Cruise Sulawesi: the land of seafarers and pinisi yachts

Cruise Sulawesi and experience a unique culture. Explore remote white sandy beaches and abundant coral reefs. The area of South Sulawesi is a great, uncommonly cruised area with an extraordinary variety of land and sea sites. Selayar Island, Wakatobi, Bira, and Takabonarate offer a unique perspective and let you truly emerge in the essence of cruising Indonesia. A cruise to southern Sulawesi can also be combined with a Komodo Yacht Charter.

Sulawesi has a rich history of seafaring culture that dates back to prehistoric times. One of the most famous seafaring cultures of Sulawesi is the Bugis people, who are known for their traditional wooden sailing ships called “pinisi”. The Bugis people have a long history of maritime trade and exploration, with their ships traveling as far as Australia and Madagascar.

The Bugis people are also known for their skill in navigation and boat building. They used a system of stars and constellations to navigate the open seas, and their shipbuilding techniques are highly advanced, allowing their vessels to withstand the rough waters of the Indonesian archipelago.

Bira: Pinisi yachts and diving

In the port of Bira, where many of our crews’ families live, the fascinating construction of traditional wooden boats has a long heritage.  Visiting the boat builders in the neighboring villages, Tanah Beru and Ara, is a breathtaking journey into another world. The locals craft traditional pinisi yachts directly on the beach. Dive sites around Bira include Palau Kambing, Liukang Loe Island, and the Bira Cape. White and blacktip reef shark sightings are frequent. Moreover, you may be lucky to encounter other large pelagic species. The shallow parts of the reefs offer excellent snorkeling and are great locations to begin or end a yacht charter in South Sulawesi.

Remote beaches and lush green along the coastline of Sulawesi

Diving in South Sulawesi

Dive sites in South Sulawesi offer one of the best wall reefs in Indonesia. The reef is situated just off the coast. Thus, the lagoons for a refreshing swim and enjoyable snorkel are easily accessible from your boat. The white sandy beaches are a perfect location for bonfires before sunset or private BBQs. Selayar Island is visited during November and December when the yachts sail to Bira for annual maintenance or during March and April when they make they way back to Komodo. However, Komodo cruises can be customized and visiting Selayar is possible on other dates, too. 

Diving Sites at Selayar

The waters around Selayar are home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful coral reefs, schools of tropical fish, turtles, and even sharks and manta rays. There are several popular dive sites around Selayar, such as “Pulau Pasi,” which is known for its walls covered in soft coral and schools of fish. “Pulau Taka” is another popular site, where divers can see schools of barracuda and tuna as well as colorful nudibranchs and sea slugs.

One of the unique features of diving in Selayar is the abundance of “muck diving” sites, which offer a different type of diving experience. Muck diving sites are characterized by sandy or muddy bottoms, rather than coral reefs, and are home to a variety of unusual creatures tiny such as frogfish, seahorses, and octopuses. If you are keen on diving, you might also be interested in other spectacular dives sites in Komodo National Park.

Komodo and Sulawesi feature world-class dive sites

Cruise remote atoll reefs at Taka Bonerate

A Taka Bonerate cruise will take you to some of the remotest areas of Indonesia. Taka Bonerate is an archipelago in the Southern Sulawesi Islands. It means “coral islands over sand”. It is the biggest atoll in Indonesia and the third biggest in the world. The atoll reef has been a national park since 1992. It expands over 220,000 hectares and includes about 21 atoll islands, including Tinabo, Tinanja, Latondu and Rajuni.

Inhabitants live on seven of the atoll islands. In Taka Bonerate there is also a chance to visit the Bajau Laut sea nomads. The other 14 islands remain remote places. Just imagine lonely, smooth sandy beaches, lush trees, eye-catching reefs, and the diversity of marine life. The coral islands are interspersed by narrow, deep, sheer-walled straits. It is simply a diving paradise. There is a good chance to snorkel and dive with large pelagics, such as marble rays and manta rays.
However, the islands have been frequently bombed in the past and many reefs have been destroyed. So, a sense of adventure and exploration is needed when embarking on a private yacht charter to these remote islands.


Adventure is calling on a yacht charter in Sulawesi

Explore South Sulawesi on a yacht

Exploring South Sulawesi on a boat charter is an unforgettable experience. Sailing in “the footsteps” of the ancient seafarers will redefine the term adventure for you. Whether you are a group of ambitious divers or keen explorers, the areas of Bira, Selayar and Taka Bonerate will offer plenty of land and sea highlights for you during your cruise. From the logistics of your travel schedule to customizing the itinerary, our dedicated and experienced team will help you in your planning process.

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