From now through mid-September, the nearly weekly departures of this seven-day cruise alternate between Katharina, a 14-guest, traditional Indonesian “Phinisi”, an elegant and speedy yacht built in 1995 of iron wood, and the 28-guest Ombak Putih, a traditional Indonesian schooner custom built from Iron wood by Buginese ship builders . Her keel was laid in Batulicin Kalimantan in 1995, and she became operational in 1997.
Katharina’s overall length is 40 meters. All cabins offer necessary amenities including private bathrooms, individually controlled AC and storage space including a safe. This vessel is manned by an all-Indonesian crew of 12 and a captain.
The Ombak Putih at 42 meters long offers 12 comfortable cabins. With approximately 400 square meters of public space divided over two main decks, the Ombak Putih offers both open and covered space in abundance, allowing for privacy and serene relaxing. The cabins offer private bathroom, portholes, individually controlled air conditioning and ample storage space including safety deposit box. Fourteen dedicated crew members coming from all regions of the archipelago assist the captain.
Included in the per person (double occupancy) seven day rate from $2,380 are accommodations, all meals aboard the ship, transfers in Flores, non-alcoholic beverages, limited laundry service, guided shore excursions, and use of snorkeling gear and sea kayaks/canoes.
Although cruises aboard these vessels aren’t recommended for under age four, the ships are child friendly. The side railings are adjusted to a higher level than normal for traditional Buginese schooners. Children under 12 years are charged just 25 percent of the cruise fare if they share a triple cabin with their parents. Children above 12 will be charged 50 percent of the cruise fare if they share a triple cabin.
Optional but always-inclusive activities include trekking, cultural tours, snorkeling, swimming and nature exploration. Other activities may include beach volleyball with the crew and fishing (a simple spool of fishing line and hooks are available on board). Although scuba diving is not offered on board, with advance notice arrangement can be made through local dive shops.
Few areas in Asia can match the cultural and natural diversity found in the Lesser Sunda Islands: towering active volcanoes, jungle-clad mountain ranges and dry savannah lowlands, all teeming with wildlife. The itinerary visits quiet coastal villages, megalithic cultures, colorful markets and a world of kaleidoscopic beauty underwater. Guests over seven days will possibly spot the famous Komodo dragon, snorkel in a pristine coral reef, make a wish at the stunning salt-water lake in Satonda and explore some of Indonesia’s most beautiful deserted beaches.
Indonesia’s Eastern islands are a tourism frontier with over 17,000 islands in the middle of the coral triangle where 70 percent of all marine species in the world are inhabitants.
AdventureSmith Explorations, www.adventuresmithexplorations.com