Friday, July 19, 2013

Mauritius Cruising Notes

Mauritius Cruising Notes

Our Mauritius stay was between June and October 2013. In these notes, we first cover Port Louis and Grand Baie (the most-frequented yachting areas, due to ease of access) then we deal with the west side (N to S) and lastly the east side anchorages we try. These notes will be updated as we get to more areas.

Port Louis

Entry and formalities

Mauritius has no army or navy but a police force with a well-organised and equipped Coast Guard. Call “Port Louis Port Control” on Channel 16 when near the channel into the harbour to obtain permission to enter the port.The port is open to yachts during daylight hours; if arriving after this time, you can apparently anchor clear of the entrance until morning (or in Tombeau Bay).

To clear in, follow the leading line down the channel (our Navionics chart was accurate and all easy) to the end; the customs, immigration and coast guard building is on the port side of the channel adjacent to a quay lined with restaurants. You may not use the coast guard / customs wharf (reserved for their boats), but tie up on balustrades or lamp poles alongside the restaurants. We tied up at 20:09.586S 57:30.030E.

Someone will come to the boat and probably instruct you to wait there for health, then to remove the yellow flag and go on shore for immigration and customs and coast guard. You will complete a million forms for customs. Take the boat stamp on shore. Immigration should grant 30 days immediately; if you plan to stay longer you need to make application at Immigration offices at Sterling House in town (they may require copy of bank statement to prove funds available. Max stay is 6 months during any twelve month period).

Port Control requires that you call them on 16 when you wish to leave Port Louis and the harbour area.


The Caudan “Marina” is miniscule. It can accommodate about 12 yachts without rafting; often has yachts rafted 3-up (despite signs disallowing rafting) so there is no space to manoeuvre when inside.

After clearing in procedures, it is easiest to go across and tie up on the big wall on the outside of the marina (a concrete lip can be a problem during surges, but made manageable by tying up against the tyres that are hung on the concrete wall; we tied at 20:09.580S 57:29.819E), then walk across and see what space is available, and then get to the office and pay (relevant office is the Waterfront Security Office across the parking lot). 

Cost is 300  rupees per day for 10-12 metres. 12-14m is 350; you pay in advance for however long you wish, and can extend as you go. Power and water is included in this price.

There is no management of the berthing and you must fend for yourself. We ended up being forced to go onto the wall right in front of the hotel because of tall ships arriving and needing our long outer-wall berth; this put us onto a very dodgy berth but 2 tyres, the plank and 6 fenders kept Ketoro undamaged but dirty!

The local crew who look after the resident boats (Fabrice on Royal Orchid; Vi on Ingwe; the guys on Chaka) are all very friendly and helpful with local knowledge. As is Sunil, who owns a couple of boats in Grand Baie and who also looks after boats for absentee owners (Sunil can also arrange for you a mooring in Grand Baie).
Within hours you will probably be approached by a couple of more profit-driven locals:
Rashid: a taxi driver who is in fact able to organise a lot of things (taxi, tours, LPG, diesel in jerry cans, transport to specific shops, etc). He is okay but not above some sharp practices – mostly along the lines of telling you of some additional charges after the fact.
(Diesel and petrol is also available alongside at the yacht club in Grande Baie but max draught at spring high is about 1.8m. The Le Morne fishing club jetty at Black River also sells fuel)
Deodath: runs a laundry nearby. Price is between 100 and 125 rupees per kg depending on the need for ironing, but he does a fantastic job of restoring respectability to whites and seems to include ironing (even if you specify no ironing).

If you need to leave your boat here to travel, it has become an onerous task, with new rules and you probably need to speak to a well connected local like Sunil. 

Facilities / services in Port Louis

Electrical: Patrick Boisvin (230-781 5723) did a great job on the electrical end of our AC genset.
Sails: Rob Stevenson from MU-Sailmakers Ltd (230-211 2569, is reported to be very good.
Haul-out: We have heard that there is a facility that looks very good and professional, if somewhat expensive, towards the commercial port.
Chandleries are in short supply and boats that have needed parts make do with the couple of local offerings and hardware shops – Rashid the taxi man is probably the best way to get to these.

Grand Baie

You are required to call the Coast Guard on 18 before entering and leaving Grand Bay, but we had no response.
From a waypoint at 19:59.3 S 57:34.1 E proceed on about 170M past the red and white buoy (either side) then head towards the Grand Bay Yacht Club buildings, cross a shallow (2.4m) sandy patch before approaching the first of the moored boats (depth here is 4m plus).

The anchoring area is deeper into the bay and the depths are 4-6 metres over sand with reasonable holding. We anchored at 20:00.813S 57:34.676E in 4m near the Grand Bay Coast Guard station. The Coast Guard patrol regularly and may make a friendly visit to check your papers.

Grand Bay Yacht Club provides free access for the first month. Thereafter temporary membership is 500 rupees per week per person. Diesel, petrol and water is available by jerry cans or from the club jetty (max 1.8m water at spring high). Dinghy tie up is available.

You can also tie up a dinghy at several places closer to the commercial centre of Grand Baie Village or pull up on the beach - tidal range and surf is minimal. But be aware that theft of outboards does happen on occasion. Supermarkets are good: SuperU within 10 minutes’ walk, La Croisette (with Intermark and Food Lover’s) and Mount Choisy (with Pick n Pay) are about 20 min walk away.

Gunner’s Quoin / Coin de Mire

This beautiful island is a National Park and access to land (at least from the sheltered southern bay) is not practical. There are a number of mooring buoys in the vicinity of 19:56.68S 57:37.25E; depth is over 8m but some are close to rocks. The ones we dived looked good with heavy chain all the way up until the last few metres of pick up and mooring line.

Merville Beach / Pereybere

We wished to anchor off the northern end of the beach and had heard that the charter cats enter through the reef then go right to anchor near the Merville Beach hotel. We set up a track on the dinghy (using GPS, IPad (with Navionics software) and a fish finder for depth) and subsequently have taken Ketoro over the route several times. Some track waypoints and info are given below. One needs to be content with only about 2 to 2.5m water for this entry and anchorage, and it must be done in good light.

From 19:59.56S 57:34.45E, head to SB of the red buoy: Wpt approx. 19:59.77S 57:34.64E. Beware the rocks to starboard of track at 19:56.96S 57:34.54E which is near another charted shallow area. The red buoy in fact marks a high-reef area so leave well to port and head for waypoint, which is also your turning point.

At this waypoint we turned to head for our anchorage at 19:59.836S 57:34.941E (in 2.5m). There is a tricky zone around 19:59.80S 57:34.79E which must be zig-zagged through. Good observation from the bow is required; water is generally very clear.


NB Sailing down the west coast, we came across 3 sets of orange buoys (about 15 in each string) that would be a hazard at night. We do not yet know their purpose, or if they move position, but the positions of two of them were as follows: 20:01.165S 57:30.407E and 20:04.227S 57:27.807E.

Tamarin Bay

We saw a pod of three whales on this coastline, near Tamarin Bay. Dolphins apparently leave Tamarin Bay every morning and swim out to sea via Le Morne; so whale- and dolphin-watching boats come here every morning to view and swim with them, following up with snorkelling on the reef and then go inside the reef area near Ile aux Benitiers to swim and have lunch on the island.

Grand Riviere Noire (Black River)

The Coast Guard here requests being called on VHF 18 on entering and leaving Riviere Noire. This anchorage has a very broad, deep and easy entrance channel. We approached from 20:21.76S 57:20.81E and headed straight for the moored boats, a course of approx. 120M. We subsequently anchored in 3.5m depth at 20:21.91S 57:21.92E, in sand.

