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Cruising in Indonesia – Do Not Be Deterred

By Val Ellis last modified Feb 07, 2011 11:20 AM

Published: 2011-02-07 11:20:06
Countries: Indonesia

I thought I would attempt to clarify the situation regarding cruising Indonesia as there is so much confusing info for cruisers, some of which scares people off visiting one of the most amazing island groups in the world.

Firstly have been sailing to Indonesia for over 25 years. I now live here on my boat, an Irwin 52 ketch. I have my own mooring at Serangan.

I have used, and dealt with, several of the agents, and also directly with officials. Respect and patience with the locals and the procedures (even if sometimes they may be not exactly Official), is essential. Every cruiser has different circumstances. I am living here most of the year, and intend to keep doing so, sometimes sailing to my home port of Fremantle for the wet season.

I choose to moor my boat in Serangan mainly because it is a much nicer area than the large commercial port of Benoa. Serangan island stretches across the bay to form the port of Benoa. The southern end is the main Benoa channel, with the northern end forming another deep channel between the island and Sanur. It is more convenient for access to sail out to the nearby islands, or go ashore to restaurants, bars and services in Sanur. There are far less problems away from the Benoa officials, even though its only 5 or 10 mins by dinghy to the marina. Most of the commercial charter fleet, and more and more cruisers are located in Serangan.

I chose to go with the local Agent, Tajri Sumudera, for a few reasons. They are locals. They are on site with 24hr security. They have a floating jetty with water and fuel. They are affiliated with one of the big local agents in Benoa. They have a relationship with all the men in uniforms. I have been here on this trip for 10 months now, as I chose not to sail back to Fremantle this wet season. They have continued to be of good service and all the staff are very friendly.

Last year I skippered 2 different superyachts, a 30m Ron Holland, and a custom 35m, here in Bali. Larger boats have different requirements and certainly attract more attention. I dealt with, and know, the operators of both Indonusa Marine and Asia Superyachts. Both are very experienced, competent and fully legal operators. They specialize in sorting everything for the larger boats, including any temporary import tax that may be necessary. Generally for shorter stays it is not an issue. Different customs areas and officials sometimes try variations of the regulation for financial gain, but depending on your circumstances and length of time here, it generally is not an issue for smaller cruisers. Don’t be put off visiting here by the stories getting around.

Anyway, safe sailing. If I can offer any advice or assistance to any cruisers just email me at [email protected]