BOAT International has been sent exclusive footage from Lady Christine's recent tour of southern Indonesia. The 68 metre Feadship spent two weeks cruising Nusa West Tengarra and Komodo with its owner, Lord Laidlaw.
Lady Christine's owner revealed his original plan had been to visit New Britain and New Ireland, parts of Papua New Guinea, but it proved too complicated. "The only place to enter PNG is Port Moresby, after which we would have to fly to New Britain. It isn’t safe to leave the plane in PNG, so it would then have to be flown to Australia, after which the pilots would have to return to the boat on commercial (if available). Just too hard," he said.
He chose instead to spend time exploring the southern Indonesian archipelago, where the above video was filmed. While Lady Christine had visited Bali before, and ventured further north to Raja Ampat (home to the "finest coral in the world", according to Lord Laidlaw), Nusa West Tengarra and Komodo were virgin territories.
And despite the pandemic, the region was open to yachts. "Provided that you can get Covid tests (needed to enter Indonesia), then further tests (PCR and antibody) after we arrived, and a test at the end of the cruise to enter South Africa, no problem. The testing was done on the boat by a very efficient and pleasant team. There was no testing on any of the islands."
Lord Laidlaw said Lady Christine was the only large yacht in the area, making it feel "very remote", while Covid kept them away from any population centres. However, "we did one e-bike ride which went through some small habitations, where the locals waved at us and seemed very friendly. Nearly everyone was wearing masks."
Despite the challenges, Lord Laidlaw said he would recommend yachts visit the area, especially as so many other cruising areas remain off limits. Meanwhile, what's next for Lady Christine? Lord Laidlaw told BOAT International previously that he was hoping to cruise Japan in summer 2021. "It’s a fascinating country and not many people have cruised there – but there might be a reason for this!"