“You won’t want to miss this, guys—it’s your welcome to the ‘Island of the Gods.’”
That’s what Capt. Charles Dwyer called out to his crew on watch aboard Yanneke Too recently when the yacht rounded the northeastern tip of Bali at dawn and Mt. Agung came into view. Presently on a world cruise, the 36-meter (116-foot) Yanneke Too, her owner, and her crew have enjoyed amazing adventures together. Dwyer certainly deserves credit; he knows every inch of Yanneke Too, having overseen the megayacht's build in the mid-1990s at Camper & Nicholsons and serving as her captain for the past decade. He’s also no stranger to cruising. He has more than 200,000 miles under his feet, in addition to many hours aboard America’s Cup and Admiral’s Cup racers in prior years.
Here are excerpts from a story Dwyer—a.k.a. Cap’n Charlie—penned about exploring Indonesian waters, a region still relatively unknown to the superyacht set, with the help of Asia Pacific Superyachts:
"Following an exhilarating beam reach down the east coast of Bali a few hours later, our beautiful yacht was tied up at the limited (and only) superyacht mooring facility in Benoa Harbor, Bali, the first of our planned Indonesian explorations. Awaiting us at the dock to take the lines and greet us with a ‘welcome package’ was Asia Pacific Superyachts Bali GM, Richard Lofthouse. This was to be the start of a two month close-knit relationship as Yanneke Too traversed the complexities of staying and cruising in Indonesian waters. ...
"We met with Jimmy Blee, director of Asia Pacific Superyacht Indonesia, and a seasoned sailor of the Indonesian archipelago. Jimmy has been cruising the waters for over 15 years and knows everyone… and every nook and cranny the yacht might get into. My instructions were simple. 'I want every detail of our program clearly mapped out and prepared to the minutest detail.' This is a challenge in most countries, and Indonesia is even more difficult, given the very laid-back way of life. After a few hours of kicking around a few different programs, we selected what I thought would be the best program for the time and the preferences of our owner and guests.
"Indonesia is challenging, as it is an island nation of 17,000 islands, approximately 360 differing ethnic groups with more than 500 individual languages, and a checkered history of occupations and political events. To cruise the country properly would take more than three years of continual sailing. Most boats coming to Indonesia try to compress their visit into a couple of weeks; thus only covering a small percent of what the country has to offer.
"Yanneke Too was a hive of activity and work as the countdown was on for the owner’s arrival. As provisions were ordered, I was surprised to find just about every food and/or exotic culinary need one could possibly imagine can be procured in Bali. The most important aspect was to ensure all of the vessel’s harbor clearances, tiresome customs negotiations and other necessary cruising paper work were completed by Richard, without any hiccups.
"The day dawned of the owner’s arrival, and the VIP airport immigration and arrival clearance worked to perfection! The owner was soon onboard, and the true meaning of the ship’s existence was in action. Yanneke Too gracefully slipped out of the harbor and sailed to Nusa Lembongan, the closest island destination to Bali and a regular day-trip destination. We arrived late afternoon after a beautiful sail across. All the day visitors had departed and the little anchorage bay was deserted. Chef Sally prepared a fabulous welcome-onboard dinner for the owner and guests--with all subsequent meals happily meeting this high standard.
"There was a lively downwind sail in 20 knots of breeze the next day from Lembongan to a northern bay on Lombok Island. In an idyllic anchorage, the attentions of the chef and crew ensured another beautiful meal served in the spacious and charming outdoor dining area.
"The new day heralded the first of the land excursions as the owner and guests enjoyed a half-day tour. Lombok Island, a scenic tropical island adorned with coconut trees, is well known for pottery, ikats and general art & crafts. As we departed in the morning on our 100 NM cruise to the Island of Moyo, home of the famous Amanwana Resort, we caught the time right and before long were motoring along at 12 knots. By late morning the wind picked up and we set sails at a comfortable 15-18 knots, arriving late afternoon to drop anchor at the resort a mere 60 meters from the shore in 32 meters of water.
"After touring the local village, bearing books and goodies for the local school, the owner and guests spent the afternoon at the spa and snorkeling on the beautiful house reef, then dining ashore at the resort.
"It was on to the small island of Satonda, just 23 miles north of Moyo with a great anchorage and a saltwater lake formed by the collapse of a volcano, just a short walk from the anchorage. Soon it was time to start our journey back in the direction of Lombok, sailing 40 miles to the islands of Panjang.
"We were delighted to find a large, deserted white-sand beach with clear blue water and a well-protected anchorage near to the shore. Pretty as a postcard, at dusk thousands of large fruit bats (flying foxes) arrived in search of fresh fruits in the mountains, which was our backdrop. It was a surreal sight, with the sun going down and bats flying through the rigging in a secluded bay, without another boat in sight. It was like taking a step back in time.
"Panjang to Lombok was a pleasant 40-mile downwind sail along the northern coast of Lombok. We dropped anchor in the bay just outside the Oberoi resort. The views at anchor are dramatic, as the volcanoes of both Bali and Lombok can be seen here. The owner took us all ashore for a gourmet delight and some pleasant conversation. With the help of Asia Pacific Superyachts, arrangements were made for a helicopter to collect the owner and guests at the helipad behind the Oberoi and transport them on a 3.5-hour tour of Bali. They enjoyed viewing the volcano, rice terraces and coffee plantations before landing at the Armandari Hotel in Ubud. The following day was spent sightseeing while the crew and I took Yanneke Too back to Benoa Harbor for a few days rest before our departure to Australia.
"Richard and the crew of Asia Pacific Superyachts were given special thanks for all their help and for generously sharing their knowledge of the region. A highly enjoyable and unforgettable sea journey!"