Orangutans And Dragons (Katharina)

Orangutans And Dragons (Katharina)

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For this exciting 12-day adventure, we offer a heady and rare mix of encounters with orangutans, proboscis monkeys, tropical birds, Komodo dragons and manta rays, spectacular marine life and a chance to meet and experience the fascinating culture of the famed Dayak people of Borneo, with a river cruise up the Kayahan River of Central Borneo combined with sea voyage on a traditional pinisi schooner through the turquoise waters of the Komodo National Park and Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands. Cruising by air-conditioned riverboat along Kalimantan’s meandering rivers remains the best way to travel through the hinterland of Borneo, with its wealth of ecological and cultural treasures that survive deep within the rainforest. Followed by a sea cruise on a traditional pinisi boat through the myriad islands of East Nusa Tenggara (as the region east of Bali is known) you will get to see up close the legendary Komodo Dragons, stopping at remote beaches, quiet coastal villages, waterfalls, a mysterious volcanic lake, and have ample opportunity for kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling and swimming along the way. This truly is a trip to excite all the senses and tick so many boxes – not least the mighty man of the forest, the orangutan.

Note: Unique to our cruises, all domestic flights on our Orangutans and Dragons cruise are included in the cruise price. We book hundreds of flights each year on behalf of our guests and we only book with IATA-approved airlines that have met with International standards of safety. Except for Bali, transfers to and from local airports to the boat are also included. If you are booking flights by yourself, do not book any flights before checking with us first. Our first and last day programmes rely on strict time scheduling, so please confirm with us to ensure that you arrive and depart at your destination with plenty of time to spare and to avoid disruption to other guests’ schedules.

FLEXIBILITY: Our Orangutans and Dragons cruises are not just limited by what’s on offer in the itinerary and can be taken with any of our scheduled Dances, Dragons & Magical Lakes departures between Bali and Komodo between April 1st and June 30th. Simply find the dates of the cruise that suits you and contact us to see about organising the Borneo part of the trip.

Trip Name
Orangutans And Dragons (Katharina)
Vessel Type: Yacht Length: 40 metres Passenger Capacity: 14 Built / Refurbished: 1995 / 2014 The Katharina is a traditional Indonesian pinisi, built in 1995 in Kalimantan using only the very best grades of ironwood. Her slim hull was originally being planned for commercial sailing carrying freight before we spotted her in the making. We bought her and fitted her out as a cruising vessel, and then again in January 2014, the Katharina was the subject of a major interior refit. Working with the unique heritage this vessel represents, her transformation is a conservation exercise back to authenticity, using only the best traditional materials, shaped by highly skilled Indonesian craftsmen. Yet, what goes on behind the scenes is the use of the most up-to-date technology and she is now equipped with a super yacht grade AC station and we are optimizing our systems to the latest safety standards. Not only is the Katharina very elegant on the water, she is also fast becoming a classic yacht, as very few of these original designs remain. Katharina’s overall length is 40 metres, providing comfortable accommodation for up to 14 guests in six cabins located below decks. All cabins offer creature comforts and necessary amenities including double beds or twins, private en-suite bathrooms, natural light, safety boxes, individually controlled air-conditioning and storage space including a safe. Led by Captain Iwan, the Katharina is catered to by an all-Indonesian crew of 12, with each member dedicated to making your stay aboard truly memorable.


