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Johor Bahru: The New Senibong Cove Marina

By SY Yindee Plus — last modified Jul 09, 2015 01:11 PM

Published: 2015-07-08 23:00:00
Countries: Malaysia , Singapore

Johor Bahru: The New Senibong Cove Marina

Senibong Cove Marina looking towards Singapore: © SY Yindee Plus

Update, posted 09 July, 2015

We're in Senibong Cove again and I'd like to add some comments to my previous report posted last December (see below).

Return visit to Senibong Cove in June / July 2015

There is buoyage in the channel now - see photos on marina website. The depths don't seem to be any different i.e. approach at mid to high water a good idea. The marina answer their handheld VHF during weekdays only as the office is closed at the weekends.

The management of the marina has changed: Balan has replaced Greg as the Manager. Balan lives in the local town and used to work in Singapore so has good knowledge of the local area. There is a comprehensive list of local services on the notice-board outside the marina office.

There is now a cafe, bar and small shop overlooking the marina. There are two additional toilets in this building, but no more showers. The showers in the main building are now temperature - adjustable.

It's now possible to get propane cylinders filled: phone Faizal +60 1279 603 40. He will collect and deliver but can take a few days. Not expensive.

One of the marina staff runs a car 'shuttle' to the local town twice a day (one way only) for 3 RM per person, otherwise the marina can call you a taxi (9RM).

Original Report, posted 09 December, 2014

We were looking for a marina to use as a base to visit Singapore.

Senibong Cove, east of Johor Bahru and the Singapore causeway, has been designed as part of a large luxury housing development and construction is still ongoing in the marina complex and surrounding area. It is located 20 miles north of the Singapore Strait. At the moment the daily rates are very competitive.

Senibong Cove Marina is not really on the way to anywhere, being a 20 mile detour from the Singapore Strait, so it wouldn't be the first choice for a boat on passage from one part of Malaysia to another. In that sense, it is remote. But it's not remote from local facilities or from Singapore. It's quite possible to visit Singapore for the day from here. If you're looking for a base to explore this area then it's a very inexpensive one.

The marina responded promptly to our email booking and gave good information about the approach, including photos. The depths in the approx 500m long channel seemed pretty skinny (for our 1.85m draft mono) from the description, so we timed our approach for mid tide and needed this to get in.

The marina can help with clearance into Malaysia - but in reality that means them coming in a taxi with you to help find all the offices in Johor Bahru. A much easier and cheaper option is to call in at Pengelih on your way up the Johor Strait. See below for details.

Marina Facilities

The marina floating pontoons are all in good condition, as you'd expect with a brand new structure, and there is a full complement of life-saving gear attached too. The marina is accessed via a security gate which requires a key-card to enter and exit. The electricity worked fine on the docks and the water is potable. There had been some teething problems with the wifi, but while we were there it mostly worked and we could access it from the boat.

There is no breakwater for the marina so any wash generated in the Johor Strait comes in and boats bob about. This didn't seem to be much of a problem while we were there as there is very little traffic that close to the causeway.

At the moment there is only one shower and two toilets for each gender, although these are nicely appointed. They are in the main building. In the near future there will be a larger facility attached to the restaurant which is being built to overlook the marina. Currently, there is only a drinks machine for refreshments. There is no laundry but there are lots of coin-op or service places in the town. No fuss was made about hanging washing on the boat, although this might change when the luxury homes are lived in.

In the marina office there is a comfortable seating area plus book / DVD swap. The staff are very friendly. The marina is managed by Greg, who seems very capable, and is keen to make the venture a success.

The marina is also a very safe place to leave your boat for an extended period. The security for the whole housing complex is tight and there is a visable security presence in the marina at all times too. There are a few friendly yachties who have moved from Danga Bay Marina and have made Senibong Cove their temporary home, so there is a small community forming.

Local Amenities

The marina is close to the fairly large town of Permas Jaya, a satellite residential area of Johor Bahru. There are large supermarkets, hardware stores (but no chandlery), cellphone shops and a huge variety of good places to eat.

We walked to the town several times (about 25 minutes) and felt safe doing so, even in the evening after dark. The best route is: after the Senibong security checkpoint, go under the dual carriageway, then turn left and follow it (enough room to walk behind the barrier) to the first exit. Take this road and then the first left. Continue until you come to the Aeon shopping mall at the edge of town. Alternatively a taxi ride would cost about 5RM. A bike would be an asset here.

Fuel

Fuel is not available at Senibong but there are two local options: the Shell garage in Permas Jaya (just next to Aeon) will permit the filling of two jerry cans per visit. Alternatively, you can take the boat alongside (or take your dinghy and jerries) to Dalac Marine Engineering, 1 mile east of the marina. Dalac told us via email (dalacmarine@gmail.com) that we'd need at least 2.9m of tide (for our 1.85m draft) to access their dock. The channel to the yard has a bar which dries at low water. The boats in the yard are easily visable from the start of the approach (01°28'.13N 103°50'.97E). There are withies in the water further in to keep you to the centre. The concrete dock (to your starboard side) is partially fendered with tyres but you'll need extra on the boat too. There are several concrete posts to tie to. Fuel is currently 3.2 RM / L and you need to specify the amount you need a couple of days in advance. It is delivered in a large barrel, then a pipe / hose is attached and the barrel raised with a forklift truck to the height required to deliver the fuel at the right speed for you. Good service. Simon, the manager, seems very efficient and we would definitely use this yard if we needed work done on the boat.

Clearance at Pengileh Cape

As you approach from the Singapore Strait, the first thing you'll see is a prominent blue-roofed, three-storey building on your starboard side. There are no flags or signage but this is the Customs / Immigration / Quarantine headquarters. It is south of the naval base. Either anchor just outside pontoons (01°22'.34N 104°05'.21E) and take dinghy to long dock in front of the building or go alongside the main jetty. See Harbour Master first on top floor, then Immigration followed by customs on ground floor. The whole process takes about 45 minutes and is easy, efficient and free.

We anchored in the Santi River for the night afterwards before continuing to Senibong. We found more water everywhere than charted on Navionics except one spot at the mouth which was 2m at LW.There were lots of dredgers anchored at the mouth of the river so we continued to about 2 miles up. Anchored in 7.2m (tide adjusted) in good holding mud between two fish farms (01°24'.50N 104°07'.73E). The next time we visited there was a ship anchored there so we went further up. A very quiet spot. Lovely.

Conclusions

The only thing we didn't like much about the marina was the quality of the water; the Johor Strait is filthy dirty, but we understand from other yachties' blogs that that is not unusual in this region. The entrance channel to the marina may be susceptible to shoaling in the future too. There is a dredger currently at work around the pontoons and staff say it will be used to keep the channel open too. We hope so as the marina is quiet (the construction has hardly any impact on the marina at the moment), comfortable and friendly and we really enjoyed staying there.

Susan Bright
SY Yindee Plus

http://www.yindeeplus.net/Yindee_Plus/Welcome.html
The Bright family on their cutter-rigged sloop Yindee Plus began their extended cruising from the UK in 2008. Their blog has lots of interesting reports and twin sons Sid and Wilf have their own blogs also.

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