Indonesia - Profile
- New Indonesian CIQP procedures came into effect on February 27th 2016, which means at last Indonesian Formalities have been simplified with the introduction of a new on-line yacht registration system. Note however that this new system will take some time to work effectively throughout Indonesia.
- With some 13,677 islands the Indonesian archipelago is the largest island group in the world.
- The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya - the western part of Papua New Guinea), and Kalimantan (formerly Borneo).
- If wishing to sail through the Indonesian islands WITHOUT stopping, then formalities can be avoided by using the International Archipelagic Sea Lane through Indonesian waters. This allows non-stop "innocent" passage though the, archipelago within 20 nm of an arbitrary centre line and not within 12 nm of any Indonesian coastline. Sailing Directions such as those produced by the U.K.'s Admiralty publications give the details.
- Most yachts cruise the islands from east to west, each island different from its neighbour.
- Benoa Harbour in Bali is the most popular port of call for cruising yachts and has the only marina in Indonesia. This is however in disrepair and sits in filthy water.
- Getting work done: Repairs can be made in Benoa Harbour or in nearby Serangan. Outside of Bali, yachting facilities are only available in the few places where there is either a local yachting community, such as Surabaya on Java, or in those places frequented by cruising boats, such as Ambon. Surabaya's main drawback is that it has no docking facilities for yachts and theft is a serious problem in the harbour. Local labour is low-skilled yet cheap and hardworking. Be sure to monitor at all times.
- The development of new marinas, such as at Carita Bay, near Java, or Nongsa Point Marina, opposite Singapore, will undoubtedly bring about a long awaited change.
- Flores is an island arc extending east from Java. In 1992 an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale killed 2,500 people in and around Maumere, the largest town in Flores. In 2013 a volcanic erruption on Palue, 40nm NW of Maumere killed 6 people. Indonesia sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which leaves it prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.
- Some cruisers have reported frequent demands for "Gifts" or bribes here, others have never been asked by officials or anyone. Best to arrive prepared that this may be something you are going to encounter.
- Outside of Bali, Lombok, Jayapura and Ambon, pre-packaged cuts of meat are particularly hard to find. Come well stocked up if this is of particular concern. It’s hard to find pork in muslim areas and beef in Hindu Bali.
- FADs, or Fish Aggregating Devices, are a major navigational hazard in Indonesia. These can range in size from a bathtub to a football field. They tend to be close to shore, are never lit and do not show up on radar. See this useful blog entry by SV Totem for images and further details.
On occasion, some parts of the country have been prey to ethnic and sectarian violence and it is essential that anyone planning to visit Indonesia should monitor the internal situation in Muluku and Papua carefully and avoid critical areas. Eastern Kalimantan (near the Sulu Sea) occasionally appears in traveller advisories as well.
Indonesia, Papua Barat Province, Sorong harbour: Night boarding and theft - January 2017
Indonesia, Papua Barat Province, Sorong Harbour: Boarding & Theft - December 2016
Indonesia, Papua Barat Province, Sorong harbour: Outboard theft - December 2016
ReCAAP: Kidnappings Rise in Sulu-Celebes, Eastern Sabah Regions (November 2016)
Whilst Ambon did suffer riots in 2011, these were not local to the harbour but on another part of the island, and visitors were not targeted. The area is now peaceful once again.
Take the usual sensible general precautions (locking the boat, dinghy & outboard, securing deck gear down below at night or when off the boat etc.), but in Indonesia most thieves are likely to opportunistic rather than violent.
Most cruisers visiting the country report having no real security or safety fears.
Last updated January 2017.
Crocodile Attacks - Raja Ampat
In April 2016 a fatal saltwater crocodile attack on a snorkeller was reported, off the coast of Minyaifun island.
The climate is hot and humid. July to September is the dry season, December to January the rainiest period. Temperatures range from 75-90°F (24-33°C). The islands are under the influence of the SE monsoon from April to October and the NW monsoon from November to March, although land and sea breezes predominate close to the islands. The islands are not affected by tropical cyclones.
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
Singapore Weather Portal - http://www.weather.gov.sg/wip/web/Marine
If one has a CAIT and visa obtained in advance, it is possible to enter at the first port marked on the cruising permit, even if it is not one of the below.
Eastern Indonesia - Banda Islands: Banda Neira
Eastern Indonesia - Kai Islands: Kai (Kei) Islands *
Eastern Indonesia - Seram and Ambon: Ambon (Yos Sudarso Port) *
Eastern Indonesia - Tanimbar Islands: Tanimbar Islands *
Eastern Indonesia - Timor: Kupang *
* indicates port of entry