The Coast Guard is fairly busy, and we had two apprentices approach us at 9:30 pm the day we came in! They boarded and filled in the same Coast Guard forms as at Port Louis, and were very friendly.

The anchorage is pretty, with the Black River Mountain range as backdrop, and the water is clean. We had a pod of dolphins feeding near us. There are many day boats going out for fishing, dolphin-watching and swimming but we were not disturbed by them.

La Morne Angler’s Club allows use of the jetty for dinghies, and they supply water and diesel; depth is adequate at all tides. Beers are cheap at the club; food is only basic sandwiches. Head straight up the road to the main road; then left for supermarket and some restaurants and shopping centres - London Way supermarket is less than 30 min walk from the club.

Car hire here is difficult: we found one supplier (on the right, 300m after London Way heading away from the club, next to Tutti Fruity) who was expensive (smallest car 1600Rs pd) but he was the only supplier we found. Bikes were Rs 800 pd.

Dinghy exploration from here was fun. To enter the reef area north of the channel and get to the nice Le Preneuse beaches: from the main channel, cross the northern reef SB of the white stick and take a line towards “the yellow house”. We also went to Ile Benetiers by dinghy, to ascertain the channels and depths for the yacht when anchoring in Baie de la Petite Rivier Noire as we did not have any information and were unsure whether or not to trust the charts (see info below).

Baie de la Petite Riviere Noire

This bay is close to Le Morne on the south west of Mauritius. The reef area encloses the Petit Riviere Noire Bay, Ile aux Benitiers and Ilot Benitiers. This large lagoon is protected, has beautiful crystal-clear water in the shallows and local yachts go there for day-trip outings. The day catamarans sail in the shallow (2-3m) areas west of the channel and island; we anchored in the deep channel.

Approach from the top of the Riviere Noire (Black River) channel from 20:22.025S 57:20.961E; we found the Navionics chart to be accurate and the channel easy and deep (10 to 20m except for a few shallows we found, referenced below).
Reference points from our track are as follows:
20:22.121S 57:20.929E;
20:22.193S 57:20.983E after which COG 142M
20:22.359S 57:21.249E after which COG 160M
20:22.528S 57:21.365E after which COG 190M
20:22.678S 57:21.347E;
20:22.791S 57:21.269E; (NB At 20:22.89S 57:21.29E we measured 4.5m)
20:23.204S 57:21.497E; (NB if entering the anchorage at Petit Riviere Noire, do not cut the corner; there is sharply-rising ground which nears the surface at 20:23.287S 57:21.563E; keep this to port)
20:23.363S 57:21.516E;
We anchored at 20:23.579S 57:21.379E in 11m and found the holding very good in strong winds, gusts up to 33kn and strong currents.

If venturing further there is a shallow of 2.5m at 20:24.313S 57:21.385E (ascertained via dinghy, GPS, fish-finder). 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


SY Ketoro

May/June 2013

This island is surrounded by reef with Port Mathurin on the northern side.

When nearing the channel, call Port Control or Rodrigues Coastguard on VHF 16. All officials on this island are exceptionally helpful and pleasant, making the whole check-in process very easy.

The start of the channel may be found at 19:39.25S 063:24.9E.

Our Raymarine Navionics chart of the channel was not accurate. There are however excellent markers, and their locations are as follows (from outside and sailing into the port):

First set (channel entrance):               19:40.26S 063:25.56E and
                                                         19:40.30S 063:25.65E
Second set:                                       19:40.37S 063:25.40E and
                                                         19:40.42S 063:25.50E
Third set (after which turn to port):    19:40.50S 063:25.24E and
                                                         19:40.52S 063:25.32E

Once inside the port, you will be asked to berth against the concrete wharf, probably SB-on. There is also a basin in which you may anchor but the authorities prefer to access your boat from the wharf.

Authorities come on board (Immigration, Customs, coast guard, health, police and port control) individually and the only fee is 1686 rupees from health (this quantum seems to vary! It has to be paid at administration buildings the next day. In 2013 1US $ = 32 rupees). It appears that a sunday check-in incurs a fee of 2000 rupees. Plants, animals, weapons, spear guns must be declared; the latter will be taken in by customs and returned on your departure. Immigration requests 24 hours’ notice of your departure.

The wharf has huge aircraft tyres that are provided as fenders. These can leave black marks on the boat, and it is advisable to set up a system of fenders with plank on the outside to keep your boat off the tyre.

The island is lovely, local inhabitants very welcoming and provisioning fine. A large supply ship comes from Mauritius once a week, generally Friday or Saturday early morning with imported fruit / veg, meat and other great stocks (generally the stocks in the stores are low from about Wednesday!) To allow the ship to turn in the basin and  dock, yachts have to leave the wharf and exit the channel until the ship is alongside, then they return and go on anchor for the night. If anchored well on the west side they may remain there as the ship departs.

A supermarket is found within 300m of the dock and the small town provides a bakery (great baguettes daily), many small shops selling a great variety of goods, a market selling local produce and enough restaurants/cafes/snack bars and pubs to keep you happy. Baie Anglaises is within walking distance and scooters and cars may be hired in Port Mathurin for island touring.

Yacht repair and specialist supply is not available here, but the Port Captain will put you in touch with the appropriate people in Mauritius.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Maldives Cruising Notes: Ketoro

April/May 2010; March/April 2013

These notes follow from south (Addu Atoll) to Gaarfaru Atoll further north. In the Maldives during March to May, we saw change of season and SW winds started to set in (SW Monsoon: May – October and NE Monsoon: November – April). This affected our anchorages both in choice and experience.

Addu Atoll (seenu)

Gan Island

Entry to harbour:
No chart that we have seen shows the harbour that yachts are meant to anchor in when visiting Gan, and yachties must not expect a “harbour” when reading of this inner harbour. However, the Navionics chart is accurate for the Addu Atoll and Gan itself (as, apparently, is C-Map). We used the following waypoints to enter the atoll from the south: 00.42.204S/73.10.556E, then 00.41.862S/73.10.569E and finally 00.41.529S/73.10.79E. We entered the pass 2 hours after low tide at springs and found the least depth to be 14.8m: very easy.

It is then only 1.5 miles to the small boat anchorage (harbour) adjacent to / east of the causeway between Gan and Feydhoo islands where you may anchor (or you may choose to anchor just outside, where it is deep but has the benefit of no flies or mosquitoes, apparently!). Once inside the atoll we called Gan Port Control on VHF 16 and eventually the Coast Guard answered (other yachts got no answer from anyone). Either way, enter and anchor and the authorities will show up in a Coast Guard boat within a couple of hours.  There are channel markers but it is essential to also have a visual on the reefs alongside the harbour entrance.

Harbour entrance channel waypoint: we used 00.41.04S/073.08.74E.
Channel and harbour markers: the entrance is indicated by two pole markers (leave to S/B) and a small white buoy indicating a bommie (you may leave to port or SB, but it is deeper if you leave this to SB on entry). Depth in the channel is reported to be 2.5 metres, we saw a minimum of 2.8m.  Once inside the Coast Guard and police vessels and taxis are on the wall to port as you enter, and in front of you is a causeway with four small sluice gates then 2 larger ones. The water comes through the gates quite quickly – regardless of state of tide.  The strongest stream is through the big sluice so try to avoid anchoring near them (sand has also been washed away from the sluice area, leaving poor holding).

We anchored in 4.3m good holding sand at 00.41.137S/73.08.627E. We have been here with 5 yachts inside this tiny basin.
In 2010 we tied our dinghy up at the police jetty / steps near the causeway and on the causeway side of the steps to be out of the way of the ferries and hotel boats that also used these steps; however in 2013 the jetty / steps had been removed and we tied up on the causeway wall or put the dinghy on the small beach to the west (very rocky).

