Indonesia with mega yacht True North

The beach of Pulau Padar is unique. Our tour group has been dropped off on the pink sand by the True North dinghies and is now enjoying the Pacific sunset with a sundowner to match. Coconut Mojito is the cocktail of the day.

Beim genaueren Hinsehen erschließt sich das Geheimnis der Farbe. Wie an jedem Strand setzt sich auch hier der Sand aus den Zerfallsprodukten der Umgebung zusammen. Teilchen der roten Orgelkoralle sorgen mit ihren Pixeln zum rosa Gesamteindruck des Strandes. Die Tubipora Musica gehört zu den gefährdeten Arten und kommt fast nur noch in diesem Teil der Erde vor / © Foto: Georg Berg
A closer look reveals the secret of the color. As on any beach, the sand here is composed of the decay products of the environment. Particles of the red organ coral contribute with their pixels to the overall pink impression of the beach. The Tubipora Musica belongs to the endangered species and is almost only found in this part of the world / © Photo: Georg Berg

Snacks to go with the drink come from the galley, where everything on True North is made fresh: Goat cheese tartlets with caramelized onions. This dreamlike atmosphere rounds off the first day of the voyage. We’re excited about the adventures ahead on the 10-day tour of the Pacific.

Picknik am rosa Strand von Pulau Padar. Zu den Beach-Drinks gibt es für die Gäste Meredith-Ziegenkäse-Törtchen mit karamelisierten Zwiebeln / © Foto: Georg Berg
Picnic on the pink beach of Pulau Padar. Beach drinks are accompanied by Meredith goat cheese tarts with caramelized onions for guests / © Photo by Georg Berg.

In addition to the German FrontRowSociety reporter and three U.S. Americans, the 36 participants of the luxury cruise to the Indonesian Sunda Islands include exclusively Australian guests. As Glomads the travel-loving Australians describe themselves. Global nomads who have enjoyed traveling all their lives and remain infected by the adventure gene even after retirement. A family of 11 is also on board and the youngest child is just two years old.

Auch die Kleinsten an Bord hängen beim abendlichen Blick zum Horizont ihren Träumen nach / © Foto: Georg Berg
Even the smallest ones on board hang on to their dreams as they gaze at the horizon in the evening. / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Beiboote kehren zurück und die Gäste können sich an den fürs Abendessen gedeckten Tisch begeben / © Foto: Georg Berg
The dinghies return and the guests can go to the table set for dinner / © Photo: Georg Berg

The daily routine on the True North is characterized by variety. From sunrise to dinner, activities are offered on land and in the water, but also excursions with the helicopter, which is always ready for takeoff on the True North. Guests only ever get a glimpse of the crew’s activities. While the kitchen is serving up the lamb carree for dinner, the anchor is already being lifted again outside and on the bridge the captain is ready for the trip to the next island with fearsome Komodo dragons.

Der giftige Komodowaran kann bis zu zwei Meter lang werden / © Foto: Georg Berg
The poisonous Komodo dragon can grow up to two meters long. / © Photo: Georg Berg

In the reportage Dragons, Volcanoes and a Wedding on the Indonesian Sunda Islands, three typical land excursions of the trip are described in detail.

Luxury without airs and graces but with a sense of humor

Some of the guests already know each other from previous adventures. All True North Adventure cruises depart from Australia, which is also home to the most loyal customers. And the choice of cruise destinations is wide. 31 different tours present the highly professional crew with a constant stream of new challenges, especially as the weather at sea can upset the planned daily schedule.

Jederzeit ansprechbar: Captain Ben Bonnett auf der Kommandobrücke der True North / © Foto: Georg Berg
Always available: Captain Ben Bonnett on the bridge of the True North / © Photo: Georg Berg

Guests and crew address each other by their first names. Name tags make it easy to make contact. The entire ship is barefoot and everyone enjoys being able to do without ostentatious luxury. By the end of the voyage, everyone has benefited greatly from the experiences of fellow passengers.

An drei großen Tischen finden sich während der Mahlzeiten jeden Tag neue Gesprächsrunden zusammen. Die Kleiderordnung ist tagsüber von den anstehenden Aktivitäten geprägt und erst am Abend ist smart casual angesagt / © Foto: Georg Berg
At three large tables, new conversation groups gather every day during meals. During the day, the dress code is characterized by the upcoming activities, and only in the evening is smart casual the order of the day / © Photo: Georg Berg

At the beginning of the voyage, the captain introduces his crew and invites guests to familiarize themselves with the ship and its equipment. Of course, everyone is welcome to join him on the bridge at any time.

