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New Guinea, Indonesia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java

Indonesia General from Cruising Info Community Messages in this topic - RSS

Posts: 19

Posts: 19
This page provides general information on Indonesia and includes Andy and Ros Hogbin’s log which mentions Kupang, Laruntuka, Flores, Tanjung Gedong, Pamana Island, Maumere, Crocodile Bay, Rinca, Sabajor Besar, Kananga village on the coast of Sumbawa, Gili Air, Lombok, Benoa, Lembongan, Bali, Kumai. Use the find on this page function of your browser to locate these.
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George Curtis
Posts: 232

George Curtis
Posts: 232
This information has been contributed by and is intended for use by competent amateur yachtsmen as general guidance solely to supplement research of their cruising plans.It has not been checked or verified by the OCC. The Information may be inaccurate or out of date and is NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

This page provides general information on Indonesia and includes Andy and Ros Hogbin’s log which mentions Kupang, Laruntuka, Flores, Tanjung Gedong, Pamana Island, Maumere, Crocodile Bay, Rinca, Sabajor Besar, Kananga village on the coast of Sumbawa, Gili Air, Lombok, Benoa, Lembongan, Bali, Kumai. Use the find on this page function of your browser to locate these.

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Visa requirements

: A 60 day Social Visa can be obtained in advance from Indonesian Consulates. Darwin and Singapore are good to obtain these. They cost $60 AUS, are valid for 60 days (not 2 months) from date of entry, are only single entry, can be renewed in Indonesia via an agent for 30 days at a time for up to 6 months. For up to date information www.sailindonesia.net site has links to Indonesian consulate websites plus extensive explanations of Visa and CAIT requirements.
A Visa can be obtained on arrival but is only valid for 30 days and is not extendible.
In all cases passports must have 6 months validity on them on arrival.
Entry requirements

: All yachts must report at a recognised Port of Entry on arrival and have a valid Indonesian Cruising Permit (CAIT). DO NOT give original copies of anything to officials only photocopies. Original documents must be kept on board as they need to be handed in to obtain outward clearance.


Send the following documents to the Bali Marina by express mail or e-mail (fax copies may not be clear enough) at least five or six weeks in advance of your departure. Use boat name with all correspondence, • Legible copies of passports (captain & crew) • One passport size photo of owner and/or captain • Copy of boat documentation with complete description of boat • Last port before entering Indonesian waters and next destination after Indonesia • Approximate departure date from last port • List of Indonesian islands you intend to visit • Your return address to fax or e-mail the CAIT document • Transfer US$150 to the Bali Marina bank account To : PERMATA BANK Beneficiary : HARYO SUGITO Account No. : 580-410-1170 (US$ account) Swift : Cabang Benoa BBBAIDJA Bali, Indonesia • Fax copy of your bank transfer to the Marina for proof; otherwise request cannot be processed • To use Visa or MasterCard, the Marina requires a photocopy of the card by fax or e-mail with an authorization written on it and signed with "please charge my credit card for the purchase of an Indonesian CAIT in the amount not to exceed US$150".


Possession of a Cruising Permit on arrival is required by law. In the case of an emergency stop in Benoa Harbor, you can receive three days "safe harbor". The Indonesian Navy representative will approve your stay (for fee equal to CAIT cost), and there is a charge for extending the "emergency" stay. • If you have a Bali International Marina CAIT, the Marina clears you in and out of Benoa Harbor at no extra charge.

