Sulawesi Snorkelling & Culture (Katharina)

Sulawesi Snorkelling & Culture (Katharina)

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This exciting voyage will take us along the eastern seaboard of Indonesia’s best kept secret, the legendary island of Sulawesi. Cruising from Kendari in the south and finishing in Gorontalo in the north, we will explore the many islands and atolls of this spectacular region, with the opportunity to engage in a whole host of activities, which include visiting remote villages and meeting hospitable local people, snorkelling on beautiful coral reefs, trekking, as well as having the chance to see birds and fish only found in this region of the world. There will also be ample time for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding, as well as simply enjoying the pleasure of cruising across the tropical seas on our splendid traditional pinisi ship.

Note: The price of this cruise does not include any domestic airfares to and from our start and end points. 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.

Trip Name
Sulawesi Snorkelling & Culture (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 Kendari
Arriving at Kendari Airport, we will be transferred to Lapuko Harbour, where we will join our splendid ship, the Ombak Putih. After lunch and a general briefing, we will depart for Pulau Bokori, or one of the two islands nearby, where we can enjoy beach activities and snorkelling. In the evening, we will cruise down the eastern shore of central Sulawesi to the small and isolated Padea Islands in the Manui Archipelago.
Day 2 - Day 2 Pulau Padea
After breakfast, we can visit the village of Padea Darat on Pulau Padea Besar. We will then spend the rest of the day exploring the islands with kayaks and paddleboards, and snorkelling off Pulau Padea Kecil, where there is a good drop-off with beautiful corals and an abundance of fish, and again later near Pulau Padea Besar. In the evening, we will cruise to the south side of Pulau Labengke Besar.
Day 3 - Day 3 Labengki
Labengki – a pretty cluster of hilly, jungle-clad islands, with deserted white-sand beaches – is renowned as an underwater paradise. The best-known islands are Labengki Besar and Labengki Kecil, where there is a heart-shaped bay called Teluk Cinta (cinta means love) and a stunning view from the top of the hills above. At the Toli Toli giant clam reef, home to a giant clam conservation project, we can enjoy a fantastic snorkelling experience with the opportunity to see dozens of huge clams. We can also visit the colourful village, and the impressive Blue Lagoon. Later, we will cruise to Pulau Sombori, which offers more blue lagoons, stalactite diamond caves and beautiful turquoise bays filled with coral rock islands. We will spend the afternoon snorkelling and exploring the area. Overnight we will cruise to Salabangka.
Day 4 - Day 4 Salabangka
We will spend a full day exploring the Salabangka Archipelago, visiting a local village and participating in some trekking and bird-watching, with the opportunity to do some snorkelling in the afternoon. We will then cruise overnight to Banggai Island.
Day 5 - Day 5 Banggai
The best way to tour the village of Banggai is by bentor (motorised pedicab) transport. We will visit the market, the Sultan’s Palace, a grave of kings of the past, and the ceremonial house (Rumah Adat) of one of the main indigenous tribes. At the harbour we might see the beautiful Banggai cardinal fish, hovering in groups in the calm shallows. The tranquil bays of Banggai and its neighbouring islands are the only places on Earth where you can see these tiny, exquisite fish in their natural habitat. Sadly, they may soon be gone from the wild because they are being collected for the aquarium trade faster than they can reproduce in nature. The Banggai cardinal fish conservation project is working hard to prevent this from happening and we will visit the project to learn more. In the afternoon, we will have time for snorkelling at Pulau Potil, north of Banggai. Overnight we will cruise to Desa Taima, North Tompotika.
Day 6 - Day 6 Desa Taima
At Pantai Taima, a nesting site of the famous, endemic and nearly-extinct maleo bird we will visit a project by the Alliance for Tompotika Conservation (ALTO). Here, we hope to see the almost-extinct, huge maleo birds digging in the sand to lay their eggs. Instead of incubating their eggs, the maleos tap the natural resources of the island, relying on heat from thermal vents or sun-warmed sand to incubate their eggs. Furthermore, instead of building up like other megapodes, maleos dig down. We will also visit the nearby bat-island Tangkuladi (Pulau Empat), which is also part of the ALTO-conservation project. At lunchtime will we depart for the Togian Islands, stopping to snorkel near one of the islands that we pass on the way.
Day 7 - Day 7 Togian Islands
Those who feel fit can participate in a four-hour jungle trek from Tanjung Malenge, on the southwest side of the island, ending up on the north side. Others can go snorkelling off the north side of the island. Later, we will visit the bajo (sea gypsy) village of Desa Kadoda, accessed via a wooden bridge, hundreds of metres long. These are the Bajao people who build their homes on stilts over the sea. Historically, Indonesia has had many nomadic tribes often referred to as ‘sea-gypsies’ due to the fact that they mainly travelled and lived in boats. These people have now had to adapt to life in a static village. Nevertheless, still being so close to the water, their dependence on the sea is not lost. Their children are introduced to the sea at a young age and grow accustomed to living and playing within the ocean environment.
Day 8 - Day 8 Togian and Talatakoh, Pulau Bolilanga
In the morning we will take the dinghies and explore the narrow channel between the islands of Togian and Talatakoh, ending up at another fascinating bajo village, called Kabalutan, where more than 2,000 people live in the middle of the sea. In the afternoon we can enjoy some fabulous snorkelling at a reef north of Pulau Bolilanga.
Day 9 - Day 9 Danau (Lake) Mariona
Today we will visit Danau (Lake) Mariona, on the north side of the island to snorkel with thousands of multi-hued stingless jelly fish; it still remains a mystery as to how this lake was formed. We will spend the rest of the morning at the paradisical Karina Beach, where we can snorkel and participate in water sports. In the afternoon, we can enjoy some good snorkelling on the Tumbulawa Reef, and in the late afternoon we will visit Desa Tumbulawa to marvel at the sight of dozens of the Knobbed Hornbills flying in to roost in the trees. In the evening, we’ll have a fun farewell party on board with the crew while cruising to Gorontalo.
Day 10 - Day 10 Gorontalo
We will wake up at Gorontalo harbour. After saying goodbye to the crew, we disembark. On the way to the airport we visit the Portuguese built Fort Otanaha, from where there is a beautiful view of the city of Gorontalo and the vast Limboto Lake.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type


    • Discover Kendari, Togian Islands
    • Enjoy Banggai, Sulawesi