Indonesia’s myriad island chains present one of the last wild and truly untouched frontiers for cruising. Those with a taste for exploration will enjoy being the only superyacht moored in a stunning anchorage as night falls, then diving unspoiled sites at the break of day, visiting local villages, spotting unique wildlife and dining on desolate beaches. And you’ll see nary another luxury yacht – perhaps none at all – for the entire journey, making you feel as if you have truly discovered another part of the world that is all your own.
Komodo National Park, part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands, is famed for its giant Komodo dragon lizards that roam the eponymous island. While not technically man-eaters – the Komodo dragon prefers a water buffalo, given the choice – these giant lizards have, on occasion, given the undertakers some business.
TAnd while they remain the region’s main draw, they are by no means the only attraction. Indonesia is a prime spot for dive enthusiasts. You can jump in the water almost anywhere and see an abundance of marine life and brilliantly colored coral, making this route especially alluring to scuba divers, and there’s a mind-blowing variety to explore on land as well.
Meet the yacht at Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores, before setting sail for the northern side of Komodo. En route, the yacht will stop off for an easy afternoon dive or snorkel at Golden Passage, a great drift dive where you can float along with the current and see colorful soft corals and turtles aplenty. A decadent dinner is served on board, with Komodo Island’s rugged cliffs serving as a dramatic backdrop. The current here can be strong, so the yacht’s dive master will use a reef-hook to anchor you while you enjoy the parade of schooling trevally jacks, gray reef sharks and clouds of fusiliers. Stroll on the beach in the afternoon (maintaining a safe distance from the Komodo dragons!)
It’s time to try the challenging drift dives between Komodo and Flores, such as Tatawa Besar and Tatawa Kecil. These sites have walls of soft orange corals and large hard-plate corals where you can see the occasional blue ribbon eel and colorful, slug-like nudibranchs. Enjoy afternoon cocktails as the yacht sets sail for Horseshoe Bay.
Sail to Sumbawa and head into Wera village to see traditional wooden phinisi sailing boats, which are built and launched by hand by skilled local craftsmen, a trade that has been passed down through generations. Your yacht then heads north to anchor off Sangeang, a volcanic outcrop, where you can dip in hot bubbles coming off the reef – it’s like swimming in a glass of champagne. Then it’s time to sip some real champagne and nibble canapés back on the deck of the yacht while watching the sunset.
Anchor off the national park headquarters on Rinca, where guests take a guided morning trek to see the Komodo dragons. In early afternoon, the yacht sails back to Labuan Bajo, where guests can pick up some keepsakes – by bartering for pearls and wooden carvings of dragons with the locals, who come out to the yacht on anything that floats. Sip a cold Bintang beer in the Paradise Bar as the sun sets, soaking in the last evening before an early departure the next morning.
Spend the day anchored in Horseshoe Bay, playing with the yacht’s toys and relaxing – perhaps hopping on the kayaks or paddleboards for a tour around the bay.
Guests look out for passing dragons and jump into the tender to go to the beach when a good photo opportunity arrives.
An afternoon dive at Cannibal Rock means you can see the unusual sea apple, lots of tunicates and feather stars. Beware: the water is cold here!
The yacht heads to Manta Alley, on the southern side of Komodo. Depending on the manta ray activity, guests may want to spend the entire day here. Or, they can explore other dive sites, such as German Flag, before sailing to Rinca later.