• CAIT processing takes four to five weeks. If you sail directly to Bali, you can receive your CAIT on arrival at the Marina but it is strongly advised to have a partially completed CAIT before entering Indonesian waters. Bali International Marina can fax or e-mail a partially completed CAIT in two to three weeks. • Once you clear in to Benoa Harbor, the Harbor Master holds your original CAIT until you clear out, so crew changes cannot be made. Have your crew assignments before entering Indonesian waters, even if the crew, owners or guests are going to fly into Bali to sail with you locally. Guests flying into Bali to join the boat (without a return air-ticket) will need a copy of your CAIT on arrival at the airport. • Passports are stamped by Immigrations at Benoa Harbor and anyone can fly out and return if need be. Keep a copy of the airline ticket for proof of departure. • Your sailing craft can be left in Indonesia indefinitely, as long as you have a valid CAIT, and return with a new visa for unlimited times. You also can extend a Social Visa for up to six months.
Transit requirements (departing one port, entering another)

This is very varied but has relaxed in recent years. If you are anywhere with a Harbour Master then take the ships papers, CAIT and all the papers issued on arrival. We did not find extra payments being asked for, all officials were polite and friendly.
Search and rescue

Emergency and health services

Medical services are best avoided. Standards are poor. If a serious problem arises contact your insurance company and get to Singapore or Darwin.
Importing spares

Reported to be very difficult. Probably best to try Bali Yacht Services.
Useful languages

A few words of Bahasa are useful. Most villages had someone who spoke English often surprisingly well.
Other comments

Cruising information (specific to this cruising area)

Last updated by Beth Bushnell on 08 January 2012.

Recommended cruising guides

The only Guide is 101 Anchorages in Indonesia. It is a rough guide not gospel. We found some waypoints to be way out, depths suspect and occasional changes in topography (blame the earthquakes/Tsunamis). Most useful were accounts from previous cruisers. Sail Indonesia produces a CD with reams of information , unfortunately it 's not been collated and a lot is useless but there are some nuggets in there.

Web links providing local cruising information: http://www.sailindonesia.net, http://www.noonsite.com ,

101 Anchorages Within the Indonesian Archipelago
http://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=24606&osCsid=ztxjdkicstdh Boat Books Australia

SOUTH EAST ASIA CRUISING GUIDE, Volume II : Indonesia & East Timor,
Singapore, West Peninsular Malaysia, West Thailand, Papua New Guinea
and Palau – Stephen Davies and Elaine Morgan (2nd edition). Published
in hard covers by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson at £32.50. 264 A4
pages, in full colour throughout. ISBN 9-7818-4623-042-4 on line supplement; [http://www.imray.com/corrections/831.html]
Some of the ports of entry

: Kupang, Bali, Nongsa Point Marina, Ambon and many others.. It is possible to check in at the first port mentioned in your CAIT even if not an official port of entry. Noonsite is a good place to check for ports of entry.
Harbours to leave your yacht for 1 month or more

Doing this would involve issues with CAIT and Visas. It might be possible in Bali Marina, or Nongsa Point Marina but in the later case get to Singapore or Malaysia.
Weather information

: Indonesian weather bureau www.bmkg.go.id , Singapore www.weather.gov.sg , Australian local sites end before Kupang but www.bom.gov.au has good overviews. No sites are good here.
Tidal information

We used wxtide32. Open CPN has no information. Iphones with tide app proved quite useful. All required tweaking by observation.
Cruising permits and restrictions

CAIT. This is a detailed document showing your proposed route, dates, crew members and boat details. It has to be applied for via an agent 42 days in advance, is valid for 3 months on entry and has to be validated on entry within 42 days of date of issue. See Sail Indonesia website fro a good explanation of this document. Dinah Beach Cruising Association in Darwin can help with application for CAIT. Other agents include Bali Yacht Services in Bali. Noonsite has a list of other agents.
Radio and communications

Widespread Mobile phone coverage but signals can be very poor and subject to drop out. Internet via dongle and sim card worked well but again can be very slow. Telkomsel did a deal including modem and unlimited internet access for 3 months for 750,000Ind rupiah (approx £54). This worked out very well. We often managed to log on as we passed phone towers. It was cheaper to use the Iridium phone to call the UK than mobiles from the UK or even Australia.


Andy and Ros Hogbin are now into the second half of a circumnavigation aboard their Nicholson 43 Chant de Mai. They began their travels through Asia in September 1998 and now share with us some of their adventures in Indonesia.)

