La Galigo is a traditional Phinisi sailboat that promises unparalleled luxury and the raw thrill of the Indonesian seas.
It parades an enticing blend of history, craftsmanship, and unparalleled amenities for those seeking the underwater wonders of Raja Ampat and the Komodo National Park.
But with lavish cabins, chef quality food, and a price tag to match, does La Galigo (click to view available dates and prices) genuinely offer an experience worth its weight in gold?
Dive in with me as I delve deep to uncover if this liveaboard is genuinely a treasure beneath the waves or just another drop in the ocean.
Diving Experience on La Galigo
The Indonesian archipelago, with its pristine waters and rich marine biodiversity, has always beckoned divers from around the globe.
Within this context, La Galigo emerges as an intriguing option for those exploring the underwater wonders of Raja Ampat or Komodo. But what truly sets apart the diving experience on this vessel?
What I like
First and foremost, the La Galigo prides itself on being the only traditional wooden liveaboard that boasts a dedicated diving platform at the rear of the boat.
A testament to its commitment to divers, the platform offers unmatched convenience
Add to this the availability of two 6m dive tenders, 15L dive tanks, and complimentary 32% Nitrox fills, and you have a vessel that clearly prioritizes the diving experience.
Furthermore, the sheer variety of marine life one can encounter in these waters, from Manta Rays and Whale sharks to the elusive Wunderpus, only adds to the allure.
Safety, often a paramount concern for divers, isn’t overlooked. The boat is well-equipped with modern navigation tools like Radar, GPS, and depth sounders.
In case of emergencies, the E.P.I.R.B. Distress System, emergency rafts, oxygen supplies, and first-aid kits stand at the ready. The presence of crew members trained in first aid further enhances the security onboard.
The crew, under the meticulous guidance of the cruise director, ensures that every guest feels valued.
The warmth and professionalism of the staff, the delectable array of meals, and the inviting common spaces make the trip enjoyable beyond just the dives.
To top it off, the La Galigo experience extends beyond diving.
Treks like the climb up a karst peak in the Wayag island region or witnessing the mesmerizing blue-colored river of Kalibiru are testament to the well-rounded adventure awaiting guests.
What could be better
Yet, no experience is without its hitches. Despite its luxurious offerings, La Galigo didn’t originally start as a liveaboard vessel, and it shows in certain design elements.
For instance, some cabins were reported to face plumbing issues, with backflows resulting in stagnant water, leading to unpleasant odors.
Though the management is aware and has attempted to provide solutions like a squeegee in the bathrooms, it’s a point of contention for some.
The diving guides are mostly veteran professionals who enhance the diving experience. However, occasional lapses with newer staff members have been reported.
Though these concerns have been voiced and the management assures responsiveness, it’s a reminder that even the best experiences can sometimes face glitches.
Raja Ampat itineraries
Diving in Raja Ampat is a transcendental experience, and La Galigo ensures that every moment of it is a testimony to the magic of the Indonesian seas.
Crafting distinct itineraries to match diverse preferences and diving appetites, the vessel offers multiple voyages.
Let’s dive into the uniqueness of each itinerary, making it easier for you to choose the one that resonates most with your aquatic dreams.
1. Raja Ampat North (8 Days / 7 Nights)
- A harmonious blend of both underwater and overland adventures.
- Highlights: This journey takes divers as far north as the picturesque islands that constitute Wayag. Here, one can hike the renowned Mt. Pindito lookout and soak in the serene vistas. Additionally, diving spots like Eagle Rock, located in Kawe to the west, promise unmatched marine experiences.
- Why choose this? If you’re searching for a balanced experience that not only takes you through the heart of the marine biodiversity but also offers terrestrial excursions, this is your ideal pick.
2. Raja Ampat South (9 Days / 8 Nights)
- A deep dive into the untouched and remote facets of West Papua.
- Highlights: The southern waters of Raja Ampat are known for their gigantic seamounts and vibrant coral displays. Divers are likely to encounter massive schools of bump-headed parrot fish, among other species, devouring the reefs. The dive sites offer a sense of remoteness, complemented with thrilling swim-through caves and reefs that attract majestic creatures like mantas and sharks.
- Why choose this? For those yearning for a sense of adventure coupled with the tranquility of uncharted territories, the southern itinerary is a dream come true.
3. Ultimate Raja Ampat (12 Days / 11 Nights)
- An exhaustive exploration of Raja Ampat’s breathtaking marine ecosystem.
- Highlights: This itinerary spans almost two weeks and is a comprehensive dive into the region’s underwater wonderland. From the bustling marine life in picturesque Misool to the hike at Bintang Bay in Penemu and encounters with the resident Manta Ray population in the Dampier Strait, the journey ensures you miss nothing.
- Why choose this? This lengthy voyage is the ultimate deep dive for the passionate diver who wishes to soak in every aspect of Raja Ampat, leaving no coral unexplored.
Life on board
Venturing aboard La Galigo promises not just a dive trip, but a deep dive into traditional Indonesian maritime culture.
As you sway to the rhythmic patterns of the waves, you’re cradled within a vessel constructed using centuries-old traditions.
Here’s an insight into what life on board the traditional two-mast Phinisi sailboat feels like, with a particular focus on the living accommodations.
Origins and Design: Constructed by artisans from Southern Sulawesi, La Galigo pays homage to the maritime history of the Bugis tribe.
The very essence of the boat is in its ‘Phinisi’ design – a traditional two-mast style sailboat. Notably, the hull of La Galigo has been crafted from ‘Kayu Besi’ or ‘Iron Wood’, ensuring sturdiness, while its interiors are adorned in tropical teak, blending both strength and elegance.
- Deluxe Cabins
- Description: The Deluxe cabins offer a snug yet luxurious living experience. Thanks to their location lower in the vessel, they’re an ideal choice for those prone to seasickness, providing stability even when the seas grow restless.
- En-suite bathroom with hot water showers
- Climate control for tailored room temperature
- Comfortable American spring mattresses
- Configurable bedding options: either two singles or one double bed
- Size: 12m²
- Occupancy: Max 2 people
- Master Cabins:
- Description: Positioned on the upper deck, the Master cabins promise privacy, comfort, and a view worth waking up to. As dawn paints the sky in a myriad of hues, the expansive windows frame this picture-perfect moment every morning.
- Private en-suite facilities with hot running water
- Air conditioning with in-room control
- Customizable bedding: choice of two single beds or one double
- Size: 14m²
- Occupancy: Max 2 people
- Description: The Suite on La Galigo is an epitome of luxury. Apart from the regular amenities, the Suite also features a private lounge room complete with sofas, a 48” HD flatscreen TV, and an exquisite balcony offering a panoramic 270-degree view of the archipelago.
- Oversized en-suite
- Powerful air conditioning system
- King-size American spring mattress
- Personal refrigerator (which can be filled upon request during booking)
- Balcony with seating arrangements for both dining and relaxation
- Size: 22m²
- Occupancy: Max 2 people