Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

East Malaysia (North Borneo)

Anchorages for the Sail Malaysia Passage to the East Rally 2010 and afterwards

 

Positions are the actual WGS84 GPS coordinates recorded at the time of anchoring, either where the anchor went down or where the boat ended up. While they are believed to be accurate they should be used as a guide only, in conjunction with other navigational data, including up to date charts, and must not be relied on for navigation.

 Where CD is shown after a depth it indicates that we have reduced it to chart datum. Otherwise it is as recorded on our echo sounder, which is calibrated to the actual depth of water. Sea Bunny's draft is 2.4 m in cruising trim.

Where SM 2010 follows the anchorage name it signifies a location supported by the Sail Malaysia 2010 rally organisers. ASP signifies Andaman Sea Pilot 2007/2008 edition.

Lots of open roadstead anchorages

 

South China Sea Crossing

We crossed from Kota Terengganu to Santubong, near Kuching in Sarawak. Despite it being the SW season for most of the trip we encountered light winds from NE to SSE and consequently motored for much of the way.

The route took us some 20 nM north of the Anambas Islands before turning south between the Anambas and Natuna Islands.

Do not be tempted to stop off in the Anambas Islands, which are Indonesia, if you are on passage from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak or Sabah.

Santubong

Santubong

Anchorage position: 01° 42'.9 N 110° 19'.5 E, 7.7 m (CD) mud 8-14 July 2010

Anchor off the jetty to the west of the concrete "official" jetty. "Santubong YC".

Large barges use the river so stay clear of the bends. There is no access up river to Kuching for masted vessels.

Laundry and fuel can be arranged by staff in building by the shore end of the jetty. Dinghies can be left on the pontoons.

Taxi to Kuching or can arrange with buses from local resorts. These must be prearranged - they will not stop if flagged down.

Port control, customs and immigration at commercial port outside Kuching. You must clear in when arriving from Peninsular Malaysia. You should get a new 90-day visa.

In 2010 there was a resident crocodile.

Noonsite has a copy of the check-in procedure updated to July 2010, complete with lats & longs for the offices. It seems similar to what we experienced but may well be different on another day! See Kuching check-in

Pulau Lakei

Pulau Lakei

Anchorage position: 01° 44'.8 N 110° 30'.0 E, 3.6 m (CD) sand. 15 July 2010

Anchorage is in the channel between P Lakei and the mainland. Enter from the east (may be possible from W but there are rocks in the channel).

Tide runs strongly through the channel and there are reefy bits in the middle. Clear water for a change.

Sungei Bangau

Anchorage position: 02° 23'.85 N 111° 18'.51 E, 2.3 m (CD), 16 July 2010

We decided to enter the Rajang using Kuala Paloh, the mouth to the south of Pulau Beruit. Sandbanks extend a significant way out to sea but the entrance is buoyed.

The anchorage is at the mouth of the second tributary on the south of the river. Good shelter. Medium-sized commercial boats anchor here and there is river traffic up the tributary as well as in the main river so anchor out of the channel.

Mouths of the Rajang

Mouths of the Rajang

We continued east up Kuala Paloh from our anchorage in Sungei Bangau. It is very shallow to the east of the mouth of Sunei Bangau and you need to head north for over a mile before turning east. At Tangung Gelang, the main junction, we turned to port into Muara Sereding and followed the river, leaving by the northern mouth, Muara Lassa.

We judged our arrival at Tangung Gelang for high water (there is a tide station there) and had tide with us all the way.

As the tide was falling and we did not know how accurate the chart is we did not take the charted channnel to the south of Pasir Lingtang.

There is quite a lot of river traffic, including fast ferries, tugs and barges. Also quite a lot of fishing activity and some large logs.

Kampong Mudan

Anchorage position: 02° 52'.5 N 111° 49'.3 E, 2.6 m (CD), 17 July 2010

An open roadstead anchorage near the small village which is about 3 nM west of the village and river mouth at Kuala Oya. Just somewhere to stop for the night.

