Burma Boating has launched a new vessel to its fleet in the Myeik Archipelago in Myanmar, Johannesburg-based travel and destination management firm Marmalade Toast (MT) said.
The new luxury sailing yacht, SY Scame – a one master, 72-foot wooden cutter design – was constructed at the Sangermani Shipyards, one of the world’s most famous builders of elegant boats.
Designed in 1971, the vessel is Burma Boating’s only one-master vessel and has three double cabins and six berths. The yacht is suitable for families or groups of up to six people.
The vessel can accommodate up to six guests in three cabins. The aft cabin has a double and single bed as well as desk and storage space. Additionally, Scame features a cabin with two single berths and another cabin with a double bed on her starboard side. All cabins have access to one of altogether two guest washrooms with showers. The yacht is fully air-conditioned and all cabins have fans.
From the flush teak deck, a guest can step down into the saloon, which is centrally positioned between the aft cabin and the double-bed cabin on one hand and the galley and the twin-bed cabin on the other.
Myeik archipelago and the ‘sea nomads’
Virtually unknown to the outside world, the Myeik Archipelago, also known as Mergui, is located in Myanmar’s remote south: a group of 800 deserted islands that lie at the heart of Burma Boating’s sailing area.
Just across from the Thai border, the archipelago opened to foreigners as recently as the late 1990s. With only a few of the 800 islands sparsely populated and a couple dozen visitors to the entire area each month, the Myeik Archipelago remains one of the planet’s most unspoilt destinations.
The traditional inhabitants of the Myeik Archipelago are the Moken, a people who live off, and on, the sea. This ethnic minority group leads a traditional, semi-nomadic lifestyle, dominated by diving for sea cucumbers, fishing and bartering.
Until the recent changes in Myanmar’s government, the relationship between the Moken and the central authorities was marked by tensions. Recently, however, things have started to improve and the Moken are somewhat less elusive. If guests are interested, MT said it can take them to Moken villages where they will be able to enjoy Moken food, buy fresh cuttlefish, and watch men building dugout canoes.
The Myeik Archipelago lies in tropical waters and temperatures are constantly warm and pleasant, with average highs ranging between 28-33°C (84-92°F) and average lows between 20-24°C (69-76°F).
Sailing is possible throughout the year but there are major differences between the seasons.
The best time for sailing in the Myeik is between November and April. Conditions during December to February are perfect, with warm, sunny weather, a steady 20 knots of wind, and calm seas. March and April have less wind, which is why they are the best time for diving and snorkelling with clear water.
From May to July there are strong onshore winds and a larger swell. There are occasional hurricanes in the Myeik from May to June. The rainy season is from July to October.
Even when winds are strong and swells are sizeable, the numerous large islands provide hundreds of protected anchorages for any season, as well as “hurricane holes” for stormy days.
While some areas of the archipelago have not been entirely charted and explored, the region provides safe sailing, with few under-water obstacles or dangerous reefs.
The UNESCO examined the Myeik Archipelago as a potential World Heritage Site for its biodiversity, and the organisation’s report concludes:
“While the biodiversity is largely unknown, the intact vegetation on such an array of islands, with associated marine habitats and spectacular geomorphology, is likely to be of high global biodiversity significance.
“The biodiversity values of this set of forested continental islands, and the limited protection afforded such coastal islands elsewhere in the region, indicates that they are likely to be of global priority and form a potentially important trans-boundary World Heritage inscription.”