By Linda Shepro
Nearly 15 years ago I had the good fortune to meet Patti Seery, an expat living in Bali. She had returned to Indonesia in the early 2000s with a dream of building a sailboat reminiscent of the Phinisi sailing vessels that traveled the fabled spice routes from the islands of the Malay Archipelago to Africa, India and China. Her vision took years to complete, as she employed the Master Konjo boat builders of Sulawesi to build Silolona. This traditional wooden, black sail vessel was meticulously built from the finest tropical hardwoods of Indonesia, without power tools, truly handcrafted in the style of the magnificent ships of days past and completed in 2004. A second ship, Si Datu Bua, was added to Silolona Sojourns in 2012. It’s magnificent rust colored sails are a sight to behold.
Silolona Sojourn’s two vessels are some of the most sought after sailing experiences in South East Asia. Mostly operated on a private charter basis, itineraries are tailor-made according to the guests preferences. Guests may choose to sail through the Komodo archipelago in search of the famous Komodo Dragons, or West Papua where local villagers welcome you.
Si Datu Bua is the smaller of the two vessels at 40 meters long, with 3 king suites accommodating 6 guests, serviced by 11 crew and 1 expedition leader. Silolona is 50 meters in length, with 3 king and 2 double staterooms, accommodating 10-12 passengers and serviced by 16 crew members and 1 expedition leader. The suites are luxurious and inviting on both ships, each decked out with unique artifacts and décor representing the various cultures found in Indonesia.
Both vessels offer a full range of aquatic activities, with fully-certified PADI dive centers onboard, even novices can be certified. For non-divers there’s snorkeling, beach combing, hiking, kayaking, boating, picnicking, water skiing and visits to the local fishing villages where Patti is revered. Think ultimate relaxation punctuated by an abundance of activities.
The sumptuous cuisine is prepared in a world class kitchen with ingredients from local farms and fisherman. Evening may begin with a beachside BBQ, perhaps a nighttime kayak, or a more rambunctious musical performance by the staff. Engaging with the staff is one of the most rewarding parts of the journey; many were also involved in the construction of the vessels and their stories, as well as their ceremonies to honor the culture and the past are both touching and spiritual.
Silolona and Si Datu Bua sail year-round in SE Asia, repositioning depending on the season. For 2017 both vessels will be based April to August within the Komodo National Park and October to March in West Papua. There are also two cabin-cruise options for guests to experience Silolona Sojourn on a shared basis in 2017; in late January to Raja Ampat aboard the Si Datu Bua and in May to the Komodo archipelago aboard the Silolona.
Please contact Linda Shepro Linda@tributravel.com 858-201-3079 to book your exclusive Silolona Sojourns experience.