Aquatic & Sailing Adventures
Sailing adventures open a whole new realm of exploration.
While safaris on terra firma are certainly to be commended for their stable foundations, land-based wildlife and the convenience of not being surrounded by water, so too do aquatic adventures have their unique set of desirable traits.
From inland waterways to the open ocean, venturing from the shore can allow you to discover the world from a new perspective, even in the most familiar destinations. When taking to the water in foreign lands, even the exceptional can become unfathomable.
As humans, we naturally gravitate towards water. We cherish the tranquil waters of lakes and rivers, marvel at the expansive oceans and even download apps of wave and running water sounds to help lull us from our landlocked days into blissful sleep. Being near water, especially the ocean, has been scientifically proven to alleviate stress, reduce mental illness and even extend our lifespan. At 70 percent water, we have a connection to these aquatic places, our bodies naturally resonating with the environment from which they evolved.
Yet even aside from the science, where water is involved, time invariably isn’t. Tides and winds dictate when we set sail, passage is unhurried, we are forced to relinquish our addictions to the hurried immediacy of daily life and allow life to drift by gracefully, like a feather upon a river. Peace is omnipresent, the aquatic bodies muting sound, and even the gentle thrumming of a ship’s engine is blissfully hypnotic.
Casting off upon the waters of the world, these are some of the most iconic and exceptional aquatic and sailing adventures.
Possibly our most favourite waterway in the world, the Okavango Delta is an exceptional destination by land or by water. Teeming with life, though distinctly waterlogged, it is the very best of African safaris with the one glaringly obvious difference being the delta itself.
Luxurious camps seclude themselves away upon the wooded banks, sunsets reflect across the glassy, calm waters and animals take advantage of the year-round source of hydration. The traditional mokoro handcarved canoes are a frequent offering of activity at many of the lodges and camps, but to make the very most of this unique setting, the Selinda Canoe Trail is an incredible sailing adventure to undertake.
The Selinda spillway is an artery of the delta connecting it to the Linyanti Swampland. Despite being bone dry for some 30 years, heavy and consistent rains a decade ago refilled the tributary, allowing passage once more. Beginning from your camp, one can take a day-long sailing adventure from north to south, gently paddling along the Selinda spillway through a region all but unattainable by land. The silence of the canoes’ passage allows you to see nature you could never possibly witness in a motorised vehicle, and the graceful canoes barely concern much of the larger game.
Coming to shore, one can wander freely on land in certain areas, stretching the legs, enjoying a picnic and exploring untouched wilderness and smaller isolated islands. Elephant, zebra, even giraffe and lion, are rarely associated with aquatic environments, but all can be seen on this incredible sailing adventure.
A GALÀPAGOS SAILING ADVENTURE
In our opinion, the only way to see the Galàpagos is by boat. Though land-based accommodation does exist, the standards can be limited, and needing to set sail every day for the outer islands and reserves can be arduous and time-consuming.
Far better is to board the Quasar Evolution, an exquisite charter that allows you to explore the islands in luxury, with regular excursions to shore, aquatic activities, an exclusive vantage point and a continually changing horizon.
This allows you to visit destinations that many won’t reach and enjoy the islands with a distinct air of exclusivity. Gourmet cuisine, impeccable private cabins and a suite of exceptiaonl facilities await you on board, all worthy of any land-based luxury hotel.
Though the islands themselves are home to a wealth of spectacular and unique wildlife, the intrinsic connection between land and sea is integral to the creatures of the Galàpagos. Enjoying the archipelago on a sailing adventure provides a deeper connection to this unique ecosystem, and an unfettered glimpse into the world by which Charles Darwin was so captivated and inspired.
The northern reaches of Australia are an untouched wilderness only accessible to the most adventurous. With few towns, vast distances, rugged landscapes and inhospitable desert, the region is all but isolated from mankind’s passage.
By water, however, this far-flung region becomes attainable, and in exclusive luxury.
The 50-metre, 36-berth True North is a luxury cruise ship that explores the northern reaches of the Australian continent, spanning the Timor Sea to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. From the coast, this magnificent ship, complete with its own sightseeing helicopter and no less than eight state-of-the-art tenders, navigates inland through the Kimberley region of north-western Australia, wending its way along gorges, between towering mountains and past majestic waterfalls.
On board, everything you could wish for is provided. Each luxurious cabin is provided with an entertainment suite, satellite phone and en-suite, an al fresco bar provides sundowners with spectacular views, and facilities include private expedition boats, fishing, SCUBA and snorkelling equipment and much more.
With just 18 couples on board at any one time, privacy and exclusivity are a given, and you are as free to mingle with your fellow guests as you are to find time and space of your own and explore the landscapes alone.
There is so much of Australia to be explored, but to do so in floating luxury is to see a side of the country that only a handful may ever get to witness.
SAILING ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable body of water. Thought by the Inca to be the birthplace of the sun, where the creator god first emerged from the earth to create our life-giving star, Titicaca is steeped in as much factual history as it is romantic legend.
The Uros are some of the region’s first peoples, predating the Inca and Spanish conquistadors by centuries. When invading tribes threatened the Uros, it is said that they took to their totora reed boats and escaped to the heart of the vast lake, building islands from the same totora reeds, where they could live in peace and safety. And there they remained to this day.
