Friday, 1 December 2006

Sail Asia Rally - ... Apr - Nov 2006


We joined the 2006 Darwin – Kupang rally just to make the paperwork easier. We totally underestimated the organization of the ongoing rally events through to Langkawi in Malayisa, and the depth of companionships and friendships we would experience along the way. We would recommend the rally to everyone, and have done! For those that like total cruising in company there will always be someone going your way to buddy boat with, for those that truly like to get away from it all this too is possible, Asia is a huge cruising ground with all sorts of options, the great advantage with the rally is you can dip in and out of it, as and when you chose.

Below I’ve detailed our anchorages, All care has been taken to give the correct information but please double check everything yourselves. I have tried to use the most common names or names found on CMap, some places have several names/spellings

The passage up was light winds the first 3 days, sailing with the MPS up during daylight and motoring at night. On the 3rd night as we got closer to Timor the Southeast trades kicked in and we had a brisk sail. We rounded the bottom of Timor in some disturbed seas on the 16m line south of Tanjung Oecina, but once we got into Selat Semau seas flattened completely and wind eased right off.
There was one yacht anchored at
TELUK TOBLOLONG appx 10.19.00S 123.27.96E

We had a couple of hours of light left so kept going up Selat Semau, there had been hours of discussion about the currents/tides etc in these Selats, experience has shown that there is no formula for agreeing the best time to transit them, you just got what you got and it seemed best closest to shore. There was a lot of boat activity in the strait at dusk with all the local fishing boats leaving for the evening. Approaching Kupang in the dark was difficult as anchored boat lights blended right into the city lights, as we got close we called the anchored yachts and they lit themselves up and guided us in. We anchored just outside “Teddys”. This is a big bay, but not the best holding and some days we were getting an afternoon seabreeze from the Northeast, which certainly livened the dinghy landings up. Teddys beach boys were great, sure we paid, but we would have happily paid in Darwin to have someone haul our dinghy up Fanny Bay Beach!!! Teddy received negative feedback for being too expensive, having a monopoly etc, however he gets things organized and has provided an excellent venue for our “Welcome to Indonesia”. Several people bought local SIM cards in Kupang and coverage throughout all the island chains was very good with phone towers a regular sight. ATM’s between here and Bali are few and far between, and often have a tiny maximum withdrawl, take plenty of cash, small denominations are best. We took a minibus with one of Teddys university guides to the local produce market, one of the best we saw in Indonesia.

Easy day sail up the Timorese coast in light winds and flat water. Some boats tried to find shallow enough water at TG Mas unsuccessfully. About 12 of us ended up at
TG GUMUK 9.30.90S 123.47.50E in 11 metres,
a little rolly and you could hear the waves crashing on the shore but ok for an overnight stop.

Long day, very little wind, flat seas. Some yachts at anchor on SW tip at approx
8.30.52S 123.13.64E Good reports from those that stayed here.

8.22.16S 123.24.45E Lebalaba Rally anchorage 10m
We continued to Lebalaba Bay rally anchorage. Do not advise night time arrival, fishing nets laid everywhere at sunset plus a couple of sandbanks. Allow plenty swing room, boats wandered all over the place for no reason after about 4 days!!! Stunning vista of smoking volcanoes. Unforgettable rally reception. ATM’s accept local cards only, travellers cheques NOT changed, USD/AUD cash only. Slow Internet available at Council office. 20L water bottles and diesel (walk to station) available. Reasonable fresh produce market daily, great little restaurant on the road the market is on, just next to the mosque. Tasty food, cheap Bintang.

More discussions on right time to go through Boling Strait, we left earlier than the experts advised and had flat seas and current with us. We then turned to port and went through the little channel above TG Wur Cobin and TG Magawutun. CMap was spot on but we also had perfect visibility and could clearly define the channel. Many boats anchored at 8.14.73S 123.19.59E approx, just on right after little channel. All wandered with tides/currents but no harm done and beautiful spot.
We had good breeze so kept going, breeze then died and unfortunately our engine did a very good impression of blowing up and we limped 8 miles back to closet anchorage
SAGU BAY at TG WATU KOLI 8.14.42S 123.13.43E in 10m quite close to reef
There are a couple of charted rocks in the bay, we couldn’t see them but one boat nudged one. We had an anxious evening with the “brains trust” working on our engine, all was not well.
We had planned to anchor that night at
SERBETE (P MAS) 8.09.06S 123.00.67E approx
The boats that did try stopping here reported not much room to anchor in shallow enough water and not good holding, snorkelling was nothing special either.