Clearing in procedures:
Fly your Q flag. The coast guard brings all the departments (police, immigration, port control, customs, health) out to the boat and the process is easy and quick, the officials being friendly and courteous. You are required to itemise your alcohol stores (and, in 2013, stocks of medicines on board) and of course have the normal crew lists etc. (about six copies of this and skippers passport and boat registration).  Spear guns declared or discovered are confiscated and it is tedious to get them back when you leave.

For clearing-in and out procedures it is desirable (and compulsory if staying longer than 72 hours) to use an agent. In 2010 we used Mas-ood Saeed (Contact details: +960 7906609, (MNS Maldives Pvt Ltd +960 689 3433), fax +960 6893432; or; web
In 2013 our agent was Hussain Shuhaiz (phone +9609997548) who appeared to also ‘work with’ Masood.
It is necessary to e mail the agent 48 hours before arrival in the Maldives.

Cruising permits:
2013 comment: In 2010 we had a great deal of difficulty with cruising permits, Subsequent to our Maldives cruising experiences in 2010, and the new structures brought in on 1 June 2010, changed fee structures and a different attitude seems to prevail.

Facilities in Addu Atoll:
Four islands are joined by causeways, making them very accessible. We hired a motorbike through Shuhaiz (2010 - $15 for a day) to enjoy the islands; we walked Gan and Feydhoo islands and we took the dinghy to the working harbour on Feydhoo regularly as Feydhoo has more to offer than Gan! We also caught the ferry to Medhoo (40 minutes) where we were taken around the island on motorbikes by friends of Mas-ood and Shuhaiz (actually the ferry driver!). It was a treat to have local people show us around and they asked nothing for it (but we gave a donation). We took the dinghy to the reef drop-off in front of the Equator resort and snorkelling was fair.

Dollars are accepted at most of the bigger shops at around the exchange rate quoted by the banks and Rufiyaa can therefore be obtained here for smaller local purchases. ATM’s appear to work okay.

Gan Island (South of the causeway)

Refuse: Trash bins are here but not collected very often. 
Internet: To the right, over the road you see a green fence; this enters the Youth Centre where the internet is.  
The mobile phone companies also offer SIM cards for data – service was fast 3G in 2013.
Shops: a few curio shops with some supplies too; you can rent motorbikes from Causeway.
Post Office (on way to the airport): very limited working hours!
Restaurants: restaurant at the Equator resort (expensive but they have booze!) and airport café restaurant in a garden opposite airport buildings.
There is apparently a Met service at the airport.

Feydhoo Island
(North of causeway)
  • Shopping:
    Wataniya cell phones and internet cards (red-and-white building near fishing harbour); (MNS, our agent, is in this building and they can arrange the card/phone for you);
    2+1 Store (near the top of the island, at old petrol station; small beach nearby for dinghy landing); Mohamed Saeed 6898509: This gentleman offered us a fantastic service - we gave him the list of fresh fruit and veg we needed and he got it in from Male two days later. Highly recommended. The store also has a range of other regular items.
    3S Trading (opposite petrol station at fishing harbor); Hussain Rasheed: good selection including some fresh; have wholesale specials in drinks (alcohol-free); free delivery to the police jetty on Gan (by bicycle).
    Gold Mart 9993020; 7776792 (from the main road, turn left about 30m before red-and-white MNS building then take second road left, find second building LHS); good stores, some fresh, cheese etc;
    Happy Trading (along main road in a big grey shed just before old fuel station). They supply the stores in town. You can get some fresh here, and frozen chicken. Get your non-alcoholic beer here (Bavaria; the regular malt; non-fruit-flavoured: it is actually quite good!)
  • Restaurants:
    Generally: Maldivians have short eats and long eats; the latter are meals and the former are small savoury or sweet snacks to fill a hole in your tummy: delicious and incredibly cheap!! Ask if the restaurant has short eats… but check on quality and freshness.
    Coffee Max and the Eye Café on waterfront near fishing harbour: touristy but good value.
    Line café (?) closer to the harbour is less touristy but has a smaller menu (good food).
  • Fuel: New fuel station at the harbor; old fuel station on main road a hundred metres from the fishing harbor, near the top of Feydhoo. 2013 Diesel: 17.30Rf/l.  (1USD = Rf15.40)
    Diesel: the agent can arrange that the fuel truck comes to the police jetty and you ferry cans; you can also apparently take your boat to the harbour and get fuel directly from the truck, which parks on the quay wall – but agent to arrange this. The brave and those with steel boats could come alongside the wharf at the police jetty and re-fuel directly from the truck.
    Petrol/gasoline: take dinghy or 15-20 min walk to fuel station at working harbour to get petrol or kerosene.
    LPG: bottle exchange system, no filling of own bottles.

Islands further north

Banking: main road on the third island, easy by bike or dinghy (working harbour in front of bank). Air-conditioned ATM on the RHS of the bank building. NB: money changing (for US$) can be done in most of the shops who can sometimes give marginally better rates but are much more convenient.
Farms on Hithadoo island (possible source of fresh produce; was used by yachties we met).


Faress Island, and the two uninhabited islands towards Vaadhoo Kuda Kandu, have a narrow sand patch in front of the reef. It shelves from about 5m to 10m. We anchored in 7m sand at 00:11.925N 73:12.882E. Sheltered from SW and W.
Vaadhoo Kuda Kandu nearby is an easy passage. Snorkelling in the kandu area shows a great deal of relatively young coral.

North Huvadhoo Atoll (Gaafu Alifu)

Melaimu, north of Kolomaafushi Island. This was a great anchorage; the pass (Viligili Kandu) on the NW was easy to find and very wide. Strangely, there is a whole island to port of the passage which is not on the Navionics chart, at 00:52N 73:11.3E. We entered the passage from 00:51.867N 73:11.002E and anchored in two places: in 2010, in 8m good holding sand at 00:50.884N 73:11.049E; but in 2013 we were less brave and dropped in 7.5m at 00:51.187N 73:11.007E where there is more sand and less bommie. The anchorage is a bit exposed to a northerly roll from the kandu, but the reefs give good protection from the sea from NW to SW.

Snorkelling the reef, both further up towards the passage and bommie areas, was superb! Rays, sharks, good coral, big shoals of fish. In 2010 we were approached by local fisherman who gave us a rainbow runner for supper in exchange for cigarettes and soft drinks (they had asked for booze). They were proud of their catch of a sailfish. In 2013 crew from a nearby anchored fishing boat approached to chat and request beer… they got cigarettes instead.


Veymandhoo Island
Veymandhoo Island is on the southern tip of the atoll, which we entered via broad Veymandhoo Kandu to the east of the Island. We kept the island and reef to port. There is a fairly large entrance that takes you into a busy harbour, after which is the lagoon entrance, entered from 02:11.5N 73:05.9E. It consists of two man-made piles of rubble as channel liners, with a pole to port on the outside and a pole to SB on the inside. We saw well over 4 metres in the channel. Once through the entrance, there is a floating structure ahead, and a bommie to SB; we went between these two and then watched for the occasional bommies (some are marked by poles). We anchored in 7metres in sand at 02:11.292N and 73 05.296E.
The town (capital of the Atoll) had a good supermarket (frozen chicken and a fair variety of vegetables and fruit), and we had good short eats near the old jetty.