Sungei Likau

Anchorage position: 03° 20'.5 N 113° 08'.5 E, 2.8 m (CD), 18 July 2010

Another open roadstead anchorage. Exposed to N. Very pitchy night in NW 15 knots.

Miri (SM 2010)

Marina entrance: 04° 22'.94 N 113° 58'.15 E 19-24 July 2010 and 11 - November 2010

The marina entrance is shallow. It has recently (July 2010) been dredged to 2 m at CD. Seas can build up outside entrance and make approach exciting - probably dangerous in moderate to strong onshore conditions. Once inside marina is very protected.

Marina staff are helpful but there are very limited facilities as yet - rather dirty toilets with no seats and not much else. Power (63 A socket) and water to the berths. The marina office is 10 minutes walk away close by the asociated hotel.

Taxi driver - Simon - will fill your jerrycans with fuel. Laundry and LPG refills can be arranged. Steven of Kiwi Enterprises (not a New Zealander) will do canvas work and  limited sail repairs.

A good place to leave the boat while touring. In 2010 there was plenty of space.

Celcom broadband - 3G signal weak and occasionally drops down to EDGE/GPRS

Royal Brunei Yacht Club, Serasa, Muara, Brunei

Anchorage position: 05° 00'.2 N 115° 04'.2 E, 8 m, mud. 8-13 and 20-22 October 2010

RBYC Serasa clubhouse

Anchorage upstream of the jetties of Muara port, off the yacht club. Sheltered from west and north but a substantial fetch from S & E. Wind over tide can set up a nasty chop.

A close dinghy ride to the ferry terminal where check-in and check out can be established.

We tried calling Muara Port Control several times on Ch 16 on our approach up the dredged channel and got no reply. They called us later asking vessel's name, number of persons on board and confirming that we were heading to Serasa.

Yacht Club is very friendly and welcoming.  Reasonable food. Bus service into Muara centre is intermittent - they don't seem to come down to Serasa Beach unless they have someone to drop off. You may have to hitch. Regular bus service from Muara centre into Bandar Seri Bagawan (BSB). No bus service after 1800.

The club has a restaurant serving reasonable meals (BYO drinks allowed).  There is a swimming pool and washing machine. Fuel can be arranged in cans. There is an active dinghy sailing section in the club's boats.

Free WiFi in clubhouse.

Royal Brunei Yacht Club, Kota Batu, Brunei

Anchorage position 4° 53′.83 N 114° 59′.21 E 10 m mud and rubbish 14-19 October 2010

RBYC Kota Batu clubhouse

Boats have dragged here because of the amount of rubbish on the bottom - make sure your anchor is well dug in

The other clubhouse of the RBYC is up the river towards BSB. The emphasis here is more on dining than on sailing.

The main advantage is that the 39 bus into BSB passes the door about every half hour and takes about 10 minutes

Free WiFi in clubhouse - reaches boat if anchored close to clubhouse.

Labuan (SM 2010/BIYC 2010)

Marina entrance: 05° 16'.33 N 115° 14'.84 E, 27 July and 23 October - 9 November 2010

Labuan marina, outer wall and berths

The marina appears to be being resurrected, having previously given up the battle with swell. As in Melacca the pile wall allows swell through and destroys pontoons. At present there is one long pontoon on the inside of the outer "breakwater" and a few fingers. Only space for 10-15 or so vessels at present, although others could probably lie between piles. Limited cleats but rope loops have been provided to secure lines to.  Marina would probably be untenable in a strong south-easterly.  As it is wash from passing vessels can cause significant rolling.

As there is no breakwater or wall upstream of the marina large amounts of rubbish and logs are  trapped in the marina by the tide. The marina staff work hard to clear this each day, but seem to be fighting a losing battle.  There is talk of an upstream breakwater next year and of filling in the gaps between the piles in the outer wall to stop the surge but as the water is deep (10 m) this would be a very major project.

Noonsite reports (2014) that the marina has re-opend after a 2 year refurbishment.

There is power (16A sockets) and water to the pontoon.  Power tripped regularly during the day but was usually quickly restored. Showers, toilets, free washing machine and dryer, showers and toilets in modern amenity block which also has a seating area and a common room with tables and free WiFi.

