The winter months may be commonly known as the Caribbean season in the superyacht world, but that doesn’t mean you have to join the glitterati at one of the tried-and-tested hot spots. Winter can be the perfect opportunity to get off the beaten track. Explore lesser known islands in the Caribbean or venture even further afield and discover the adventures that lie beyond the usual itineraries. Ocean Independence picks five of its favourite under-charted destinations for those seeking to be inspired by something different this season.
An alluring melange of cultures and landscapes, Malaysia will surprise you day after day with its diversity and beauty. Peninsular Malaysia, for example, is a modern fusion of many influences, including Malay, Indian, Chinese, Persian, Arabic and colonial British, while Borneo is a primitive jungle paradise, home to remote tribal communities and an abundance of wildlife. The beautiful Langkawi archipelago in the Andaman Sea, off Malaysia’s west coast, is a yachting paradise. Known as the jewel of Kedah, it is made up of 99 islands – only two of which are inhabited – and is home to verdant peaks, coral reefs, and blissfully deserted beaches. Langkawi is also home to Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO geopark, where you can keep your eyes out for eagles, monkeys and otters among lofty limestone formations. Visit the island of Redang for crystal clear waters and excellent diving or head to the historical trading port of Penang for a hit of Malaysian culture and mouth-watering cuisine.
Dominica is beautifully removed from the Caribbean milk run. The lack of direct international flights means it is quieter and less touristy, so you won’t find the floating collectives of superyachts here that you might on busier islands. Dominica exudes a unique untouched wildness. In amongst the tangles of jungle are 365 rivers, the second largest boiling lake in the world, volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, and both black and white sand beaches. Here you’ll find locals who are friendly, fun and fiercely proud of their unique heritage. Soak in the charming architecture, market and boutiques of Roseau, the main town, where the breeze is heavy with music and the scent of spices. Nearby, you’ll find an island gem: Champagne Beach, so named for the warm bubbles that rise from underwater geothermal springs. From hiking, birdwatching, kayaking and diving, to just simply dropping anchor in a new bay each day and watching the world go by, this is the Caribbean, but not as you know it.
If you are looking for an out-of-the-way yachting destination like no other, Tanzania is the place and it makes a wonderful stop en route to the Maldives and Seychelles. The sheer grandeur of it all – the astounding wildlife, beguiling beaches, ancient towns, welcoming people and geological wonders – will leave you in awe. Trace the coastline for sun-drenched Indian Ocean anchorages and head to the incomparable spice island of Zanzibar, with its fragrant groves of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, heavenly white sand beaches and deeply fascinating history. The Maziwe Marine Reserve, a small island atoll off Tanzania’s northeast coast, is perfect for snorkelling, diving and swimming. Join the local dhows and enjoy the wonderful sailing conditions. Inland, you’ll witness mother nature at her most magnificent: climb Mount Kilimanjaro, venture into the Ngorongoro Crater, soar above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon, or paddle across Lake Manyara.
While most superyachts naturally flock to Antigua and St Barths, those craving a more rustic beauty in the Leeward Islands will find their haven in Nevis. One half of the island nation St Kitts and Nevis, Nevis is a place where serenity and adventure are available in equal measure. From the lush summit of Nevis Peak down to the powder-soft, sugar-white sand of Pinney’s Beach, there is no shortage of natural gifts. A huge part of what makes Nevis special is that it holds onto the Caribbean of old. You’ll see goats still wandering through the winding streets, authentic restaurants serving up local delicacies with unpolished charm, and smiling grocers selling a colourful spread on roadsides. Active travellers will enjoy a hike around the dormant Nevis Peak, spotting vervet monkeys and local birds. For those after a slower pace, lounge carefree on an empty beach, or sneak to the Four Seasons for a massage and a cocktail or two.
Is there a place as beautiful and strange, as seemingly-impenetrable and enticing as Antarctica? Probably not. A superyacht journey to the very end of the earth, a trip to Antarctica is unforgettable. Winter – December to March – is the best time of year to visit this otherworldly realm of snow and ice, and you will be rewarded with spectacular views, a breath-taking array of entirely unique wildlife and the realisation that snow is more shades of twinkling blue than you ever imagined. Hike across icy expanses to windblown viewpoints for uninterrupted panoramas, visit volcanic Deception Island and its vast penguin colony, bravely take an Antarctic plunge at a geothermal hotspot, sit on deck bundled up while sipping hot chocolate and watching the icebergs float past, and send a postcard from the Penguin Post Office at Port Lockroy to tell friends at home all about every moment.
To learn more about chartering a superyacht in these or other destinations, contact an Ocean Independence charter broker today.
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