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 Lele/Leluh Harbour - Profile

Location

The island of Kosrae is beautiful, with the only forest of Ka trees in the world. The ruins of past civilizations are staggering. Enormous basalt blocks weighing tons assembled sometimes in 20 feet tall walls.

Visitors can dive, snorkel, rent kayaks, go fishing, hike, windsurf, mountain bike and more.... The few waterfalls are most of the time deserted and some are spectacular.

Good provisions are available here and getting around is very easy as a friendly local will normally pull over and offer you a ride.

Lelu Harbour, protected by the reef and Lelu Island, is the harbour of the capital Tofol, and is on the eastern side of the island.

The best time to arrive here is Monday to Friday after 0800 to avoid any overtime charges.

Clearance

For the current procedures and fees for arriving pleasure boats, see FSM Formalities.

Smith Sigrah lives on the water next to the ACE hardware store which he manages. Normally a member of his family will notice a yacht arriving and call the 4 authorities that will check the yacht in (Immigration, Quarantine, Customs and Port Authority).

Yachts can either tie alongside the main pier or anchor just west of ACE Hardware in 35 feet and a mud bottom. Go ashore to the steps at the back of ACE Hardware and ask Smith or his family for assistance, they are all very cruiser friendly.

Either they will call the authorities or you could hitch-hike or get a taxi to clear in yourself in Tofol at the Custom & Immigration offices in the same building as the post office.

A copy of your Micronesia Cruising Permit will be required by Immigration. They will call the quarantine officer so he can inspect the boat. Quarantine might confiscate any fresh fruit.

Do not delay checking in, but do so directly on arrival.

Clearance is also possible at Okat Harbour on the western coast, although Lelu is the preferred Port of Entry. The airport is there.

Note: Following a dramatic increase in fees in January 2013 due to the appointment of a new Port Authority Manager, action was taken to improve the fee structure for visiting yachts. Current fees are greatly reduced making Kosrae a viable port to visit once again.

Last updated October 2017.

Customs, Kosrae Office
Tel:+691 370.3010 or 370.3051
Immigration, Kosrae Office
Tel:+691 370.3051
Kosrae Port Authority
Tel:+691 370.2154
Quarantine, Kosrae Office
Tel:+691 370.2559 or 370.3818

Docking

Due to concern about the coral, boats are asked not to anchor around the island except in Lelu harbour (mooring buoys are provided elsewhere).

In Lelu harbour the bottom is mud and about 30-40ft deep. Put plenty of scope and allow for possible dragging in wind gusts and squalls. Your boat might not lay in the wind, due to currents going in/out if you anchor too far away from shore.

Anchoring Eastwards of ACE Hardware building is said to be firmer bottom with less dragging. From this anchorage, you can easily leave your dinghy at the shore and access the island.

You can also go by dinghy in the mangrove channel to the very cruiser’s-friendly Bully’s Restaurant at Pacific Treelodge Resort.

Mooring buoys

About 63 orange mooring buoys are laid all round the island. These are usually fastened to concrete blocks screwed into the reef and are generally thought to be suitable for a medium displacement yacht up to 35ft. They are free to use, but care should be taken if using them overnight as they are often close to the reef or surf line. These are dive sites and you are welcome to tie up your dinghy to dive.

After checking in, it may, depending on the weather, be more comfortable to move to Okat Harbour, on the west side of the island, close to the airport. 3 big yellow moorings are installed here for transiting yachts as it is requested that you do not anchor anywhere in the marine preserve. The only drawback is that you are much further away from anywhere except the airport.

Utwe harbour, on the southern coast of the island can only be accessed after getting permission from the local chief.

Smith Sigrah (Ace Hardware) has taken over his father Ted's welcoming attitude to cruisers (since early 70’s) and Mark & Maria (Pacific Treelodge Resort) make a visit to Kosrae a memorable experience.

Last updated October 2017.

caramel
caramel says:
Sep 25, 2017 06:21 AM

I had sailed into Kosrae Harbour 14 years ago and found the island delightful. It is relatively high: 1800 feet-especially when one sails from Kiribati or Tuvalu-with sharp peaks, dark valleys, huge trees everywhere. The main harbour, Lelu, is well protected, and one can anchor 200 yards away from an ACE hardware and a well stocked supermarket, in 30 feet. As I had dinghied ashore for the first time, a man came out of a house, and told me I could tie my dinghy to his dock, then he lobbed a mandarine to me as a welcome gift. He was Mr Sigrah, the manager of the Ace Hardware.

