Sailing through the eastern Indonesian islands of Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park, the Alila groupâ€™s five-suite phinisi schooner Alila PurnamaÂ allows its passengers to explore these remote waters in luxury. Here, the vesselâ€™s Spanish cruise director, Mario Gonzalez, talks about his love for the sea and other things that float his boat.
Iâ€™m from the Canary Islands, and as a kid, I would snorkel for hours. I was an architect for 12 years, but it was only a matter of time before I was drawn back to the ocean.
Taking care of a wooden boat is a never-ending job, as thereâ€™s always something that needs repair. I work my hardest when there are no guests around!
Raja Ampat is a wonderland, and our itinerary there can be tailored to guestsâ€™ wishes. Weâ€™ve dived with Minke whales, dolphins, and mobula rays. Weâ€™ve gotten up at 3 a.m. to find rare birds and watch the sunrise, and speedboated through limestone seascapes at sunset.
Personally, I find sharks and mantas unjustly treated by the media. Theyâ€™re wonderful animals, and I havenâ€™t known a diver who wasnâ€™t rid of their fears after diving with them.
Living with guests on a 46-meter boat means I get to know them very well, and many remain friends afterward. I think this is also because memories are attached to emotions, and we do everything we can to create the best memories possible.Â â€”Gabrielle Lipton
This article originally appeared in theÂ April/MayÂ print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śCruise Control”).