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Charter Special: Exploring the Komodo region on board Mutiara Laut

Travel

Many who have chartered a superyacht will most likely agree, that jaw-dropping surroundings during a cruise are of equal importance as onboard comfort and luxury. Enjoying a magical environment while cruising on a magnificent vessel are the key ingredient for an unforgettable experience, that will leave guests perfectly relaxed and utterly satisfied. As far as magical surroundings go, few are as extensive, geographically varied, historically rich and supremely attractive as Indonesia. With an impressively large archipelago of over 17,500 islands, part of the 16th largest country in the world, boasting the second highest level of biodiversity, Indonesia is simply an obvious choice for an unforgettable experience that will simply take your breath away. With only about 6,000 islands inhabited, the country offers an incredible wealth of superyacht-friendly territories, framed by a rich cultural and historical diversity that is simply the perfect setting for endless charters. How to better discover this gem, that has, to date, been relatively underexposed and unexplored by the superyacht industry, than with a luxurious sailing yacht? This is exactly what we did, when SuperYachtTimes were invited on a lush 4 day charter to sample a sumptuous portion of all those remarkable things Indonesia, which adequately upholds a motto that translates to “Unity in Diversity”, has to offer.

Grasping this remarkable country, from history and culture to geography and environment, in one article is like reaching for the moon. It's story tells the tales of many periods of cultural and economic flourishing as well as various chapters of turmoil and despair, not the least of which are the colonial period of Dutch domination and the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Today, Indonesia is an up-and-coming economic force and a pearl waiting to be discovered by the superyacht industry. And with the extensive Indonesian territories bordering to Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, the Philippines and Australia, it's quite easy to imagine the country's potential not only as a force majeur in yachting, but it's position as a central economic and cultural hub within the greater Southeastern Asia regions.

Our magical journey begins on the island of Bali, the main island of the Bali province which is located between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. This enchanting island, measuring about 153 km east to west by 112 km north to south, is situated 8 degrees under the equator. It's 4.2 million population contains the majority of Indonesia's Hindu community. The island is particularly fertile, due to it's volcanic soils and high rainfall, which is obviously reflected in the rich local flora and fauna. With the highly diverse geography and and particularly sophisticated art forms which, among others, embodies woodcarving, performing arts, painting and sculpture, turns Bali into an exquisite must-see destination.

Upon arriving on Bali, a private car with personal driver allows us to take an extensive tour around the island. With so many sights to be seen, ranging from rice fields and many local markets to an astonishing array of temples, one day of sightseeing is the absolute minimum. It's easy to imagine spending weeks taking in all the good things the island has to offer. Obviously, Bali is known as “the island of a thousand temples” for a good reason. Viewing them all is nearly impossible, especially in one day, however a visit simply isn't complete without some viewing at least some of the grand sanctuaries built throughout the island. For instance, located on the side of Mount Agung, which is called the “Mother Mountain”, there's the Besakih Temple, one of the most important temple complexes and over a 1,000 years old, or Tanah Lot's spectacular location, built just off the coast on a rock. Pura Tirta Empul is famous for it's sacred water spring, and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, on the shores of Lake Bratan, is dedicated to the goddess of lakes and rivers. We opted for a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, located in the Balinese jungle. Here a large troop of cheeky macaques is ready to welcome tourists and show them their playful, frolicsome nature. These monkeys are believed capable of guarding the temples and protecting them from evil spirits, therefore being revered and protected by the locals population as sacred animals. However, in Balinese Hinduism, monkeys can embody both positive and negative forces, which any visitor will undoubtedly experience first hand, when they show their funny and sweet yet often cheeky and mischievous nature.

