Komodo National Park
APRIL - NOVEMBER
Mischief cruises throughout the Indonesian archipelago, but during the summer months her homeport is Labuan Bajo in Flores, the gateway to Komodo National Park. A seamless 10-minute transfer with our crew will take you from the airport to the harbour, where your luxury yacht Mischief awaits.
This is typically the starting point for a sailing sojourn around the UNESCO World Heritage Komodo National Park, a string of 29 largely uninhabited, savannah-cloaked isles in the Flores Sea. The three largest islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, are home to the endemic Komodo dragon: the largest living lizard on earth and a ferocious, prehistoric predator.
The Komodo Islands lie east of the Wallace line, named after British explorer Alfred Wallace, whose philosophies on evolution contributed to theorist Charles Darwin’s theories. This invisible line separates Asiatic and Australasian flora and fauna, and you’ll find a marked difference between the lush rainforested interior of Bali to the east, and the seasonal open grasslands of Flores. From spring to autumn, the isles turn from vibrant green to parched russet, contrasting at all times with the vivid aqua hues of the Flores Sea. Topography is more than a little dramatic, comprising smoking volcanoes, undulating hills and jagged grassy peaks.
In this striking environment, you’ll have a chance to learn about Indonesian culture in stilted villages where the locals live respectfully and harmoniously alongside the Komodo dragon, which they believe by century-old legend to be a descendant of a dragon princess. Aside from the dragons, these islands harbour a wealth of wildlife including monkeys, wild boar, timor deer, water buffalo and wild horses. The skies are patrolled by a plethora of birds such as yellow-crested cockatoos, frigates, sea eagles and sunbirds.
But perhaps one of Komodo’s biggest draws is life beneath the surface. This is Indonesia’s notorious underwater realm at it’s finest; plunging walls blanketed in hard and soft corals, towering pinnacles, churning currents and colourful shallow reefs that make this just as much as a haven for experienced divers as it is for beginners. Underwater aficionados will find themselves among with huge manta rays, schooling pelagics, and occasionally dolphins and whale sharks. A variety of whale species can be seen from the surface, passing Flores’s east coast during their migration period.
Flores is named after the Portuguese word for ‘flower.’ Venture east of Komodo, along the north coast of Flores and you’ll find a land strewn with pristine lakes and waterfalls, some 50 spectacular dive sites, craggy coastlines and mirror-still mangroves perfect for kayaking and enigmatic caves. Sparkling white and pink beaches, tinted by sprinklings of red coral, surround the island itself. Mount Kelimutu, near the town of Maumere, has three sacred colored lakes that mysteriously change color over time.
Flores is a paradise for trekking and hiking, ranging from low-impact walks to ambitious mountain climbing. A chain of volcanoes stretches the length of this 450 kilometers long and narrow island, creating complicated V-shaped valleys and knife-edged ridges. Trekking can be perfectly combined with cultural visits to small, charming villages and steaming hot springs.
Bespoke trips to Komodo National Park can take in the surrounding islands too, including Bali, Lombok, Moyo, Sumba and even the easterly Alor archipelago.
How to reach Labuan Bajo: Fly direct from Bali or Jakarta.
NOVEMBER - APRIL
Mischief cruises throughout the Indonesian archipelago, but during the summer months her homeport is Sorong in West Papua, the gateway to Raja Ampat. A seamless 20-minute transfer with our crew will take you from the airport to the harbour, where your luxury yacht Mischief awaits.
This is typically the starting point for a sailing sojourn around Raja Ampat, a chain of some 1,500 tiny and largely uninhabited islands centered upon the four largest isles of Misool, Waigeo, Sarawati, and Batanta. While Sorong is Papua’s second biggest city and the port is a hive of activity, a few hours of cruising will take to you some of the most remote and paradisiac islands on earth.
Raja Ampat lies east of the Wallace line, named after British explorer Alfred Wallace, whose philosophies on evolution contributed to theorist Charles Darwin’s theories. This invisible line separates Asiatic and Australasian flora and fauna, and you’ll find a marked difference between western Indonesia and the lush, tropical islands of Raja Ampat. Sheer limestone isles shaped into sculptural formations by the tropical seas make up the majority of the landscape, where dense jungle gives way to sugar soft white beaches worthy of a postcard.
It is difficult to find words that express Raja Ampat’s natural beauty. This remote region has been described as “the last wilderness on earth”, and the wealth of jewel-like green islands cast in the midst of an aquamarine sea is a sight to behold. The jungles here are inhabited by a diverse array of wildlife, coconut crabs, furry tree kangaroos, monitor lizards, paradise kingfishers and the rare red bird of paradise.
Raja Ampat’s reputation for marine life is no exaggeration. This area is recognised as the world’s most bio-diverse marine ecosystem with 1,200 species of fish, 550 species of hard and soft coral, 6 of the world’s 7 species of sea turtle and a large population of manta rays. In 2006, 50 new species were discovered on a researchers’ trip to the Bird’s Head Peninsula region, and every year fascinating and previously unrecorded creatures are discovered here.
A few days sail from Raja Ampat lies Ambon and the Banda Islands. Hundreds of years ago, European explorers would travel across the world in hopes of approaching these highly prized islets. Back in the 16th century, the Banda Islands were the only place in the world where nutmeg could be found, which resulted in their nickname: ‘the original Spice Islands”. Among these islands, you’ll find historical towns brimming with colonial houses guarded by cannons, abandoned forts, active volcanoes and ancient nutmeg plantations amid almond groves. Run island is particularly special - this tiny piece of land was the subject of a long conflict between European colonial powers, so prized that the Dutch swapped Manhattan with the English to lay claim to it. Here you’ll find forgotten ruins reclaimed by the jungle, pristine beaches and some magnificent dive sites teeming with colourful fish among hard and soft corals.
Bespoke trips to Raja Ampat can take in the surrounding islands too, including Ambon and the Banda Islands, Cenderawasih Bay and the easterly Forgotten Islands.
How to reach Sorong: Fly direct from Jakarta, or indirectly from Bali or Singapore via Manado or Makassar.