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From Thailand down the west coast of Sumatra to Mauritius

By Sue Richards last modified May 09, 2011 12:48 PM

Published: 2011-05-09 12:48:35
Topics: Malay Archipelago
Countries: Indonesia , Mauritius , Thailand

See Comments received re. "hostility in Muslim countries" at the bottom of this report.

Posted April 28, 2011

Three of us did this route March April 2008.

This is our experience along with 2 other yachts. 1 US, 1 Australian, 1 South African boat. All of us with our wives onboard. All of us had the same experiences though not always anchoring in the same places.

April, May is a good time to depart Thailand. Watch out for the shipping lanes. The AIS unit is a great plus here.

Be prepared to motor much of the way down Sumatra.

I recommend you stop in Sabang to clear in to Indonesia with or without a CAIT permit (we had a CAIT permit and are armed, 2 other yachts did not have CAITS) we were all treated the same. You will need to write a letter to the harbor master stating why you stopped. You will get about 48 hrs and must clear out and depart. Weapons need to be bonded in a secure locker onboard. All Officials were professional and helpful. You will be boarded and searched by about 8 men from various departments for clearance. All want hard liquor and a hint for a bribe plus clearing fees. Our cost was about 8 beers and fees of about $45 US plus $25 US to clear out. Ask for a man named Kamar on arrival as he was very helpful speaks good English and saved us some money.

After 2 days we cleared out for Padang. Best to depart running outside all the islands along the coast of Sumatra. You will be watched by the military patrol. Watch out for the tsunami sensor buoys!! they are about the size of a car, most are unmarked and not lit. We came close to 4 of them at various distance off the coast. They are not charted and plentiful. Radar at night is a must.

If you stop at any town you will have to go through clearance again. You may find hostility against no Muslims by locals. For safety it is best not to bring women ashore into any village. The surf resorts are a good place to stop if needed and safe for women in company of a man. It is not advisable to anchor more than 1 or 2 days at any location as you will be harassed for money or boarded by locals. Do not leave women by themselves. Lock up at night.

Our first stop was a surf resort at Hula Asu (00 deg 54'31.1 N, 97 deg 16'.848E). Safe resort and good anchorage. No diesel but good food and beer.

From there we took the inside route direct to Padang, anchored in port of Teluk Bayur. We were boarded by army and customs. You will need to go into the port and clear in with the harbor master and Customs. Then to Padang for Immigration. All official were professional and courteous. There is an ATM close by in the port and most locals are very helpful. Best to hire a taxi bike or cab for the day. Fuel barge is available to your yacht.

We cleared out for Mauritius then motor sailed to Pulau Utara and Macaronis Resort Surf resort (www.surfingresort.com). It was destroyed with the last tsunami 2010. Beautiful resort and a safe anchorage. We anchored at approx. 02 deg 46'.73 S, 99 deg 59'.38 E, in the small bay at Macaronis Resort. Enter in daytime only as there is lots of surf. Locals will ask for anchor fees. You can stay there for a few days before officials will board you for new clearance papers.

While the three of us were anchored near the town at Pulau Pagai Utara not far from Maccas resort, midday we had 8 young Muslim men in 2 small boats boarding 2 of our yachts trying to get to the young wives who were alone onboard while all us men were on my boat. All of us were anchored next to each other.

After 4 days in the Mentawais islands we departed. Locals were getting too aggressive. Best to not stay in the area too long. Mid May we all departed at approx 240 deg true. Light winds at 180 deg. May need to motor sail some until you reach the SE trades at about 04 deg 50' S. From there you will see a large cross sea all the way with a fast passage on a reach to Mauritius and Reunion.

Yacht Westwind

Posted May 9, 2011

Subject: Hostility in Muslim countries

Message:
I have been travelling for years with my family through Muslim countries (from the United Emirates, Oman, Indonesia, etc.) with my children and have never experienced any aggression nor hostility from any locals.

We spent three months in Sumatera and we were welcomed anywhere we went. Of course showing a little respect and wearing the right clothes helps. This is not much asked for.

When they come on board, they don't come to steal, they are just curious. On one island my son even saw them climbing on board when he stayed behind to play, but nothing was taken.

The Muslims invited us everywhere and were ready to share the little they had with us. They adopted our children and were always helpful. We experienced a lot of kindness not seen in any Western country and I was never worried being alone or have my children playing at their homes.

A little Respect, trying to speak their language and a big smile goes a long way anywhere in the world.

Petra Mehl

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