The island nation of Indonesia straddles the equator between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and lies at the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’ - the epicentre of the world’s marine biodiversity. Nowhere on earth can visitors experience such a range of spectacular diving - from encounters with huge whale sharks and oceanic manta rays, to muck dives with beautiful Rhinopias and the exceedingly rare psychedelic frogfish.
The luxurious El Aleph is a remarkable phinisi offering exclusive, private charter voyages throughout Indonesia. Finished to exquisite standards, and boasting a meticulously selected crew, El Aleph leaves absolutely no detail to chance to ensure the highest levels of comfort, safety, enjoyment - and adventure.
- Exquisitely-designed boat finished to exacting standards
- Enjoy an exclusive private charter with a bespoke itinerary
- Join luxurious ‘citizen science’ cruises with renowned experts
Built as a private luxury yacht, the 40-meter El Aleph spares no expense in providing discerning guests with the ultimate liveaboard experience. Offering just a handful of private charters each year, El Aleph encourages guests to soak up the rich and diverse Indonesian and South East Asian cultures while enjoying the finest in Asian refinement and luxury. The vessel combines traditional Phinisi design with state-of-the-art electronics and is finished with polished tropical hardwoods, crafted by Bali’s finest cabinetmakers, who spent more than 200,000 man-hours on the final fit-out.
Catering to both divers and non-divers alike, El Aleph offers exceptional facilities and high levels of service including free equipment hire, Nitrox and Trimix blends, rebreather support, and an array of adventurous activities such as kayaking, water skiing and fishing. Many of the staff on board were present at the vessel’s launch almost a decade ago, and are carefully selected to provide guests with the safest and most comfortable experience possible.
Komodo National Park is situated close to the coast of Flores, with Sumbawa and the Sape Strait to the west. Covering over 1,730 square kilometres, the park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. The park’s rugged terrain is dominated by jagged peaks and mountain slopes covered in dry savannah and dense stands of deciduous forests. Erosion has carved the coastlines of the islands into deep bays, inlets, channels and isolated beaches, creating some of Indonesia’s most spectacular scenery. Locations such as Komodo’s ‘Pink Beach’ and the incredible view from Padar looking across back-to-back, circular bays, are worth the trip alone!
Komodo’s dramatic landscape continues beneath the waves and the waters are some of the richest marine environments in the world. The reefs, channels, seagrass beds and mangroves are home to over 1000 species of fish and 250 species of corals. The channel surrounding these islands funnels huge volumes of water between the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in nutrient-rich upwellings and dramatic currents that sweep past the islands, creating the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of marine life and superb diving. The national park was founded in 1980 to protect its infamous resident - the Komodo dragon. This extraordinary species is the world’s largest land-dwelling reptile and can still be observed in the wild on both Komodo and Rinca islands.
Raja Ampat is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands and reefs surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo - the ‘Four Kings’ from which Raja Ampat takes its name. The area is part of the newly-created province of West Papua and, despite its allegiance to Indonesia, the islands of Raja Ampat feel very much like part of a different world. Although resorts are being developed throughout the archipelago and liveaboards run regular schedules around its famous sites, this string of beautiful islands still holds on to a lingering promise of exploration and discovery.
Papua is home to an incredible diversity of flora, fauna and cultures with the rugged terrain and relatively late development having helped to preserve the unique biological and cultural diversity. Much of the mainland is made inaccessible by rugged mountains and dense jungle and new endemic species are being discovered here every year. Below the surface of the sea, the rich reefs of Raja Ampat are a similar treasure trove of unique species; in fact, Cape Kri on Mansuar Island in the Dampier Strait holds the record for the most number of fish species recorded on a single dive. Raja Ampat is so species-rich and such a vital area for reef conservation that the entire area has been protected as part of the Bird’s Head Seascape.