Day 1 - Day 1 Kalimantan
This morning we will fly to Palangkaraya, the capital of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. After meeting your fellow travellers, we will transfer to Palangkaraya Harbour, and board our river boat to start our journey, cruising upriver past stilted and floating houses and small villages. In the early evening, we will take a canoe through the shimmering black water lakes, keeping an eye out for proboscis monkeys, red langurs, hornbills, and brahmini kites. We will then return to the boat for a quiet dinner in the midst of the jungle.
Day 2 - Day 2 Rungan River
The boat moves up the Rungan River as we enjoy breakfast. On arrival at Palas Island, we will take a motorised canoe to observe the orangutans as seen in Animal Planet’s ‘Orangutan Island’ series. At the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) Education Centre, we can see the adult orangutans that are waiting to be placed on the pre-release islands. A leisurely lunch will be served on board while cruising to the remote village of Sei Gohong for a glimpse into the daily lives of the community, who work mainly as farmers and fishermen. We then continue upstream to the orangutang pre-release islands of Kaja and Bangamat where we transfer to small canoes for closer observation of the orangutans. We’ll end the day with a refreshing swim in the black water lake.
Day 3 - Day 3 Tangkiling
In the early morning, we transfer to Tangkiling by car to see traditional Dayak spirit houses and make the 30-minute ascent up Tangkiling Hill. After breakfast, we cruise downstream, passing the orangutan islands again before stopping at Kanarakan, where we will be met by the village elder with a Dayak Ngaju welcoming ceremony before strolling through the village home gardens and watching a rubber tapping demonstration. We then visit the elder’s house and enjoy traditional spiced coffee while sharing stories. After returning to the boat, we cruise to Muara Rungan for dinner and overnight in a quiet location.
Day 4 - Day 4 Kalimantan to Bali
After breakfast, the boat cruises to Tanjung Sangalang for check out and transfer to Palangkaraya Airport, from here will fly to Bali and be transferred to your beachside resort in Bali, where you can relax by the pool, take a walk through the colourful local neighbourhood, or have a stroll along the sand before enjoying sunset drinks and dinner in in the resort's beachside restaurant.
Day 5 - Day 5 At Sea to Amed
After breakfast and meeting our fellow guests for the cruise portion of our programme, we will board our minibus for our destination of Amed in the eastern regency of Karangasem – an exotic royal Balinese kingdom of forests and mighty mountains, emerald rice terraces, mystical water palaces and pretty beaches. With our tour leader providing information along the way, we will stop Tenganan Village, a community that still holds to the ancient 'Bali Aga' culture with its original traditions, ceremonies and rules of ancient Bali, and its unique village layout and architecture. We’ll also visit the royal water palace of Tirta Gangga. The final part of our scenic the journey to Amed takes us through a magnificent terrain of sculptured rice terraces followed by spectacular views of a fertile plain extending all the way to the coast. After checking in to our hotel, you can relax and unwind with a swim in the pool or in the calm, clear waters lapping the shore just footsteps from your room. Or you may prefer a gentle walk, in the surrounding village and hillsides. This will also be an opportunity for those unfamiliar with snorkelling to have a lesson with our tour leader. In the evening, we will all meet in the restaurant for a Balinese-style welcome dinner.
Day 6 - Day 6 Lombok
Upon waking, your boat will be anchored and waiting for us just off shore. After a leisurely breakfast we board the vessel you will have a chance to settle in as we head off ih the direction of Lombok across the Lombok Strait to the Gili Islands where we will snorkel and swim. This deep trench of water between Bali and Lombok marks part of a very important ecological boundary, which was first described by Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist. Wallace noticed that the flora and fauna of the islands to the west are home to Asiatic animal and plant species, whereas the islands to the east of the invisible ‘Wallace Line’ have a greater similarity to species found in Australia. Later that evening we will head off to the west as we watch the sun go down over bali as we enjoy cocktails on the back deck.
Day 7 - Day 7 West Sumbawa
We will wake off the beautiful white sands of Kenawa Island in West Sumbawa, where after breakfast we will snorkel, paddle board, swim and explore the island’s beaches, grasslands and corals throughout the morning. After lunch on the boat we will set a course 10 miles further east to Bungin Island, home to a group of Bajau ‘Sea Gypsies’, famous for living in stilt houses above the water and living entirely off the sea. It is the second largest Bajau settlement in Indonesia and will provide you with an amazing and rare opportunity to experience a part of Indonesian culture that is a huge part of the country’s seafaring tradition. Later in the afternoon we will set sail for Moyo Island.
Day 8 - Day 8 Moyo & Satonda
This morning we will moor off Labuan Aji village on the island of Moyo, visit the village and then walk to Diwu Mba’i waterfall, where can swing on a rope and jump into the deep clear river pool below, or simply bathe in the refreshing cool water. Our next stop will be Satonda, a strange and mystical volcanic island with a sunken crater lake in its centre that was filled with saltwater when the nearby Mt Tambora erupted in 1815, causing a tsunami that flowed into the crater. The eruption was the biggest volcanic explosion in the collective memory of mankind; it had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and gave rise to the ‘year without a summer’ because of the effect on North American and European weather. Local people believe Satonda to be magical, and with this in mind, we will walk to the lip of the caldera to view the mysterious lake, alongside which are trees believed to be ‘wishing trees.’ Visitors to the island tie a small stone to a tree and make a wish. If your wish comes true, you are bound to return to the island to offer thanks. The seas surrounding the island are rich with soft and hard corals and colourful tropical fish, so we will spend the afternoon swimming and snorkelling. Another highlight of our visit to Satonda will be the sight of thousands of flying foxes that commute at dusk from the island to feed on the mainland, returning before first light the next day. Immediately after sunset, we leave for an overnight passage on a course due east.
Day 9 - Day 9 Sangean
We will wake up off the coast of Pulau Sangean, an active volcano that towers 1,800 metres above sea level. After breakfast, we will go ashore to a small hamlet, which, because of the active nature of the volcano, is only inhabited for short periods during the year when the local people come to tend their crops and small herds of buffaloes, which we can see swimming in the sea. We will then snorkel on both a nearby reef and a location on the north of the island where volcanic gasses escape in the form of bubbles from the sea floor among the corals, a most interesting sight. We will then proceed to the island of Banta and its pure white sand beach, for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling and hill climbing for the fit. Later that evening we proceed on to Komodo dragon country.
Day 10 - Day 10 Komodo Island
When we wake up, the boat will be anchored off the famous Komodo Island, one of approximately 80 islands that make up the Komodo National Park. We will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang for an early morning ranger-led trek through the park searching for Komodo dragons. In this savannah-like setting of dry, rugged landscape, we will encounter, at a safe distance, these awe-inspiring, giant lizards – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs. We may spot deer, wild boar, sulphur-crested cockatoos, butterflies, rare orchids and jungle chickens among the strangle-fig trees and the distinctive lontar palms. After returning to the boat, we will cruise around the coast and visit Komodo village, where we can buy some local handicrafts. Later we will head to the gorgeous Pantai Merah ‘red-beach,’ which takes its name from the particles of red coral mingled with the sand. Here we will swim and snorkel over one of the richest reefs in Eastern Indonesia, relishing the unforgettable spectacle of the region’s many varieties of coral and marine life.
Day 11 - Day 11 Rinca Island
Today we will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where we will have another ranger-led nature trek in search of more Komodo dragons, which are indigenous to this small group of islands. Rinca is also well known for its diverse wildlife, so we may spot monkeys, wild buffaloes and deer as well. From the top of the hills, the scenery is breathtaking. In the afternoon we can go snorkelling and enjoy some beach time with paddle boards and kayaks. With over 1000 species of fish in the waters of the national park, there is much more to this wildlife reserve than just dragons. In the evening we will go ashore to an island where you can enjoy a quintessential SeaTrek experience and a highlight for many guests. With your feet in the sand and the stars rising in the vast Indonesian sky, the crew will build a bonfire and prepare a beach barbecue as a final celebration of our memorable voyage
Day 12 - Day 12 Flores
After breakfast in Labuan Bajo, we will take private air-conditioned cars to the inland village of Melo. Here, local ‘strongmen’ will perform the ‘Caci,’ a ritual whip-fight between two rivals in which the players, each armed with a rattan shield and a whip, will try to hit each other while dancing to the rhythm of traditional acoustic instruments. The men of Manggarai in Western Flores are famous for this test of daring and skill, requiring lightning quick moves to dodge the infliction of a wound. The winner is loudly applauded and cheered by the village. Besides this, the cultural group will also showcase other traditional dances. After the performance, we will have a light lunch on the boat before transferring you to the airport for your flight back to Bali.
Day 13 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

