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New territory: The essential expedition charter list

New territory: The essential expedition charter list

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Borneo

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At nearly 300,000 square miles, Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world. Experience huge diversity, from jungles and towering rainforests to splendid beaches ringed by colourful reefs. Governance of the sprawling island is split between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei and each area has a unique cultural spirit. “South Borneo is the place to visit for inland tours, like jungle treks and river boat excursions,” says Punthasuree Kay Monney, charter manager and broker at Northrop & Johnson, “but the most interesting cruising grounds are at the island’s northern end, just below Sipadan, Malaysia. Here you’ll find the remote island chains of Maratua, Derawan and Kakaban, where a freshwater jelly fish lagoon lies in secret.”

Charter lowdown: Some Indonesian charter yachts will make the voyage to Borneo, though a relocation fee might apply. “It’s possible to charter in Borneo with clearance required via Malaysia,” says Gayle Patterson, Camper & Nicholsons’ senior charter marketing manager. Indonesia-based yachts are required to be Indonesian flagged, which means the majority of crew – including the captain and all deckhands – must be locals.

Choose your yacht: The 46 metre Mutiara Laut merges classic Indonesian phinisi styling with an 18th century schooner. Available from $58,750 per week, her seven cabins are spacious, with a priority placed on en suites, including the full-width VIP bathroom.

The largest traditionally built phinisi in Indonesia, Lamima, has a modern interior and is available from $126,000 per week. “Lamima is the only phinisi with 100 per cent Indonesian crew, as this is part of the travel experience, to be immersed in the friendly Indonesian culture,” says Patterson.

The 56 metre expedition yacht Salila stands out in Indonesia. Her tough exterior belies a comfortable interior featuring local artworks and historical photographs. There’s a divemaster on board and a huge watersports arsenal. Available from $89,100 per week.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Soloman Islands

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While the South Pacific is becoming increasingly popular with superyachts, there are still reaches that are barely explored. The Solomon Islands, for example, are the South Pacific’s best-kept secret – and they are only a three-hour flight from Australia. This unspoiled paradise has hundreds of uninhabited islands where you can drop anchor and make fresh footprints on a secluded beach.

Charter lowdown: A good local expert is vital as there is a traditional protocol for asking permission to visit and make landings. “It’s key to have a guide who can speak the local language – it opens up many more doors and experiences,” says Ben Lyons, of EYOS Expeditions. To charter in the region a yacht must go through a Solomons company that holds a marine charter licence. David Jamieson, of Asia Pacific Superyachts, recommends Fred Douglas with Extreme Adventures Solomon Islands. The cost is $5,000 per week and includes an experienced cruising guide.

Choose your yacht: The 58.8 metre expedition yacht Seawolf will be in the Solomon Islands this year. She has a fully outfitted RYA watersports centre, a large pool and expansive decks (from $195,000 per week).

The world’s largest sailing catamaran, Hemisphere (44.2 metres LOA with a beam of 16.6 metres), was designed to circumnavigate the globe and is available from $260,000 per week. She hosts a PADI certified dive centre with two instructors and a 16.4 metre sport fish chase boat.

The 85.9 metre sailing yacht Aquijo will be in the South Pacific for spring/summer 2018 and Fiji/South East Asia for winter 2018, and is available from €450,000 per week.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Alaska

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America’s last wild frontier, Alaska may be only 500 miles from the rest of the country but it feels a world away. This sparsely populated northern state offers more coastline than all the other US states combined. Cruise the Inside Passage to go whale watching and glacier spotting. Alternatively, venture on land for dog sledding, guided bear tours and visits to traditional local villages. Fishing enthusiasts can troll, fly- fish or set traps for Dungeness crab and spot prawns. “Guests love to have their fresh catch cooked up in any number of ways and incorporated into our chef ’s specialities,” says Captain Chris Fagan, of charter yacht Serengeti.

Charter lowdown: According to Yacht Services of Alaska: “The State of Alaska requires yachts more than 400GT to have a current Alaskan COFR and Oil Spill Response Plan in effect prior to arrival in Alaskan waters. And permits are required to enter Glacier Bay National Park, Anan Creek Bear Observatory and Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary.” Beyond this, there are various pilotage rules depending on the yacht’s length, though vessels larger than 19 metres and under 53 metres are eligible for exemptions (apply at least 30 days in advance).

Choose your yacht: The 39.6 metre Westport 130 Serengeti stands out with her enclosed, heated aft deck that lets guests enjoy the views. The yacht, available from $120,000 per week, has three trained sport fishing guides on board at all times.

The 48 metre Rebel boasts a crew who know Alaska well and she is outfitted with everything needed for outdoor adventures, from mountain bikes to sea kayaks (from $165,000 per week).

I Love This Boat will be in Alaska in summer 2019, from $150,000 per week. The 44.2 metre Christensen yacht offers a tender for fishing trips and a spa tub for relaxing after a long day of adventures.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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