What would be your ultimate sailing dream? Sarah Norbury has inspiration for sailing bucket list adventures
Sail off the beaten track
A boat can transport you to places that the land-bound can’t reach, like the Raja Ampat archipelago, otherwise known as ‘The Last Paradise on Earth’. On this tropical northern tip of Indonesia divers can see fish and corals that exist nowhere else in the world. Kraken run Indonesian cruises, with the option of an add-on trip into the jungle to see orangutans.
Neha Puri from London made the trip in May and said: “Travelling by boat gave us the chance to escape the more touristy parts and visit islands that are inaccessible any other way. We really enjoyed our trip to Komodo national park, which is spread over four remote islands. This is the only place in the world where you can see Komodo dragons, direct descendants of the dinosaurs.”
For paddle-powered adventures, the Ultimate Patagonia tour takes you among the islands of southern Chile staying on a 57ft motoryacht. On a 12-day trip run by Spirit of the West you can kayak in a remote landscape of mountains and volcanoes, bathe in hot springs, try a traditional asado (barbecue) and, thanks to the mothership, cover far more distance and see much more of the magnificent, rugged coast than you could by paddling alone.
An alternative is to be self-sufficient, wild camping in the wilderness. Severine Rees-Jones and her partner explored the Saint Anna region in Sweden by kayak, booked through Do The North. “They are very well organised” says Rees-Jones. “They sent us off with five days’ food, a map and then it was up to us to decide where to paddle each day within a maze of thousands of uninhabited islands. The scenery is amazing. I strongly recommend it.”
Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) adventures are also available in some unique locations. How about the Himalayas? With Water Skills Academy you could fly to Kathmandu and paddleboard on the Kali Gandaki river, camping by night. Their 11-day Himalayan SUP Adventure costs US$2,750.
Kitesurfing cruises are another growth area. KiteWorldWide has just launched a 14-day Caribbean island-hopping trip in the Grenadines in a Lagoon 52 catamaran complete with chef, skipper and kitesurf instructor. The Grenadines’ constant trade winds and deserted sandy beaches create the perfect setting for a kitesurfing safari for beginners and experienced kiters. You can book the whole boat with family and friends, or go as a smaller group or as a single guest.
An individual challenge is one kind of ‘bucket list’ ambition, another is to share the experience with family and friends. A charter holiday is a fantastic way to celebrate, but once you have ‘done’ the Med and Caribbean, where else offers a trip of a lifetime?
Suzanna Pinder of Travel Counsellors has been in the charter business for years and says: “Alternative places we are asked for include Belize, Cuba, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), Cuba, French Polynesia and New Zealand.
“My choice would be Tonga”, Pinder adds. “It’s a Pacific-island paradise where you can swim with humpback whales!” Twelve people can experience Tonga for a week in November 2018 (mid-season) on a bareboat Moorings 4600 from £5,845.
A step up from bareboat on the luxury ladder is a skippered charter, which allows the host to relax with guests while a skipper with local knowledge takes you safely to your next idyllic anchorage.
DIYachting specialise in 60-80ft charters, each fitted out to a high specification with as many watertoys as can feasibly be carried – paddleboards, inflatable dinghies, ringos, and jet RIBs – and a skilled skipper and chef. Lizzie Abbiss of DIYachting says that many of their cruise bookings are ‘big’ birthday celebrations, often with children or non-sailors in the party.
In luxury or back to basics, alone or with loved ones, tropical or arctic, there is a sailing adventure to appeal to everyone. Where will you go?