Seonaid Thomas has enjoyed over a decade as a charter broker in the superyacht industry with Burgess. She grew up in Scotland and Monaco, before graduating from Oxford University with an MA Honours degree in Russian Literature & Medieval French. She then settled in London and began working as an Executive Search Consultant for five years, which was particularly valuable for developing strong negotiation skills.
In need of a new challenge, she returned to Monaco, taking on the role of Event Manager in charge of organising corporate conferences and incentives before hearing about an opportunity to work for Burgess in 2005. She has since gained her qualifications and membership of MYBA (the world-wide yacht broker’s association) and now serves on MYBA’s Competency, Education and Training committee. Seonaid is married and the proud mother of two children.
Having enjoyed a night in Bali, we took the short 50-minute flight to Flores island, just off the Komodo National Park - one of over 17,500 islands in this nation that sweeps along the equator.
We were welcomed by several members of the LAMIMA crew, wearing warm smiles and enquiring after our energy levels as they took charge of our bags, drove us the 10 minutes to the quayside and led the way to the tender waiting in the bay of Labuan Bajo. Our adventure was just about to begin…
We set off immediately to the north of Komodo island, cruising past lush green islands and catching sight of stretches of golden beach as we enjoyed our first luncheon aboard. We were to enjoy a choice in Indonesian dishes for lunch and European plated dinners every day - just to demonstrate the Chefs’ ability to cater to varied palates. Everything I tasted while on board was appetising, colourful, fresh and delicious! Given that we were to eat every meal on board since there aren’t restaurants to speak of in the area, it was an important element to the trip.
We were itching to get into the water in the afternoon, and our first snorkelling session was just to whet our appetite. We were to experience the most extraordinary diving over the next few days, swimming in waters that felt more like an aquarium - so clear, warm and packed with sea life. We saw giant manta flying in groups, turtles, spotted ray, eels, white tip sharks, Napoleon Wrasse, clown fish and literally hundreds more, not to mention the pristine coral - it’s easy to see why it’s a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
LAMIMA has its own PADI dive centre facilities aboard, with two wonderful dive instructors who have decades of experience in these waters. I had never dived before and was somewhat edgy about it, but Ali and Wawan are both relaxed and vigilant, informative and enthusiastic without overloading you, and they both have the most infectious smiles. They made it all so easy for us to enjoy and their knowledge of diving sites was incredible. It’s opened up a whole world to me and this first experience was such a thrill.
There were some great land visits as well, the most obvious being the visit to meet the Komodo dragons. These are the world’s largest lizards, prehistorical animals that can only be seen in these few islands in the world. The males can reach up to three metres and they are cold-blooded, so tend to sun themselves and stay pretty inactive - but move fast when they want to! Short bursts of speed allow them to slash their prey with razor-sharp teeth, infecting them a venom that stops blood from clotting and lowers blood pressure. They can eat up to 80 percent of their own body weight in a single meal. You are escorted around the park by one or several guides with forked sticks to hold off any attacks, but none of us was foolhardy enough to approach them too closely. It was a fascinating afternoon!
Komodo also offers fantastic hiking with stunning scenery. The picture-postcard Padar is the most popular, but you could hike every day if you wanted. Padar is accessible to all - just go at your own speed and stop when you want to catch your breath. You’ll be rewarded with views that would inspire the gods themselves.
If you prefer relaxing on a beach, however, you won't be disappointed. The beaches here are stunning and the crew will set up a stretch for you to enjoy in peaceful bliss. On the final evening, you’ll be treated to a magical beach BBQ dinner with your feet in the sand and entertainment from the crew under a canopy of incredibly bright stars. There's no light pollution to spoil the experience.
LAMIMA is one of the very few Indonesian flagged yachts available for charter that meets the standards of luxury yachting. Not only does she fit in perfectly with her backdrop, being a traditionally-built Indonesia wooden phinisi, but the crew form a great team and are family rather than simply colleagues. The atmosphere on board is excellent - a place where you can relax, unwind and allow yourself to be looked after, whether it’s with Koko’s morning yoga or with a massage on the aft deck, a snooze on the bow loungers under the sails, or with a cocktail as the sun goes down. The cabins are spacious with large, comfortable beds. The deck areas are pleasant with a choice of dining areas inside or out and the whole private aft deck area dedicated to massage.
It's a wonderful destination for all ages and genuinely worth the trip.
65.2m (214ft), built by Haji Baso in 2014
7 cabins for up to 14 guests (5 double, 2 twin) and 20 crew
Locations: Raja Ampat until May 2020 and Komodo from June until October
Rate: USD 140,000 per week, all-inclusive
Special features include: full PADI dive centre, 2 on-board masseuses and yoga instructor, excellent selection of watersports including 2 waverunners, 6 stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, wakeboard, surfboard, waterskis and 3 tenders (11m, 7m and 5m).
The best time to go to Komodo is from June to October when there is a pleasant, south-easterly breeze. It’s warm during the day and just a tad cooler in the evenings.
From November to May, the rainy season takes over and the winds and seas are strong, so the yacht relocates to Raja Ampat, another fantastic destination for world-class diving and scenic beauty.
You can fly to Labuan Bajo airport near Komodo with Indonesian airline Garuda, Wings or Batik. It’s easiest to fly via Bali (Denpasar Aiport), but you can also come via Jakarta.
If you fly into Bali in the late afternoon and are departing the following morning for Komodo, it can be easier to stay at the airport - Novotel Bali Ngurah Rai Airport. If you are staying in Bali for a few days, head to The Bvlgari Resort Hotel, The Four Seasons Resort, Amnadari or Amankila.