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Tanjung Puting

Ombak Putih Liveaboard


Ombak Putih Liveaboard

Come sailing on a beautiful traditional schooner that takes you on a truly adventurous cruise into the remote eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago and treat yourself to a lifetime experience that you will never forget... on-board the sailing schooner Ombak Putih.

East of Bali there is a world of exotic cultures and breath taking natural beauty. This area is as enchanting as it is remote. You will sail by once smouldering volcanoes that arise from the sea and you will go ashore on uninhabited islands. Our leisure expeditions will take you to quaint historic harbours, superb tropical beaches, pristine coral reefs and to places where time has literally been standing still, such as the last remaining domain of the prehistoric Komodo dragon.

Your home-away-from-home is a spacious sailing vessel and you have a comfortable air conditioned private cabin with your own en-suite bathroom.

Our meals are professionally prepared with the freshest and best ingredients available: vegetables, fruits and poultry from the highlands of Flores, fish freshly caught by local fishermen and bread specially baked by a master French baker in Bali. Our cruises are of course on a full board basis. We serve a hearty breakfast and abundant lunches and dinners plus snacks throughout the day. Bottled water, coffee and tea, as well as soft drinks and fruit juices are complimentary and available on self-serve basis 24 hours per day. There is a well-stocked bar on board from which you may purchase a selection of alcohol and wines at reasonable rates. Our numerous well-trained and gracious crew members and tour leaders provide for your every need, to insure that your time on board is truly extraordinary.


As a result of the seasonal shift from the East to the West Monsoon and the change of the general sea conditions during the course of the year, we vary our sailing itineraries in order to offer the best possible combination of islands to visit and a comfortable voyage while at sea. From April to October we mainly cover the Bali – Komodo – Flores route with an occasional foray into the Savu Sea. In October we move to the Eastern regions of the archipelago to explore the Spice Islands, the Moluccas and the Papua region, including Raja Ampat. In February we take the vessels into dry dock for annual maintenance and refurbishing.

Incomparable crews

When you ask the inhabitants of the many islands in the eastern Indonesian archipelago about the sailing ships that come calling at their shores, there are two names that come immediately to their lips: Ombak Putih and Katharina. Both are operated by our and their graceful beauty makes them instantly recognizable. More than any other traditional "Bugi Schooners," they are a familiar sight from Bali to Papua and from Sulawesi to Savu. Between the two, these ships have logged untold nautical miles since they were launched and their captains and crews know as much about the remote islands of Indonesia as anyone alive. Through the years they have competently navigated hundreds of remote bays and anchorages in the region.

Deserted beaches

Our’s formula is as simple as it is attractive. Your home-away-from-home is a spacious sailing vessel or a luxurious motor yacht and you have a comfortable private cabin with your own en-suite bathroom. Travelling with like-minded companions for the voyage who come from all corners of the world contributes to convivial and spirited exchanges, enriching the entire experience. Whenever possible more than six hundred square meters of sails are raised, though we also rely on our engines to safeguard our schedule. An attentive but discrete crew takes care of everything. Most of the travel is done at night and while you sleep, the captain is on the bridge to take you to yet another splendid anchorage or another lovely harbour. Every new day you will wake up to yet another surprise.

Exceptional hospitality

Whether remote cruising on our magnificent sailing schooners or enjoying the five star comforts of our motor yacht, we dare say that our galleys offer the very best on-board cuisine that can be found east of Bali, a reputation we have enjoyed for many years that we are determined to keep. Our meals are professionally prepared with the freshest and best ingredients available: vegetables, fruits and poultry from the highlands of Flores, fish freshly caught by local fishermen and bread specially baked by a master French baker in Bali. Our cruises are of course on a full board basis. We serve a hearty breakfast and abundant lunches and dinners plus snacks throughout the day. Bottled water, coffee and tea, as well as soft drinks and fruit juices are complimentary and available on self-serve basis 24 hours per day. There is a well-stocked bar on board from which you may purchase a selection of alcohol and wines at reasonable rates. Our numerous well-trained and gracious crew members and tour leaders provide for your every need, to insure that your time on board is truly extraordinary.

Cruising Indonesia

Travel into the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago is an unforgettable and rewarding experience and always an adventure, but without unlimited time it can be frustrating as well. The transportation infrastructure has not changed much in the past fifty years and there are no scheduled ferry services to the smaller and more remote islands. The few ferries that link the bigger islands are often scary rust buckets and departure schedules are generally subject to the famous Indonesian "Jam Karet" or "rubber time". On most islands the roads are in poor condition. At the end of a day of travelling, accommodation can be quite primitive. Yet this vast area of beautiful sceneries and extremely friendly people is one of the most charming parts of Asia. It has an incredibly rich and varied cultural life and wherever you go, you find yourself as safe as can be.