Kedhigadu Island
Kedhigadu is an uninhabited island near (NW of) Kudahuvadhoo at the southern end of the atoll. We entered the atoll via a passage on the west, and it was easy, in good light, to travel down inside the atoll. We had information on Kudahuvadhoo and were heading there, but the two uninhabited islands of Kedhigadu and Maafushi looked beautiful, and as we approached them directly from inside the atoll we found the reef of the lagoon area very thin, only crossing a 9m-deep “bar” to get into the lagoon. The lagoon had depths of 8 – 17m throughout, but with occasional bommies. We anchored at 02:41.852N 72:51.346E in 12m. It is somewhat exposed to the north.
This is a fantastic spot, with beautiful islands and great snorkelling at the small wall between you and the island. Some friendly local fishermen came for a visit and to invite us to the island, but we had no need to go there.


Magoodhoo Island
Magoodhoo is on the SE corner of the atoll. We entered the atoll through Maavaashi Kandu (SW entry); it is an easy, deep broad kandu. Crossing the atoll was easy and we approached Magoodhoo Island from the west.

The reef enclosing the lagoon has a fairly obvious entry channel at its north end (seen by water colour differences in good light) but is also indicated by buoys. We entered the channel through the reef at 03:05.14N 72:57.12E; leave the white buoy to port and then the black buoy to S/B taking care not to approach these buoys too closely. The channel is deep, over 12 metres, and the lagoon is generally deep, sand-bottomed, with some bommies, easily seen in good light. We anchored in 10 metres at 03:04.85N  72:57.49 E.

There is good snorkelling: a drift snorkel at the entrance to the lagoon from white buoy, then at the bommie indicated by black buoy. A large bommie further into the lagoon was wonderful for snorkelling. When we anchored there was foul water around us, trapped by the encircling reef… but it attracted two huge manta rays, which then spent two hours feeding around the boat!

The town is interesting and people are very friendly; we were visited on the boat by three gentlemen who welcomed us with coconuts, and we bought fish from another informative man. The town’s harbour is on the north side of the island; it is lit at night but apparently not suitable for yachts.

south Ari Atoll (Alifu Dhaalu)

Maamigili Island
This is a useful stop to catch the ferry or fly to Male, but it is functional. The dinghy may be taken to the beach on the SE end of the lagoon to walk to the ferry terminal (2013: ferries Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, leave at 8am, arrive Male 3pm); or take dinghy to the jetty along the main channel and follow the road alongside the outer island edge to reach the airport (short walk). There is a small village.

The lagoon may be entered as follows: line up from 03:29.24N 72:49.75E; go between the two piles of rocks (course of approx. 190; port rocks have a pole-marker) and there is a dredged channel going straight to the new wharf; there is a shallow area on the port side, indicated by a white buoy; keep this to port if approaching the wharf or main channel and keep it to SB if entering the lagoon anchorage. Least depth seen in channel entry was 4m. There are also other pairs of poles to the right that indicate the presence of other channels leading to the two island resorts west of the entrance.
To anchor in the quiet area in the east of the lagoon, after entering the channel, turn to port at 03:28.99N 72:49.74E, i.e. before the white-buoyed shallow area, and leave the buoy and shallow area to S/B. This is a natural channel between the reef and shallow area, and we continued until dropping the anchor in 9m at 03:28.9N 72:50.0E.

Arriving at dusk on a previous day, and not knowing the lagoon, we anchored in 5m at 03:28.778N 72:49.685E as bottom visibility was poor; this was an awkward anchorage as we had considerable resort traffic passing us, but we were safe.

Dhigurah / Dhidhdhoo Island
On the east side of the atoll, this is a dream anchorage in a large, beautiful lagoon serving Dhigurah Island in the north and Dhidhdhoo Island further down, with Lux resort (previously Ari Beach, previously White Sands). This is a resort that welcomes and seeks yachtie patronage; the village people further up are also most welcoming: they have recently built a guest house of which they are all proud.

The beautiful lagoon is easy to enter, with good snorkelling patches as well as excellent snorkelling on the reef. Although there is an entrance between two poles opposite the resort, we were advised (by Ali, who sails the resort catamaran) not to use it and he took us to the recommended entrance towards the top of the lagoon. Enter from 03:31.92N 72:54.42E at good light; the entrance is fairly short and at low tide we had 3.5m water. The lagoon is mostly clear of bommies, and those there are easily seen.

There is a huge expanse for anchoring; anchorage with island overview far from resort: 03:31.25N 72:54.98E in 10m; or anchor at 03:31.99N 72:55.46E in 11m to access the village on the north of the island; or anchor at 03:30.274N 72:53.842E (near their catamaran, which has buoy) to access the resort. Lux resort contact details: 6680901 / 6680513 / 7303600 (Dominik, GM).

Rangali Island
There is a lagoon here, easily approached from the SE, that serves the Conrad Rangali Hotel (previously Hilton); we would not recommend it simply because, despite 5 phone calls and 6 e-mails requesting permission (ostensibly not received) after we anchored to discuss further with our telephone contact we were chased from the lagoon (by security) and informed by text message and subsequent call that we were seen as a security risk to their high-end guests.

Innafushi / Thundufushi
We had information re anchoring in this area which we found to be incorrect, so did not anchor here.

Moofushi Island
The Moofushi Island resort is highly recommended for its welcoming attitude; we were allowed to use a mooring buoy at 03:53.080N 72:43.816E for two days, and enjoyed the facilities offered by this busy, relaxed resort as well as the good snorkelling on the house reef. (They asked to make copies of our passports). Phone 6680517 / 3326141 / 7658209

north Ari Atoll (Alifu alifu)

Halaveli Island
We entered Ari Atoll via the Fussaru Kandu, which is due east of Halaveli island. The Navionics chart did not identify a shallow area at 04:02.5N 72:57.1E; we left this to port.

Halaveli Lagoon was entered at 04:02.65N 72:55.17E ; it was low-tide, rising, and we had minimum depth of 2m. We identified the entry by the pole markers; the scraped channel is wide; beware the reef on the port side when you are inside. 
Anchoring was done in sand, 10m, at 04:02.41N 72:55.04E and there is a good snorkel along the outside of the sea wall in front of the ‘President’s House’ (to port, entering the lagoon).

Halaveli contact number is 6660010 / 3343613; we did not phone beforehand, but security came to the boat and they were happy to welcome us.

Bathalaa Island
We simply used this as a snorkel-stop, along a very good wall, although the security welcomed us to use the resort facilities. The mooring buoy was at 04:04.108N 72:56.646E


Muluka Atoll (Meemu)

This was a wonderful anchorage in a reef-defined 6mile long lagoon on the SE section of Meemu, S of Muli island. It looks onto about 8 small islands: Muli, the main island, 2 with stilted resorts, and some which appeared uninhabited.
Entry to Mulee Kandu: 02:55.896N 73:35.289E. We saw 16m once, but generally the depth was over 25m. 

Inner kandu WPT: 02:55.859N 73:34.821E (32m depth here). There were boats anchored in the pass; we saw rays and dolphins going in. We then turned towards the SW to travel down inside the atoll with the lagoon (and inner reef) on the port side.

Muli island has a good, clean harbour with a clear entry on its north end and 2 other entries (these seemed not as wide or clear). The harbour north entry comes directly after you have entered the atoll via the Kandu, and the south entry is into the north end of the lagoon (we do not know width, depth etc.).  The third entry is in the west sea wall to the harbor and is well marked.

To find the lagoon channel entry from the atoll (which is about 1.5M down from the kandu) look for a small island / landfill which comes up on radar. Keep the island to port and the yellow/black pole on rock to S/B. Channel entry WPT: 02:54.280N 73:34.008E. This should be traversed in good visibility. At mid-tide we saw 2.8m going in. There are many bommies in the lagoon but they are well marked with floating buoys/jerry cans (at least until the first resort); however go in down the S/B side (west side) which has fewer bommies.