BANDA SEA & FORGOTTEN ISLANDS
The Banda Sea lies just south of the equator in Eastern Indonesia and is bounded by the islands of Buru, Ambon and Seram in Maluku to the north, Sulawesi to the west, curving arcs of volcanoes and reefs to the east, distant islands of Nusa Tenggara and Timor to the south. Within the basin itself are two chains of islands - an inner arc of rugged volcanoes that rise from the deep waters of the central area and an outer arc of low, limestone islands that mark the eastern boundary of the sea. These remote islands of the ‘Ring of Fire’ have escaped much of the development of the modern world and remain pristine outposts of Asia’s extraordinary marine environment, offering untouched reefs, prolific marine life and plenty of bigger species.
This remote area once lay at the heart of the lucrative spice trade - in fact, Banda and its neighbour, Run, were the original ‘Spice Islands’ sought after by explorers and fought over by nations. Today the islands of the Banda Sea attract a different type of adventurer - drawn by the opportunity to dive remote, pristine reefs, visit islands rich in history and culture, and explore a part of Asia that, despite its previous fame and fortune, has become a pristine backwater.
The 40-meter El Aleph hails from Sulawesi’s traditional boat-building yards, and brings together traditional Phinisi design and 21st century technology. Crafted from 100-year old tropical hardwood and finished with polished teak by a team of almost 100 carpenters and craftsmen, El Aleph is the height of Asian refinement and luxury. The vessel accommodates guests in one master suite equipped with a dressing room and terrace, 4 guest cabins, and a nanny cabin – all featuring ensuite bathrooms and comfortable furnishings. Social areas include indoor and outdoor lounge and dining spaces, a promenade deck, 2 sundecks, and a large lounge area on the bowsprit. El Aleph’s fabulous chef has worked on board for many years, and serves a varied international cuisine with signature Asian flare. Additional facilities include air-conditioning, high speed internet, TV, DVD, Stereo, and a small library.
Diving onboard El Aleph is done from the vessels two tenders which are well equipped for comfortable exploration of the underwater world. Inclusive diving equipment hire is available on board, and the team uses aluminium tanks. Nitrox and Trimix can also be provided, as well as Poseidon rebreathers for qualified divers. El Aleph is equipped with modern safety equipment including life rafts, life jackets, flares, and positioning systems. Kayaking, bodyboarding, fishing, water skiing, and banana boating are also available.
All of El Aleph’s itineraries are tailored to guests’ interests, providing bespoke journeys and unique experiences that cater to both divers and non-divers alike.
PLANET DEEP EXPEDITIONS
El Aleph’s Deep Planet Expedition visits Alor, Pantar, Lembata, Adonara and Solor, each offering unique and fascinating features including azure blue waters, spectacular coral reefs, stunning anchorages, distinct local cultures, and exceptional snorkelling and diving sites. This area is a critical marine migration corridor for blue whales and sperm whales and offers possible sightings of other large marine mammals including beaked whales, pilot whales, melon-headed whales, orcas, false killer whales, Risso’s and Fraser’s dolphins, and dugongs.
The Deep Planet team will welcome guests onboard to participate in surveys, help with sightings, and learn more about these incredible creatures. Each expedition is expertly scheduled, several years in advance, to ensure the right sites are visited at the right time – with areas that are data-deficient taking priority. Here, the observations can make a real difference and assist with protection efforts, by working towards the inclusion of important oceanic habitats in Marine Protected Areas.
El Aleph has eliminated the use of single-use plastics on board, sourcing alternatives such as reusable drinking bottles, glass straws, and biodegradable bin-liners made from natural cassava. This vessel also only serves sustainably caught, open ocean fish and uses the highest quality, locally sourced supplies to support Indonesian farmers. Combining a skilled crew, who boast many years of experience sailing throughout Indonesia, with advanced navigation technology, El Aleph is able to maintain a safe distance from the coral reefs at all times. The vessel also never drops anchor in water less than 40-meters deep, and wherever possible, no less than 60-meters.
El Aleph also works alongside marine research organisations such as Planet Deep and The Oceanic Society, providing full logistical support on expeditions. These collaborations allow El Aleph to contribute to marine research and conservation benefiting cetaceans, oceanic mantas and whale sharks. The team is also looking towards offsetting the entire carbon footprint from every cruise.