We were now a sail boat using our engine just for getting in and out of anchorages, because of very light winds we had some long days but managed ok.
TG GEDONG 8.04.74S 122.50.68E dropped in 12m drifted back to 19m
This was a nice bay with a track leading over the hill to a nearby village. The bottom was quite deep until very close in and is broken coral base. Some boats anchored along the northern end of bay and took a stern line ashore. We fitted 9 boats in and had a comfortable night.
The sail from here to Wailamung was a mixture of wind directions and speeds. Coming across the bay from TK Hading the wind funnels down between the volcanoes and whips across the bay, nearly all the boats experienced strong winds for a couple of hours here. Some boats went into anchor in Hading Bay and had a pleasant beach bar-b-que but reported deep water in close and not much space, again some took stern lines ashore
preferred anchorage at 8.25.17S 122.35.40E around 10m in between reefs
We anchored at 8.25.30S 122.35.28E in 26m (anchorage full)
There is an outlying reef to clear before turning to port to come into this anchorage, our waypoint for turning was 8.25.196S 122.34.961E visibility was ok as we had good daylight and clear skies.
Stayed 2 nights here, there is a market ashore once a week, sorry can’t remember which day. Once past the market area this is a nice village with some friendly English speaking locals keen to show us around.

WODONG Drop wherever you can in the bay, depths vary greatly and there is a wreck quite close in.
Anchored 8.36.45S 122.28.49E (on land on CMap) in 23m swung to 18m with 70m out
This anchorage is not that scenic but there is a little backpackers here that does dive courses and excellent meals. You do need to advise them in advance and they can only take limited numbers but the food was very good. You can also arrange a minibus tour to MAUMERE, quite a large town, ATM machines, market, travel agencies, internet etc. It is also about another 40 minutes to visit the Local Ladies Weaving Corporate where we saw the whole process of Ikat making.
TG BATU BOGA Anchored at 8.28.06S 121.57.68E near some fishing boats in 16m
Tried to anchor 8.28.26S 121.57.42E in 6m by small island but holding poor
Also tried entrance to bay but couldn’t find anything suitable. This was our only night at anchor alone between the Whitsundays, April 2006 and Phang Nga Bay Thailand, January 2007!
TG TODO/TODO BAY Arrival Waypoints 8.32.00S 121.25.00E
8.33.05S 121.25.48E
8.34.29S 121.25.49E
Anchored at 8.34.89S 121.25.76E tucked behind small reef.
There is a small memorial building on shore and a land formation that looks just like a huge English thatched roofed Cottage. The reef may have had some good snorkelling but we had a late arrival and early departure.
RIUNG We sailed outside all the islands enroute but many boats went around/inside them.
Arrival Waypoints 8.22.66S 121.02.50E
8.23.72S 121.02.06E
8.24.03S 121.01.74E
Anchored at 8.24.42S 121.01.60E
Preferred Anchorage 8.24.56S 121.01.75E approx
The final entrance through the reef was well marked by the rally organizers with coloured buoys (not red and green) and was easy to follow as you approached. There were about 40 boats in the anchorage when we arrived so we were further away from the dinghy jetty but comfortable. There is a REEF in the middle of the anchorage. We missed the rally events here but had enough latecomer boats to put together a day trip to the hot springs and Bima, one of the last traditionally built preserved Indonesian villages in the volcanic foothills. You can also stop enroute at an ATM. This trip was worthwhile but it is about 14hours so go prepared!! There are a couple of restaurants in Riung, small stores with very basic food items, diesel from a drum and 20L water bottles were available at jetty while rally boats there.
LINGEH BAY ******There are a lot more bommies/reef patches than shown on CMap*******
Arrival Waypoints 8.16.86S 120.35.35E
8.16.97S 120.35.56E
8.17.02S 120.35.81E
8.17.00S 120.35.90E
Anchor anywhere in here, varying depths from 6m to 15m. Snorkelling very good, several small reefs.
this was one of the few spots that all the locals came out in dugouts wanting books, pens, etc they were not interested in trading just wanted to be given things. We didn’t go ashore but this was a lovely anchorage.
TELOK BARI Anchored at 8.20.57S 120.10.79E in 14m
Comfortable big bay, shallower closer in but we were last again and already about 10 yachts. CMap ok
SOUTH LABUAN BAJO Anchored at 8.31.06S 119.52.02E in 6m mud
The anchorage in Labuan Bajo was busy so we anchored further down the coast in a calm spot outside a dive resort. You can do your PADI dive certificate from here. This was a good spot, access to town was ok if you had enough people to share a minivan but no buses. 20L water, fuel, ATM’s, fruit and vege market all available in town. Cruisey place, quite a few backpackers around so several good restaurants overlooking bay.

