Text by Thomas Jones
You don’t have to go far in Bali to find a boat to take you out for a day on the water. They are everywhere and in all incarnations from wooden outrigger canoes to hulking catamarans designed for the masses. But when you want to lap it up in style and comfort, there is one company that is making waves at the upper end of the charter market, Pulau Luxury Charters and their superb Aicon 56 Fly Bridge named Burjuman.
Made in Italy, purchased and enjoyed relentlessly in Dubai by her Australian owners, Graeme and Monique Robson, the Burjuman was shipped to Indonesia when they made the decision to move from the Gulf to concentrate on their Bali charter business, which they had been running for three years using a powerful, 600HP, 42’ custom-built surf and dive boat, the Rhino. They saw a niche in an underexploited market for a higher-end vessel that could offer one-of-a-kind luxury day trips and dive charters, as well as longer overnight trips to further experience Indonesia’s many beautiful islands.
Among the regular packages they have created are a Luxury Champagne Sunset Cruise, and the one that our party of ten sun seekers enjoyed on a recent September Tuesday, the Luxury Day Cruise Charter, out to the trio of islands on the southwest tip of Bali: Nusas Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida.
After being picked up in the courtesy shuttle early morning we stepped aboard the Burjaman a little before 9am and were soon headed out of Benoa Harbour, with canapés and strawberries and champagne making an appearance almost immediately, complementing the high levels of energy we had all brought with us for a spirited day on the water. After a quick look around and pseudo-inspection of the facilities we took our respective seats and lounge positions on the fly bridge and settled in for the crossing, champagne flutes in hand and feeling absolved of all guilt about drinking so early in the morning.
The Aicon 56 Fly Bridge is one of the most popular boats in the series thanks to its spacious fly bridge, which offered more than enough sunny and shaded lounging space for all ten of us putting it to good use. Sofas to the rear, captain’s chair in the middle and day beds to the front with standing room for several more, plus a state of the art sound system to boot, this is a great full-time party space, which even has a BBQ grill. Downstairs is equally as spacious and the wide transom creates an even larger area for the fun and frolics. The sleeping quarters comprise two master cabins with en-suites, and a twin room with separate head, that provide super comfortable lodgings on one of the multi-day charters that they offer.
There is a limit of 14 for a charter, but if the group knows itself well enough it will never be a problem, and for the 10 of us on board we never once felt space was at a premium.One of the main characteristics of the Aicon Yachts that makes them so popular and ideal for this kind of charter operation is the attention to design, the use of space and their styling, and you can feel the quality oozing out of ever curve and polished wooden surface.
Battling the strong Bali Strait’s current in the early morning sun it only took about 45 minutes to reach the shelter of Nusa Penida and its many bays and inlets, and being the early worm we pulled into one such secluded cove with the whole thing to ourselves. The water was so crystal blue and unlike what can be seen on Bali. With not a word of a lie and as if on cue, several pods of dolphins swam by not 30 metres away at the mouth of the bay as we all stripped down to our bathing suits and went headfirst into the beautiful clear waters to swim, snorkel and muck about with the stand up paddleboard and inflatable pontoon they provide. They also cater to scuba divers if that’s your thing.
The staff kept us well stocked with drinks, fruit and gourmet snacks the entire time as we played in the sun. They are an expert bunch and very good at both looking after our safety needs as well as our empty glasses. From a technical perspective they are all certified and qualified with many years of experience as ship’s captains and dive masters, including owner Graeme, and are all well versed with every aspect of the boat.
After about an hour it was getting close to lunchtime, and while we could have eaten on the boat, we took the option to head ashore to enjoy the island for a change of scenery. Cruising around to Sandy Bay we were met by a small tender and shuttled to the shore and a waiting mini bus which had us round to the Sandy Bay Beach Club for tapas, fresh frozen margaritas and a dip in their pool above the ocean.As 4pm rolled round we were back on the boat with fresh refreshments and about to head back to the mainland, but not before a final swim.
Cruising back into a dropping sun with the wind in our hair was pure bliss and made for a very, very satisfied group of travellers. And it’s not just the likes of us who love what Pulau is doing. The company is proving very popular with the well-heeled, with several A-list entertainers and sports stars, as well as certain royal personages, having taken advantage of the luxury service and customized private charters. Sorry, no names, in addition to providing the highest levels of service and fun,discretion is also something Pulau pride themselves on.
Pulau Luxury Charters
+62 (0)361 847 6757
Pulau Luxury Charters doesn’t stop at just the Burjurman for their cruises. They have just taken on a 72ft catamaran, Haruku, and they represent the luxury 120ft phinisi, Mutiara Laut which features in this issue – the Pearl of the Sea – adding even greater scope to the products they can offer.