In 1976, I travelled through Indonesian waters for the first time. I was working for an oil service company and offshore oil exploration had just started; we were travelling to remote areas that had been left alone for centuries, and would have remained so if not for the thirst for oil.
Outside Java, many parts of Indonesia remained basically untouched. I remember vividly the tiger that attacked an engineer carrying out a survey in Kalimantan, and my encounter with Anatole, the python that lived in the bachelor house where I stayed on a field trip. But, having sailed from an early age, what impressed me most was the sight of pinisi fleets, large trading schooners powered by wind alone, coming into Balikpapan.
It felt unreal, like another world or another era. It was then, in the back of my mind, I decided I would have to return. For the last 20 years, I have spent most of my spare time cruising tens of thousands of miles across Indonesia, from Singapore to Papua, on my own boats.
However many voyages I make, I cannot pretend to know Indonesia. It is a far too complex country for this to be possible; uniquely diverse in its geography, its flora and fauna, its people, their culture, religions, beliefs.
Today Indonesia is changing rapidly, yet still, beneath the surface, people are holding on to their ancestral beliefs, cultures and traditions, despite the encroaching pressure from the outside world.
So, when the opportunity arose to convert one of our heavy duty ocean-going vessels into a luxury expedition yacht, I knew it could offer the perfect base from which to explore and discover the most remote areas of this fascinating country, combining the luxury of an expedition yacht coupled with the built-in safety of a true offshore vessel.
Welcome on board, and bon voyage!