5 Reasons to Sail Around IndonesiaPosted By : admin | July 20, 2014 | 2 comment(s)
Indonesia is one of the most fascinating and visually impressive island nations in the world. Sailing is the perfect way to explore this fascinating nation whether on a private boat or one of the many charters that operate in this beautiful and vast country.
1. The World’s Largest Archipelago
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago and covers a fifth of the world’s circumference. There are an estimated 17,000 islands with 3000 inhabited. Meaning if you wanted to spend every day on one island in Indonesia, it would take you around 46 ½ years.
This means is covers a huge amount of not only ocean and islands, but also ecosystems, indigenous, cultural, religious and linguistic groups.
It is home to unique and rare species, such as the Sumatran Tiger, Komodo Dragon and West Papua’s Birds of Paradise to the vast underwater world that is the most species rich in the world.
Crossing the Wallace Line you will move from the more Asiatic tropical rainforest biomes to the Wallacea environments that lie to the east and have many species similar or the same to Australia.
The Line of Wallacea is an imaginary boundary between Bali and Lombok that was discovered by Sir Alfred Russell Wallace, who studied and published his findings at the same time as Darwin. He discovered two completely different evolutionary patterns developed on either side of this line, meaning that Indonesia was made up of two completely different ecozones.
There are also thousands of fascinating cultures to discover from the tribes of Papua, to the Sea Gypsies of Sulawesi and head
Hunters of Kalimantan, Borneo. No matter where you explore in Indonesia, the sheer variety of this nation is phenomenal.
2. Explore Hidden Beaches
With so many islands and very little overland infrastructure there are literally tens of thousands of undiscovered beaches and inlets with nobody else exploring the crystal clear waters or riding the perfect breaks or the underwater miracles in the myriad of fishes and corals.
Many areas of Indonesia are Marine Reserves both on a national level and established by some of our properties and other private entities around the world. Also many of the beaches are sanctuaries for marine animals that have been forced out of more touristy areas so be aware of turtle nesting beaches and be careful of disturbing them or birthing bays for sharks.
Even in the largest National Parks, such as Komodo National Park, there are plenty of empty beaches for picnics, swims and exploration. Always remember to get safety information about currents and tides.
3. Coral Triangle
The Coral Triangle is the most species rich sub aqua area in the world and half of Indonesia lies in the middle of this area spanning 5.7 million square kilometres. In an area equal to two football fields in this area, there are more species than in the entire Caribbean Sea. There are over 1400 species of fish, a plethora of soft and hard corals, around 600 species, and new species being discovered all the time.
The marine biodiversity of the underwater world here is unsurpassed anywhere in the world. This rich marine life also sustains the lives of 120 million people meaning that its preservation is essential for the future of generations living within this incredible ecosystem.
Conservation efforts includes discouraging dynamite and mercury fishing, as well as patrolling for illegal drag net fishing. Overfishing of this area could not only lead to the loss of endangered species but also a break down in the biodiversity leading to a detrimental situation for many millions of people.
4. Slow & Sustainable
Sailing is an extremely sustainable and slow way to spend a holiday or extended trip. Most boats do have motors on-board now but utilize the power of the wind to tour this beautiful region, only reverting to motors to make up time.
One of the most popular styles of boats in Indonesia is the Phinisi that was a traditional merchant vessel originating in Sulawesi. Many of these have now been converted to commercial vessels for touring the islands. Perfectly adapted to the environment they are handmade from wood and glide elegantly and silently on the water.
This is definitely one of the most relaxing modes of travel with the soundless atmosphere without machinery, minimum lights to stare at the stars and literally floating into the horizon. Sailing is the ultimate retreat from the stress and sounds of everyday life.
5. A Cultural Journey
As well as experiencing some of the most stunning scenery both above and below the surface you will also come across the fascinating culture of Indonesia. Predominantly Islamic in the west of the country, it crosses Hindu Bali, the Christian east and to the animistic religions of remoter regions in many islands.
As well as religious differences there are more regional languages and dialects spoken in Indonesia than any other country in the world, including India. Shaped by centuries of trade with China, India, Polynesia and the Middle East followed by Dutch colonisation and trade with the UK and Europe, the landscape has been shaped by many cultures throughout the centuries. This is not only evident through the faces and traditions of the people, but of myths of one of the lost tribes of Abraham in Papua and descendants of Vikings living in unmapped forest areas.
Architecture is also vastly different between all the islands from the intricate pointy roofs of the Sumatran Minangkabau houses to the towering tiered temples of Bali and the simpler straw domes in Flores.
Handicrafts abound and Sumba is famous for it’s beautiful ikat textiles and Borneo for its rattan weaving and Java of course for the beautiful batik.
Very few nations on earth have such a rich and varied cultural tapestry woven through such stunning and diverse ecosystems. Indonesia is truly one of the most captivating countries in the world.