Anchorage outside the marina would be uncomfortable in an onshore wind. It is reported that there are better anchorages further up the harbour.

Labuan is a duty free island, like Langkawi and Tioman. There is a small supermarket and drink shops in the mall about 10 minutes walk from the marina.  The purchase of fuel in any quantity is reported to be severely restricted in Labuan.

Celcom 3G has good signal.  Free WiFi in amenity block.

Labuan E Coast

Anchorage position: 05° 19'.6 N 115° 15'.6 E, 6 m, mud/broken shell SW 20 knots. 7 October 2010

This was a passage anchorage, smooth water in the prevailing conditions, some way out from shore.

Pulau Tiga

Anchorage position: 05° 42'.8 N 115° 38'.9 E, 14 m, sand. 6 October 2010

We used this as an overnight anchorage on our passage from KK to Brunei. The shore is reported to come up sharply closer in but we did not investigate. There is a resort ashore but we did not check it out. Good shelter from the easterly wind we had on arrival and the sea that had been kicked up by a recent squall. Overnight the wind went round to S-SW, 10 knots but we lay head to the waves and it remained comfortable.

We did not try the ASP ( p 183 E) anchorage off P Kalampunian, just to the north of P Tiga as the sea kicked up by the squall mentioned above made it a lee shore. The sand key, however, looks quite substantial and would give shelter from westerleys. As montioned in ASP vegetation is reestablishing.

Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabulu (SM 2010/BIYC 2010)

Marina entrance: 05° 58'.12 N 116° 03'.34 E.

26 July - 3 August and 28 September - 5 October 2010

Marina gives reasonable shelter although it is reported that it is not well protected from very strong onshore conditions.

Unfortuantely it is a club members marina and is virtually full with very limited pace for visiting yachts. The marina is totally unable to accommodate the nearly 50 yachts arriving with the BIYC race/Sail Malaysia rally, although they made a valiant effort. Of the limited number of boats that got into the marina most were accommodated on the tour boat jetty, displacing the tour boats or moored stern-to with their own anchors out. Several boats had berths with no electricity or water and there was uncertainty about how long we could stay, making it impossible to arrange tours.

On our second visit we were berthed to a small finger at the very end of the mega-yacht pontoon. There had been earlier reports of rats in this area (with 2 boats getting them on board) but we did not ome across any and Annie, the marina manager, said they had been taking active pest control steps to get rid of them. Electricity outlets on this pontoon are 415V 3-phase and the marina has a limited number of plugs for loan, enabling them to be wired phase to neutral and thereby give 230 V.

The club has a bar and restaurant, sports facilities and pool. Adjacent hotels have pools available for use.

There is a fuel dock in the marina, operated by the tour boat company, which can be used by arrangement with the marina - a very welcome change from jerrycans.

The anchorage outside the marina is virtually untenable in any onshore wind.

Apparently plans for a second marina in KK are bogged down with environmental concerns, particularly objections to a proper sea wall, which would be essential.

Kota Kinabulu access channel

When heading north from Sutera, or if wishing to access KK town anchorage from the south there is a channel across the reef. Although marked, this is nothing like what is shown on the chart!

The channel starts at a starboard hand beacon at 05° 59'.11N 116° 03'.48 E and follows a marked passage to a port hand mark at 05° 59'.07N 116° 04'.28 E. There is ample water for most yachts although the chart shows it as drying..

However, the first starboard marker is well on the reef so take a very wide sweep if coming from Sutera and line the passage up from well out.

Teluk Ambong

Teluk Ambong

Anchorage position: 06° 18'.7 N 116° 18'.0 E, 11 m, mud S-SW 20 knots. ASP p 183 G. 4 August 2010

The anchorage is in the western of the twin bays, well sheltered from all southerly directions. There is a large stilted village at the head of the bay.

Some wind generated waves came out of the bay, causing a bit of roll, but nothing uncomfortable.

Mount Kinabulu was visible amongst the clouds evening and morning.

