_ You may have seen a beautiful big sailing vessel moored in the Bay off Fisherman’s Village, its evening silhouette conjuring up imaginative thoughts of bygone days when sailing was not just a fun pastime, but a method of transport. True travellers are just as concerned about the journey as the destination, and a trip on the Naga begs the question, ‘Do you really want to reach your destination, or would you rather the journey not end?’
Originally called the Yarim Adali, Naga hails from Turkey before she started her long journey to the East Coast of Thailand. After spending a few months in Koh Tao, she has found her new home on Samui where she lies in Bophut Bay, now proudly sporting the name ‘Naga’, after the mythical sea serpent or water dragon.
For the sailing fundis out there, the Naga is a Ketch or Gullet, she weighs 103 tons and is constructed of mahogany and teak. As far as comfort is concerned, guests can lounge on sun decks, drink and be merry around the three metre wooden table on the open-air covered deck, or escape to the below-deck saloon or one of eight double cabins, complete with en-suite bathrooms and air-con. One only truly appreciates the size of this vessel when on board – she is like a floating guest house, and there is always a place to escape and find a place to chill and read your book or contemplate the view should you not feel like joining the party.
The Naga is ideal for special occasions and intimate gatherings. Weddings, birthday parties, office functions or any excuse really – and be assured, one does not need an excuse to spend some time on this elegant sailing ship. The galley is adequately equipped to cater to all functions and there is plenty of fridge space and ice on board to keep the bubbly chilled. Add to that friendly and attentive staff, music and the perfect backdrop of the Gulf of Thailand, and the scene is set for a memorable occasion.
The Naga, now managed by Samui Ocean Sports, offers both private charters as well as group trips, meaning that anyone can enjoy a trip on this mighty vessel, as joining a group does not mean breaking the bank. Routes offered include trips to the Marine Park, to Koh Phangan, around the island as well as sunset cruises. Full day, half day and overnight options are available.
The vessel’s size makes Naga family friendly, as there is more than enough space aboard for children to run about, as well as cabin space for little ones to rest. Should the weather turn bad, there is ample undercover space.
I recently had the pleasure of a trip on Naga, and I was instantly in awe. She is not just a mode of transport but a piece of art, beautifully crafted and lovingly maintained. Lying on the deck, looking up at the never-ending mast that seems to reach the sun, it is easy to drift away into a daydream. If you are thinking of trying something new, let this sailing quote inspire you to try a voyage on the Naga, ‘ You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust the sails’ (Author unknown).
© Rosanne Turner