In der geräumigen Bar Lounge begrüßt Captain Ben Bonnett die Gäste und stellt seine Mannschaft vor / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the spacious bar lounge, Captain Ben Bonnett welcomes guests and introduces his crew / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Australian English spoken on board is not very formal, but approachable, witty and direct. The safety briefing by Jayson, the first officer, is summed up by one guest thus. “With Australian instructions, someone talks for five minutes, no one listens, and after that everyone does what they want.” Or as another sums it up, “Don’t be too careful.” Which here means as much as, everyone feels responsible for each other and helps to keep the good mood going.

Jaydon, der erste Offizier an Bord, erklärt beim Sicherheitsbriefing, warum man beim Sprung ins Wasser die angelegte Schwimmweste mit den Händen umklammern soll: „Ihr könntet euch sonst auf die Zunge beißen. Aber merkt euch ruhig mal, dass ihr auch mit abgebissener Zunge immer noch in die Notfallpfeife blasen könnt“ / © Foto: Georg Berg
Jaydon, the first officer on board, explains during the safety briefing why you should clasp the life jacket you’ve put on with your hands when jumping into the water: “You could bite your tongue otherwise. But just remember that even if your tongue is bitten off, you can still blow the emergency whistle.”/ © Photo: Georg Berg

Menu challenge

On every True North cruise, a two-person kitchen team takes care of guests’ physical well-being. Chef Martina Page with sous chef Gavin Maitland conjure up handsomely decorated portions on the plates, even in heavy seas. The challenge of the menu plan is to meet the majority taste of the guests while also being able to react to individual intolerances.

Mit Standfestigkeit und ruhiger Hand: Martina und Gavin richten in der Kombüse trotz Seegang das Hauptgericht an / © Foto: Georg Berg
With steadfastness and a steady hand: Martina and Gavin prepare the main course in the galley, despite the swell.
Und so kommt es dann köstlich mit tasmanischem Pfeffer und Vincotto gewürzt auf den Tisch: Lammkarree in der Pinienkruste mit Schafskäse an Erbsen-Mint-Püree / © Foto: Georg Berg
And so it arrives on the table deliciously seasoned with Tasmanian pepper and vincotto: rack of lamb in a pine crust with feta cheese on pea-mint puree / © Photo: Georg Berg

The fresh food on board is of organic quality, and depending on which fish are caught by guests during the cruise, the galley is prepared with suitable side dishes and preparation methods.

You can’t get fresher – deep-sea fish on the hook

Deep-sea fishing, even the veterans say, is unpredictable every time. Shortly before sunset, Ian, Steward, Matt and I get into the dinghy, with which we drag three flasher baits on rods behind us at breakneck speed in search of a promising spot. Soon we find an area where thousands of anchovies are jumping out of the water around us. A sure sign of the presence of large predatory fish.

Anchovis springen in Massen aus dem Wasser und zeigen damit das Vorhandensein von Raubfischen an  / © Foto: Georg Berg
Anchovies jump out of the water in masses, indicating the presence of predatory fish / © Photo: Georg Berg
In diesem Moment wissen wir noch nicht, welcher Fisch am Haken ist / © Foto: Georg Berg
At this moment we do not yet know which fish is hooked / © Photo: Georg Berg

Soon Steward feels a strong tug on his line and yells for us to reel in our lines so they can’t tangle with his. He is still fighting a strong fish that almost pulled him overboard. Minutes later, a wahoo lies on the bottom of our boat. With his sharp teeth he can still be dangerous to our toes.

Also on the second fishing trip Steward is the lucky one. And this time a long cherished wish comes true for him. He catches a dogtooth tuna.

Steward aus Brisbane hat schon viel Angelerfahrung, aber von einem solchen Hundszahn-Thunfisch konnte er bisher nur träumen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Steward from Brisbane already has a lot of fishing experience, but he could only dream of catching a dogtooth tuna like this / © Photo: Georg Berg

24 hours later in the galley, sous chef Gavin decorates the fennel-marinated tuna as sashimi on a board.