Phone signal but no Celcom internet.

Pulau Kulambok

Pulau Kulambok

Anchorage position: 06° 59'.6 N 116° 43'.5 E, 5.3 m (CD) sand? 26 September 2010 ASP 183 I

This anchorage is to the north of the island, which is connected to the mainland by a sand spit, probably covered at high spring tides.

The anchorage is sheltered from N, through E to SW, except strong south-westerlies send swell into the bay. It appeared uncomfortable or untenable when we first intended visiting on our way from KK to Sandakan, when there was a moderate SWly sea running, which was breaking over the sand spit On our return with 10 knots NE it was fine. The bay to the south of the island was calmer in these conditions but would not have had the cooling breeze.

There is road access to the land end of the sand spit, where there are some picnic shelters, and a failed luxury resort project in the southern bay.

Rocks/coral extend across the bay between the anchorage position and the sand-spit. Beyond these there is sand again. Depths are not known.

Very weak phone signal. Celcom EDGE internet, also weak.

Teluk "Duatujuh"

Anchorage position: 07° 01'.02 N 116° 46'.70 E, 11 m, sand? WSW 20 + kn. 5 August 2010.

This unnamed bay is about 2.4 nM south-east of Tanjung Simpang Mengayau at the northern tip of Borneo. We had intended to anchor at Pulau Kulambok on the west coast but with 20 + knots from the WSW and corresponding seas it did not seem particularly welcoming. The seas calmed down considerably as we came under the lee of the headland.

The anchorage is in a gap in the fringing reef opposite a small stream. The chart shows 2.7 m closer in than we anchored (hence our given name) but others reported many rocks.

Some swell was entering the anchorage, making it a bit rolly.

Pulau Pagassan

Pulau Pagassan

Anchorage position: 07° 07'.6 N 117° 05'.6 E, 11 m, WSW 20-30 kn. 6 August 2010.

We entered between P Patanunam and the main island of P Banggi. As the wind was strong from the WSW we turned to port into the sheltered bay between Pulau Pagassan and P Banggi,giving good shelter from SSW through N toESE. The offshore reef would protect from swell from the SE to S. We had 25 knots or more in the anchorage but the sea was calm. Wind outside must have been 30-35 knots. The channel between P Patanunam is fairly open to the SW, which is why we continued round the corner.

Full 3G Celcom data signal - a lot faster than in Sutera Harbout, KK..

Pulau Malawali - West Bay

Pulau Malawali - West Bay

Anchorage position: 07° 03'.2 N 117° 16'.2 E, 8 m mud, 25 September 2010

The anchorage is in a deeply indented bay on the west coast of the island. Entrance is between reefs to north and south and an offshore reef, all charted. Good light is desirable for entrance. Anchorage not charted in detail - charts show 2m. Google Earth shows deep areas. The entrance channel has 10 m and the inlet gradually shallows to the anchorage position.

No signs of habitation, totally surrounded by mangroves. Fishing boats outside but only another yacht in the anchorage.

Excellent shelter - could go further in if westerly conditions were strong.

Very weak phone signal, no internet.

Pulau Tigabu

Pulau Tigabu

Anchorage position (1): 06° 53'.96 N 117° 28'.20 E, 14.1 m sand

Anchorage position (2): 06° 53'.35 N 117° 29'.16 E, 18 m sand? 7 August 2010

The first anchorage is to the north of the island in an indent in the reef and was calm when we arrived. It became untenable when the wind got up to 20 knots westerly, fortunately just before dusk. We moved to the east of the island, good shelter from the west in the lee of the island. Possibly could go a bit closer in but light was very poor.

Extensive reefs 1 mile east of the island - moderate snorkelling.

Pulau Tigapil

Anchorage position: 06° 33'.09 N 117° 43'.35 E, 13 m (CD) sand 9 August 2010

The anchorage is in a lagoon surrounded by reefs. Access is from west and needs good light. May be access from east but we did not try. Lagoon is fairly small - room for only about 2 boats although others could anchor in the approach channel. Best to be there first to pick the best spot.