SABAJOR KETJIL Tried anchoring on north coast but shallow water too close in for comfort and several little bommies. Water very clear, diving recommended here but those that did stay had a rolly night.
SABAJOR BESAR Anchored at 8.30.36S 119.42.73E dropped in 12m sand patch, settled 5m over flat coral. You need good light to do this, the water was very clear and looked shallower than it was. This was a very pretty spot, good dinghy excursions around little islands, snorkelling was not bad, and no roll. CMap not too much use here, need good light and eyes.
GILI LAWA LAUT Anchored at 8.26.88S 119.34.11E 14m sandy spot, CMap shows on land. shallower closer in look for sandy areas as a lot of the bottom is coral, plus 3 mooring buoys (one wasn’t attached to the bottom so best check!!!) Lovely spot, pretty beach and great swimming with manta rays, they are pretty big. Excellent diving reported around the rocks just offshore, marked on CMap.

From here we did the unthinkable, this area is reputed to be the best Indonesia has to offer, Komodo dragons, superb fish life and coral down at Red Beach, monkeys and deer on the beach at Rinca, the highlights go on, well so did we!!! We were really battling sailing in such light airs with a sail plan much more suited to crossing Cook and Bass Straits!! We did a 2 night sail along the northern coasts of Sumbawa and Lombok, very fickle winds affected by some huge volcanoes, generally flat seas.

Easiest to come down the channel between Lombok and Gili Aer, it doesn’t look very wide on CMap but it is very easy to see. (We came down the other side and around the bottom). The anchorage is on the southeastern tip on the island (on the reef on CMap) As you come down the eastern side of the island at the end there is a clear channel into the anchorage, quite close to land, it is a sharp turn to starboard, land on your right, reef on your left. If you miss it go around this reef to the other opening at entry waypoint 8.22.29S 116.04.94E if you use this waypoint then go due north towards land, anchor apprx 8.21.96S 116.05.00E in 22m loose coral base
There are also some mooring buoys, locals may come out collecting anchoring charge, after much discussion it was finally agreed on no charge for anchoring, those on moorings were asked to contribute. This is a small anchorage but a one point after we left there were 22 rally boats in here. Don’t even think about going past here without stopping. Transport is donkey and cart, bamboo loungers with big cushions to relax on, excellent food and drinks (cheap) at a very good range of places.
This is about an hour south of Gili Aer on Lombok mainland, Mohammed has moorings, can organize water, fuel, tours inland, trip to extend Indo visas (although some had hiccups with this).
Moorings approx 8.23.88S 116.04.19E
We didn’t go in here and there are some fish farms outside that we saw.
T MANGSIT Anchored at 8.28.74S 116.02.80E in 8m sand
Had afternoon southwest breeze again here but not too much fetch or swell but could have been an interesting dinghy landing if we had gone ashore to one of the hotels
LOMBOK STRAIT We had an early departure headed for Bali, there were hundreds (no exaggeration) of small fishing craft coming in towards Lombok after their night fishing. Some appeared to have sails set and were asleep!! The current here is said to always be south setting. We had 7 knots of current with us for a couple of hours, sure get there faster. There was some very interesting water north of Lembongan Island, nothing too scary, just lively. We had good breeze all the way across and headed for the rally anchorage, as you approach you can only see breakers on the reef but the opening does become apparent.

