A Beginner’s Guide To Yacht Exploration

by Rebecca Taylor – re-published with the kind permission of www.billionaire.com

Look back in time and there is no shortage of adventurous sailors looking to push the boundaries of ocean travel. From James Cook and Roald Amundsen, and modern-day explorers such as Sylvia Earle and the Cousteau family, far-flung odysseys are as old as the sea itself.

Now is a time when owners not only have access to the most hidden corners of the globe, but the appropriate equipment, funds and a capable yacht to secure such a journey.

“The experience on board has always been about understanding the presence of Southeast Asia,” says Georges Carraz, owner of the 31m gaff rigged wooden schooner Raja Laut. He has based himself in Indonesia to explore the archipelago by sea. “The spice trade, literature by authors such as Joseph Conrad, and the rich and varied cultures — it brings it into the present,” he says.

Eddie Widnall, owner of Ultimate Indonesian Yachts, has spent a decade working as a yacht manager in the Indonesian region. He has a passion for getting off the beaten path and creating adventures. “Over the last five years, the quality of yachts available here and the service they offer has vastly improved,” he explains from a diving charter in Raja Ampat. “Some of my favourite memories stem from a trip to the remote archipelago of Alor, east of Flores.”

Widnall adds: “The locals there are very welcoming and just as curious of our culture as we are of theirs. A dive in the morning to the sound of whale song, a walk along the beach with a football that turned into a fully fledged football match with 30 local kids, enjoying the company of the village elders — despite neither of us speaking a word of the others language. Being somewhere like that reminds you of the excess of the West and brings back the simple connections that are truly important.”

For charterers, Southeast Asia represents an unopened treasure chest. Take, for example, a few days sailing around Komodo National Park, located within the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia, and you are unlikely to see another soul. “We pitched up on a deserted beach for a barbecue, swam with manta rays and spotted Komodo dragons for the first time in a landscape straight out of Jurassic Park with no one else around,” says Mr Anderson, a charter guest on board 31m sailing yacht Alexa.

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