The entire lagoon appears to be about 7 metres with sand bottom.  We anchored near Hakuraahuraa Island at 02:51.873N 73:33.086E in 6m sand; good holding.  We took the dinghy to Hakurra Club Resort for a drink and enjoyed watching the sea planes and local dhonis. Snorkelling was good, once we had identified (through watching the resort boats) which bommies to go to!

Felidhoo Atoll (Vaavu)

Interesting atoll with few islands and mostly drying areas and reefs. Sailing from the south, we went to a sandy lagoon area entering through Maafussaru Kandu at mid-tide with the tide going out. We were shocked to find (2010) that light No 2 (Fl6 etc), which on the Navionics Raymarine chart is the entry marker to the pass, is in fact found further south (apparently not at a pass?). Maafussaru Kandu entrance is, rather, indicated by a dry area with a rock and pole. In all other respects (ie other than the light) the chart plotter was very accurate for this area.

The pass is wide and there is a tidal race into it; we felt a push to port on entering. We used for channel entrance 03:30.586N 73:17.039E then went to 03:30.42N 73:17.38E. The pass generally has depths of 20+m, but a few minimum depth areas of about 8m. Follow the reef around towards the south; we saw the following WPTs: 03:29.750N 73:17.640E then 03:29.240N 73:17.800E after which we used COG 235M. Depths were over 20m but good visibility is required for occasional bommies. 

We anchored in 14m at 03:29.278N 73:17.209E; the whole inner lagoon area has sand about 17m but there are patches of 10m.
There is excellent snorkelling at the tip of the reef before turning into the lagoon and back along this reef, at the drop-off.

South Male Atoll

Velassaru Falhu / Velassaru Island
Entry points through Velassaru Kanduolhi channel: (outer) 04:07.472N 73:26.640E; (mid) 04:07.308N 73:26.657E; (inner) 04:07.058N 73:26.580E. Depths mainly greater than 20m but we saw 8m 2hours before high tide.
Entered the lagoon from 04:06.402N 73:26.082E then 04:06.445N 73:26.004E.

Anchored in 12m sand with good holding at 04:07.056N 73:25.878E near Velassaru Island Resort (previously called Laguna). The resort was in the process of opening after re-branding and, being only partially occupied, was very welcoming; we e mailed ahead of time. Present yourself at reception and they meet with you to inform you of all the facilities available. The resort is upmarket and prices are high; we found the food good but expensive (burger US$28 in 2010 compared with a blog that we read that referred to US$11); we were welcome to use pool, internet etc.

Eboodhoofinolhu Island
Although the Taj resort was very welcoming when we called them, after entering Enboodhoo Kandu and then their lagoon and being advised to anchor near their dhonis, we decided not to remain there as the SW winds were too strong and seas too rolly. In different conditions it has potential for a good anchorage.

Eboodhoo Island
This island looks interesting and the manager at the resort bungalows was helpful when called. They have 2 mooring buoys on the east side and he said we could take one from 5pm to 12 midday, however we needed to find anchorage for the day until 5pm and a potential anchorage on the west was unsuitable in our SW seas so we did not take up the offer. This looks like a great island to visit however.

north male Atoll (Kaafu)

Hulhumale Island

Clearing in: In 2010 we anchored in the Hulhulmale Lagoon anchorage (Hulhulmale Lagoon; entrance 04-12.766N / 73-31.754E) where our agent arranged for all officials to come to the boat. However in 2013 this system was not in place and we drifted in an area west of Male for the authorities to come to the boat .

Our agents have been from SEAL Superyachts / Antrac (Abdul Hannan +960 331 0096 / Mobile +960 777 5644; Hussain Fahmy +99607914520). While expensive, they are knowledgeable, well-connected and competent (in dealing with our unorthodox clearing in / out and extended stay, clearing in spares shipments, arranging for a mechanic onto the boat, crew changes, visa extensions, etc, and generally getting things done.)

General comment on this harbour:
Others have spoken of bad holding and that many boats use 2 anchors. We found the holding exceptionally good for our Rocna anchor but noticed that all the safari boats use 3 anchors of a light grapnel-type to reduce their swinging; their line is also floating rope and requires care and a sharp eye when moving around the anchorage. However, this is a very poor anchorage in any winds and seas with a westerly component as it becomes very rolly and uncomfortable; we had a week of winds over 20 knots (often going up to  gale force) and had virtually no shelter and hence great discomfort.

Dinghies can be tied up to the jetty adjacent to the ferry terminal, but this jetty serves  all the dinghies for the safari boats and any other craft, other than the ferries, and is therefore busy. Better to tie to the concrete wharf adjacent to the jetty in this area.  We found the risk of slamming the dinghy into the concrete wall too great, so we used a stern anchor and tied a long bow line onto hooks set into the concrete wharf. In 2013 the conditions had not improved but our dinghy was three years older and the lagoon more sheltered in the prevailing northerly winds and we dispensed with the stern anchor.

Ferries run to Male frequently (5.50Rf; 20 min trip). Male wakes up about 13:30/14:00 mostly; good produce market but it has only Maldivian produce; for the rest seek out the Indian shops further east. There are many small supermarkets and the one at the STO building is excellent, as is Fantasy Store. Male water is evidently not suitable for drinking. 

Potable water is available the hard way – retail purchase in max 5l plastic containers (at about Rf2/litre) and taxi to the jetty (taxis are a standard price of 20Rf per trip, sometimes 25Rf if luggage is involved) and dinghy transfer to the yacht. Best done when the SW winds are not howling as these produce 1m waves in the anchorage.

Internet access: there are many Wi-Fi places: one in the courtyard outside the STO supermarket, one at Bistro Jade (Boduthakurufaarnu Magu near where ferry comes in: turn right and head for town): they have free I-N access and good food (Jade food expensive).

Eating out: there are many good restaurants and tea/coffee houses, all worth a try. For local food, try ½ Time; more tourist, try Seagull Restaurant; for really lovely but more pricey try Aioli.

Diving / snorkelling: we took the dinghy from Hulhumale lagoon (out via the north passage) to Banana Reef at 04-14.314N / 73-32.2E: great reef; the northern and southern walls have different characters.

Diesel fuel is by fuel barge that comes alongside / astern – arranged by your agent or directly. The diesel is very clean and good. (US1.15 / litre in 2013).

Thulusdhoo Island
Thulusdhoo island is popular as it has a shallow, well protected anchorage that is not under the control of a resort and therefore freely accessed.

Entry into the atoll through the pass from the sea looks intimidating as a break in the surf is not immediately apparent when approaching from the north. However the pass is approached at an angle and the Raymarine Navionics chart was accurate.
Pass into the lagoon is marked by 2 sets of port/starboard beacons / pole markers. The centre of the pass is at 04:22:685N 73:38:884E and we saw a least depth of 5.6m at low tide. 

We anchored at 04:22.620N 73:38.830E in good holding sand.
People in the village are very welcoming and gave us a tour (tie the dinghy up on the jetty or pull onto beach); there is excellent surfing outside the atoll here.

Himmafushi Island
Himmafushi island similarly has a shallow, well protected anchorage that is open to public use.
There are 2 passes into the lagoon: one at the north, one the south opposite the resort.
Northern pass into lagoon: 2 sets of double stakes with lights; waypoint 04:18.719N 73:33.776E. 2 hours before low tide we saw 3.7m.

We first anchored in 6.4m sand/coral with good holding at 04:18.549N 73:33.931E and the next night closer to the resort at Lankanfushi in 7.5m at 04:18.364N 73:33.658E.