After an first impressive day of exploring Bali, with its beautiful scenery, rich cultural diversity and super friendly, amicable locals, we are invited to board our home for the week: a beautiful and unique 45 metre sailing yacht Mutiara Laut. Being slightly different, she surely attracts attention in the positive sense, as her design is based on the shapes of a North Atlantic schooner combined with local Indonesian influences, taken from the traditional Phinisi-boat. The result is a wonderful vessel offering warm, classic style, great luxury and an attractive ambiance. In short, the perfect accommodation for a few days of discovering what Indonesian hospitality and culture is all about. The superyacht is a true example of design fusion, and with her name translating to “Pearl of the Sea”, the next few days are promising to be luxurious, magical and very exciting.

Mutiara Laut's interiors, like her exterior features, are a perfectly blended cocktail of eclectic Asian influences and classic European craftsmanship, forming an ambiance of a floating luxury hotel. With a streamlined hull and huge sails, she is able to comfortably take her guests on a journey into the farthest corners of the Asian seas.

She boasts an impressive, open 60 square metres deck space which is a perfect setting for any type of lounging, relaxing and social occasions. Extra large day beds and several lounging and al fresco dining areas are placed all over the wonderfully spacious deck, framed with magnificent views.

Despite most time onboard will be spent outside, Mutiara Laut's interiors are nonetheless perfectly stylish and luxurious, with a classic oriental style and luxury amenities offering a warm, welcoming and perfectly comfortable ambiance, offering lush accommodation for a company of up to 18 guests.

After we are welcomed aboard by Mutiara Laut's friendly and professional crew, we take some time to refresh and settle in, before commencing on our journey. On the first day, we set sail to the Gili Islands, about 35 kilometres from Bali. Just off the north-western coast of nearby Lombok, this small archipelago of three islands is famed for the authentic “secluded island” experience, partly due to the prohibition of any motorised traffic, offering amazing environments and facilities for diving. Ample coral formations and abundant marine life is to be discovered around these three small islands, so one of first activities we take on during our stay onboard Mutiara Laut is to do just that: go snorkelling.

Around Gili Trawangan, the westernmost island of the archipelago, snorkelling is simply an amazing experience. With crystal clear waters, colourful flora and fauna, and a temperature of around 30°C, the guests explored some of the underwater wildlife for several delightful hours. After that, a bike around Gili Trawangan showed us how relaxed and easygoing the ambiance on the island truly is. Due to the absence of motorised traffic, there is a soothing sense of calm that is simply delightful. The Gili Islands measure around 15 km2 and have an estimated population of around 3500, making the area pleasant setting for some quiet lingering about. Around the island, there are a few charming boutique hotels to be found, perfect for anyone wanting to stay on the island for a while and enjoy the soothing atmosphere.

Later in the day, we returned to Mutiara Laut and made the small crossing to Lombok, where a visit to a pearl farm was next on the programme. That evening, our crew tendered us to a beach on the island of Gili Air, where we dined on fresh fish under the stars, a great way to end the first day of our amazing journey.

After a good night's sleep, the tender took guests back to Gili Air for some scuba diving. Along with a few fellow guests, we are introduced to a gorgeous coral reef where we spend several hours enjoying the gorgeous underwater scenery at the easternmost side of the small island. Those guests who were new to diving, got an introductory course and were accompanied by a certified instructor, while the other, more experienced, guests looked around the magnificent coral reef on their own. In the afternoon, we returned to Mutiara Laut and set sail for our next destination. We were treated to a late lunch underway, which was consumed comfortably, despite the relatively rough seas. Thanks to her deep draft, sailing remains a stable and comfortable experience for everyone, even if the seas might get a little rough. Firmly on course for our next destination, we kept sailing until the next morning.

On day three, we awake at anchor just off the coast of Satonde Island. After a lovely breakfast, guest were tendered ashore, to a small, uninhabited volcanic island with a salt lake, reaching depths of up to 70 metres, at it's heart. Around the lake, locals have hung rocks and pieces of corals from the trees, a traditional custom to request the gods for good luck. The volcanic lake offers great a setting for paddle boarding, which we thankfully tok on while a few other guests opted to go snorkelling, to experience the exceptionally rich marine life once again. Paddle boarding around the lake is truly a wonderful way to experience this island's beautiful surroundings and check out the wildlife, such as some curious monkeys.