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    • Discover Palangkaraya
    • the capital of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan in Central Borneo. Situated between the Kahayan and Sabangau rivers, it is the largest city by land area in Indonesia. Most of the area is still forested, including protected forests, nature conservation areas, Tangkiling Forest and some lakes.
    • Visit Bali
    • the smallest province in Indonesia. Yet it is by far the most visited of Indonesia’s islands, and the only Hindu society in the whole of Southeast Asia. Its natural splendour is combined with a rich spiritual culture defined by palaces, temples, and gorgeous arts.
    • Explore Lombok, Bali’s beautiful next-door neighbour, rarely receives the attention she deserves. Towering mountains, mighty waterfalls, gorgeous white-sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs, pearl encrusted shores, a unique Sasak culture and tranquillity are among her many charms. The mighty volcano, Gunung Rinjani, rises 3726m to form the second highest peak in Indonesia.
    • Enjoy the rugged island of Sumbawa
    • a remote yet beautiful place, known for its waves, sandy beaches and wild terrain, with celebrated surfing spots and magnificent coral reefs. In 1815, Sumbawa’s Mt Tambora blew its top, causing the biggest volcanic eruption in the collective memory of mankind.
    • Discover Komodo National Park, that covers around 170,000 hectares of sea and land. The rough, hilly, dry islands are surrounded by waters with ferocious currents, amazing reefs and a huge variety of marine life. The National Park is the natural habitat of the famous Komodo dragons and over 150 species of birds.