Southern pass into lagoon: 04:17.927N 73:33.209E. There are 2 markers at the entrance and a single marker at the inner end to keep to S/B; however we did not use this pass as it appeared shallow.

Meerenfushi Island
This is a resort island; on calling Meeru Island Resort we were told we could not visit the resort but were welcome to anchor in their lagoon.

We entered the lagoon via the northern pass and followed the marker poles into the anchorage area off the resort where their boats were situated. Within moments of anchoring, however, a boat had been sent from the resort ordered us to leave. As it was almost dark (and we had had to pick our way in through bommies) we asked that they send a dhoni to guide us, which they did, and we followed it out again into the lagoon where we anchored in 9.2m sand at 04:27.105N 73:42.454E.

We would not recommend this anchorage as it was very rolly. It may be that the anchorage is better (and welcome….. warmer!) at the village further into the lagoon.

Eriyadhoo Island
Resort welcomes yachties and has placed mooring buoys on the south east side of the island (those on the south west side are for the resort boats). Phone or e mail ahead of time (they responded to our mail the day after sending).
Resort has a great house reef, and we dived the wall along the east side to find excellent coral and plentiful fish. Food at the resort was affordable, compared with many other resorts (e.g. buffet dinner $20 compared with $50 at some other resorts).

Helengeli Island
Entering the atoll via the pass: 04:38.049N 73:34.077E then 04:37.802N 73:33.792E. Depths were generally 20m but there is a sand bar about 10m deep near the entrance, which drops off again.

This resort island was very friendly and welcoming (we requested in advance to come to the island, as we had friends staying there) but anchoring is not easy. They have a harbor: the inner section is full of their own boats and the outer section (from 2.5m to 8m deep) had no tie-up facilities. We found a pinnacle and anchored in 10m at 04:37.849N 73:33.350E. The holding was sandy coral rubble so okay for us in the very light conditions we experienced. Take the dinghy to the harbour (indicated by a port marker and the jetty on the S/B side) and either pull up onto the beach or tie up on the wall in the inner harbour.

Gaafaru Atoll

This is the furthest north we went; Gaafaru is a wonderful atoll with only one or two small islands above the surface of the sea (one with a village: we did not go to it as the area close by had too many bommies for us to cope with on anchor!)

There are two major passes into the atoll: on the NE and NW. We anchored on both the W and E sides and highly recommend the western anchorage for having easy access off the boat to lovely snorkeling and a great wall dive nearby (get to it directly from the boat or off the dinghy) beautiful at about 15m depth; very little current on both occasions we did the dive.

NW pass and anchorage: an easy pass, depth greater than 20m; entrance 04:46.308N 73:23.796E; then 04:46.108N 73:23.895E and 04:45.930N 73:24.034E. We anchored at 04:45.945N 73:23.642E

NE pass and anchorage: more difficult as it has a strong tide and reef makes a T-junction in front; depths greater than 8m. Entrance 04:46.556N 73:27.780E; then 04:46.313N 73:27.728E and 04:46.185N 73:27.763E. We anchored at 04:45.220N 73:29.178E; only do this with good visibility as there are many bommies.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013



October 2010

This is an atoll in the Mozambique Channel, almost completely under water at high tide but with exposed, walkable reef at low tide.

There are, surprisingly (and illegally?), mooring buoys at 21:28.395S 39:43.706E.
April 2015 update: we have been told that those mooring buoys were removed, but they may possibly have been re-instated. Please post a message below if you can confirm: thanks!

The atoll provides magnificent snorkeling and diving, fascinating reef walks and a parade of exceptional marine life past the boat, amongst which large sharks and whales (alarmingly close).

We heard that it is possible to enter the lagoon in the atoll, using waypoint 21:27.37S 39:42.56E, but on observation we thought entry might be at 21:27.04S 39:42.56E. At no stage did we take the boat into the atoll, however, but enjoyed using the dinghy.



June 2010

Having spent a few days in big storms and large following seas, heading east to Thailand, and with no abatement evident, we decided to seek a port of refuge. Pulau Weh had been recommended and it was where we went. 

Pulau We is a cup-shaped island (open north) and we passed the top western headland to go to the lagoon on the opposite arm, opening to the west.

As we covered the open stretch of water between the two arms, we were assaulted by very strong winds again: a valley at the South end (bottom) of the island channels winds northwards here.

We saw the harbour and lagoon, and called up several times but received no answer on VHF. So we went ahead and anchored at 05:52.288N 95:18.441E, in a calm, beautiful lagoon and relished two days recovery, not leaving the boat as we had no visa. We were visited by locals and watched the fishermen running repairs as they could not get to work either.

When we left the lagoon, to our surprise we were called on VHF 16 and the harbor master told us he wanted to inform us of where we had been anchored. We took the details down despite our confusion, and he gave us the following waypoint: 05:53.31N 095:14.19E.

Some time later, on checking this position, we found that the position we had been given was on the eastern side of the western (left) side of the cup. This is approximately in the top area indicated with dive flags in the above map.

We do not know the reason for the fact that the harbor master wanted us to record the other position, but it may be possible that it is the one allowed yachties seeking refuge, and they would prefer not to get boats in the small lagoon, which is for local people only.

We were nonetheless very grateful for the opportunity to rest and recover, and grateful that we were not barred entry in the storm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Ketoro 2010 – 2012

Ketoro is a 40’ Admiral catamaran with a 1.2m draft. The anchoring depths given are all under the keel.

These notes cover our anchorages in the following grouped areas: Langkawi, Penang and islands off W Peninsular Malaysia; W Peninsular Malaysia mainland; S and E Peninsular Malaysia; the islands off eastern Peninsular Malaysia; East Malaysia (Borneo Island) from west (Sarawak) to east (Sabah).
We visited Singapore on the way, and also did a visa run to Brunei on the way up the Borneo coast; these notes are covered at the end.

1 Langkawi to Penang

Langkawi Island
Duty free port especially for fuel, wine, beer and chocolate.
At Kuah town (main town and ferry terminal and entry / exit facilities) Langkawi Yacht Club: +60 4966 4078
Matsarat: town near airport on south west side with easy access to Rebak and Telaga marinas; great store PL Sun Huat. Wine room at the back.

Langkawi Island: Telaga Harbour Marina . Check in /out facilities at marina. Fuel at Petronas quay; 2012 Rm2.80/l. Veggie man comes every Friday to marina. Good car and scooter hire from Mr Din who will deliver to Immigration building at marina.
Marina is at 06:22.023N 99:41.058E; you can anchor in the ‘lagoon’ behind the two manmade islands (about 3m, rolly in S winds, some areas of poor holding.) We were in 3.2m at 06:21.81N 99:40.77E.

Pulau Rebak besar (Rebak Island)
Mazrizal Othman Marina manager, Rebak Island Resort,  +60 4966 5566, +60 19 477 0695,, .
Marina 06:17.777N 99:41.892E
One small chandlery and one small provisioning shop on Rebak island. No fuel available but LPG gas is. Veggie man comes to Port Langasouka (hotel shuttle boat stop) every Friday. Travel between Rebak and Langkawi islands is by hotel shuttle boat every 45 mins. Car and scooter hire from ??? who will deliver to Port Langasouka shuttle dock.

Pulau Dayan Bunting
Anchored in 3m at 06:10.666N 99:48.108E and 11m at 06:11.434N 99:47.258E.
“Christmas Beach” 06:10.666N 99:48.108E in 3m.

Pulau Singa Besar
06:12.316N 99:44.675E in 4m

“Fjord” anchorage
This is a beautiful anchorage between steep islands, but the tide can be strong. We dropped in 12m at 06:11.220N 99:47.259E.

