In 2018, Mark Robba, owner of 51-metre SY Dunia Baru, began construction of his Learning Centre on the Indonesian island of Mansuar. Intended to serve the whole of the Raja Ampat region, the centre will be an educational hub where locals can study, learn about conservation of their local environment, seek help for health related issues, and train in professions that will help them connect with and capitalise on the business from visiting yachts.
As the Learning Centre enters its final stages of construction, Robba is offering two weeks of discounted charter with all proceeds going towards the centre’s completion and the initial community programmes, which include the implementation of better waste management systems for the local villages. Guests are invited to see this inspirational work first hand and if they wish to become more involved, can dedicate some of their charter time to assisting directly with the build or other programmes, teaching at the school and interacting with the local community.
“What we’re doing here is creating a sustainable future – primarily for the people living here, in this incredible corner of the planet, but also ensuring that yachts visiting this area do so in a way that benefits the local economy without having a negative impact on the marine environment. The idea stems from a personal passion to see this area thrive, but I believe as a yacht, and indeed a business, benefitting from the hospitality of the local population and enjoying this special environment, that we have a corporate social responsibility.” – Mark Robba
The eco-friendly Learning Centre has been designed by renowned Indonesian architect Popo Danes, and encompasses some 240 square metres, featuring a central library with additional rooms for workshops and classes. Three master shipwrights, who worked on Dunia Baru’s build, have been assisting the build team, meaning that even in its construction the Learning Centre has helped local craftsmen learn new skills and engaged the community.
Robba has been visiting Indonesia since 1990 and, after falling in love with this beautiful part of the world and its culture; in 2012 he decided to build his yacht there. Dunia Baru, launched in 2013, is a modern interpretation of a traditional Indonesian Phinisi vessel. Dunia Baru was built and is maintained to BKI Classification, and she has been completed to impressive superyacht standards. Robba has already lead the way with the eco sustainability of his own yacht, banning single-use plastic aboard and any reef-damaging amenities.
As a destination, Indonesia is comprised of over 17,000 islands and offers a remarkable paradise both above and below the water’s surface. In the Raja Ampat region, hundreds of jungle-covered islands form an incredible cruising area, with the islands themselves hiding ancient rock paintings and caves, and providing a habitat for the crimson bird of paradise. The Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, is not only home to the Komodo dragon, but is also a refuge for the endangered Timor deer and the rich marine ecosystem is a scuba-diver’s dream, hosting 14 species of whales, 1,000 species of fish and 260 species of coral. The Maluku Islands (the spice islands) are a veritable hothouse of biodiversity. This archipelago – wedged tightly in a nutcracker of shifting tectonic plates, boasts volcanoes, hot springs and sultry tropical rainforests.
Other initiatives already underway in the area, funded by Robba and his philanthropic collaborators, include the installation of solar-powered street lighting, island-hopping touring medical centres and the supply of educational resources to local schools.
Charter rates from USD $112,000 per week.
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Featured Image Credit: Dennis Anderson