Life Aboard

El Aleph offers unmatched stability and comfort for luxury cruising. A symphony in 100-year old tropical hardwoods – her teak finishes more reminiscent of a fine guitar than of a ship – no detail has been left to chance in ensuring your comfort, safety and enjoyment.

Our Boat

The first letter of both the Arabic and the Hebrew alphabets, Aleph is the first silent letter forming the names of God in Hebrew, and an important part of mystical amulets and formulas.

“El Aleph” – is also a magical story by the great Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges – a sphere the size of a grapefruit where one can see the entire universe – past – present – and future – from every possible angle.
El Aleph symbolizes the Eastern tradition of the great Buganese Phinisi sailing fleets which traded among the Spice Islands for centuries, but also the endless seas and skies of the Indonesian archipelago.

Bringing together traditional Phinisi design and 21st century technology, El Aleph was built in Sulawesi, Indonesia as a unique luxury owner’s yacht, finished in tropical hardwoods by Bali’s finest cabinetmakers who spent more than 200,000 man-hours on the final fit-out.

Beautifully handcrafted in 100-year old teak and ironwood with an attention to detail unmatched by any other Phinisi schooner ever built, El Aleph offers you a unique opportunity to explore the fascinating Indonesian archipelago – and beyond – to Thailand, Burma and the Andamans – in luxury and total privacy, far from the crowded marinas and touristic beaches of the standard Asian cruising destinations.

Food aboard el Aleph

Yes, everyone promises culinary marvels…but we will surprise you!

Our chef, Agus, has been with us almost since the beginning, and his cooking is simply a delight. Somehow, he has discovered the secret of keeping salads and fruit crispy and fresh weeks out of port, and his specialty – simple, varied Asian fusion – has drawn rave reviews from our charterers, as well as from the very exacting owner who is often aboard for months at a time!

Why Charter in Asia – is it really better than the Med/Caribbean?

It all depends on what you are looking for.

If you crave the night-life of St. Tropez, or sipping cocktails on the fantail in Monaco while the tourists ogle you, then frankly, Asia is probably not your best choice. On the other hand, if you want magnificent nature, kilometres of pristine beaches for you and your family with no one else for miles around – exotic wildlife, forests and volcanoes – with the Southern night skies aglow with stars, then Indonesia is certainly the place.

No crowded harbours, no loud music and bright lights, those who have not yet sailed Asia can look forward to an unforgettable experience of nature and the sea. Schools of dolphins, the occasional whale, giant mantas dancing at night in the light of the spreaders, bountiful seafood served fresh every day. Quite a change from the harbour at St. Tropez!

As an additional bonus, unlike the Atlantic or even the Mediterranean where unseasonable bad weather can interfere with even the best-laid plans, the weather in Indonesia tends to be highly predictable – we can almost guarantee calm seas and sunshine.

Please have a look at the videos on our destinations page

Scheduling - Availability

El Aleph is a luxury owner’s yacht, meticulously maintained and crewed for friends and family – not a commercial charter operation. Each year, a limited number of charters are available to a few discerning guests passionate about the beauty of the Asian seas.

As a result, el Aleph is frequently available for last-minute charters. Please check with us by e-mail for availability.

Please note that El Aleph does not charter by the cabin – however, we will be happy to put those wishing to book a berth on a group charter with our friends who operate the best group charter boat in the Indonesian archipelago.

Children Aboard El Aleph

While everyone has a great time aboard el Aleph, our youngest charter guests (aged from 18 months to 16 years) have had the best time of all – an unforgettable adventure cruising aboard a great pirate ship!

Most of our charterers are families – far from the constant distractions of the city and Facebook/Whatsapp, enjoying quality time together and shared adventures.

Our Indonesian crew loves kids, and the most intrepid are quickly adopted by our staff. There is no end of activities, from learning how a ship operates, to kayaking, snorkelling, swimming, picnics on the beach, exploring desert islands, or viewing the Komodo Dragons – an unparalleled introduction to nature and the seas.

We have water-skis, donut-rings, and banana floats to tow. Depending upon ages, we can organize water activities in quiet bays, gently sloping beaches, and very easy snorkelling spots.

Of course, all children, especially toddlers much be supervised on-board. If desired, we can provide Balinese nannies.

Health and rejuvenation aboard El Aleph

Your trip aboard El Aleph will most likely be the healthiest period of your year!