Perhaps a floating adventure is more appropriate than sailing adventures, but several of the 70 islands feature hotels, including Titicaca Lodge. Without the infrastructure of land-based venues or contemporary vessels, premium luxury is understandably limited, but the experience is more than worth forgoing a handful of creature comforts for.
Waking to panoramic views of the Lake of the Sun and experiencing the humble yet vibrantly colourful daily life of the Uros while drifting upon an island of reeds, you will discover a sense of tranquility in the absolute and a culture that has changed very little in centuries.
Though the mainland and several solid, geographic islands offer plenty of opportunity for exploration – with a wealth of birdlife, ancient Incan ruins and some wonderful towns to be discovered – the experience of pure escapism found on the rafts of the Uros is quite simply inimitable; a place where time stands still and from which you need to pry yourself to return to the melee of the real world.
INDIA’S WATER PALACE
Though it remains completely static, Taj Lake Palace is a sailing adventure of regal standard. Located at the heart of Lake Pichola in southern Rajasthan, this exceptional venue was, for 200 years, the summer retreat for the Mewar royal family.
In 1963 it became a heritage hotel, maintaining its opulent standards of absolute luxury for guests from around the world.
Made globally famous in 1983’s James Bond movie, Octopussy, as the titular femme fatale’s lair, Taj Lake Palace gained revered attention, though retained its irreplaceable exclusivity.
Despite being firmly fixed to the lakebed, Taj Lake Palace is only accessible by boat, making for a wonderfully regal journey across the lake that builds anticipation and excitement for what lies behind the glistening white walls of the palace. As the sun stoops towards the horizon, a luxurious yacht sets sail for a breathtaking sunset excursion across the mirrorlike surface of the tranquil lake. Cocktail in hand and reclining on sumptuous cushions, one can observe the elegant palace in all its extraordinary splendour.
The 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites have been maintained in their palatial elegance, still fit for a Raj or Ranee to this day. The hills of Aravalli and Machla Magra form the perfect backdrop to the expansive lake, corrugating the horizons in picturesque contrast. Though the Lake Palace is the most remarkable experience in and of itself, the surrounding region of Udaipur, often referred to as the Venice of the East, offers wonderful explorations and land-based adventure, while the greater Rajasthan region has incredible opportunities for safaris and tiger trekking.
SETTING SAIL ON THE ZAMBEZI
The Zambezi River is best recognised as the tumultuous cascade that tumbles over the brink of Victoria Falls, but its meandering waterways also take on a wonderfully tranquil personality, one that offers numerous superb sailing adventures.
As the Zambezi traces the border between Zambia and Botswana to the west of Victoria Falls, it divides, the Zambezi itself retaining its path along the border and the Chobe River diverting south, into Botswana to form its own border, this time with Namibia.
The peaceful currents of the Chobe flow through the national park to which it gives its name, and animals of all sizes flock to its shores to take advantage of the consistent, life-giving water and lush vegetation it supplies.
The Zambezi Queen plies these currents providing not only an ever-changing horizon and superb game viewing platform, but also luxurious floating accommodation.
The Chobe, Zambezi and, further to the south, the Okavango all have stunning waterfront lodges and camps, offering incredible bases from which to venture on safari or canoe excursions. The Zambezi Queen, however, takes on a continual safari as it slowly wends its way along the Chobe, with incredible food, exceptional comfort and premium service while you enjoy a front-row seat to the continually changing landscape.
Each impeccable cabin provides a private balcony, so you are never far away from the spectacular view or sightings of the abundant wildlife of the region.
The Zambezi Queen offers a relaxed and unending perspective of a magical side of Botswana that is usually ever only glimpsed.
A TRUE AUSTRALIAN SAILING ADVENTURES
When we think of sailing adventures, our minds invariably wander to the open ocean. While the adventure quota may be abundant on the high seas, so too is motion sickness, rough waters and cramped quarters.
Fortunately, MY Flying Fish provides all of the former with none of the latter.
Setting sail from the mainland of Tropical North Queensland, MY Flying Fish is a luxury private charter motor yacht for just eight guests, exploring the protected waters of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed barrier reef is also one of the natural wonders of the world, and for good reason. Teeming with life, vibrant in colour and breathtakingly beautiful, the barrier reef provides an incredible vista and wonderful playground for guests.
Diving and snorkelling, kayaking and paddlboarding, or simply lounging on deck with a gin and tonic, the destination is simply unparalleled, your accommodation the perfect complement to a location of such exception.
With an extensive suite of facilities, a private chef and its own helicopter, MY Flying Fish is the optimum in sailing luxury. And if, for some curious reason, you wish to disembark for the day, you can take a jet boat to a secluded beach for a romantic picnic, a flight across the reef and cays or discover the wonder of the neighbouring Daintree Rainforest on the mainland. A sailing advent par excellence, MY Flying Fish is the finest way to conclude our collection of waterborne experiences.
Rocking boats and briny spray aren’t for everyone, and these remarkable venues avoid such discomforts, providing instead unwavering luxury, faultless service and a completely new perspective. Step from the land and see the world from the water.