The island gives shelter from the SW - reefs from other directions. It was a bit swelly when the wind got up at high water.

Some reasonable snorkelling close to the anchorage. May be better on the extensive reefs to the north.

The island is in a conservation area. There is an army presence on the island.

Difficult to get ashore at low water.

Tangung Samungat

Anchorage position: 06° 38'.1 N 117° 29'.9 E, 7.6 m thick mud 9 August 2010

SE wind was blowing >15 kn making Lankayan uninviting so we diverted to the channel south of Pulau Jambongan.

Good shelter on south side of channel. Could probably go further south or in gutter shown on chart close to Tg Samungat.

Large police boat anchored for night nearby

Pulau Lankayan

Pulau Lankayan

Anchorage position: 06° 30'.24 N 117° 54'.90 E, 20 m (CD) sand 10 August 2010

Mooring position , 06° 30'.28 N 117° 54'.92 E 11 August 2010

Anchor off the resort jetty at the south of the island or pick up the red mooring buoy. It is not permitted to anchor anywhere on the reef surrounding the island, even on the sandy bits.

Lankayan and some of its neighbouring islands are a conservation area and there is a RM20 per person per day charge, payable at the resort. They are doing a good job here - this is possibly the best policed marine conservation area in Malaysia and it shows in the fish life. Please don't skip off without paying as we saw several yachts do. It gives the whole yachting community a bad name.

On our second visit a resort access charge of RM 90 was also made - once per visit.

The resort is a dive operation and there is excellent diving and snorkelling.

The restaurant in the resort welcomes yachties - need to pre-book for buffet dinner at 1900.

No internet or phone signal but resort has WiFi available in the restaurant and lounge area at a charge.

Sandakan (SM2010)

Sandakan (SM2010)

Anchorage position: 05° 50'.3 N 118° 07'.5 E, 15 m, mud, 13-15, 23-26 August 2010, 16-17 September 2010

The anchorage is off the yacht club. There is foul ground further in towards the club which snagged the anchors of several yachts, necessitating diving to recover. On our last visit our anchor came up complete with a large length of cordage, several polythene bags and sacks. Fortunately they were not round the point or we would certainly have dragged.

Boats swing unpredictably at change of tide depending on wind - plenty of swinging room is needed. There is much ferry, navy, police and fishing boat traffic, much of it at speed.

The Yacht Club welcomes visitors but charges a one-off fee of RM 100 (reportedly reduced to RM 50 for Sail Malaysia participants but neither we nor the club office seemed to know about this). This gets you one free baseball cap and one T-shirt. Then there is a daily facility fee of RM 10 per yacht. Facilities include pool, bar, sports facilities and food service. The club can arrange for laundry to be done.

Fuel collection, in your jerrycans, may be arranged - see David, the catering manager. There is also a fuel barge further up the harbour. It is clearly intended for large fishing boats - there were two very rusty ones alongside when we recconoitred. Delivery arrangements consist of a large, probably 40-50 mm pipe and a large pump. There did not seem to be any method of controlling the delivery rate.

Town centre and market are within walking distance. Medium sized supermarkets are in town. GIANT supermarket outside town - taxi RM50 return. Get taxi to wait as they are difficult to find there

Kinabatangan River 16 - 23 August 2010

Kinabatangan River 16 - 23 August 2010

Anchorage positions

Date 2010

Lat N

Long E

Depth sounder m

HoT m

Comments

16-Aug

5° 38'.41

118° 36'.09

7.04

0.8

Anchorage – Dewhirst Bay

17-Aug

05° 35'.65

118° 32'.44

3.69

0.9

Just past shallow patch – see below

18-Aug

05° 38'.22

118° 21'.68

19-20 Aug

05° 30'.48

118° 17'.47

7

Sukau

21-Aug

05° 33'.34

118° 20'.19

10

Day anchorage

21-Aug

05° 35'.72

118° 20'.59

5.5

22-Aug

05° 40'.22

118° 23'.28

10

Day anchorage by creek leading to ox-bow lake.