Gavin und Jaimee lieben den Arbeitsplatz in der Kombüse / © Foto: Georg Berg
Gavin and Jaimee love working in the galley / © Photo: Georg Berg
In schwungvoller Welle dekoriert: Sashimi vom Hundszahn-Thunfisch mit Sojasoße, Wasabi und Gari / © Foto: Georg Berg
Decorated in a sweeping wave: sashimi of dogtooth tuna with soy sauce, wasabi and gari / © Photo: Georg Berg

For the wahoo caught first, the chefs are waiting for a special occasion. After a night sail through rather choppy seas, the time has come. In addition to breakfast, fish congee is ready for self-service on the aft deck. This rice dish is considered the most digestible in Asia. And its healing effect unfolds just on this morning, on which one or the other is not so sure whether the light nausea comes straight or goes already again.

Fisch-Congee mit verschiedenen Würzzutaten wie frittierten Anchovis, Chillies, Ingwer, Knoblauch, Erdnüssen, Sesam, Sojaöl und verschiedenen Gemüsen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Fish congee with various seasoning ingredients such as fried anchovies, chillies, ginger, garlic, peanuts, sesame seeds, soybean oil and various vegetables / © Photo: Georg Berg
Im großen Topf befindet sich lang gekochter recht flüssiger Reis. Mit im Topf die bissfesten Fischstückchen des selbst gefangenen Wahoos. Darüber streut sich jeder nach Belieben verschiedene würzige Zutaten / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the large pot is long-cooked quite liquid rice. With in the pot the bite sized fish pieces of the self caught wahoo. On top of this, everyone scatters various spicy ingredients as they wish / © Photo: Georg Berg

Activity program on the True North

The True North includes a helicopter and six dinghies that can be used to reach the best spots for diving and snorkeling. Dive Master Jeremy and Natalie, the naturalist, assist in assembling the appropriate equipment.

Natalie hat an Bord viele Aufgaben. Hier prüft sie die ausgesuchte Taucherbrille auf den richtigen Sitz / © Foto: Georg Berg
Natalie has many duties on board. Here she checks the selected diving goggles for the right fit / © Photo: Georg Berg

Also on board as a scientific advisor is Angela Beer, who knows the Indonesian waters inside out. She has suggested the route and planned the upcoming dives in such a way that spectacular discoveries are likely. The Indonesian environmental education project she initiated, Kalabia, was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as a model for sustainable development.

Angela und Jeremy planen auf der Brücke der True North anhand von Seekarten und Online-Informationen die Tauchgänge des nächsten Tages  / © Foto: Georg Berg
Angela and Jeremy plan the next day’s dives on the bridge of the True North using nautical charts and online information / © Photo: Georg Berg

Wellness for devil rays

The moment when the seabed appears to move while snorkeling is unforgettable. You have to look closer to see the giant devil rays hovering over the seabed like flying carpets in this phenomenon.

Riesige Teufelsrochen in ihrer Wellness-Oase. Schwärme von Putzerfischen sind an dieser Stelle des Ozeans eine angesagte Attraktion für große Fische / © True North, Foto: Oliver Oldroyd
Giant devil rays in their wellness oasis. Schools of cleaner wrasse are a hip attraction for big fish in this part of the ocean / © True North, photo by Oliver Oldroyd.

In the afternoon, Angela Beer gives a talk about the rays in True North’s bar lounge. She explains the large numbers of devil rays by saying that we have found a cleaning station. There are certain places in the ocean where cleaner fish wait for big fish to come and get their skin cleaned of parasites. And we witnessed such a spa with our diving goggles!

Täglich startet der Hubschrauber vom Deck der True North zu Rundflügen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Every day the helicopter takes off from the deck of the True North for sightseeing flights / © Photo: Georg Berg
Früh am Morgen werden die Beiboote ins Wasser gelassen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Early in the morning the dinghies are lowered into the water / © Photo: Georg Berg

30 years True North Adventure Cruises

The company True North Adventure Cruises owes its foundation to probably the most famous sailing regatta in the world. In 1987 the Americas Cup took place in Fremantle. The founder of True North was involved in the construction of the Canadian challenger boat there and offered the first ocean tours with this boat after the competition.

Zusätzlich zur Satellitennavigation wird auf der True North die gute alte Kompassnadel benutzt. Der Begriff True North bezeichnet exakt den geografischen Nordpol, der vom magnetischen abweicht. / © Foto: Georg Berg
In addition to satellite navigation, the True North uses the good old compass needle. The term True North refers exactly to the geographic North Pole, which is different from the magnetic one. / © Photo: Georg Berg

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The cost of the cruise was not calculated

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

Never miss new Tellerrand-Stories again! Mithilfe eines Feed-Readers lassen sich die Information über neue Blogartikel in Echtzeit abonnieren With the help of a feed reader, all stories about the Tellerrand (edge of the plate) can be subscribed to in real time.

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