On our passage from Darwin to Timor, motoring along during my night watch, I sat staring out at the perfect reflection of a half moon glistening up from a satin sea. The last time we had experienced such sustained lack of wind was on our Panama to Galapagos passage. Different ocean, different hemisphere, but now the same clinging doldrums, destined to be our companion westwards along the Indonesian island chain.

After five days at sea, we approached Kupang on the western end of Timor at night. As we rounded the corner into the narrow Seman Strait we saw a vast number of white lights directly ahead, shifting, changing pattern and re-forming. Our radar confirmed that we were looking down a thin strip of water literally swarming with Indonesian fishing boats, some largish, travelling in threes with bright neon strip lights, some tiny, merely white pinpoints, and the inevitable sprinkling of unlit ones. The neons were easy to dodge - we passed clear to one side of each trio, the agile pinpoints seeming to scoot out of our way at the last minute - but the myriad invisible ones were the most trying. The night was so dark that I couldn 't even make out hull silhouettes against the water and Andy had to shout repeatedly from the radar at the nav station, 'Oops, another one 100m ahead. Quick, 20° to starboard now! '.

Our friends in Tinfish, who had arrived in Kupang a few days ahead of us, guided us into the anchorage by VHF. We gratefully switched off our throbbing engine and collapsed into solid sleep.

Kupang is a typically mad Indonesian city and we were there primarily because it was a port of entry and we needed to clear in. It had its shady characters, including 'Jimmy the Weasel ', a local who acted as an agent and extracted fees of variously inflated proportions in US dollars for his services. Fortunately for us, Bob, an Australian in business with a dive charter boat and small restaurant, offered us the same service via his Indonesian contacts at half the price.

We were also there for the ikats - intricately patterned cloth, where cotton threads are bound in a certain way and selectively dyed before being woven together on a simple hand-loom. Designs vary from animals and birds to abstract shapes and the colours are earthy - indigo, rust and mustard. Different islands in the Nusa Tenggara group produce characteristic cloth of high quality. We watched ikats being made, always by the women (men never do this, because they would become infertile - or so the story goes!). We bought a couple from a tiny shop, and another from the persistent ikat sellers who materialise near your table in restaurants and bars and hover at a respectful distance until you agree to look at their wares. We bartered heartily with much good humour on both sides, and were impressed with the Indonesian people - dark-skinned, smooth-haired, small, slim and always smiling. They spoke no English, but in the streets would indiscriminately shout out 'hello meester ', to which we would reply 'selamat pagi ' (good morning) in our best Bahasa Indonesia.

Before we left we took a bemo to the market. The bemo was the local mode of transport, a Japanese minivan with bench seating in the back and a mission to pack in as many people as possible. We crammed ourselves along one side, touching knees with the people opposite, as a further group clung on to the door and hung outside. Mattresses, boxes and the odd bit of squawking wildlife were strapped firmly to the roof. Inside, under each bench lay a rack of very substantial speakers emitting hugely loud, throaty, western pop, which was turned down if we passed a mosque and turned back up to full volume as we sped away. The driver 's dashboard was absolutely covered with tapes, effectively shielding all instrumentation from view. Bemo drivers drove by wits alone.

We left Kupang and made use of a welcome light northwesterly, backing southwesterly, to help us on our overnight passage north to Flores. The seas were flat and we skimmed along. It was a great boost to be able to sail for a while! Inevitably the wind died and we day-hopped up the eastern side of Flores. We dropped the anchor north of Laruntuka, to wait for the severe counter-current to ease before making our way around the top and westwards along the north coast. This part of Indonesia was extremely dry and parched - the land had yet to recover from the effects of the El Niño droughts and fires.

