Amidst an active pandemic, it is always a challenge to organize activities in groups while abiding by Safe Distancing Restrictions. It was therefore a privilege and blessing that we successfully completed a National Day Long-Weekend Cruise to One Degree 15 / Pulau Hantu / Lazarus Island on 7-9 August. With limitations of only 2 persons per boat, it looked very much like a couples’ cruise as our flotilla departed on the 3D2N adventure.
Greeted with an atypical South-Easterly Breeze, the fleet embarked from CSC on 7th August for an enjoyable beat up Kuala Johor in 7 to 8 knots of wind, perfect to start the day! After passing the Changi Naval Base, the steady breeze and favourable tide carried most of the fleet to One-15 in a comfortable 2-3hrs across Singapore’s Eastern Corridor. The winds dropped just as we approached East Keppel Fairway – as if it knew we were arriving at our destination. Some sailors stayed overnight at One Degree 15 Marina, while others chose to anchor off Lazarus Island for the first night, getting an early rest for Sunday’s continued adventures. Little Slingshot was part of the former, dwarfed amongst a myriad of luxury powered and sailing yachts.
The Marina boasts excellent security and the ground crew were kind and accommodating. Great for provisioning was the 24hr Cold Storage just next door, providing all the necessities for short cruising trips.
As this was our first visit to Pulau Hantu, we (Slingshot) decided to make an early departure on Sunday Morning to give us more time to explore the surrounding waters and find a suitable anchoring location for Lunch and some fishing! We met En Dian (Hanse 53) on the way out of Buran Channel, gaining a companion enroute to Hantu. With clear skies and turqoise waters, it was the perfect setting for a slow circumnavigation of the island, appreciating the lush greenery surrounded by a sea of steel and concrete.
For those who are unfamiliar, Pulau Hantu is situated in the middle of bigger islands such as Pulau Bukom, Pulau Sudong and Pulau Semakau. Each of these islands serve different purposes. Bukom is the site of Shell’s oil refinery and plants for the manufacture of chemicals. It also has a residential neighbourhood similar to a traditional Dutch town complete with various facilities. Sudong is one of Singapore Armed Forces designated live-firing areas. Semakau is the world’s first ecological offshore landfill, converted in 1999 by enclosing the waters between its eastern part and the western part of Pulau Sakeng (Seking) to create a rock embankment. Unlike other landfills, Semakau is clean and free of odours thanks to a more efficient waste process system.
Come lunchtime, we were joined by Marut, Born in Fire, Red Rum One & SDF. Together with a couple of diving boats, the waters off Hantu certainly looked bustling with activity! We were wary of the various shallows/coral outcrops as we chose our preferred anchoring spot. As we observed the building storm over the course of the afternoon, sailors eventually started to make their way back to a more sheltered anchorage at Lazarus Island. Just in time as well, with a strong westerly system wrecking havoc in the evening, causing a few boats to drag on anchor. thankfully our flotilla remain protected and emerged unscathed, spending a mostly tranquil night amidst the occasional and unsurprisingly loud music from neighbouring powered yachts.
Sailors were treated to a gorgeous Sunrise on the morning of National Day, as the sun’s rays peeked out from the direction of Eagle Bay. After a sumptuous breakfast of sausage and eggs, we made an early departure to get a good view of the fly-pass (we were not disappointed!) as well as to ensure we spent lesser time in the ebbing tide. Some sailors chose to spend another day in paradise, scheduling a return to CSC on Tuesday instead. Despite a forecast of rain and threatening storm clouds in the distance, the trip back to CSC went smoothly, and most boats were safely back on their moorings by 4pm.
Overall, it was a long weekend well spent! Another feather in the cap for us on Slingshot, our first trip to Pulau Hantu and longest journey so far. Had an awesome time with the following yachts:
- Red Rum One
- En Dian
- Born in Fire
- Rachel 1
Many thanks to all for participating, as well as those who shared photos of your journey! Not forgetting – big thanks to One Degree 15 Marina for having us. We will be back!