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Seychelles east to Malaysia/Indonesia

By Sue Richards last modified May 29, 2008 04:54 PM

Published: 2008-05-29 16:54:43
Topics: Indian Ocean
Countries: Indonesia , Malaysia , Seychelles

Dear Jimmy,

You were kind enough to offer some advice last year about our trip from the Med down the Red Sea to the Seychelles. It all went very well and we arrived in Mahé just before Christmas. The most notable navigational feature was the unexpected strength of the current against us (2kt), not just in the Gulf of Aden but for several days after turning south past Socotra.

We are continuing to use Seychelles as a base to explore Madagascar and E. Africa this summer (our summer), but it's frustrating that it appears we won't be able to continue eastwards to Malaysia/Indonesia until the return of the SW monsoon. Is there any way of going E just below the equator during October-November-December?

If we stayed below 4 degrees S and headed for Jakarta through the southern tip of Sumatra it appears that we might be able to skirt the ITCZ and pick up more favourable winds while avoiding storms. What do you think? I know I'm going the wrong way around but I'm not happy at having to stay in the Seychelles until March or April of next year.

Best wishes, Andrew

Dear Andrew,

The problem of going east from the Seychelles around the times you mentioned is that if you leave too early (October) you may have strong SE or even E'ly winds. Later you run the risk of an early cyclone, although not if you stay that close to the equator. So your best bet is to leave as early as you dare (but with a good forecast), stay, as you say, close to the equator and if you need to stop en route (for, say, fuel) you can easily cross to Gan, and then go SE from there.

You must watch out for cyclone warnings S of Sumatra. In fact, if the winds are ok when you get there (mid-late-November) and there are E winds predicted E of Sumatra, you may be better off going NNE along west coast of Sumatra and then via Singapore to Indonesia - longer but still an option.

All the best, Jimmy


Thanks for that. As far as I can tell going north of the equator will put us into the NE monsoon headwinds, which is why I thought of going south where, below the ITCZ , there appear to be more favourable winds (and currents).

Hi Andrew,

Unfortunately at change of seasons nothing is as certain (well it never is!) or easy to predict as in the middle of the trade wind/safe sailing season.

Regards, Jimmy.