Satellite data from the Indonesian Aviation and Space Institute have shown a total of 18,108 islands within the archipelago. Only about 6,000 of these islands are inhabited, with Java accounting for more than half the nation's population. Indonesia has a coastline of 108,920 kilometers (68,075 miles) and a total of 20,731 square kilometers (82,924 miles) of reefs. The entire Indonesian archipelago is a dream world for travellers, but it is in its eastern half between Flores and Papua, far from the crowds of Java and Bali, thousands of undisturbed small islands await the explorer in search of "an untouched world".  There are few air strips, so the remote Eastern Indonesian islands are mostly accessible by sea.

Our cruises are a spectacular way of discovering a world that is totally “off the beaten track”. We use our own wooden sailing schooners, recently built in the tradition of Indonesian Phinisis. These small capable ships are sturdily built and have a comfortable motion. From the very moment you step aboard one of our ships you will know that you have made the right decision by booking a cruise. Like the seafarers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries you will discover untouched sites of astonishing natural beauty where traditional life is little changed.

The Indonesian climate is tropical, warm and humid; the general sea conditions are pleasantly calm as Indonesia is outside of the latitudes where cyclones occur, such as in the south of the Philippines and the north of Australia. The south-easterly trade winds are most favourable in June, July and August and it is during these months that we often travel under sail alone. Yet it needs to be said that our leisure expeditions are not primarily yachting or boating holidays. Most of the actual sailing will be at night-time, to create maximum opportunity for daytime excursions or leisure activities on the islands that we visit. Whatever your interests, our agenda is one of daily exploration of seas and lands and our cruises truly offer activities for everyone.


Specifications and Deck Plans

Construction :
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Length over all :
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Motor :
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Kalimantan, Indonesia, 1996/7
36 meters (118 feet)
10 meters (33 feet)
3.5 meters (11.5 feet)
1 main deck
1 sun deck
1 cabin deck
Detroit Diesel, 8 cylinder
2 masts, 7 sails, total 600 square meters
10-12 knots under sail
16 (Indonesians)
1 European cruise director
12 cabins for 24 passengers
Inflatable life rafts
life buoys
life jackets
Radar, GPS, depth sounder
220 Volt
2 (with 60 and 25 HP outboards)

Vessel Description

Ombak Putih's main deck is dominated by the 25m tall mainmast and a large deck table where you can have dinner under the stars. On the deck house level on the aft side of the boat, a spacious sun deck (with canopy for some shade) overlooks the sea. Here you can read in a comfortable deck chair or dream away on one of our comfortable day beds.

Your accommodation is below decks, where you will find twelve cabins, four with double beds and eight configured as twin-bunks. Unlike typical ship accommodation, your cabin provides ample space to store your stuff and still move about with ease. All cabins are air-conditioned (individually controlled) and have private bathrooms with warm and cold water. Obviously, we provide all hotel amenities you may require.

We know from experience that during a cruise in the tropics some of our guests discover the pleasure of sleeping under the stars and there is plenty of room to sleep on the upper deck. Mattresses as well as light blankets are available for that purpose.

The Ombak Putih is a mix of traditional and modern design. Her hull and rigging are traditional, while the deck house and interior were custom designed to adapt to Western tastes of space, privacy and comfort. While Indonesian traditional sailing vessels are customarily referred to as Bugi Schooners, strictly speaking she is rigged as a Ketch, the foremast being higher than the aft mast

Construction and Design Parameters

The construction followed age old and well established design principles. First, traditional methods were use to determine the final dimensions of the ship. Throughout Asia the Buginese people from the island of Sulawesi are well- known for their shipbuilding skills and what is most remarkable is that this huge hand made structure (36m length, a beam of 10m and a draft of 3,5 m) was made without any drawings, fully relying on the intuitive craftsmanship of its builders as passed along through many generations. A Dutch naval architect was hired to recalculate and verify all dimensions for ultimate seaworthiness. He designed the interior and the deck house.

A second design principle we insisted upon was that we wanted the ship to be as safe as possible. This meant that only first quality timber was used and therefore the hull is considerably thicker than most other wooden vessels (ranging from 10cm down below to 6cm near the deck). The entire hull from the keel up to the decklevel was made from carefully selected and seasoned ironwood (ulin). Other safety measures include a 'work horse' Detroit Diesel engine, a brand that has proven its durability and reliability over the last fifty years (most ships of the US Navy have Detroit Diesel engines), anchor chains instead of wire rope, and many safety features demanded by the Australian coast guard for ocean going vessels.

A third design principle was that we wanted ample space for both guests and crew. We designed and built a large deckhouse that was low enough to maintain the original sail plan, while still providing sufficient sleeping and living quarters for the crew. There is a spacious lounge and a large galley. Behind the bridge on top of the deck house, there is a large sun deck, partly covered by an awning to also provide some necessary shade under the tropical sun.