SERANGAN Approach waypoints 8.43.66S 115.16.07E
8.43.51S 115.15.18E (CMap slightly out)
Port/starboard marks 8.43.49S 115.14.95E
Anchored at 8.43.17S 115.14.48E in 8m
We had over 7 metres all the way in and there is ample room to drop sails once inside the anchorage, sailing in was not a problem, several boats did it. We arrived before “Sea Bali” the local rally organizers set up and it was easy to get fuel, water, laundry, taxis, tours etc through the local shopkeepers. Once Sea Bali moved in the local shops were virtually closed down and everything had to be done thru the rally. They did provide an excellent service for renewing visas. We moved down to Benoa Harbour and Bali Marina to get our engine work done
BALI MARINA Cmap is spot on for the entry to the harbour using markers, keep going up until 8.44.91S 115.12.87E
8.44.76S 115.12.79E green markers on starboard
Marina entrance 8.44.42S 115.12.82E
We went in at high tide and had plenty of water but don’t stray outside the final area around the marina as at low tide some of it dries out. The marina is pretty rickety, the showers cold, smelly & horrible, the restaurant quite good, if you send laundry check you get it all back, but all in all not a bad wee spot. We were recommended Johnny at Bintang Diesel for our engine repairs. He spoke little English but was excellent, he deals mainly with truck diesels but he knows his stuff. I have two phone numbers written down, think is workshop was 361 436 922 and mobile 0811 399 681. His workshop is at 14A Cokroaminoto Jalan Denpasar. He spent around 20hours (with assistant) and fixed our problem for around $400NZD.

Having had such favourable current down the Lombok Strait there was considerable discussion on just how we were to head north again. Only a handful went around the bottom and up Selat Bali, they all got through with a mixture of conditions. We had sought local advice and were told to stay close to Bali and just sneak our way up. We left in company with one other and motor sailed easily up the southeast coast with little contra current and calm waters, we could see the distributed water only a couple of hundred metres outside us, until we got abeam of about T Bugbug. We then hit very disturbed waters, winds up to 35knts from all directions, all a little lively for a couple of hours until we cleared the eastern most point of Bali. Then winds died off and very sloppy seas, motored overnight to Pulau Raas (most boats experienced similar conditions over the next 3 weeks). Approach to Raas easy in good light, CMap pretty accurate, final approach 7.06.12S 114.30.09E
7.06.01S 114.30.47E
7.06.38S 114.30.81E
Anchored at 7.07.18S 114.30.31E in 14m scattered bommies around.
A long way from shore, but very comfortable

Now that our engine was fixed we were having good winds. Overnight sail to Bawean, thousands of flags at sea, maybe small fishing craft mooring buoys, they went on till dusk and were there at dawn, amazing but we didn’t seem to hit any. Cmap slightly out, turn at 5.43.04S 112.39E
Anchored at 5.43.93S 112.40.12E in 5m very hard sand
This island is very Muslim, dress accordingly, as all the women are well covered. Excellent fruit and veg market, we organized a day tour with a local on the beach, really nice place. Only downside was it was the start of Ramadan and every mosque loud speaker seemed to be pointed at the anchorage. The praying is 24hours during Ramadan, there is no escaping it. A small eatery with basic food was open ashore on the beachfront road.


Overnight sail in good winds, comfortable seas, in company with 7 other yachts. Lots of local traffic, all well lit with a variety of lights, several tugs and barges. Barges, however, were NOT lit, one vessel was pulling two barges, neither lit. Radar was very useful and we all passed information between us. A busy night. We were first to arrive at the Kumai River mouth. For those of you with deep drafts I will give our waypoints, we didn’[t see less than 4m in or out. Aim for leading light and starboard marker , CMap accurate out here but a little out further upstream

