcards. Indonesia’s fauna is exotic to say the very least, with huge lizards, orangutans and various tropical fish.
Both below and above water, Indonesia’s biodiversity is unrivalled. Tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutans, cloud leopards, tapirs and a multitude of rare, threatened and amazing wildlife are found in the nation’s forests and swamps. New species are constantly being discovered.
On the eastern part of the archipelago, separate from the Asian landmass, the islands of Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku have seen the evolution of species that are markedly different from western Indonesia.
Further to the east, Papua (originally part of the Australian landmass) exhibits a range of unique habitats, including more than 700 bird species (including migrants).
Indonesia’s warm seas are home to marine turtles, whales, dugongs and the world’s largest diversity of tropical marine species.
Indonesia has about 300 ethnic groups, each with cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources. Traditional Javanese and Balinese dances, for example, contain aspects of Hindu culture and mythology, as do wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performances. Textiles such as batik, ikat, ulos and songket are created across Indonesia in styles that vary by region. The Indonesian film industry’s popularity peaked in the 1980s and dominated cinemas in Indonesia, although it declined significantly in the early 1990s. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of Indonesian films released each year has steadily increased.
Indonesia has a rich and fascinating history. The majority of Indonesia’s modern population is made up of Austronesian people, who originally migrated to South East Asia from Taiwan. They arrived in Indonesia around 2,000 BC and quickly spread throughout the archipelago, pushing the indigenous Melanesian people to the far eastern regions.
Trade contracts eventually brought outside cultural and religious influences to Indonesia from India, China, and mainland Southeast Asia. Starting from the 7th century, the powerful Srivijaya kingdom flourished as a result of the Hindu and Buddhist influences that were imported into Indonesia along with traded goods. Srivijaya was one of the first Indian-ized empires and grew up around the coast of Sumatra, serving as the hub of a trading network that reached to many parts of the archipelago.
Indonesia Travel Facts:
Two months’ entry visa free for tourists from major markets. All visitors must have passports valid for at least six months and proof of onward passage.
Airport tax levied on passengers for international travel is Rp.21,000. for travel within Indonesia regional variations occur. Expect to pay an average of about Rp.8,000.
International health certificates for smallpox and cholera are not required, except from travelers arriving from infected areas. Bottled water is provided everywhere, even in the smallest villages. It is never advisable to drink tap water anywhere in Indonesia. Be sure to travel with Immodium AD since it is not easy to find there and you don’t want to discover that when its too late.
Indonesian customs allows on entry a maximum of two liters of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and a reasonable amount of perfume per adult. Cars, photographic equipment, typewriters and tape recorders must be declared to Customs upon entry and must be re-exported. Prohibited from entry are TV sets, radios, narcotics, arms and ammunition, printed matter in Chinese characters and Chinese medicines. Advance approval has to be acquired for carrying transceivers and all movie films and video cassettes must be censored by the Film Censor Board. Fresh fruit, plants and animals must have quarantine permits. There is no restriction on import or export of foreign currencies. However, the export or import of Indonesian currency exceeding Rp.50,000 is prohibited.
Currency & Money Exchange
The Rupiah is the currency used in Indonesia in notes 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000. The most commonly used note is 50,000 Rupiah (about $5 US). There are many places available to exchange your dollars. You’ll get a better exchange rate for crisp, clean US $100 bills. Old or dirty bills may not be accepted. As with any foreign country, it is advisable to understand the exchange rate before you go to exchange your money so you should have a good idea of how many Rupiah to expect for your US dollars.
Major credit cards are acceptable in most hotels along with American dollar travelers’ checks.
Normal banking hours are from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm from Monday to Friday. Some bank branches in hotels, however, keep longer hours. Jakarta has several international banks but money can also be changed at hotel cashiers, and authorized money changers. Daily exchange rates are published in newspapers. The US dollar is the most readily accepted currency. Most major tourist destination areas have foreign exchange facilities, but for travel to remote areas it is advisable to change money and travelers cheques in advance.
Major hotels usually add a 10% service charge to bills. Where it is not included a tip of between 5% to 10% of the bill would be appropriate if the service is satisfactory. Airport porters expect Rp.2,000 for a small bag and Rp.3,000 for bags weighing more than 20 kg. Tipping taxi and hire-car drivers is not mandatory, but if service has been satisfactory a basic Rp.1,000 tip is sufficient for a taxi driver, Hire-car drivers would normally expect a larger tip.
Keep your valuables in the hotel safe deposit box or a similar safe place and your passport close to your body.
The official language of Indonesia is ‘Bahasa Indonesia.’ There are also several hundred local languages, such as Javanese or Papuan languages. Most Indonesians speak their ethnic language as their mother tongue as well as the official language of Bahasa Indonesia.
Being aware of local customs and taboos is very important when traveling in any foreign land. In Indonesia you will always be ensured of having a pleasant time if you act with decorum and dress appropriately. On greeting someone it is customary for both men and women to shake hands. This should only be done with the right hand because to shake hands, give or receive, or eat with the left hand is considered impolite. Pointing or summoning someone with your index finger is considered impolite and care should be taken not to climb over places of worship or local monuments.
Light, airy, casual clothes are the most practical and you’ll find natural fibers like cotton or linen are the most comfortable in Indonesia’s often humid conditions. Indonesians are very clothes conscious and it’s particularly important to be properly dressed when visiting government offices such as the immigration offices. Indifference to local customs, scanty clothing is not advisable in public places, shorts are not permitted in mosques and women should have their head and arms covered. In Bali, waist sashes should be worn when visiting temples.
Power supply is 220 volts/250 cycles in large cities, but 110 volts is still used in some areas. Normal outlets are plugs with two rounded pins (see photo). It is advisable to check electricity supplies before using any appliances.
Telephone Internet Services
You’ll find internet cafes in most the major cities. On Bali they are everywhere and you can comfortably get online for anywhere from less than 10,000 Rp to 30,000 Rp ($1-3 US). The connections can be slow so don’t expect to do too much web surfing in that hour, but its great for anyone who wants to keep up on email and/or stay in touch with friends and family back home.
- Air Condition
- In room: Safety Deposit Box
- In room: TV
- Private bathroom
- Seating area
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