We day-hopped from anchorage to anchorage. Tanjung Gedong was a sheltered bay with clear water and a collection of Indonesian trading boats and dugouts. We snorkelled around attractive coral heads and along the sandy bottom, which fizzed with bubbles of volcanic hot water. The next day a sailable breeze sprang up and we hurried to make use of it, progressing beyond Hading Bay and just reaching Tanjung Watu Wulan, east of Babi island, before the wind died. Here the shoreline had subsided after the disastrous earthquake of 1992, and there were lines of dead trees extending right out into the water.

We were keen to visit at least one dive spot and had read that Pamana Island, off the Flores coast, had some good possibilities. Armed with questionable GPS co-ordinates, we wove our way in through a narrow pass to a small lagoon at the southwestern corner, both boats following our dinghy containing Andy and his lead line. It was well worth the effort. The coral life was fantastic both for snorkelling and diving. We saw huge, glorious fan corals, trumpet shapes, tendrils and fronds, rubbery lemon yellow blobs and leopard-lipped clams.

We enjoyed a couple of nights in the lagoon, fitting in another early morning dive, before motoring out in glassy conditions and heading southwards towards Maumere on the Flores coast. We anchored off Sea World, a German-run diving resort, and compared diving notes with Mana and Josi, a couple of German boats we 'd met. Sea World helped to arrange an 0230 tour to the crater lakes. It was our first real taste of inland Flores and we drove high into the mountains as the sun came up over bamboo-edged rice paddies. The air was clear and refreshingly cool, and we reached the volcano after a 3½ hour drive up steep winding roads. The scenery was rugged and spectacular - bare volcanic rock, colourful lakes below us and, in the distance, hand-hewn terraces full of intensely green rice crops, banana palms and bamboo.

We decided to cover the miles between Flores and Rinca in one hop, and made judicious use of sea and land breezes as they rose and fell. On our second day we were greeted by a light northeasterly and risked putting our spinnaker up, hoping that we 'd squeeze at least a couple of hours ' use out of it. We were thrilled when the wind held for the entire day and we managed to fly the kite until dark. We then realised that we 'd have to reef down for the night in order to approach Rinca 's many surrounding islands in daylight - a small price to pay!

Although the current was generally with us, we found ourselves ploughing our way across tidal rips, weaving around islands and crossing off waypoints as if on an obstacle course. Late that morning we approached Rinca via a long, narrow inlet and anchored in Crocodile Bay. Chant de Mai and Tinfish were the only boats there, and after a siesta we went ashore. We had come to Rinca specifically to see the Komodo dragons - carnivorous monitor lizards some 2-3 metres long. We could have gone next door to Komodo island itself, but we preferred the less touristy option available on Rinca. As we walked up the jetty on our way to the ranger 's office, we were met by a somnolent Komodo basking in the sun. He didn 't even flick an eyelid at us, and for some reason we called him Kevin. We met the rangers and booked an early morning trek with a guide into Komodo country. The next day, just after sunrise, we landed at the jetty to find Kevin in a docile heap by the 'Welcome to Rinca ' sign. We posed and took photos.

Our cheery guide, Dominicus, led us up the hill behind the camp into dry savannah landscapes. He apologised for his poor English, which to our ears was good and much better than our Bahasa Indonesia. We climbed to the top in the ever-increasing morning heat and looked down at our boats and the crinkly coastline surrounding them. We saw deer and monkeys, native plants and water buffalo. Dominicus pointed out a Komodo track and white, chalky Komodo droppings, and far ahead we glimpsed one on the prowl. Suddenly it moved with lightning speed in chase, and was gone. Dominicus spotted another one on the horizon, stock still. Even with field glasses we couldn 't pick it out amongst the rocks. On our way down, we visited a watering hole where water buffalo were sitting cooling themselves and swishing flies away with their tails.

