Jimmy Blee spent the last 18 years as a renowned boat builder, vessels operations manager and is a legendary Superyacht Guide in Indonesia. Jimmy originally came from Australia on Queensland's east coast where he ran charter boats out of the famed Whitsunday Islands. The then Captain Jimmy left in 1989 to travel to Thailand with the aim of helping his long time friend, Bill O'Leary, set up Amancruises at the luxury resort of Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand.
This was the start of a path of rich maritime exploration, covering over 30,000 nautical miles, piloting boats through Asian waters. Later, after spending 1200 days of private chartering for the world's "rich and famous", he moved to Indonesian waters to assist in establishing a marine operations base on a remote island near Sumbawa in 1994 and oversee Amanresorts marine operations in Indonesia.
A wealth of experience and amazing voyages grew from his adventures. Captain Jimmy started his own marine logistics company in 1999, building and then running his luxury traditional wooden charter, "Ikan Gurami", he operated expedition-style cruises and other long-range charter adventure trips. The many years spent on these trips took Jimmy to the special locations he now shares with others.
His valuable maritime diversity has awarded him the skills and knowledge needed to run the Superyacht management agency with Richard Lofthouse, Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia. Richard started off in Event and Project Management. He soon found out that both areas had given him many of the skills to be a good agent: organizational skills, ability to think under pressure and a service mind being chief among them.
As a successful competitive rower, swimmer and surfer, the ocean and boats became his chosen environment where he was most happy and comfortable.
Bali was chosen as the best hub for Asia Pacific Superyachts as a management company to base and so both Jimmy and Richard got to live their dream job in their dream location, covering 15,000 islands. Richard reports, “Many of our yachting owners and guests enjoy a few days in Bali off the boat, visiting the famous beaches, temples and villages of this amazing island.
Outside of Bali, there are 665 airports in Indonesia! It seems a lot but when you factor in the 15,000 islands, you can see that so much of Indonesia is untouched and, for many of our clients, she is the final frontier.”
Captain Jimmy and Richard report of the most popular routes, which include:
Bali to Komodo: Best between April and October, this run along the 8th parallel is our most popular route. Taking in Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores, it offers it all from deserted beaches to volcanoes, remote coral reefs and sea life to jungles and the famous dragons.
Manado (N Sulawesi) to Halmahera: March to October is good for this trip. Stunning seascapes and beautiful deserted islands are the “go to” here. This route is easily accessed by clients coming from either Pulau to the NE or from Borneo to the SW. A fantastic trip with lots to do and certainly for the more adventurous.
Raja Ampat and Banda: December to February (although Raja Ampat possible throughout the year). Currently regarded as the Mecca for divers, Raja Ampat hosts a myriad of marine environments that will blow the mind of even the most experienced divers. Head south to the historical Spice Islands where the magic (and tyranny) of the bygone era lives on. This is a truly magical place and an amazing trip.
“We work alongside Geoff Majer and Carrie Carter who handle our Northbound clients to us from Australia and with Scott Walker, Nick Coombes, Alvin Teh and Gordon Fernandes with our Southbound clients from Singapore, Phuket, Borneo and Langkawi respectively,” notes Richard.
APSY specializes in the complex logistics that need to be handled in order to make these remote destinations accessible and these experienced yachting specialists are proud to have overseen some spectacular trips with many boats in Indonesia – some being the first to visit certain destinations.
Richard comments, “In Bali, Benoa Harbour is the only show in town for alongside berths. We can arrange berths either at the Marina for our smaller clients (<30m) or on the commercial dock for bigger boats. The Marina offers basic facilities but shore power is not great. Water is passable. Fuel is ordered and delivered alongside with the APSY Barge. On the commercial dock, we can arrange our own water tanks, 24hr security and transport services, which in many ways make this more convenient than the marina for our clients.”
APS has overseen slips in Surabaya and also have had clients in Batam. They can survey and provide best options should our clients wish to explore slipping in Indonesia.
Visits can be arranged to the many extraordinary features of Indonesia, including Borobudor in Central Java which is a world heritage site and a phenomenal guest experience, along with the cultural experience of meeting tribes in Indonesian Papua.
For the best times to visit each cruising zone in Indonesia contact their office as the country is spread both sides of the equator, so has year round cruising. When it is the rainy season in Bali, it is the dry season further north.
Richard and Jimmy state, “Indonesia is perhaps one of the most unique and diverse cultures on the planet. So much history endows the land and the people with a richness few can rival. Traders from all corners have moved through to Indonesia for centuries, adding (and sometimes taking away) much to the heritage of the land.” A fascinating destination and some amazing places, Richard continued, “APSY specializes in getting supplies to our clients in the most off beat places. We have pulled off some pretty remarkable deliveries in the past and never say no to the challenge! Top quality provisions come from Bali and can be air freighted around. Basics can be found in the villages which can be a fun day out.”
APSY handles all of these issues and supplies welcome kits which lay many of these issues out for their Captains. Skippers are urged to contact the office early in their planning as they’re always happy to supply information and get the wheels in motion.
Asia Pacific Superyachts