CSC, Nongsa, Airabu, Jemaja, Murbur South, Terempa, Moonrock Lagoon, CSC
Some of us at the Club had been talking about a cruise to Anambas for some time, and 5 CSC yachts were up for the challenge. Led by GMM Edwin on Skybird with Kim Soon and Deborah, Exodus – Desmond, Joseph and their father, Amideau – Maarten and Monique, Andiamo – Paul and Frances and Birregurra – Basil, Brian and Luke. Derek and Katy had planned to join on SDF but couldn’t make it this time. We’d had a few meetings at the club and at the bar, and the biggest issue seemed to be the international clearances post Covid 19. Edwin and Mayling did a great job arranging exit at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, and we set off for Nongsa on the morning of Wednesday the 3rd of August, so we could clear in to Indonesia
I’d recruited a mate of mine who used to sail on Simba – Brian, to join me for the trip. He arrived from Vietnam a couple of days early and helped with the provisioning and loading. We took lots of stuff – 160L + 85L of fuel, 350L of water, plenty of beer, spare chain, anchor and prop, engines spares, life raft, dive hookah (Luke’s sleeping companion), sat phone, etc.
The plan was for Brian and I to sail to Nongsa and then Anambas, and for Luke (Marut) to catch the ferry to Batam a couple of days later, and fly to Letung and we would somehow find him there?
A minor problem was uncovered just b4 we set off. The propane gas fume detector wasn’t working, which meant we had a fridge full of food, full gas bottles but no gas to the oven! Anyway, it was time to go and we’ll sort that one out in Nongsa. We sailed down the channel in good wind then across the shipping channel to Nongsa. About 16nm and we made a good 7kn for most of the way. Sorted out the required flags on entry and customs boarded us for a chat and photo’s. Nongsa Marina were then arranging for the clearances and visa on arrivals. It took 2 days and 4M IDR for the two of us and the boat including visa on arrivals – the most expensive part of the trip
We gave the Marina bar a good work out on the first night, and when back on board, Edwin’s crew came past with a bottle of scotch to finish off a great day
After breakfast in the Marina, we worked out a plan, and Brian went into town to buy parts, whilst I arranged the extra fuel (the marina ran out) and did some work. Later in the day after several hours work, we had managed to solder up a dc connector and run a cable under the floor and up the other side and get power to the solenoid and put in a control switch so we could cook with gas – success. A late dinner, some drinks and final wind forecasts were downloaded
Skybird and Exodus set off at 6am. Amideau, Andiamo and ourselves had breakfast and got fresh ice and departed 8am. Birregurra had departed Nongsa exactly one day earlier for Anambas 4yrs earlier, so we had a good idea what to expect. We sailed parallel to the channel, then where it heads north east, we set sail for Anambas on a starboard tack, making good progress at around 7kn
Andiamo and Amideau under full sail on the way up
As the wind went more astern, Amideau and Andiamo got away a bit with their larger head sails, but we all kept in radio and AIS contact. By 10pm, the wind had died completely and the current was taking Birregurra off course, so we dropped sails and motored for a good part of the night. No fishing nets and hardly any shipping traffic at all. We approached the private resort of Bawah around 6am, but its now USD200 to moor and USD500 to go ashore for their spa package! We continued on to Airabu under full sail, English muffin with bacon and coffee for breakfast. Astonishingly, we all arrived on the s/w of Airabu within a mile or two of each other around 1pm. Skybird and Birregurra took the n/w passage in following the Howarth’s detailed notes (well, at least one of us did), whilst the other yachts went around the southern islands to meet us at the anchorage. We went into the anchorage first but quickly ended up amongst dangerous coral bommies, so went back out to 14M and dropped anchor in clear sand. We tried to paddle ashore in the inflatable kayak, but without the tiny fin rudder, meant we just went in circles, and had to go back and fit it and then we could paddle straight. All five yachts were now well anchored and either snorkeling, fishing or sleeping after the overnight passage. Brian cooked up a ripping chili con carne, and after some red, we had a great sleep in a very peaceful anchorage.
We pulled up anchor at 7am, and set off around the top of Airabu for Jemaja. Consistent wind of 15kn, just behind the beam, which picked up to 18 and a decent swell by the time we arrived.
