Thursday, October 24, 2019

Slinging Across the Singapore Straits

We left Nongsa Point Marina around 6:30 am to start our passage to Malaysia. This required crossing the Singapore Straits  The Straits (along with the connecting Malacca Strait) are the busiest shipping lanes in the world. About 2,000 ships per day transit the area carrying a quarter of the worlds traded goods. We timed our passage with the tidal current, spending hours going at 9-10kts with the extra push.
We decided to run along the shipping lanes on the Indonesian side until we could cross at an area where the East bound lanes are widely separated from the West (and north) bound lanes. You can see where we crossed in the pic above. We waited about 15-20 mins. before finding a hole we felt comfortable to cross the East bound lane. The ships are spread out at about a 12-15 mins spacing coming down the lane. That took us into the purple area on the chart that is a ship anchorage. At the top of this area we crossed the West bound lane. We started to cross as soon as we got there but turned around when a new ship showed up on our path. After again waiting about 15 mins for a hole we shot across.

It's not only commercial ships that cross the Straits.

 After we crossed the west bound lanes we started up the Johor Strait that separates Malaysia from Singapore. Pretty quickly we were hailed on the radio by Singapore Port Control and were reprimanded for not calling into Port Control on channel 22. A little while later this Singapore Police boat tracked us for over an hour heading up the Strait. The port side (left) is Malaysia and the starboard side (right) is Singapore as you head toward Johor.  There are a continuous group of yellow buoys on he Singapore side. Apparently if you cross over those the police boats come to board you. 

This travel lift for lifting big ships, and probably big catamarans, can handle 15,000 tons.

Once you go under the Second Link Bridge, connecting Singapore and Malaysia, you come on the Singapore Defense Force's live firing range.

There's no shortage of construction going on on the Malaysia side. Dense condo living in the background.

We ended up in Puteri Harbour (middle left of map).  We easily cleared into Malaysia and then had a nice visit with some old friends from Edmonds, Owen and Carrie, who arrived here with their kids on their sailboat Madrona about 5 years ago and now live here and teach at the local American School.

Cruisers Notes:
Clearing in is very simple, almost all handled by the marina office. We received a 90-day visa.
The marina is clean and has nice docks with easy, wide fairways. For those that don't want to go into the marina, you can anchor out in front of it and pay a nominal daily anchor/dinghy fee and get cleared in through he marina office. As I understand it, the customs and immigration officials, located nearby at the ferry dock, will not clear in walk in cruisers.


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