We can offer endless snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, diving and hiking. Depending upon your preferences, our cook will serve meals based on fish, seafood and light meats, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and without refined carbohydrates and sugars (other diets – from vegetarian to Mediterranean to European can, of course, be catered to,)

(note from the owner: each time I come aboard, after a couple of weeks eating fresh fish, tropical fruit and vegetables, low-carbs, and no alcohol – with half the day spent in the water – swimming and snorkelling and kayaking, I always come back feeling ten years younger…and a few kilos lighter!)

There is no malaria on Bali, nor in any of our cruising destinations – malarial prophylaxis is totally unnecessary. While the deeper areas of Papua are malarial, the danger is inland, far from the coast; since mosquitoes are home-bodies, travelling only a short distance in their short lifespan they pose absolutely no danger to sea travellers.

Finally, for even the most delicate stomachs, the standard of food preparation aboard El Aleph is what you would expect from a top luxury resort hotel (indeed, our chef previously ran the kitchen for one of the top-rated Bali resorts)

Destinations

We initially built El Aleph for our own exploration of the magnificent islands of East Indonesia, a largely unspoiled tropical ecosystems accessible only by sea. During our first two years of operation, curiosity and a love for maps led us to venture far and wide – including Thailand, Burma and the Andaman Islands– only to find confirmation that in truth – “There’s no place like home!”

Therefore, at least for the 2017 – 2018 season, we will be concentrating on our home base of Indonesia – offering quiet anchorages, pristine nature and beaches, superb snorkelling/diving on some of the world’s greatest coral reefs, as well as islands, forests, volcanoes. But especially – our cruising grounds are totally uncrowded, without the tourist day boats which render the islands of the Gulf of Thailand somewhat less appealing.

While the coral reefs of Thailand and Burma have suffered extensive damage due to coral bleaching, the reefs of Indonesia have been almost entirely preserved thanks to the cooler oceanic upwellings. The Indonesian authorities are making a major effort to preserve their marine resources, and In Raja Ampat, just looking down over the side of the dinghy, you will see an explosion of marine life which is now rarely witnessed anywhere – at least, outside of the old Cousteau movies.

Weather

While El Aleph is fully air-conditioned, it is never uncomfortably hot in our cruising destinations – indeed, in Komodo during the European Summer, a light sweater can be useful in the evenings. Komodo National Marine Park – a 50- minute flight from Bali – is the driest place in Indonesia, and is truly an all-year destination. Sunshine is almost guaranteed.

Raja Ampat is more seasonal, as is the Banda Sea – they are best visited in the November- April period. El Aleph moves with the seasons to enjoy the best weather and calmest seas.

Safety - Pirates, Sharks... and Martians

Safety

El Aleph is of traditional hull design but she is equipped with the full suite of modern navigational tools, including radar, GPS, plotters, C-Map, and several independent satellite communications systems. Our very experienced crew has been sailing the waters of the Indonesian Archipelago literally for generations, and we charter during the calm season in all of our destinations.

Pirates and Sharks – (or, what NOT to worry about…)

We are constantly being asked about the risk of piracy in our cruising grounds – I am happy to say that there is none whatsoever – you are at far greater risk of kidnap by a flying saucer or planetary destruction by a rogue asteroid than from a pirate attack in Indonesia or Thailand!

Of course, piracy-for-ransom is a serious problem – IF, that is, one happens to be cruising off the Horn of Africa, some 3000 miles from our areas of operation. The fierce Somali pirates are far closer to Nice, Portofino, or even to London, than to Bali or Raja Ampat. There are hundreds of passenger vessels – from small saiboats, to dive boats, surf charters and tourist vessels operating amongst the 17,000 islands of the Indonesian Archipelago – and literally thousands in Malaysia and Thailand. After many years of operation, we have never heard of anyone seeing a pirate!

As regards the sharks, alas, they have largely been wiped out due to Chinese culinary traditions – please don’t eat shark-fin soup! The global shark hunt has tragically disrupted the balance of the oceans by removing the top predator.

Fortunately, thanks to the vigorous conservation measures undertaken by the Indonesian authorities, we find reef shark in some of our best diving destinations within Komodo and Raja Ampat marine preserves – these shy, graceful creatures are the highpoint of many dives. These species pose absolutely no danger to man – there has not been a known shark attack in Indonesian/Thai waters in the past decades. As for the much larger shark species – whites and blues – which can be dangerous to man, the nearest you’ll find them is on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, a thousand miles away.

