13 Day Liveaboard Exploration of Abundant Volcanic Island Reefs in Remote Indonesia
September 20 – October 2, 2025
If you love exploring remote parts of the world, and seeing pristine reefs untouched by tourism, you should join this Banda Sea snorkeling trip. It will be a once in a lifetime experience.
On this guided snorkeling adventure you will be touring a remote series of semi-active volcanic islands in the Banda Sea of Indonesia, aboard the wonderful Mermaid II liveaboard yacht.
After an overnight cruise, you will start your snorkeling adventure in Alor, one of our favorite snorkel spots on Earth. Then your route will head east, to Wetar, then curving toward the north through the volcanic Forgotten Islands, the Banda Islands, and you will end up in Ambon.
The route follows a chain of volcanic islands, and it is locally known as the Ring of Fire, and is also home to the original “Spice Islands.” Your trip will include an interesting cultural tour of a village in the Banda Islands, where you will learn the history of these small island communities.
On this trip you will experience a huge variety of snorkeling habitats, from the highly colorful reefs of Alor, to the black volcanic sands of volcano cone islands in the middle of the ocean, filled with rare critters. And you will have stunning views of tropical islands as you cruise to new places each day, with plenty of opportunities for dolphin and whale sightings as well. There will also be multiple overnight open ocean crossings between territories.
We have done a similar remote trip on the Mermaid II. And it was hands down our favorite liveaboard experience, in terms of the fantastic crew. We have some diet issues that they handled perfectly. They have expored this area for over ten years, and really know where to find shallow protected reefs for snorkelers.
Watch The Video Below About This Trip
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts in the Coral Triangle, run amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world.
Where in Indonesia Will You Be Cruising?
You will be traveling and snorkeling in Indonesia, within a region known as the Coral Triangle, which has more species of fish and corals than anywhere else in the world.
Your tour begins in Jakarta (CGK). After your international flight arrives you will check into the hotel and relax before a group dinner where you will meet your guide and fellow snorkelers. You will stay the night, and have a breakfast together, and then board a group flight to Maumere on Flores Island.
Crew from the Mermaid II will meet your group at the Maumere airport and transfer you a short distance to the liveaboard. You will settle in, and the ship will travel overnight to Alor, with successive days cruising and snorkeling, to Wetar, the Forgotten Islands, the Banda Islands, and then finally your tour will end in Ambon. There will be a final group flight back to Jakarta, which ends the tour.
What Will the Snorkeling Be Like in the Banda Sea?
After boarding your liveaboard in Maumere, you will have an overnight cruise, and begin your snorkeling adventures in Alor. We absolutely love the snorkeling in Alor. It is very remote, with just small villages dotting the shores. And underwater you can see that the coral life is pristine and abundant. Fish life is also lush, with opportunities to see big creatures like dolphins, whales, and Mola Mola.
Next along your tour you will snorkel the beautiful reefs of Wetar. The coral thrives in this area due to fresh currents that bring lots of nutrients. The area is also known for having zillions of triggerfish of every species. Huge school of fish, and beautiful soft coral formations are common here.
Next, as your liveaboard moves beyond the larger islands of the south, into open ocean, you will be stopping at different atolls and semi-dormant volcanoes in the Banda Sea. This is a highly remote area that very few snorkelers have ever seen. The fringing reefs in these areas will astound you with their health and density, as will the variety and quantity of fish and other sealife.
You never know what you might find in this rare area, from Mola Molas resting on the surface, giant mandarine fish, sea horses, vast schools of butterfly and red toothed triggerfish. It will be Blue Whale migration season, so there is a good chance you will be able to view them from the boat on the crossings between islands.
The volcanic islands will offer you the chance to snorkel over black sand bottoms, where you will be able to find many rare critters that like that habitat.
If weather and conditions permit, you will also visit one of the “Snake Islands”, which are home to a rare species of sea snake, or Sea Krait. These harmless snakes hunt in groups, and you may be snorkeling with 20 or 30. This is one of only a few places in the world where you can experience this. Large schools of jacks and other predators are also common, in crystal clear water.
Besides snorkeling in the Banda Islands, a tour will be included to explore the history of the original “Spice Islands” which stimulated the entire spice trade. Your tour of Banda Neira town will be full of cultural highlights, including fully intact colonial buildings and a fort to explore.
After enjoying the Banda Islands, there will be an overnight crossing to Ambon, where you will disembark and take a group flight back to Jakarta, where the tour ends.
What Is the Mermaid II Liveaboard Like?
The Mermaid II is a 108 foot (33 meter) long twin engine steel yacht that has been exclusively chartered for this snorkeler-only adventure. She is a very comfortable and safe ship for exploring the remote regions of Indonesia.
There will be 19 snorkelers, along with one of Ben’s snorkeling guides, as well as a full complement of crew.
We have done a trip on the Mermaid II, and it has a fantastic crew, and they were fantastic with our diet requirement.
There are eight deluxe cabins on the main deck, and two budget cabins on the lower deck. All of the deluxe cabins offer the choice of either a double bed only, or a twin bunk bed configuration, with large panoramic sea view windows, air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms.
The budget cabins have twin bunks, a vanity sink, air-conditioning, and share a bathroom with one other cabin via adjoining doors.
There is a sundeck in the front area of the upper deck, and a shaded outdoor lounge in the rear of the upper deck, as well as an air-conditioned lounge. The entire upper deck is a great place to lounge between snorkeling sessions, and to enjoy the views, sunsets and sunrises, as you travel.
There is an air-conditioned restaurant in the front of the main deck, where you will be served delicious meals featuring local species and fresh ingredients. The buffets are a mix of Asian and Western food. They can deal with many dietary requirements.
The entire rear of the main deck is where you can store your gear and also where you either enter the water directly, or where you will board one of two rigid inflatable boats that will take you to close snorkeling spots. These smaller boats have ladders to help you get back on board, with crew to assist, as well.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
This is a small group charter and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
September 20 – October 2, 2025
Deluxe Cabin: $8150 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Budget Cabin: $7350 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
The initial deposit for this trip is $800 US per person. At 12 months before departure there is a $1000 US per person interim deposit, and at six months there is another $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
- 1 night accommodation at Jakarta Airport Hotel with dinner and breakfast
- Round trip domestic flights, transfers, and connections (Jakarta-Maumere, Ambon-Jakarta) with 20kg/44lbs checked baggage
- 11 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) on the Mermaid II Liveaboard
- A guide from Ben’s team
- 3-4 guided snorkel sessions per day on most days
- International flights and visas
- Port clearance, Harbor tax, National Park Fee: 275 USD Paid on Board
- Snorkeling equipment
- Travel and health insurance
- Alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen and Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
More About Ben and Our Partnership
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
From our experience going on two of his snorkeling trips we found them very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. These are premium trips including nearly everything you will need, accommodation, meals, transportation, and more.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.