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fredrick roswold
United States
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21/08/2011 19:14:59
Phuket over Sumatra down to South Africa route. We sailed this route in 2010-2011, leaving Langkawi,Malaysia on September 4, 2010 andarriving in Mauritius on October 19. We stayed in Mauritius until April 2011and arrived in Richards Bay, SA, on April 16, 2010.

Brief notes here, for details, see links at bottom.

Langkawi to Sumatra: Ship traffic is heavy and AIS is benificial.Squalls from NW can be violent and long lasting (over 12 hours).

Sumatra: Sabang, Palau Weh, north end of Sumatra, isnot a “visa on arrival” port. If you aregoing to check into Indonesia there you need a visa ahead of time as well as acait. Most sailing yachts skip Sabang and sail to Sibolga to check in. We foundofficials professional and helpful but our lack of visa made it awkward. In the end they did not check us in butallowed us to stay briefly before proceeding.

Checked in at Sibolga, Lat 01.44N. Nice place, helpful and friendlypeople, no fees. Bought fuel prior to checking in at Seudu, Lat 05.22N.

Cruised West Coast of Sumatra for one month. Untouched wilderness. Number of perfect anchorages unlimited. Nohassels, no yachts, few people. Little sailing however due to lack of wind. Squalls, often at night, from NW, verydangerous (+50k). Looked for protection from NW at every stop.

Checked out at Pedang, Lat 01 S. Minimal facilities for yachts,landing was an adventure. Town is interesting, market is amazing. Provisionsavailable but need to look for them. Local knowledge (agent) is valuable butexpensive. Officials and agents got their “fees” which seemed high to us.

Departed from Tau Pajat in Mentawis, Lat 02S Lon 99.35E,another delightful town.

Throughout our stay in Sumatra we encountered nothing butnice places and beautiful and friendly people. Never any threat, rudeness, ordishonesty. Prices were low and goods plentiful. We tried to respect localIslamic customs but really had zero problems. There are few yachts here, only afew surfers on sailboats who come from Thailand or Malaysia every year. We never saw one but talked to them before leaving and weappreciated their suggestions.


Indian Ocean Crossing. Sailed SSW for six days when faced with headwinds,squalls, and rain. Kept looking for clearing skies and SE winds but every daymore tough, wet sailing with windon the starboard side ahead of the beam. Finally found SE Trades at Lat 13S Lon 88E andturned west. Sailed to Mauritius,skipping Rodriguez (a mistake, I think), due to schedule limitations in 18days, total passage. The trip was rough and fast. Plenty of wind but big wavesfrom the south made sailing uncomfortable. This trip is not for the unprepared,it is boisterous and there are few breaks or stops.

Mauritius. Easyentry and a painless check-in, there is a basic marina in Port Louis, no othermarina. Provisioning in Mauritius is excellent, the market in Port Louis isexcellent. Yacht services are minimal. Payattention to the visa and yacht clearance limitations if you plan to stay.

Mauritius to South Africa. Had a pleasant sail toReunion and had a nice hire-car tour of that island. Again, check-in waspainless, and provisioning excellent.

The passage to Richard’s Bay was rough and challenging. Wewere wet and tired when we arrived in Richards Bay after 10 days from Reunion. The warnings of big waves in the Alguhasduring southerlies is not to be ignored. We were fortunate for our arrival and missed that problem but boats arelost here every year. Pay attention to the weather. We arrived at end of the summer season andstayed over in Richards Bay until the following spring.

Fred Roswold, SV Wings, Richards Bay, SA

For narrative of this passage see our blog http://wingssail.blogspot.com/ and lookin the archives for Sept-Oct 2010 and April 2011. For detail logbook entriesshowing dates, times, locations & conditions, see http://wingssaillogbookpages.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html.
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