Tanjung City Marina, Georgetown: 05:24.858N 100:20.633E; depth 1.5m; bad mooring, surges from ferries, but wonderful central place from which to walk and explore Georgetown. We have been informed (2013) that this marina has closed down.
New marina at Straits Quay (north east corner of island) is evidently very good.

2 West Peninsular Malaysia (mainland)

Malacca Straits
Travelling south: we preferred to go beyond the 30m contour, and sailed just in-shore of the north-bound shipping channel, hence facing the near-side shipping. (The shipping is very good about staying in their channel, but seeing them on AIS is comforting as the clearance between you and the oncoming ships is tight if you want to ensure a default port-to-port passing with oncoming small craft in the Inshore zone). There were many other vessels in the In-Shore zone including many tugs towing barges. Few tugs had AIS (but they all did show correct nav. lights), and most of the other in-shore vessels had no AIS. At night we became aware of wooden vessels, with no radar print and no navigation lights, crossing the channel close to us: smuggling appears to exist.
Particularly when northbound (and you cannot get too close to the protection of the shipping lane because of southbound small craft) it is best to show as much light as you can to alert the many small fishing boats to your presence – they tend to sit in darkness until they become aware of an approaching vessel and only then switch on!
It is quite feasible to day-sail the Straits as many overnight anchorages are available. However we had a schedule and to make best use of the very significant tidal currents, we elected to run mainly with the tides with the only proviso being to round Singapore in daylight.

Pulau Pangkor
Our only experience of this island was a stop to go up the mast and do repairs. We anchored in 13.8m at 04:12.575N 100:32.965E

Port Dickson
Admiral Cove Marina; berthed at 02:28.581N 101:50.713E
This is a good place from which to visit the city of Melaka for a few days. Fuel dock available.

3 South and East Peninsular Malaysia (mainland)

Puteri Harbour Marina
Keep to the west (Malaysia) side of Johor Straits: Singapore patrol boats were evident and watchful.
Marina is good wrt berths, shore heads, laundry facilities, restaurant, fuel is available.
Berthed at 01:25.091N 103:39.498E in 5m.

Teluk Punggai
We anchored in 5.7m at 02:16.636N 104:07.042E

Kuala Rompin
Anchored in 2.8m at 02:48.49N 103:30.51E
Anchored 03:38.080N 103:35.707E in 18m, off the coastline in good holding sand; this is simply an open beach roadstead.

Kuala Terengganu: Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina
Enter the river between the two rock breakwaters; head west to marina. Berthed in marina at 05:20.367N 103:07.857E; depth 5.4m.
It is possible to go upstream to raft to the fuel barge but we took the dinghy upstream to collect in jerry cans once, and another time a barge came to deliver to boats (if there are enough takers to make it worth their while). Best to filter the fuel before going into tanks.
The city (market, shops, pharmacy, banks; small but nice Chinatown with people very friendly and helpful) is the other side of the river, approached by dinghy; tie up at the dock. An evening out ended up with 2 of 4 dinghies having petrol siphoned out of their fuel tanks.
This is a very conservative Muslim city and foreigners who do not dress appropriately are made to feel very unwelcome.

4 East Peninsular Malaysia Islands

Pulau Tinggi
Beautiful island, good holding anchorage at 02:16.636N 104:07.042E in 5.7m. Watch out for sandflies.

Pulau Babi Besar
Anchored in 4.5m at 02:28.793N 103:57.303E

Tioman Island
  • Teluk Tekek  village. Anchored in 14m (which became 3.7m!) at 02:49.343N 104:09.550E; this was where most catamarans anchored (and a great place to view the small DASH aircraft using the tiny runway!), with many monohulls anchoring the other side (SW) of the marina entrance. Wonderful island for good walks, food, base for diving, visits to places of interest. Small marina. Tioman Island is duty free and a source of cheap beer.
  • Small island SW of Teluk Tekek, mooring buoy in 6m at 02:48.63N 104:08.17E; nice snorkeling albeit busy with day boats.
  • Mooring buoy in 7.5m at Kampung Mukut, east jetty, south of Tioman island; 02:43.13N 104:11.75E. Lovely walk to a waterfall used in the old movie “South Pacific”.
Pulau Tulai
02:54.776N 104:06.082E, anchored in 15.5m.

Pulau Sepoi
Mooring buoy in 17m at 02:53.41N 104:03.97E; well placed to dive nearby.

Tiger Rocks
Mooring buoy for diving in 19.2m at 02:53.494N 104:03.593E. Great diving.

Pulau Sribuat
02:41.867N 103:53.900E in 10.7m

Pulau Redang
Anchored north side in 6m at 05:47.23N 103:01.05E and at Pu Redang South / Pu Penang we took a mooring buoy in 6.5m at 05:44.896N 103:00.198E. Good snorkeling and diving.

Pulau Lima
Moored on a dive buoy in 12m at 05:46.458N 103:03.505E

Perhentian Islands Good snorkeling and diving.
Anchored South in 14m at 05:53.36N 102:44.94E, then in channel 3.7m at 05:53.68N 102:44.12E.
Took a mooring buoy at lighthouse (Seabelle Mount?) in 10.3m at 05:54.633N 102:42.585E.
Anchored in 9.5m at Perhentian Besar (NW) at 05:54.715N 102:44.956E.
Mooring Buoy at Tokong Laut (Temple Rock) 05:57.725N 102:39.413E

5 East Malaysia (Borneo Island): Sarawak

Crossing the South China Sea from west to east Malaysia (Borneo Island): the main Singapore – Taiwan – Japan shipping lanes must be crossed; keep well clear of all of the Indonesian island territories, and be on the lookout for oil production platforms.

Pulau Satang Besar
We anchored in 7.6m at 01:46.709N 110:10.014E off this beautiful National Park island.

Santubong River
Approach waypoints to Santubong: 01°46.93N 110°16.49E, then 01°42.83N 110°17.81E, and then 01°42.83N 110°19.00E. It is best to travel in the river at / near HW. Anchor along the north bank of the river. There is a dinghy jetty but that is all.

We anchored at the base of beautiful Santubong mountain in 11.7m at 01:42.9N 110:19.95E. Further north are fishing boats and houses; here there are unmarked wrecks and abandoned equipment and some yachts had to re-lay their anchor a few times before it would hold.
Ship and barge traffic is disciplined and not troublesome.

Crocodiles ARE troublesome, so no boat or prop cleaning or diving on the anchor here!
Boat can be left here for the day to visit Kuching; this town is wonderful for a few days visits. Also see the Cultural Village near the anchorage. If there is need to leave the boat overnight, it is probably best done at Kuching Marina.

Kuching Marina
Berthed in 4.2m at 01:33.525N 110:24.273E.
There are strong tides in the river, and great piles of logs and debris are brought down; however, they tend to get trapped by the dock structures and yachts inside are protected.

Some yachts went up Sungai Rajang to Sibu but we were very nervous of log debris and left Ketoro at the marina to go away for a few days to Sibu and Kapit; the boat was safe. Fuel is available by jerry cans and local taxi / entrepreneurs.

Pulau Lakei
01:44.942N 110:30.000E in 5.4m. Enjoyable walks on the island.

Miri Marina
Entrance is at 04:22.90N 113:58.15E; sandbar across the entrance makes it shallow and care must be taken. We had 2.8m depth; 04:23.112N 113:58.346E.

Miri Marina is a very easy place for fuel, gas, taxis, laundry and to buy pork: all of these are dealt with by entrepreneurial locals who come to the boat to help you! Get contact details from Capt Fin the marina manager at
+60 (85) 423 033. (VHF Ch 69)
Miri is a perfect base to fly to Mulu National Park: the caves are outstanding and well worth a few days.