The next day, we made another trip ashore. Kevin was out of sorts. As we approached, he got up and launched forth quite rapidly in our direction. We dodged out of the way along the path to the ranger headquarters. One particularly large dragon there began to stomp off down the path in the direction of the jetty and Kevin. We decided to follow and the large Komodo disappeared round the corner. Then, to our horror, Large Komodo came hurtling back round the corner towards us, hotly pursued by Kevin. Warning beeps in our heads rang out: 1. Komodos are carnivorous; 2. they 're not as dozy as they sometimes appear; 3. their saliva is so rankly bacterial that one bite could be curtains!

All of a sudden we developed an uncanny ability to run up the sheer cliff-face to one side of the narrow path, and we scrambled and clawed our way up the slope and out of the way of the rampaging Komodos. As we clung on to loose boulders and twig stumps, Large Komodo turned and began chasing Kevin back along the path, and after another fight they ran past us again in the opposite direction. As we gingerly climbed down off our rocky outcrop and followed the disappearing Komodos it became perfectly clear that Kevin was a misnomer. 'He ' was female and we had just witnessed a somewhat violent courtship procedure. Large Komodo had by now subdued 'Kevin ' and we left them to it, wishing their forthcoming offspring well as we scuttled down the path to the anchorage.

After moving on from Rinca, we anchored off the beach at a nearby island called Sabajor Besar, where we spent a couple of days snorkelling amongst fascinating coral gardens and walking to the island 's summit. We left in search of wind, found some, but not enough to get us all the way to Lombok. A couple of days into the passage we were becoming heartily sick of the noise of the engine, so pulled in to Kananga village on the coast of Sumbawa and spent a morning ashore in an ice-cool river, doing our washing and thereby entertaining the locals. I was particularly amused when Andy, waist deep in the river, proceeded to show us all the 'spin cycle ' by whirling fistfuls of wet clothes at high speed above his head.

We needed to keep moving, so sailed and motored our way towards Lombok and anchored off Gili Air, one of three attractive outlying islands, from where we took a ferry to the mainland and spent a day exploring Lombok. We visited Loyok in the middle of the island, watched the local basket-weavers, and bought spiral rattan baskets complete with lids inlaid with carved wooden panels - a Lombok speciality. We ate out locally on nasi goreng (the standard Indonesian fare of fried rice with bits in) and spent the afternoon amongst lush, vivid greenery and wonderful mountainscapes.

Our passage from Gili Air to Benoa on the southern end of Bali began with an 0600 start, and as we left Lombok behind us we were greeted by hundreds of small Indonesian outrigger fishing boats, all travelling towards us. Each boat had a simple triangular sail in stripes or blocks of primary colour. Within the hour the whole fleet had passed us. We decided to make for the island of Lembongan, and hit a massive counter-current which reduced our speed to nil over the ground and whirled us around in choppy water, before we shot out of the other end and made our way into the anchorage. That afternoon we experienced a real culture shock. All around us were huge charter boats and the catamaran ferry Bali Hai II with its own floating pontoon and striped awnings. Speedboats whizzed by towing shrieking passengers on inflatable bananas and a tourist semi-sub puttered along behind us.

The following day we escaped to the relative haven of Benoa harbour in Bali and spent a couple of weeks there, tending our overworked engine and taking a three day trip inland. As well as the usual tourist haunts we drove high up into the mountains of north Bali, and our driver took us completely off the beaten track to meet his parents in a tiny remote village perched on the edge of a hill. Although many people have commented that Bali has been totally spoiled by its tourist industry, we found that it was perfectly possible to see untouched corners of the country, where the scenery was even more vibrant and spectacularly green than we had imagined. Here, too, we were able to sample the Balinese arts, particularly in a performance by a traditional Gamelan orchestra accompanying Legong and Barong dances. We enjoyed looking at some excellent examples of batik painting in a number of galleries, as well as fine woodcarvings and silver work.