22-Aug

05° 43'.85

118° 20'.87

4

0.3

Boat swings into 3.0 m CD

Anchor anywhere in the river, where depth allows and you can be seen by barge traffic, depending on what you see/hope to see

Pilotage - Kinabatangan

With our 2.4m draft and tides that were low throughout the day we had an interesting time getting into the river complex.

There are two entrances usable by keelboats (possibly more). We had a recorded track from an unknown boat and advice from the Sandakan Yacht Club for one and GPS waypoints for getting up the river for the other. Charts, both paper and electronic are not very helpful as the entrances and depths are out of date and the charted track of the river simply incorrect - a cartographer's guess. We had printed out an aerial view from Google Earth which was helpful.

First we tried the entrance closest to Sandakan at 05° 48' N, 118° 20' E. Advice from the Sandakan Yacht Club was to go past the entrance and go in on a course of 220°. We ignored the track we had been given and followed this advice, following 3.0m depth (actual). We tried edging in and ran quite firmly aground at 05° 51'.38 N, 118° 21'.10 E. There was no way in here for our 2.4m draft. Truest Passion, a catamaran, found a route and crossed the bar into 7-9 m. However, they discovered that this was a dead end and themselves ran aground, had to retrace their steps and go in further north.

Tide data for Sandakan had small high water at 1500, giving about 0.3 m more. We decided to try the track we had been given, but again ran aground at 05° 51'.53 N, 118° 18'.10 E. With the tide tables now predicting only 0.1 m more and with nearly 3 miles of bar to cross we abandoned this approach as well. Other boats, drawing 2.1 m or so had little difficulty.

We headed south, about 23 miles, to the Dewhirst Bay entrance to the river. As the tide was now falling we took the bar cautiously, never seeing less than 3.4 m with a predicted height of tide (UKHO Total Tide Kinabatangan) of 0.95 m. We anchored a little way inside the entrance.

The route we used was:

Lat N

Long E

Depth sounder m

HoT m

Comments

5° 42'.74

118° 38'.25

10.18

0.8

5° 40'.39

118° 38'.44

4.02

0.8

Least depth 3.4 m

5° 38'.40

118° 36'.35

10.64

0.8

5° 38'.41

118° 36'.09

7.04

0.8

Anchorage

picts/Kinabatangan 1 (DSC_2297).jpg

Next day (17 August 2010) we set off up the river, roughly following waypoints given by Cetacean, who did the trip in 2007. Key points on our route are given below. DO NOT use these as waypoints except where specifically stated as the river is extremely bendy so a straight line between the points will take you over shallows or land. Normal river navigation rules apply - the deepest water is on the outside of the bends

We have shown the height of tide given for the Kinabatangan tidal station but have not corrected to chart datum as we do not know the actual tidal heights up the river, nor how these are affected by river water.

From the anchorage we headed up river, slightly favouring the left (south) bank, past the village to port - it looks shallow just past the first jetty.

At 05° 34'.8 N, 118° 34'.9 E we started a gradual turn to starboard into the river heading west, taking about 15 minutes until we are heading NW up the centre of the new river.

About 1.2 miles up this river the route leaves the main river to join the branch linking the two parts of the Kinabatangan river system. The fork in the river is not easy to see on approach. It lies just beyond a small islet covered in nipah palm. However, finding deep water is not easy. With a height of tide of 0.6 we could not find a way through for our 2.4 m draft. Some local fishermen tried to show us the best water just north of the islet but we ran aground. We attempted to sound our way in starting at 05° 34'.8 N, 118° 33.1 E up to 05° 35'.6 N, 118° 32'.3 E, just past the islet. Eventually we anchored to wait for the tide, which we thought might be high enough at 2200. This proved to be the case and we crossed the shallow patch at that time, effectively using the waypoints we had been given. There does not seem to be any other way through with better water.

Our track was:

Lat N

Long E

Depth sounder m

HoT m

Comments

05° 35'.15

118° 32'.87

6.68

0.6

Anchorage on approach

05° 35'.31

118° 32'.74

2.38

0.6

Aground – waiting for tide

05° 35'.35

118° 32'.70

2.59

0.9

05° 35'.53

118° 32'.58

3.23

0.9

05° 35'.65

118° 32'.44

3.69

0.9

Anchored and went to bed!