Surging along to Jemaja
We went around the top and into Teluk Mampo bay, anchoring in sand some 3-400M from shore. The skipper paddled into the wind to the beach, whilst Brian kept watch onboard, and we could see the Lion Air prop plane coming in to land. Luke got a ride around on a motorbike, as he had spotted our mast from the air, so knew where we were
Teluk Mampo beach where we found Luke The view from the air
Back to the mothership and a welcome aboard beer, and then a gentle sail on the jib around to Pulau Ayam, following the waypoints in and anchoring in 8M. We sailed close to 50NM all up today. A GnT and balance of the chili con carne and rice, and a very peaceful night’s sleep aboard, as the locals dragged their towable squid rigs out for the night
After breakfast, we had a snorkel over a reef with some quite interesting tropical fish. Our bread from Nongsa had gone mouldy already, so the skipper got a bread mix going. Following the no measurement approach, much to Engineer Brian’s dismay, but it actually turned out quite ok when we baked if for breakfast the next day.
Anchor up and we immediately hoisted the main in the lee of the island, but we’d only gone a few hundred meters and got whacked by the clear wind so we looped around and immediately put a reef in the main
Departing Pulau Ayam b4 the wind hit
We had 15-17kn for an excellent sail toward Terempa. It’s a really good strategy to crisscross your way from the south to the north, as you’ll get great sailing just aft of the beam all the way. The Harbour Master would have been closed by the time we would arrive, so we changed plan and headed to Murbur South and sailed all the way up the fjord and anchored in 20+M, with all 60M of chain out and a 10M bridle attached. Another 37NM today in quite hot conditions.The wind calmed later in the evening and it turned out to be a millpond
Homemade pizza and Brian managed to find some great Aussie music from the 80’s for a great night aboard
The fishing village extends around the end of the fjord, and in the morning after the local wake up call, we watched the kids be ferried to school in Terempa in small boats.
It was a challenge to get the bridle up, given the weight of the chain, but we somehow managed and motored the 6nm to Terempa. An enormous new mosque now greats visitors, and we anchored up as close as we could to the corner of the causeway in 16+M
The huge new mosque on approach to Terempa Anchored in Terempa
First stop the Harbour Master. After some paperwork, three friendly uniformed officers took us on their motorbikes to Quarantine. Lots of forms and chops and then back on the bikes to Customs, but they wanted some forms the HM had kept, so back to square one. Realizing Luke wasn’t on the crew list, we got the HM to make up a new one, which took for ages, and by then it was lunchtime and everything closes down. After a very cheap local lunch, we finally passed Customs requirements, but they insisted to go onboard
When they saw our tender was an inflatable kayak, they quickly accepted a few pics as good enough. Then on to Immigrasi, however, their IT was a bit delayed and Luke apparently wasn’t yet in the country? Luke helped them navigate their IT, and after a few hours it was sorted out. Then they asked Luke to help them record a 77th anniversary video clip – in Bahasa
He did a sterling job, then we were back to the HM for final clearance at 3:15pm, and fried banana which they insisted we have. Back on board and we were hurrying now as we wanted to get to Moonrock b4 dark and it’s 16NM away
Moonrock Bluff Andiamo and Amideau at anchor
We motored through a series of channels, navigating around shallows, and arrived at 5:45pm with maybe 20mins of daylight left. We followed the Howarth’s waypoints in and rendezvoused with Amideau and Andiamo. Luke made an excellent Italian pasta for dinner, and we had a great night in the signature anchorage of the Anambas Islands
Up early the next morning, we topped up with fuel, passed a spare drum to Maarten (just in case), had more homemade bread with ham, cheese and tomatoes, good coffee and a swim b4 departure
Then we retraced our path out through the reefs and motored south. Sails up after 1.5hrs and we made 6kn close hauled in 10kn of wind. Later in the day, Luke reset the autopilot to sail to apparent wind, and we gain about a knot. However the south west wind progressively pushed us up the Malaysian coast during the night. The wind picked up and we had a big heel up and a bit of slamming but all under control
The skipper wedged himself down below and later came up with sausages, gravy, mash and veg for a proper feed for the overnight passage. We sailed all the way, and had a fairly close encounter with a Chinese tanker, who didn’t answer their radio and passed within 50M, overtaking us from our starboard stern on a very dark night. When the sun came up, we were close to Jason’s Bay so turned left and motored south directly into the wind, then through the Lima Channel and headed towards Frontier
Entering SG waters again
The wind picked up to 15kn and we had a great sail all the way to CSC, coming alongside the jetty for the evening just b4 dark. We’d just missed Immigration so had to have another night onboard, but only after a shower and a few beers at the club.
After clearing Immigration after 7am, we cleaned up the boat and put her back on the mooring. All up we did close to 500nm. As Brian says – about a ¼ of an Atlantic crossing. It was mostly great sailing, some fabulous anchorages, good snorkeling, great food onboard, no issues or drama, and an excellent cruise. Birregurra performed very well, and got us home safely. We are definitely up for it again next year, but hopefully we can take 2-3 weeks and have more time at anchor and to explore the islands some more.