Voyage out of time

Voyage out of time

Propped up on plush cushions on a day bed, I sip iced latte and look out on a vast seascape with no vessels in sight. It feels like our schooner is a random speck of civilisation bobbing on the far edge of the world.

The Komodo islands of Indonesia are not so distant from Singapore, in reality. Yet the region, east of Bali, is isolated enough for a sensation of pure escape. I am sailing on the 34m Tiger Blue, a phinisi built in the centuries-old Bugis tradition.

The teak boat is topped with double Bordeaux-red sails and designed with contemporary comforts. The cabins, for up to 12 guests, are amply sized and air- conditioned.

Luxuriously, we have our own Belgian chef. During our three-day voyage, he prepares peppered yellow-fin tuna, Thai fishcakes sprinkled with fresh coriander and lime leaves, silky white chocolate cream - and more luscious food.

It is a big and inventive repertoire from his tiny, bright galley where he works in his chef's whites and shorts, alongside an Indonesian assistant.

A crew of Indonesians navigate the ship - owned by Malaysian and British entrepreneurs - and pamper us fully.

They not only run a tight ship, but also do our laundry, proffer towels when we return from our dives or treks and, wonderfully, set up a sundown bar each evening on a different uninhabited island.

I often think of one of our sundowns spent on the pink-sand beach of Mawan, where five guests and our Dutch captain Wouter van den Houten sink into cushy beanbag chairs carted by our crew on a motor boat.

From the sundown bar comes my Tequila Sunrise, then vodka blended with cranberry juice. Plates of canapes keep wafting by - ricotta studded with crunchy cucumber bits, freshly fried anchovy fritters, our chef's homemade pate.

While there is still light, I pick brilliant red coral pieces washed up on the beach. The unusual pink of its sand finds a visual echo in the sunset colours. We linger in a sheltered cove, just us in the deepening dusk.

Around us, the light changes subtly. The crew build a bonfire while little globular lamps dot the sand, creating another texture of light. We admire our ship in the distance, glowing like a candle.

The sky is dusted with brilliant stars as early as 6.45pm, and we identify the vivid Southern Cross and Scorpio. Moments later, a full moon rises behind inky crags.

Fittingly, a new British friend plays Biophilia, Icelandic artiste Bjork's album about the galaxy.

It is a wistful paradox, as the avant garde music, partly composed on an iPad and released as apps, flows with the ceaseless soundtrack of the waves on a faraway islet untethered to technology.

I think how perfect it is to be here, sequestered in a personal sensurround cocoon of tropical breeze, waves, music, icy cocktails, light-hearted companionship, and travel stories.

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