Our final major port of call in Indonesia took us north to Kalimantan - the Indonesian part of Borneo, with its national park and resident orangutans. We had a frustrating five day passage from Bali, characterised by baking hot windless days, with the engine doing its best to add to the 34°C temperature in the saloon. For a change of atmosphere we were hit by violent squalls, most often in the early hours, with sheets of bullet-hard rain and plenty of huge thunder claps and forked lightning fizzing into the sea close by. Sometimes the squalls would leave us with a few hours of wind and our spirits lifted as we sailed for a while.

We came across shipping, and large quantities of fishing boats with very odd assortments of lights. I had great difficulty trying to interpret an all-round green closely followed by a single all-round luminous purple! And this was the first time we had ever met huge ships that actually slowed down to allow a mere sailing boat to cross their bows - it totally threw us. Even so we just couldn 't overcome our aversion to being anywhere near the pointed end of a Panamax!

The Kumai river in southwest Kalimantan has a wide mouth and a swift current. We anchored part-way up it on first arriving, and waited for favourable current to carry us up a further 10 miles to Kumai itself. There we anchored opposite the town and enjoyed the feeling of having left the sea for a while. The river was a pale sludge-brown colour and, unfortunately, as in a number of densely populated areas in the developing world, the town 's waterfront had no rubbish disposal facilities. All waste, including plastics, old bits of boat and organics, were just thrown into the river.

Once ashore, the town was ramshackle and lively, the Kalimantan people themselves charming, friendly and well turned out. Our French friends on the catamaran Wahoo had just left Kumai and recommended a guide for our orangutan trip. We spent a couple of days with Jien Joan and his friend No arranging the trip, getting provisions and visiting the police and national park offices to get the relevant permits. The next morning a simple wooden river boat, painted bright blue and complete with driver, guide and cook, picked us and Tinfish up from our boats and we chugged off down the river.

A 'road sign ' on the bank indicated a left turn into dense foliage, and we swung round into a tributary lined with low-lying palms. We sat on cushions on the shaded upper deck, relaxing and taking in the view as the river narrowed, the banks changed from reeds to pandanus, and the trees grew taller. We saw proboscis monkeys and gloriously coloured tropical kingfishers. The banks closed in and the river curled and twisted. The occasional speedboat whizzed by, carrying people to and from a gold mine. Once we had turned off the gold mine route the water lost its milky chocolate appearance and became translucent and very dark brown - 'like Coca-Cola ', as our guide No described it. The river slimmed down until it was just a few metres wide. Finally we arrived at Camp Leakey and moored alongside the wooden jetty, watched by an inquisitive female orangutan with her baby.

We went ashore, kitted out in long trousers and hats and larded with insect repellent, and spent a fascinating and very humid afternoon walking through the jungle surrounding the rehabilitation centre, watching orangutans swinging through the trees and being fed at the feeding station. Madé, a Balinese vet volunteer at the centre, filled us in with details of their programmes to save and increase the dwindling orangutan population. After a swim and hairwash in the clean Coca-Cola coloured river we set off for the second camp. That evening, we ate Indonesian food prepared on board by No and the cook, and fell asleep under mosquito nets listening to the sounds of the jungle.

Next day we visited two other camps and marvelled at the antics of the orangutans, their capacity for a range of almost human expressions and their strength - a fully-grown male has the strength of ten men. Having recorded the trip copiously on print, slide and video, we made our way back down the river and returned to our boats, arriving back in perfect synchrony with another mega-squall!

We left Kumai shortly afterwards and day-hopped along the south coast of Kalimantan, before turning the corner towards Singapore. The passage went slowly and noisily, but at least we didn 't meet the northwesterly monsoon winds due imminently - and on the nose. As we approached 0° we decided to raft up with Tinfish and Wahoo for our long-awaited crossing back into the northern hemisphere. In our Neptune and mermaid costumes, we secured our lines and toasted the South China Sea in Wahoo 's capacious cockpit. After a great party and in high spirits, we cast off and dragged ourselves and our boats across the Equator. We motored north, singing sea shanties over the noise of the engine, and as the sun glowed its late afternoon glow I watched its reflection glistening up from a satin sea.
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