From this it appears that you need a height of tide at Kinabatangan of at least (your draft - 1.6) to navigate this section.

picts/Kinabatangan 2 (DSC_2304).jpg

Beyond here the advice that we had was to follow the right bank and we would have deep water all the way. We started doing this until we came to a detached clump of nipah palm at 05° 36'.57 N, 118° 31'.61 E. Leaving this close to starboard we ran aground just past it. Backing off and trying closer to the left bank we found deep water. After this we followed normal river navigation rules, keeping to the outside of bends.

1.3 miles further on there is a 4-way junction of rivers. The left branch is the one that leads into the main river. The central branch leads to another entrance from the sea but we don't know if it is navigable. The advice we had was to stay in the centre as the water is shallow on both sides. This was slightly misleading as we found it necessary to hug the right bank of the branch we were leaving as it is very shallow in the centre (aground again). Once into clear water in the junction stay in the centre of the left branch.

Our track was:

Lat N

Long E

Depth sounder m

HoT m

Comments

05° 37'.64

118° 31'.82

5.73

0.7

05° 37'.67

118° 31'.81

5.7

0.7

05° 37'.69

118° 31'.81

6.1

0.7

05° 37'.83

118° 31'.81

6.92

0.7

05° 37'.99

118° 31'.76

5

0.7

05° 38'.00

118° 31'.67

4.27

0.7

After 05° 39'.0 N, 118° 28'.7 E. the predominant nipah palm starts to give way to forest although the transition takes some distance.

picts/Kinabatangan 3 (DSC_2309).jpg

Once past this junction there are no further problems. This branch joins the main Kinabatangan River 05° 41'.9 N, 118° 23'.1 E. We found deep water on the right bank of the branch, then crossing to the left bank of the main river (i.e outside of the main river bend).

Sukau is 12.8 nautical miles as the crow flies from here, but nearly 23 as the river bends, possibly a lot more over the water as streams can be 2-3 knots. The water is deep to very deep on the outside of the bends, moderate on the straights. We saw a maximum of 30 m and a minimum of 5.3. m.

Landmarks on the route were

Lat N

Long E

Comments

05° 41'.0

118° 23'.2

"Village (Kampong Abai) to \starboard, lodge upstream to port"

05° 36'.2

118° 19'.0

Ferry across river

05° 35'.2

118° 19'.7

Palm oil plantation/barge landing

05° 32'.5

118° 18'.4

Jungle lodge – Hutan Simpan

05° 31'.3

118° 17'.8

Cliffs to port – Barefoot Sukau Lodge to starboard

.

Our anchorage at Sukau was opposite the village about ¼ mile downstream of the power cables (clearance unknown) that cross the river. This anchorage is near to the mosque. There is a ferry that plies a route from downstream of the village to a landing close to the power lines, so it is necessary to leave him plenty of room, and light up well at night. Swinging in towards the bank would risk demolishing privies that are on rafts in front of the houses. Stream runs strongly, especially on the ebb, but holding (throughout the river) is good on mud.

On our second visit, however, we saw that Sukau can be less than comfortable place to be if there has been significant rainfall inland. The river flow of up to 2.5 knots was bringing down lots of logs, trees and rafts of water hyacinth which build up on the anchor chain of monohulls and can bridge the hulls of catamarans. The largest seen was a tree some 15 m long, complete with branches which struck us a branching blow before coming to rest across the bows of the 50' catamaran downstream.

The trip back down-river was a reversal of the way up as far as the junction at 05° 41'.9 N, 118° 23'.1 E where we took the other route to the sea at Kampong Abai. Beyond the junction the river is generally shallower although there is enough water on the outside of the bends. There are patches of forest amongst the nipah palm all the way to the entrance.

Logs and other debris do not seem to get down below Kampong Abai, or maybe just wait upsteam for the river to flood.

