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Hong Kong to Bundaberg, Australia

By doina — last modified May 14, 2008 07:18 PM

Published: 2008-05-14 19:18:28
Topics: China Sea
Countries: China , Hong Kong , Indonesia , Philippines , Singapore , Australia

We have purchased a 462 Diesel Duck ready for delivery approx Aug/Sept 2008.

We would be grateful for advice on route & weather for that time of year.

We are going to take it easy & allowing approx 3 months for the passage from China, Hong Kong to Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.

We would appreciate any advice which is offered.

Congratulations on your choice of boat - I visited the yard in Zhuhai last December and was quite impressed with the quality of the boats Seahorse Marine manage to produce at such a reasonable price.

Your proposed route: we have had several enquiries at noonsite concerning routes between either Hong Kong or Singapore to the east coast of Australia, so I hope you have looked at some of those too. They were all from owners of sailing boats, but much of the suggestions would apply to a power boat as well.

Your biggest problem is the fact that by the time you get into the South Pacific, the cyclone season (mid/ late November to late March/early April) will have started. Your best bet would be to hurry up and get away from Hong Kong as early as possible, ideally by late August (but do be aware of the high possibility of typhoons in the China Sea!). If you can make it safely through the Philippines, set a course to pass east of Papua New Guinea as such a route is safer than going west of PNG, which would mean crossing a risky area south of the Philippines and then sailing right through the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago. However, if you are confident that you can do it, this is the shorter route as it will then take you through the Timor Sea and Torres Strait at the change of seasons (late October/early November = start of NW monsoon) when SE winds are - or should be - lighter and with all the power you have under your feet you should be able to get to Bundaberg inside the Great Barrier Reef before the new cyclone season is upon you (early December).

The other option - which is longer but probably safer - is to make for low latitudes on leaving the Philippines (set a SE course), stay clear of the north coast of PNG, then go through Vitiaz Strait and if you need fuel badly stop at either Madang or Samarai. Once past the eastern end of Papua, set the best course towards the Great Barrier Reef. The route across the Coral Sea will depend entirely on the wind and swell you will encounter there, so you will have to decide on the best tactics to reach the Great Barrier Reef the quickest and most comfortable way. Once inside the Gt Barrie Reef, you are as good as home (provided it's still November!).

Try and get a copy of the latest edition of my World Cruising Routes (6th edition is due out March 08) many of the route options are described in it. If you wish, you can order a copy via our website.

Finally, we do not normally provide this kind of detailed routing information but I made an exception this time as Seahorse Marine are one of noonsite's most generous supporters!

Good luck!

Jimmy Cornell,