from green mark to 2.56.92S 111.41.55E
2.54.23S 111.42.52E should be able to see leads
in the bush to get you to 2.53.46S 111.42.19E dropped mainsail half way across here in 13m (6m contour on CMap) 2.51.17S 111.43.55E more leads ahead but rather over-grown 2.49.83S 111.43.48E
2.47.63S 111.42.03E nearly there!
2.47.15S 111.42.10E There wasn’t much local traffic at all and the river is pretty wide. Anchor at 2.44.35S 111.44.02E
Both operators run very good companies, they use the same boats, staff, some guides etc. We did an overnight tour, if I went again I’d go for a two nighter. It is excellent. One tip, we were cold sleeping as its partly in the open with just mozzie nets. Mozzies were not a problem. 10 out of 10 (and we had already seen Orangutans in Sumatra years ago). Several little restaurants ashore, your jungle excursion guys will get anything you need. ATM’s, supermarket etc available in Pangkalanbuun, basics and fruit and veg in Kumai. Beer was not available for sale anywhere (ie supermarkets and restaurants) during Ramadan either here or further on in Bawean Island, so stock up in Bali. This was the last day of clear skies we had until just south of Penang due to the smoke from the burnoffs on Borneo. Easy trip back down the river then bashed our way to windward in very short steep seas to clear the shallows. Headed west and went inside Clemencia and Aruba Banks during the night.
Following gave shallowest depth of 13m 3.23.75S 110.24.80E
3.17.50S 110.15.00E
3.16.23S 110.12.12E
3.09.77S 110.03.48E


Good winds so arrived early still dark. Came up west side of island into flat water. Wind bullets along coast and also in anchorage. CMap slightly off but ok to get in.
Anchored at 1.42.28S 108.43.10E 13m sand, moved closer in morning
2 night sail, good winds, reasonable amount of local traffic. Reached equator at 0.00.00N 104.50.04E
Sailed along it until 0.00.04S 104.44.81E in 14m, slight roll.
8 boats had party on Kitani II, fancy dress King Neptune present. Carried on after a few fun hours to
Motored up west coast and along top, CMap accurate enough, 0.03.56N 104.45.59E 12m flat sea
14 yachts in here and still plenty room. Came around outside of rocks in bay then turned in
Anchored at 0.25.74N 104.31.62E in 10m
SEMBULANG Anchored at 0.52.39N 104.14.73E in 8m
NONGSA POINT MARINA apprx ent 1.12.28N 104.05.7E
We have since heard that it washed away late 2006. If it is operational again it was a great little place, lovely resort, pool, wifi, excellent supermarkets about 30mins by taxi or minibus. It is more expensive than the rest of Indonesia but eases you into Singapore prices!!! Last chance to top up on cheap beer until Langkawi, (Singapore beer very expensive) groceries similar prices in Singapore.

CROSSING THE STRAITS. We had poor visability due to smoke haze, about 1½ miles. I preferred this as we could only actually see the boats that we might just collide with!!! It wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected. Radar no use as just way too many dots on it!!!
We went to One !5 Marina for a week then onto Raffles Marina for 2 weeks.
ONE 15 MARINA entry approx 1.14.46N 103.50.51E
This is in an excellent location, free minibus to huge shopping mall and MRT station, only about 10 mins on MRT into Central Singapore. Marina does get light swell/surge from passing boats and facilities had not been completed when we were there, but great spot on Sentosa Island.
RAFFLES MARINA entry approx 1.20.72N 103.38.00E
Very good facilities, pool, gym, restaurants, 10pin bowling, Chandlery. Pontoons/docks rather rundown.
Free minbus to Boon Lay and Jurong East shopping centres, MRT at both these about 45mins into Central.

