>As enchanting as sunrises are, sunsets are truly bewitching. That unique moment when the sun disappears below the western horizon is truly exceptional when you share it with someone special. Experiencing the vibrant colours painted across Mother Nature’s canvas with Joseph by my side was so magical and what made it even special was that we were aboard a luxury yacht called the Lumba Lumba at Gaya Island Resort.
Once back from our romantic picnic, we made way to the jetty to hop on the resort’s speedboat that would take us further out into the sea to board the elegant 64-foot fiberglass beauty that swayed at its moorings.
The majestic Lumba Lumba – took this from the speedboat!
Despite nonchalantly kicking off my sandals at the bottom deck of the yacht in nautical expert fashion, I stumbled into Joseph and another sailing companion teasingly commenting that a fully qualified landlubber had arrived. As the deck surface is shiningly polished with varnish, and can be easily marred and damaged by the bottom of your Manolo heels or sandy flip flops, everyone on board the Lumba Lumba were asked to remove their footwear.
The Sunset Cruise by Gaya Island Resort only caters to 12 people or 6 couples at a time and cruising time is decided by the Captain based on the day’s sunset timings. As the sky turned rather cloudy with several threats of thunderstorms, I was pessimistic on what sort of sunset we were going to witness that evening.
Notice the clouds? The sun hid for quite some time!
I continued towards the upper deck with an uncontrollable quickstep to the sway of the yacht, somehow balancing my camera in one hand as everyone chose a seat and got ready to set sail around Malohom Bay. Lesser Fish Eagles circled the skies and Hornbills squealed from treetops as though heralding the triumph of another day as the sun started its final bow from behind the cloud curtains.
With the majestic expanse of the Crocker Range and Mount Kinabalu in the distance we cruised at a speed of 16 knots, completely mesmerised.
Our Captain briefing us on our surroundings…
As our aperitifs were served, the Captain started to describe our surroundings. We gazed at the crystalline waters and began to see the appeal of chartering a yacht; either for a family holiday or simply for a romantic cruise for two. The exhilarating feeling you feel on an open sea especially during sunset is an experience that can never be paralleled on land.
As the yacht turned, we saw orange hues of a very shy sun that evening
Built in 2010 by Princess Yachts, the Lumba Lumba meaning “dolphin” in the local Malay language is the epitome of luxury. The interiors of this magnificent yacht are designed by Louis Vuitton and are equipped with two en-suite cabins and two bunk bed cabins. We were allowed to take a small tour of the lower deck cabins during the cruise while we waited for a perfect photographic setting.
“Looks like we won’t be having an egg yolk setting today”, said the Captain after 30 minutes of cruising. But what unfolded before us was more than what we bargained for. Experiencing the sky turn into many shades of orange, violet and magenta in such drama was a highlight of our trip in Borneo. Though it is possible to catch the sun setting anywhere in the world, watching it vanish into the horizon from a yacht is truly captivating.
Have you watched the sun set from a yacht before? What were your experiences like?
The clouds made for a dramatic sunset that evening
The mesmerising skyline despite the clouds!
Cost: The Sunset Cruise on the Lumba Lumba cost approximately USD 91 per person.
For something a little more extravagant… book the The Borneo Stardust Voyage: Embark on a cruise on-board the Lumba Lumba, a 64-footer private yacht as the sun sets. Let the service staff and personal chef assist in designing your menu selections from canapés to main courses grilled a la minute at the upper deck of the yacht. As the evening closes, watch the silver moon rise in the cobalt sky and the twinkling constellation during the gourmet voyage around the shimmering waters of the marine park. * Min 4 hours advance booking. Cost: Approximately USD 784++ inclusive of dinner for 2 persons. Subsequent diner is chargeable at USD110++ per person (3 hours inclusive dinner) 6 pm – 9 pm *Private dinners are subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government tax *Price is excluding beverages
Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and set on the shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Gaya Island Resort offers the perfect launching pad to discover Borneo and all that it has to offer; idyllic golden sand beaches, dive sites of spectacular underwater havens and untouched tropical rainforests, home to many rare species including the Orang Utan and the proboscis monkey. The resort is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and is a short 30-minute combined car and speedboat ride from the airport.
Disclaimer: We thank YTL Hotels for inviting Travel and Beyond to an exclusive stay at Gaya Island Resort. However, as always all opinions expressed are exclusively that of the author(s).