After a lush lunch, some guests returned for more snorkelling while others lounge about onboard, reading a book or soaking up some sun, before setting sail to our final destination: the Komodo Islands. The late afternoon, whilst underway, was spend sipping cocktails, and deep sea fishing from the aft deck.

After a night of sailing, we arrived at our destination, Komodo National Park. Our captain opted not to go to the main island of Komodo, but instead bring us to the adjacent Rinca Island, which is less crowded and offers a more beautiful natural environment. These islands, obviously famous for being the only habitat of Komodo dragons in the world, require a quick safety briefing as the infamous dragons can be be rather dangerous. Surprisingly fast, they easily outrun a human. Weighing in at 300 pounds, komodo dragons can grow up to 10 feet long, and their bite is often lethal. Settling into our anchorage for the day, the captain explained about the islands infamous currents, which can at over six knots. It's thanks to these strong currents, that Komodo is home to some 1000 species of fish and 200 species of coral. Komodo became a National Park in 1980. In 1991, it was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in order to help further protect its unique population of flora and fauna.

Directly upon going ashore, we stumbled upon our first Komodo dragons, right there in the shrubbery. Starting at the island's visitor centre, a beautiful 2 hour walk across the island provided a magnificent and varied scenery, ranging from dense forests to open fields. With two guides for protection, lot's of buffalo's and the occasional dragon were spotted in the landsscape that reminded all of the film set of Jurrasic Park. Visiting Komodo National Park was undoubtable the highlight of our wonderful journey.

Later that day, whilst enjoying lunch, a few local pearl merchants strike gold when they come to offer their wares for sale, as all guests spend their money generously. After lunch, the sails were raised for a relaxed afternoon sail along a beautiful route of many of the uninhabited islands in the Komodo National Park.

Anchored at a gorgeous reef, we spend the afternoon snorkelling. At night, to celebrate the last night of our journey, the crew prepared an amazing beachside barbecue, accompanied by a great selection of local song and dance.

The next day, we sail to Badjo, home to the nearest airfield to Komodo National Park. Tendered to shore, three luxurious cars are ready to take us to the tiny airport. From there, it's a 90 minute flight back to Bali. Upon returning home, we find ourselves filled with ample wonderful experiences and a great sense of satisfaction. During the four days onboard Mutiara Laut, we have experienced a full week's worth of activities, with ample sightseeing along the way.

Mutiara Laut is a incredible superyacht for experiencing the exceptional wealth in culture, geography and activities that Indonesia has to offer. The wonderful crew offer guests the chance to go wherever they want to go, with a rough outline of advisory programmes depending on the season. From March to September, a tour from Bali to Komodo is a perfect choice, with lots of island offering their own specialties. Alor offers world class diving, Rote a perfect setting for surfing and Sumba has ample opportunities for amazing cultural explorations. Going westwards, a cruise to Singapore is also within the scope of possibilities. From September to December, Ambon is great for diving, and the Maluku and Banda islands offer an amazing wealth in East India Company history and fortresses. From December to March, Irian Jaya and Raja Ampat are perfect choices, the latter boasting a top 3 diving destination worldwide.

Indonesia obviously offers an incredible richness to be discovered, the perfect setting for a superyacht cruise of any length. With thousands of islands offering an amazing cultural and geographical diversity, this is a destination that is simply worth to be discovered. And with Mutiara Laut being a perfect home, with an ambiance blending classic and exotic styles, a cruise supplied with wonderful luxury and a capable, professional and friendly crew is at your disposal.

Our experience was truly unforgettable, with Indonesia offering a magical setting, and Mutiara Laut the perfect accommodation to discover a world of wonder.

Mutiara Laut charters through Exotic Yacht Charter Bali.

Exotic Yacht Charter Bali
+62361 919 77 97
[email protected]
www.mutiaralaut.com

Photos by Maarten Janssen

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