Safety and Seaworthiness

The vessel is fitted with all internationally required safety and communications equipment such as SSB and VHF radios, life jackets, life rafts, and satellite telephone. Experienced navigators consider it an axiom that the seaworthiness of a vessel depends on the seaworthiness of the crew. Our ship has a well trained and well seasoned Indonesian crew of sixteen, complemented by a multilingual European Cruise Director. We are proud of the fact that most of the crewmembers that joined us when the vessel was launched are still on board today.

Services Profile

  1. Spacious twin shared cabin with twin bunk beds or double bed
  2. Each cabin has a private bathroom with toilet and hot shower
  3. Washbasin and soap toiletries in your cabin
  4. Cabins have individually controlled air conditioning
  5. Towels and beach towels that are regularly changed
  6. Valuables and travel documents can be stored in the ship's safe
  7. Dining in spacious air conditioned lounge
  8. Teak wooden furniture in lounge, cabins and on deck
  9. Spacious sun and semi-covered decks
  10. Free tea, coffee and mineral water
  11. Excellent food and snacks (vegetarian food on request)
  12. Excellent wine selection, cold beer and other alcoholic drinks for sale
  13. Fresh water on-deck shower
  14. Chilled towels and a welcome drink upon arrival
  15. Outdoor sleeping facilities
  16. Professional European cruise director
  17. Main tender with 60 hp. outboard engine takes 24 passengers
  18. Auxiliary tender with 25 hp. outboard takes 10 passengers
  19. Unlimited use of our snorkeling equipment and 2 sea canoes
  20. Organize scuba diving in Komodo National Park (optional)
  21. Television, VCD and music centre in lounge


Safety and Health

Paramount for us is the safety of all aboard. The vessel is fitted with all internationally required safety equipment and all crew members have received comprehensive safety training. Shortly after the departure on the first day of the cruise the Cruise Director will do a safety drill with all the participants. The vessel is stocked with a well appointed first-aid box to treat all kinds of minor ailments. It is however always advisable for guests to bring their own first-aid box. We have an agreement with an air-charter company in Bali using a sea-plane in case of emergency evacuation. We recommend that all participants take out a personal travel insurance that would cover such evacuation.

The tropical sun in our cruising area is hard on white skins, all the more so because of the additional exposure due its reflection by the sea. Guests must make sure to protect themselves with a hat, sun lotion and we advise wearing a t-shirt when snorkeling. Never let even the tiniest cut or coral bruise untreated as it can quickly get infected in the tropical climate. We have all that is needed on board to treat such cuts. Guests should not be overly worried about seasickness. Waters in our sailing area are generally calm. Even in case of swell, seasickness usually passes quickly once one gets used to the motion of the boat.

We do not recommend the use of any prophylactic for malaria prevention. Malaria has very little incidence offshore. Besides, our guests will spend the better part of the voyage on board, where mosquitoes do not venture at all. Insect repellent is sufficient when going ashore.

What to take

Temperature in our sailing area varies little - 27° to 33° Celsius year round – with mostly blue skies and light wind. We suggest you take light cotton / linen clothes – including a pair of long trousers for visits in the villages - as well as the following items: water shoes (booties or plastic shoes), hiking shoes, a plastic bag for your camera when disembarking, high protection suntan lotion, a hat, insect repellent, dive / snorkeling equipment if you have your own (we have plenty on board, too), as well as a sweater for cool evenings.

Special dietary requests

We can cater to special requests such as a vegetarian menu, children’s fare, diet dishes etc. However we must be notified in advance of any special dietary requests.

Insurance and Liability Release

It is important that all passengers contract personal travel insurance in order to be covered in case of accident, sickness, flight cancellation, evacuation etc… We do require all passengers to sign a strict and comprehensive liability release and scuba divers to sign an additional declaration of good physical condition. Copies of these liability releases can be sent on request.

Visa and Travel Documents

Guests have to make sure that their passport has a minimum of 6 months validity when entering Indonesia. Most foreign nationals can obtain 30 day tourist visa on arrival but the citizens of some countries do not enjoy this privilege and have to apply for visa in the country of origin or elsewhere outside of Indonesia. We recommend that all our passengers double-check on the requirements as they are in force at the time of their arrival.


Voltage on board is 220 volts. There is a socket in each cabin suitable for European type plugs, but we do have a selection of adaptors for non European type plugs. Additional sockets are located in the saloon.


During the cruise you will enjoy the incomparable service of 16 well-trained, efficient Indonesian crew members. It is a time-honored tradition on all cruise vessels of the world to tip the crew at the end of the voyage, provided of course the guests have been satisfied with their services. On the last day of the cruise, a special box will be passed around out for that purpose and its contents will be distributed evenly among all members of the crew. We believe that about 50 USD is an appropriate amount; however, this remains entirely up to the judgment of the guests.


The price is subject to change. Please  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.


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