Mary Stuart-Miller's Indonesia Journey

11th January 2018

The simple things in life are often the most memorable. Collecting shells on a palm fringed white sand beach, lapped by warm water. Watching the sun tip beneath the horizon at sunset, its last glinting rays casting a shimmering fire on the open sea. A bright-eyed child reaching an outspread hand for sweets. The calming lapping and gentle slapping of waves against the hull of a boat. The unfamiliar smells, sights and sounds of village life - far removed from home. Little baskets of fragrant flowers left in the roadside for local gods. A white sail against a blue sky.

Temple Bali

Star Clippers’ South Asia sailing voyages encompass all of these experiences and many more. Indonesia and its principal island, Bali, remain mysterious and exotic destinations for the western traveller. It was this mysticism, the lure of discovery and the quest for new adventures that drew us to Indonesian waters in summer 2017 to sail on board the four-masted and fully-rigged Star Clipper from Bali.

Our voyage took us to idyllic islands, passing towering volcanos, calling into primitive villages, pristine harbours and beaches, and swimming in waterfalls - cold, clear and refreshing after the humid heat of the day. Unplanned days took shape without effort, each one adding new and more vivid memories as the ship dropped anchor and we took the tender ashore to explore harbours, villages and beaches. Never knowing quite what we would experience, each day we returned to our magnificent tall ship `home’, offering new tales of discovery over an early evening cocktail with new found friends at the ship’s Tropical Bar.

Komodo Dragon

We gathered more and more colourful images on our cell-phones and cameras. Images of our family group dwarfed by seemingly giant Komodo Dragons in the foreground, taken by fearless Komodo island guides. Memories of an afternoon spent in a humble village, houses on stilts with goats, chickens and dogs beneath. The joy of seeing even the youngest children splashing with friends and siblings in shallow water, seemingly unsupervised, playing with crudely crafted boats and enjoying the simplest pleasures in life.

We videoed monkeys, some with tiny babies clamped to their chests, scampering at our feet for the nuts we’d bought at roadside stalls, the more daring among them stealing our water-bottles and shaking the last drops from them. We also filmed each other attempting to water-ski on turquoise waters with the majestic Star Clipper as a backdrop as we sped by in the ships’ zodiac inflatables.

We took a motorcycle ride to a stunning river valley to find plummeting waterfalls, deep pools and homemade rope swings from which the younger and stronger guests among us swung and plunged into the deep, swirling river pools below. That day concluded with a memorable and tranquil walk along white sands to discover a simple bar with a beach-front veranda. Here, we downed cold beers with traditional local boats and the setting sun as our view.

Star Flyer

Knowing our days would start and end on board Star Clipper, where crew become more like friends and family, where long days conclude in the bar. A quick shower followed by dinner, amid more friends in the restaurant, gave us the comfort and reassurance we needed to enjoy our daily adventures to the full.

Our week of culture, discovery, adventure, fun and life-long memories culminated in a final day on a beach fit for the cover of a tropical holiday brochure. Small, colourfully painted local wooden boats chugged our pristine white sand beach, where we sat beneath the shade of towering palms. We swam, we made footprints in the sand, we snorkelled, collected shells, sunbathed and - when paradise didn’t feel it could get any better - we wandered along to where the ship’s crew had set up a spectacular and delicious beach barbecue.

This magnificent sailing voyage opened up sights, sounds, smells and tastes we could have barely imagined before we set sail. The ship, with its amenable and super-friendly staff provided a familiar and homely base from which to explore and experience Indonesia to the full. Either side of our magnificent cruise, we made the most of our time with pre and post-cruise stays ashore. Each day, we pampered ourselves with massages, manicures and pedicures - sampling local food in simple restaurants and staying in stunning Balinese hotels.

Reservations Centre

UK passengers please contact...

Any ABTA Travel Agent