Explore the hidden treasures of Indonesia’s archipelago on the Sequoia yacht, a classic wooden boat with five-star luxuries
Spanning more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is probably the world’s largest archipelago. Filled with rich natural reefs, the Coral Triangle in Indonesia is home to 533 coral species and more than 3,000 fish species, boasting the most biodiverse marine habitat in the world and making it a true paradise for divers and snorkelers.
Of course I am thrilled when the unique opportunity arises to take a trip of a lifetime and to explore this untouched part of the world on the luxurious Sequoia yacht.
As part of Coral Triangle Safaris, the Sequoia yacht allows you to travel in style, offering a range of tours complete with activities to explore some of these hidden treasures. Think Robinson Crusoe-style deserted islands, candle-lit beach dinners, diving and snorkeling with rare marine species, all-day spa treatments and much more. Jumping aboard the Sequoia yacht and island hopping your way through Indonesia is without a doubt one of the most amazing trips you will ever undertake.
Designed as a floating villa, Sequoia was completed in 2017 and named after the giant Sequoia tree, which represents one of the oldest trees on this planet. The 26 by 6.5-meter handcrafted luxury yacht is designed for generations of families to come. It features three deluxe rooms with ensuite bathrooms, a big sky deck, a dining area, and a kitchen, making it the perfect boat for honeymooners, a group of friends or families.
My trip takes us from the port of Sorong to Raja Ampat, a favorite destination for many dive enthusiasts, as most of it is a protected area where fishing isn’t allowed. The region is so remote, there’s hardly any Wi-Fi there. After two flights from Hong Kong via Jakarta, I arrive early afternoon, and we set sail to reach Raja Ampat by midnight.
I’m immediately treated to a delectable lunch, which has been freshly prepared. The two chefs serve up a range of South East Asian dishes, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The meal is then followed by a quick tour of the Sequoia yacht, and I can’t help but think how luxurious the boat is. Having experienced a few liveaboards before, I’m blown away by the size of the yacht, my bedroom (which could compete with any hotel room), the kitchen, the beautiful sky deck, which screams late night conversations under the stars, as well as the number of staff to ensure a smooth-sailing voyage. There are at least 10 crew members, including chefs, PADI-certified dive masters, and a massage therapist to wait on you hand and foot.
I rise early to admire the sunrise from the top deck. Being an urban city dweller, the 360-degree view is overly liberating and offers a kind of expansiveness that allows you to simply bask in the great outdoors.
Given the beautiful morning, we decide to have breakfast on the sky deck. Although the waters were quite choppy the night before (which didn’t allow us to make our way up to Wayag, a very famous spot that’s popular for its atolls and marine life) we take the speedboat to explore Pianemo.
Most people will head to Pianemo’s famous lookout, which attracts a number of tourists all year round. This means queuing for photo opportunities and sharing the space with other travelers. But what most people don’t know about is the secret lookout nearby that only Sequoia and insiders seems to be able to find.
A natural hidden turquoise lagoon (a color I’ve never seen before in nature) opens up to us as we steer our small boat into what seems a denser area. Not only do we have the entire lagoon to ourselves, but we climb up to the very top of the cliff to find that we’re alone again. It’s the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The 360-degree vistas encompass multiple karst islands, two lagoons (one that sports the shape of a manta ray), as well as an untouched beach in the far distance.
To top it off, in true Sequoia fashion, I also get to have a massage up on the lookout, as the team knows no limit in providing luxury comfort and top-notch service.
The next day we’re off to find Hidden Bay. And as the name already indicates, it’s completely hidden in a labyrinth of islands, and only very few people know of it, let alone how to get there. I try my hand at Standup Paddleboarding for the very first time. It’s the perfect spot to learn, as the waters are extremely calm, and the surroundings ooze an other-worldly natural beauty. Completely entranced I make my way through this tropical maze.
Dinner tonight is served on a deserted beach. Romantic candles and lanterns make for the perfect setting, while we feast on fresh lobster and the catch of the day.
You wouldn’t want to come all the way to Raja Ampat without actually seeing the rich underwater world, so, today, we’re off diving, or snorkeling in my case. We dance with blacktip reef sharks, turtles, crocodile fish, and nudibranches.
The beauty of exploring Indonesia on a boat is that it comes with immense freedom, giving you the unique ability to decide yourself on your next adventure. It’s entirely up to you which island, lagoon or reef you want to visit next.
And because of this privilege, we often find ourselves to be the only ones in a particular spot, having the dive site entirely to ourselves. Long gone are the frustrations of seeing other tourists mistreating local wildlife or standing on reefs and destroying the coral. Here, you’re simply one with nature, continuously exploring earth’s hidden treasures day after day.
This evening we are spoiled with dinner on the top deck, followed by an outdoor movie session and sleeping under the stars. It’s a beautiful clear night to gaze at the sky, and the perfect opportunity for a romantic encounter with Mother Nature and for us to fall asleep completely enveloped and cradled in her arms.
Woken by bird song from the mangroves nearby, I am pleased to find myself on the top deck surrounded by lush greenery. When we came upstairs the night before, it was already pitch-black, so it’s even more thrilling to see what daylight reveals the next morning.
Our trip is already coming to an end and we’re heading back to Sorong with a few island stops at homestays along the way. Making the most of my daily massages, I get pampered one last time on the open deck where you can also sunbathe and enjoy some al fresco reading time.
If sunbathing and underwater sports aren’t your thing, rest assured that a trip with Sequoia has plenty to offer, from island excursions (think treks up a volcano), kayaking, to exploring local tribes and markets. Coral Triangle Safaris crafts specific “sea safaris” and tailors your trip to meet your family’s needs.
Spanning 6 million square meters and six countries (from the Philippines to Timor-Leste), the Coral Triangle is home to a thriving marine world. With the aim to showcase these natural wonders to a broader audience, Sequoia’s owners, Yessi Maya Sari and Kevin Corcoran, have always had the goal to offer itineraries in Indonesia where one can witness these natural treasures.
The Sequoia yacht features 3 suites and sails around Eastern Indonesia, including West Papua (home to Raja Ampat), the Spice Islands (located at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans where barracudas and hammerhead sharks reside) and the Lesser Sunda Islands (home to Komodo and the Komodo dragons).