It was barely an hour past lunchtime as the bus drove slowly, taking our group from the Jakarta Tourism Business Forum 2014, penetrating through the congested traffic of Jakarta, making our way to Sunda Kelapa harbor in the northern part of the city.
As the bus was approaching the Sunda Kelapa harbor, I could see the 12-meter-tall Syahbandar Tower — which is located in the same compound as the Maritime Museum — slightly leaning to one side from afar and reminding me of the famous Tower of Pisa. Both the museum and the tower serve as remnants of the past from back when the city’s name was Batavia.
When the bus passed through the main gate of the Sunda Kelapa harbor, the sight of dozens of traditional pinisi (a traditional fishing boat constructed of wood) moored along the old harbor greeted me — an iconic sight one usually find on postcards and publications about Jakarta tourism and history. Today, most of the wooden pinisi sailing ships are still operating regularly carrying inter-island freight across the archipelago.
But rather than going straight to where the pinisi ships are, my bus turned right instead, heading to the Batavia Marina. This marina serves as a floating berth for large and small private boats with electricity and water supplies provided. Berthing spaces are available on either a visiting, short-term or long-term basis.
The friendly staff from the Batavia Marina greeted us in its five-story building, which was built in a colonial architectural style and features a classical wooden interior. Walking out to the building’s back porch, lines of berthed boats and yachts were immediately seen adorning the waterfront — including the Quicksilver Sunda Kelapa vessel that we were about to board.
The sleek aluminum wave-piercing catamaran is indeed an awesome sight to see floating out among other boats there. This 37-meter water-piercing catamaran, which can carry up to 130 passengers, is equipped with twin hulls that actually pierce the water below the surface, thus enabling passengers a much smoother ride in all sea and weather conditions.
The pretty, giant catamaran actually has a twin sister operating under the same management in Bali, taking cruises around Nusa Penida Island. Measuring 37 meters long and 15 meters wide, the Quicksilver Sunda Kelapa has three decks with two air-conditioned indoor cabins and an open-air sundeck on top ready to take you on a cruise with its 24-knot cruising speed.
It has a spacious first deck with lounge-style seating and an interior complete with a pantry, bar, dancing floor, sound and lighting systems. Its large windows allow passengers to take in the incredible ocean view in a cool, comfortable environment. Climbing up to the second deck, this area is equipped with an expansive semi-outdoor rear deck where passengers can sit and enjoy the ocean vistas.
The top open-air sundeck can be reached by stairs from the rear deck. The wind is very strong on the top deck, but the blue canopy will safely keep you away from direct sunlight while you enjoy the spectacular scenery.
As the Quicksilver Sunda Kelapa sets sail for its 2.5-hour fun cruise around Jakarta Bay, one of the staffers in a blue and white marine-patterned uniform demonstrates safety instructions in front of the passengers, including how to put on a life vest and where to exit in case of emergency. Welcome drinks, tasty canapés and fresh fruit were served downstairs on the first deck for all passengers to enjoy.
Keroncong music was blaring loud from the boat’s audio systems, adding an old-Batavia atmosphere throughout the cruise.
Devi Laelyta Safitri, the marketing staff member of the Batavia Sunda Kelapa Marina, told me that currently the Quicksilver is only available for 2.5-hour regular charters that cost Rp 55 million (US$4,331) — for groups of up to 130 people — which includes a full dining menu, welcome drinks and canapés, as well as on-board entertainment such as live music, dance and magic shows.
Special packages for on-board private wedding parties, birthday celebrations or corporate gatherings are also available upon request.
This article is originally published on The Jakarta Post Travel