Our guests embarked aboard schooner Raja Laut at Sutera Harbour Marina in the morning for an early departure to Mantanani islands which is located 40 Nautical Miles northwest from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah (Malaysian Borneo).
As we left the harbour, on the very first Raja Laut yacht charter (a maiden voyage of sorts), with the morning sun softly shining across the calm water, our minds began to fill with a sense of adventure. There is this unique and wonderful feeling that Raja Laut gives you. It comes from the beautiful wood surrounding you – the classic yacht feel that blends with the tropical scenery, and with the water flowing across the bow. It also comes from a gentle breeze that is cooling you even as the day starts to hot up !
As Kota Kinabalu vanished in the morning jungle haze, our crew began to raise the sails – all four of them. As the enormous white canvases were raised the wind too seemed to pick up, the yacht surges forward. One of our guests who was aching from having climbed Mount Kinabalu just 3 days previously said it was like “taking the final step into a Jacuzzi – muscles completely relaxed”.
The sail to the Mantanani islands took us about 6 hours. Upon arrival, the midday sun baking over our heads, we served a beautiful lunch, which included a special treat – a local Kadazan dish named Hinava made from a king mackerel (caught by one of the crew along the way) with fresh mangoes & lime. We could see the reef beneath us through the clear waters and we were soon gearing up our guests for an awesome afternoon dive! There was not a lot more we could have done to make this day complete other than to prepare drinks at sunset and a few more after dinner!
At the Mantanani islands you get a real sense of tropical paradise, and it feels like it’s all yours because of the isolation – indeed for the time the yacht Raja Laut was there the islands were ours to enjoy exclusively. After another excellent day of diving and exploring one of the uninhabited islands we had another excellent evening in much the same fashion as the first.
This was an Asia yacht charter holiday at its best and we definitely look forward to visiting Sabah again in the future!
Team Raja Laut