Brunei - Profile
- The full name of Brunei is Brunei Darussalam, meaning Abode of Peace. This small state, situated on the north-west side of Borneo, is composed of two separate areas divided by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The western section is made up of Brunei-Muara, Belait and Tutong districts, and the eastern part is Temburong.
- Although small, with a population of approximately 300,000 people, the country is extremely rich because it retains the income from its oil and gas reserves. The substantial oil and gas income received by Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia) and Kalimantan (Indonesia) - the other states on Borneo - is transferred to their respective national governments elsewhere.
- Brunei is the only country with territory solely on Borneo, and the only country with direct international flights to Borneo from international centres in Europe, Australasia etc.
- The Sultan of Brunei is reputed to be one of the richest men in the world. He is the current ruler in a 600 year old family monarchy. His benevolent rule means Bruneians have one of the highest standards of living in Asia, with free education, free medical services, housing support, international education scholarships, no income tax, cheap loans etc.
- Brunei has a long maritime history, and the pattern of settlement has traditionally focussed on waterways. This maritime focus creates useful advantages to yachtsmen; any items imported for marine use are duty free. This makes replenishing equipment from overseas, or buying a new outboard for the dinghy, administratively easy and often lower cost than neighbouring areas, despite the higher standard of living.
- Muara port area gives cruising yachts the most convenient access to city facilities with the most protected anchorage on the west coast of Borneo. Muara Port is 16 nm downstream of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. It is possible to take yachts into the centre of the capital although the anchorage is not comfortable because of the incessant water taxi traffic, and a dinghy landing is not practical.
- There are few other anchorages on Brunei's short - 100 nm - coastline. The Tutong River has been used by yachts in the past, although the entrance it is not well marked or maintained, and the sand shifts. The entrance to Kuala Belait is not dredged on a regular basis, and therefore not all yachts will be able to access this harbour (HW least depth 2.1m August 2010). This entrance can get quite lumpy with an onshore sea and outgoing tide.
- Numerous offshore oil and gas installations make navigation complicated, especially at night. There is an official exclusion zone around all the offshore installations and yachts are advised to keep out of the area. Vent pipes and other unmanned obstructions are often unlit because boats from neighbouring areas use these as a convenient source of new batteries and solar panels.
The climate is tropical and very humid, averaging 77-95°F (25-35°C). There are heavy and sudden rains all year round, especially November to February during the NW monsoon.
Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm and http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrscweathMSIbcasts.html
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page