6 East Malaysia (Borneo Island): Sabah

Pulau Tiga
Mooring buoy at 05:43.146N 115:38.842E in 6.3m.

Kota Kinabalu: Sutera Harbour Marina
Very fancy marina, and room to anchor off if it is full or if you do not have holding tanks or third party insurance (both required for marina). Fuel dock available.
We were on a med mooring in 6m depth at 05:58.007N 116:03.318E.
Two hotels and a marina club and excellent swim pools.  Cheap shuttle to town runs frequently from the hotels. Excellent base to see KK, the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehab Centre, and to travel to Kinabalu Park.

Teluk Ambong
Anchored in 4.4m at 06:48.9N 116:33.1E; in sand/mud off the beach, and another time in 9m at 06:18.568N 116:18.118E.

Northern tip of Borneo: 07:02.655N 116:44.662E

Pulau Malawali
Anchored in 5m at 07:03.143N 117:16.250E. This island is supposed to have many turtles.

Off-shore anchorage
Good sand, 6.5m at 07:00.991N 116:46.660E

Pulau Tigabu
Anchored in 14.8m at 06:52.768N 117:28.496E

Pulau Langkayan
The resort has placed at least three mooring balls here, in good condition (two of them brand new) in 2011. We were at 06:30.260N 117:54.894E in a depth of 20m.
The island is a turtle conservation area and well worth a visit, and paying the Rm 25 conservation fee. At the time we were there (September) they were releasing baby turtles daily, and called us (on request) on VHF 16 when a female came ashore to lay eggs.

Pulau Silingaan
18m at 06:10.302N 118:03.378E

The recommended anchorage is off the Royal Sandakan Yacht Club (RSYC). We anchored once in 15m at 05:50.303N 118:07.452E and a subsequent time in 11m at 05:50.450N 118:07.592E.
This is a very muddy river (deckwash required for anchor lifting) and very busy; three of us had our boats burgled while asleep on anchor, despite being directly off the Police Station. Yacht club clubhouse bar and restaurant works very well as local and expat centre. Fuel available by jerry cans and own dinghy. Sandakan is home to the only Yanmar agent in Borneo (next stop Singapore).

Kinabatangan River
Catamarans use the northern entrance route and monohulls entered via the southern entrance, due to the sand banks in the northern entrance.
These are some of our anchoring positions and waypoints down this lovely (albeit muddy) river; the jungle extends to less than 100m on each side but we still saw good birdlife, macaques and proboscis monkeys, elephants and, at the final anchorage, orang utans.

Waypoints from our track and anchorages on the way down:
Northern entrance: 05:52.322N 118:17.649E; 05:51.471N 118:18.247E; 05:50.082N 118:19.123E; 05:48.484N 118:20.232E; 05:47.616N 118:20.527E
Turn right at 05:41.876N 118:23.068E into the main river tributary.
Our anchorages were: Kampong Abei (Johnsonville!): anchored in 5m at 05:41.013N 118:23.231E; also in 3m at 05:36.781N 118:20.870E and lastly we anchored in 6.5m at 05:30.504N 118:17.626E at Kampung Sukau. Beware the powerlines up ahead at 05:30.461N 118:17.197E which are too low to let most boats through.
Whilst here we breakfasted at the Barefoot Lodge and went on a longtail night trip up a tributary with Ahmad Arsih as well as doing our own dinghy exploration: wonderful.

Waypoints from our track and anchorages on the way out:
We anchored in 5m at 05:40.228N 118:23.265E off a tributary with firefly trees; good evening dinghy trip. Turn right at 05:41.876N 118:23.068E to head for the Dewhurst Bay exit. Waypoints: 05:36.005N 118:32.062N; beware shallows at 05:35.599N 118:32.556E.
Further anchorages were in 3m at 05:37.244N 118:35.490E (river mouth) and on a subsequent trip we anchored in 7m at 05:37.988N 118:36.376E.
Exit Dewhurst Bay using 05:38.776N 118:36.922E and 05:39.488N 118:37.884E; this would be the southern entrance recommended for monohulls.

Dent Haven
We anchored here twice in 7m depth at 05:14.912N 119:15.533E. All on mud.

Pulau Gaya
This is a pretty island and worth exploring both for snorkeling and to the village.
We anchored in 8.5m at 04:35.545N 118:43.281E and on a second visit in 4m at 04:35.601N 118:43.389E.

Lahad Datu
This is a surprisingly nice, clean, ordered town with good market and supermarket. The entrance to this well sheltered port, passing fish-farm homes being pushed around by dinghies, is most interesting.
We anchored in mud in 7m at 05:01.052N 118:19.909E

Pulau Mabul
We anchored a few times here, as a base to dive Pulau Sipadan; there is good snorkeling at many places on this island: around bommies on the sand spit and on the opposite side, along a wall, particularly.
12.6m at 04:15.064N 118:38.246E
13.6m at 04:15.077N 118:38.197E
The Oil Rig Resort can be contacted for a memorable meal; their food and beverage manager requires at least a days notice to provision, however. They will fetch you from the boat: a bonus. Diving under the rig resort is said to be very interesting, if contrived (moray eel in the sunken toilet bowl, for example).

Horn Reef
This is simply an anchorage in the sand near the reef, a spot from where to easily swim to some lovely snorkeling bommies. At low tide the edge of the reef is clearly visible.
9.6m at 04:15.033N 118:26.148E

This town is on the border with Indonesia.
The river is soft mud and holding is poor; we started in 4m at 04:14.969N 117:52.471E but dragged (as did the whole rally fleet); after we re-anchored at (almost the same spot) 04:14.970N 117:52.476E we were stable. There are several areas where eddies greatly affect the swing of the boats, such that even catamarans near each other will lie differently.
Facilities at the Tawau Yacht Club (pool, restaurants, showers, gym) are good, and staff is very friendly. We holed our dinghy badly at the end of the jetty: give the end a wide berth as there are sharp, upstanding remnants of old jetty structures that can only be seen at low tides. Locals will arrange to fill fuel jerry cans and deliver to dinghy jetty.


Serasa: Royal Brunei Yacht Club
This river anchorage is off the RBYC which is the only food establishment that caters for western visitors, and hence is fairly busy. Locals will help to fill jerry cans with cheap fuel (additional cans may be borrowed from club).
The anchor was set in 3.6m at 05:00.000N 115:04.163E. Others enjoyed anchoring further up the river but we did not get there.
A few days spent in Brunei city is time well spent.

Kuala Beleit
This river is further south in Brunei; it is very brown from tannin due to deforestation further upstream and ended up staining our sugar-scoop quite badly.
We anchored with less than 2m under the keel at 04:34.414N 114:11.713E.


Singapore’s One 15 marina (01:14.675N 103:50.459E) works well and has restaurants, pools, gym, etc, fuel dock and shuttle transport to Viva City (a giant mall that also gives access to buses and underground / metro). It is also located very close to the Western Immigration area where you check in with the Immigration Boat. For a fee the marina will sort out the boat clearance, but the one stop customs / harbour master office is only a short bus ride away.

AIS equipment (at least a receiver if not also transponder) is extremely useful (essential?) and there is talk that Singapore will make it compulsory. At present it is not required for visiting yachts. A daylight passage is essential through the various port areas notwithstanding that the very dense traffic is disciplined. It is however best to, at maximum sustainable speed, slink along the edges of the channels and not make too much of any ‘give way / stand on’ vessel rules – turn or slow down to avoid collision courses or ensure that you are the ‘give way’ vessel in any situation which enables you to positively take avoiding action.