I had come for few days, and stayed 3 weeks. The inhabitants were friendly, smiling, and their hospitality equal to the best I had experienced in the Pacific. The hikes were first class. Waterfalls, relics of 2nd World War, exotic plants, reefs, wrecks to dive, deserted beaches. It seemed like this island had everything. It was even difficult to hike alongside the road, as the Kosraens would stop and invite me to climb in their car whenever they saw me walk.

I left finally because I had to, and very often regretted not having spent more time.

Nearly 15 years later, I was planning another cruise in the area and went on the Noon site to check the latest infos about the island. I was extremely surprised to find a couple of articles which were pretty negative and found out it had been triggered by exagerated fees charged to few yachties. The decisision to jack up the prices was apparently taken by one person, and one who obviously had no knowledge of the cruising world.

The fees had been lowered, since, and the man responsible for the exorbitant fees had left but I could not find very recent informations. We decided, my friend and I to give it a try, and sailed in, coming from Tarawa. Not much had changed and the harbour was what it used to be. We were surprised to find out we were the only boat, but for a 31 footer belonging to Mark, an American resort owner-operator. The clearing in was done at the main dock. It was fast, efficient, done by competent smiling officials. We were boarded by a quarantine officer who advised us to keep our few veggies and fruits in the fridge.

Mister Sigrah is no more, but his son Smith, who is the manager of the ACE harware was there to welcome us at his pier. I had already exchanged few emails with him and he had been very helpful in facilitating my acquiring the cruising permit one is supposed to secure via internet before arriving.

We now have been 1 week on Kosrae. The island is even more beautiful than I remembered, the Kosreans friendlier. Maria and Mark who own and manage the Tree Lodge resort are friendly and helpful and their resort blend in a mangrove forest, where one can have meals at the water edge.

So, why are we the only yacht in the harbour? 14 years ago we were 7. Probably because of the bad articles concerning the exagerated fees. I find it very sad and unjust to imagine yachts sailing within sight of this island and giving it a miss. It is unfair also for the inhabitants, who are very proud of their island, their hospitality, their way of life, and would love to see the yachts again anchored in their harbours.

Smith Sigrah is definitely the man to contact if you are interested in anchoring in Kosrae. He is also very curious about what could make Kosrae a perfect stop on somebody's cruise and welcomes any input the sailing community may have. His email address is: kosraeace@mail.fm

Have a nice stay in Kosrae. I guarantee you will!

Caramel&Claude on Koukouri.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 02, 2017 02:55 PM

Posted on behalf of SV The Lark:

I was asked to pass on the following information by Smith (Manager of ACE Hardware and cruisers friend).

Firstly; Kosrae port charges are now reduced, now the lowest in FSM (we stayed for two months and our exit charges were $51.00 USD). I know there were some instances of high port charges, but there has been a complete change of management.

Secondly; There were some instances (late 2016 and early 2017) of delayed cruising permits for yachts entering into Kosrae (not our experience).

I was asked by Smith to include his email, and Kosrae Immigration on all FSM Cruising Permit applications to Pohnpei immigration (i.e. CC Smith and Kosrae Immigration). Smith has agreed to chase up all applications at no charge to Yachties.

For example:
TO: ImHq@mail.fm
CC: kil@mail.fm ; Kosraeace@mail.fm

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 03, 2016 07:13 PM

Note the Port Authority are not very good at answering emails.
Email addresses are:
jessewilly8@gmail.com
wkinere@gmail.com
william_tosie@yahoo.com,

Robert Watson
Robert Watson says:
Dec 31, 2015 07:48 AM

The fee charged by Port Authority is arbitrary, and could be $10 per day, or $15.52 per day for a 40 foot catamaran. Don't wait for PA to answer your VHF call. The Kosrae legislature will decide soon on a new fee structure, which SHOULD eliminate the daily fee, possible $50 or $90 plus quarantine.
Smith is the one who organizes everything, and is a great host. Do not enter the harbor at night, and ignore or turn off your chart plotter. Google earth is fine, but Navionics and CM93 charts show you crossing the reef.
Here are email addresses for port authority personnel. Please contact them to determine the current fee, before you arrive. Maybe one of them will answer.
It is a beautiful place and would be a shame to miss it.

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