PULAU PISANG anchored at 1.28.54N 103.15.39E 7.5m no roll
TANJUNG TOHOR anchored at 1.51.53N 102.40.83E 4.4m ” between stick structures
PULAU BESAR anchored at 2.06.21N 102.19.87E 8.8m current quite strong
PORT DICKSON MARINA – Check in to Malaysia
Disturbed seas at point where lighthouse is. Follow channel on CMap until
2.28.34N 101.49.94E
Turn towards land to 2.28.88N 101.50.44E
Entrance at (hard to see, tucked up) 2.28.77N 101.50.68E
Marina office did all check in paperwork for minimal charge. Great facilities, pool, internet room, restaurant, nice spot. Fair distance from town though. Recommend at least overnight trip down to Melaka, excellent place. Great street food market on Saturday night. Lots of interesting museums, historical buildings all within a couple of miles so easy to walk around. We stayed at Hotel Puri, a little expensive, cheaper option across road, great location though.
PANGKOR LAUT anchored at 4.11.37N 100.32.94E 10.5m went over 4m going in
Asked to leave island (not anchorage) when we tried going ashore for lunch, too exclusive for yachties!!
We had however taken our dinghys ashore earlier further south and done an excellent walk around the island and had a good look through the resort complex and stopped for coffee!! Had the biggest electrical storm here, lightening hitting water around us, way too scary. None of us got hit.
PULAU PANGKOR TELUK BELANGA 4.14.94N 100.32.59E 5.2m lovely beach, little rolly
PULAU RIMAU Cmap out a little 5.14.64N 100.16.41E 4m
PENANG Marina ent apprx 5.24.85N 100.20.64E
Follow the channel markers up the strait, under bridge centre span. Watch for fisherman laying nets across the channel!!! Depending on your draft you may need to wait for high tide to get around INSIDE the marina. Several boats over 2m got stuck in the mud, even at midtide, we didn’t see less than 3.8m. There is also a strong current that runs through, just be aware. Lastly there is the roll, they are building a new wall, maybe it will be finished, but the roll which is very intermittent can be quite bad. Saying all that Tanjong City Marina is in the best spot and Penang is one big culinary delight, it’s a must see spot. Best Tandoori Chicken at El Capitans cnr Chulia and King Sts, order Tandoori Chicken Set with side of rice. Yum yum and so so cheap (oh – no beer served). Also Chinese across road from Marina to the left with tree in front is great. Penang has Tescos supermarket (free bus from Marina), and anything else you could need. (Last decent supermarket until Phuket – Langkawi is not great)
There are a lot of anchorages around Langkawi, the following two get you to Telaga Harbour, the end of the rally. The Fjord is achievable in a day from Penang with early start.
PULAU GUBANG DARAT – THE FJORD 6.11.48N 99.47.20E 9m mud – very scenic
There are 2 port and 1 starboard markers over to the right of the two little islands you can see as you approach, these islands are not on CMap and are man made. Some boats went between the two islands, (about 5 minutes quicker) anchored at 6.21.78N 99.40.78E 3m thick mud (low water springs)
Telaga has all facilities for checking in and out, a fuel dock in the marina, petrol station with basis food items, KFC, several restaurants, Tapas Bar (free internet) with Crazy hour very cheap beer and sangria, cheap Indian round the back of Tapas bar, wifi payable internet access from Marina office, some of us could connect at anchor. Marina now charges for access card to use facilities, dinghy dock, showers etc, it is a weekly charge and isn’t much.
You can find most things in Langkawi, but sometimes it is quite an effort. There are 3 reasonable supermarkets – between them you can get most things, fruit and vege is of a very poor quality except for Mr Hong the vege man who calls at Langkasuka Ferry terminal (for Rebak Marina guests) Friday mornings around 9am then goes onto Telaga Marina around 10.30am. He also sells good quality meats, cheeses and smoked salmon. McPhees Importers close to the airport has a good range of Australian produce flown in regularly. If you look in enough places you can find most things. Alcohol is all dutyfree and in abundance.

A couple of useful airline web pages for around these parts are:

We have been to Thailand and are back down at Rebak Marina (10 out of 10 – superb spot) for the season. Our latest regret is not buying an air conditioner off one of the boats that moved on this year, there were plenty for sale and if you are planning on staying the season it would make life a lot more comfortable.

What about the pirates you ask!!!! Pirates, what pirates???? We never once felt threatened, occasionally a fishing boat would come closer than we are comfortable with but it is more curiosity than anything else. Fishing lines were the biggest problem, from Singapore north they really are everywhere, you just have to get used to them, go around them if necessary or over if you are feeling lucky. Several boats did get caught in them, mainly at night. Also most of the thunder storms occur at night so our feelings are don’t sail at night, there are plenty of anchorages so you don’t need to.

To sum up, it has been a magnificent season from the Australian coast to here, we miss our friends that kept going to Africa or the Med, but there are still great welcomes when rally boats pop up again and recently some very sad goodbyes to Australian and New Zealand boats heading home.