The final route over the bar does require sufficient rise of tide for your draft. Our track was:

Lat N

Long E

Depth sounder m

HoT m

Comments

05' 46'.77

118' 20'.99

5.15

1.7

05' 48'.28

118' 20'.30

3.99

1.7

05' 48'.81

118' 20'.13

3.93

1.7

05' 50'.10

118' 19'.13

4.21

1.7

05' 50'.90

118' 18'.64

3.47

1.5

05' 51'.50

118' 18'.24

3.32

1.5

Least depth seen

05' 52'.27

118' 17'.71

5.33

1.5

Thus access requires a height of tide at the Kinabatangan tidal station of at least (draft - 1.8). Based on Sandakan the height required would be at least (draft-1.5). On our second visit with a draft of 2.4 m we crossed with a least depth of 2.6 m and height of tide at Sandakan of 1.1 m. As the tide was falling and would next be at that height 13 hours later (diurnal tide) this was a close as we like to be!

Dent Haven

Anchorage position: 04° 14'.85 N 119° 05'.00 E, 7 m, mud. 28 August & 7 September 2010

The bay has good shelter from ESE through S to WNW and partial shelter through to N.

Very shallow closer in.

Pulau Timbun Mata

Pulau Timbun Mata

Anchorage position: 04° 36'.3 N 118° 32'.5 E, 11 m, soft mud. 29 August & 6 September 2010

The entrance to the bay has large extents of fishing nets and floats. There is a gap down the centre when we were there which leads to a peaceful anchorage with excellent shelter surrounded by forest-fringed shores. The charted shoal area in the centre of the bay does not seem to exist, we passed over its recorded position with 10+ metres.

On our second visit the peace was interupted slightly by two canoes with occupants begging food.

Intermittent weak Celcom EDGE/GPRS signal

Pulau Mabul

Pulau Mabul

Anchorage position: 04° 14'.7 N 118° 38'.4 E, 11 m, sand. 30 August & 2-5 September 2010

The anchorage is close to the reef at the NE of the island, close to the long resort jetty. To the east of the Seaventures converted jack-up rig the bottom appears to be coral, probably dead but ready to snag your anchor. Between the rig and the island the bottom is reported to be sand.

There are several resorts and dive operators ashore. Sipidan resort (over-water chalets) will serve meals to visiting yachties. The resort with the long jetty at the east apparently will not.

picts/Seaventures rig P mabul (DSC_2626).jpg

We were able to arrange diving at Sipidan through the Seaventures operation on the rig - excellent. It all depends on how busy they and other operators are. Obtaining permits to dive at sipidan takes a few days as this is done in KK.

Fairly poor stilt village at west end of island, although there appear to be quite a few boats under construction there. We were approached at anchor by very small naked children in a dugout canoe begging food - they got sweets. Also by adults begging food.

Good internet - Celcom 3G.

Tawau (SM 2010)

Tawau (SM 2010)

Anchorage position: 04° 15'.0 N 117° 52'.3 E, 9.8 m, mud. 31 August & 1 September 2010

The anchorage is off the yacht club which is just to the west of the container jetty.

Our first two attempts to anchor, slightly closer to the club, resulted in dragging and the collection of a miscelleny of polythene bags, old underpants and thick plastic sacks. The third attempt, in the position given, outside the isolated danger mark and police jetty, was successful The isolated danger mark actually marks a fairly extensive sandbank to the west.

picts/Tawau YC (DSC_2623).jpg

The yacht club is very welcoming. It has pool, bar, sports facilities. The bar uses a voucher system, purchased in RM20 booklets.

picts/Tawau rubbish (DSC_2621).jpg

The harbour is dirty with large amounts of flotsam - lots of plastic.

Port control is on the road into town just past the container terminal, customs close by. Immigration is at the ferry terminal. Check-in and out at immigration is best done before the Indonesian ferry traffic starts about 0900.

Excellent market by ferry terminal. Banks etc are in the smarter part of town further east but still within walking distance.

Internet connection - Celcom 3G is patchy.

Last Updated from Durban Marina on 13 December 2015

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