It is the sharks misfortune to suffer from bad press – there is a tropical vegetable which each year kills hundreds of times as many people as the shark…the coconut palm! To be hit by a 3-kilogram coconut falling from 40 meters will greatly decrease life expectancy – rest assured, there are no coconut palms aboard El Aleph!

Stability

Broad-beamed and round bottomed – with deep steering oars aft, El Aleph is extraordinarily stable – indeed, guests have claimed that they forgot they were on a boat! Lying at anchor, El Aleph moves hardly more than their apartments, and underway, she is extremely comfortable.

Silent-boat Operation

El Aleph is unique with her 48-V inverter-based 5-tonne house battery system allowing us to operate overnight in total silence with all motors off.

Diving

Indonesia is one of the world’s top scuba-diving destinations, and our cruise director has led hundreds of diving expeditions around Asia. From easy sites for families and beginners, to the more challenging high-current dives of Castle Rock, Alor, and Batu-Bolong, we can tailor the itinerary to your tastes and level of experience. Nitrox is available, and we have Poseidon rebreathers and helium aboard to trained rebreather divers.

With two high-speed Hyperlion launches, El Aleph is fully equipped for scuba and snorkelling. Tanks, weights and air-fills are included in the base charter rate, and although most divers will prefer to bring their own gear, we can provide a limited quantity of equipment.

Those who have not yet tried diving will probably find it far easier than they had imagined. If you are comfortable in the water, after a few days you will be diving like a dolphin. Our advice would be to do an introductory course in your home country, then come dive some of the world’s richest seas.

Snorkelling and Water Sports

Some of the best “dives” of my life have been with only a mask and snorkel – indeed, the snorkelling in Raja Ampat is better than 95% of the scuba dives almost anywhere else! Play with the giant mantas, drift over the coral reefs, swim through schools of sardines as the groupers and tunas feed – there is no need to be a certified scuba diver to enjoy the rich and varied marine life of the tropical seas.

For those who prefer to move a bit faster, we have water skis and wake-boards, as well as banana-boats and towed rings for the kids.

Hiking, trekking and volcano climbing

From the easy walk around Komodo Island to view the evil Komodo Dragons – the world’s largest land reptile which has reigned over his islands for 150 million years, to more challenging treks up volcanoes or into the Papuan rain forest, we will be delighted to organize land excursions, including to local fishing villages, pearl-farms, and caves; those inclined to take a relaxed view of life will enjoy the picnics and barbeques we can organize on desert island beaches.

Food Aboard El Aleph

Our speciality is fine Asian cuisine with an emphasis on freshly caught fish and seafood. Of course, we would be delighted to discuss your menus before the cruise, and we will provision the yacht with whatever you prefer.

For special orders, be it Ostrich Carpaccio or fine French cheeses, we can source almost anything you may require in our home base of Bali, and our shore-manager will be at your disposition to find your favourites.

We will happily cater special menus (gluten-free, vegetarian, kosher, etc.) upon request.

Wine and Spirits

We have a full bar list, including wines and spirits.

Guests are also welcome to bring on their own, and there is no corkage fee.

We will happily source special requests for wines and champagnes, but a bit of advanced notice would be greatly appreciated.

Deck Space and Lounge Areas

El Aleph has the most deck space of any boat of its class in Indonesia. There is a very large main deck with outdoor dining facilities, and plenty of place to sit and chat, or lie down with a good book. lounging, or reading, as well as a large promenade deck aft the wheelhouse, and a private terrace opening up from the main cabin. Sun worshipers will usually be found out on the ample bows, where one can look down to watch the dolphins play, or on a sunbed up on the roof.

Both indoor and outdoor dining are available.

Communications

We are frequently within mobile phone 3G signal range, and free broad-band internet is available at those times. Nevertheless, within the Komodo National Reserve and in the more remote areas of Raja Ampat, coverage can be patchy. For those who need to remain in contact with the outside world, an always-on satellite broad-band internet system with VOIP telephony is available for an additional fee (billed at cost).

Entertainment

El Aleph has a wide-screen television system with a large and eclectic collection of DVDs, and plugs for computers and iPods. We have a varied library in English, French, Russian and Italian, as well as a selection of board games.

Smoking

Like all other yachts, smoking is not allowed in any indoor areas aboard El Aleph – although there is ample deck area for those wishing to indulge.