To explore Raja Ampat you need boat as extraordinary as the destination. To really experience Raja Ampat, you need to be able to park right where the reef meets the rainforest. Boats are not allowed to drop and anchor on the delicate coral gardens, so we use a shallow draft boat that can tie up between the karst islets, or back onto an all-sand beach, or slide alongside a village jetty, atop the coral. The enchanting dynamic of Bigkanu is in the locations where we park.
Bigkanu is a 24m multihull built for expeditionary comfort, and is the luxury 4 wheel drive of boating. Check out the boat photos and you will see a type of boat, the likes of which has no copy. We have 9 small airy, single guest cabins, 3 of which have fold up, double bunks for a couple. The boat interior is configured for day and night modes. By day, that boat open to one big cool airy cabin, but which can divide into a small private cabin for each guest with louver bifolds, avoiding that embarrassing need to meet the unknown cabin mate. Each cabin has lot of of view and ventilation. No one is stuffy ‘below decks’ in this floating space ship. We have a couple of hassle free flushing toilets, and two inside/outside, rinse down showers. The galley takes pride of place like a sushi chef on display, and our food manufacture is a public art.
Out on deck Bigkanu is ‘toy-craft-carrier’ of SUP boards, kayak and twin 6m, trimaran tenders, both of which winch up under the cross arms. This is a sailing boat, and every time we have a good beam wind, we raise Asia’s biggest lateen sail and enjoy the boost. This is a big trimaran, traditionally respectful of our Asian outrigger heritage, and with and arms stretching 12m span, a glass never slides off a table, and seasickness is rare. Photovoltaics cover the roof, not only to save the planet, but to save us from generator noise. This boat is not built with the sometimes risky carpentry of Asia, it’s an Australian and Kiwi collaboration made by passionate sea people out of alloy, to safety and engineering standards not common in developing countries. It was an expensive build.
Being that all overnight spots all invite swimming, Bigkanu urges you to jump in, and climb aboard at ease, all around the boat, at any time when the engine is off. Trampolines surround the boat, and the upper deck shade lounge offers to chill out with a view. Meals are served on the back deck or on beaches or moonlit jetties, and given we operate on the equator, shade is everywhere.
Nearly all the boats cruising Raja Ampat are for divers, and cost around 260 to 360 Euros per night, and their itineraries are all about the underwater landscape. The choice we offer is a much bigger experience than just diving, as the real ‘wow’ of Raja Ampat is where the reef meets the rainforest. This means beaches, karst cruising, villages, snorkelling, kayaking, beach dinner parties, and a ‘see it all’ agenda.
BIGKANU, like its destination, is not beholden to the fake comforts of world trying to insulate itself from nature. BIGKANU is all about getting into nature, not shielding it from us, by doing it in a gentle way, that is the way of Raja Ampat.