Once the continent of Africa was called The Dark Continent because much of its people and resources were largely unexplored and unknown. Today, Indonesia is one of the more unknown lands of the world. Its population of 264 million people is dispersed among more than 1,000 islands. Other than its capital, Jakarta, most of its cities remain largely unknown to Westerners.
All this makes the country a very interesting and intriguing place to visit. Several of the islands have species that have largely escaped the scrutiny of scientists, and as a result there are folktales and a sizable amount of lore that goes with these mysterious creatures. For example, the Komodo dragon is the largest lizard known on the planet, yet have been around for millions of years according to scientists. The species is only known to be present on Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands.
Tourists generally find themselves touring the Sunda Islands and other parts of Indonesia from afar, as actually setting foot on many islands is either heavily discouraged or heavily restricted. But the country has been getting its fair share of international attention with the recent earthquakes that have occurred within its Ring of Fire and disappearing commercial aircraft whose mysterious disappearance continues unresolved.
So how does the Prana Superyacht fit into all this? First, the name of this luxury ship is translated as “breath” or a life giving force and universal energy that surrounds the body. The word is of Hindu origin (technically, Sanskrit). The Prana is a pinisi or two-masted sailing ship, which means Westerners who are thinking Carnival cruise lines will be sorely disappointed with the vessel. The pinisi has its roots in the country’s Konjo tribe dating back hundreds of years and more common versions of the ship are still used to transport cargo around the country.
But the Prana is a 180 foot luxury ship available only by charter. You can set sail for the Komodo National Park, one of Indonesia’s most national treasures and enters waters that the vast number of commercial tourist ships avoid. It was built by hand using teak and ironwood, materials both harvested from its native country. Many people would say it looks like a pirate ship of old, but those are only its very distant relatives.
Modern machinery had little to do with Prana’s construction, as it followed ancient architecture and craftsmen who used chisels to carve out the finished product. But as it is said, appearances can be deceiving, because once you board the yacht it is like you are in another world far removed from the history of the Pinisi. A crew of 18 is present to serve you, and your view is one of elegant suites. Those who are expecting a spa director to be present will not be disappointed, as there is one assigned to the voyage.
Other accommodations for the wealthy and adventurous are yoga sessions, private chefs, and sundecks that have their freedom of movement hampered by daybeds.
But it is the destination that makes the voyage worthwhile, and because it ventures into the islands of Komoto its passengers will see some very remote places few have ever seen, and even fewer that people have set foot on. There are no hotels available for a stayover, and many of the islands are said to be Jurassic Park-like, as species yet to be discovered and studied roam freely in their natural habitat. (As a matter of zoology, there are some Komodo dragons that have reluctantly taken up residence in several of the world’s zoos.) One island in particular, Padar, can be seen from afar as an island paradise with its pink and black sandy beaches. The other side of the island reveals itself at night, when its hostile pig scavengers roam freely.
Sunset and sundown are times when these many unique islands reveal their darker sides. While Padar has its dangers on the land, Pulua Koaba has its Sunda flying fox. Many people would simply call them bats, and the event of sundown brings thousands of them into the sky. The crew of the Prana arranges a viewing from the ship’s aforementioned upper deck as part of the voyage.
If you are looking for a unique adventure (from afar) on a luxury ship as unique as its destinations, booking a flight to Indonesia is your first step. At this point the many mysterious islands remain pristine and 100 percent natural, but how long will it be before drones remove their mystery and habitat? The Prana offers what may be the opportunity of a lifetime.