Bali to Lombok SW: Transit Advice

Raymond La Fontaine of Marina Del Ray on Gili Gede has been crossing the straight between Bali and Lombok for the past 2 years at least twice a week. Here he offers his tips for a safe passage.

Published 10 years ago, updated 4 years ago




The first point to consider is if you have time, plan your trip outside the 3 days either side of a Full and Black moon when the currents are the strongest. There are two counter-rotating currents in the Bali Selat, but they are hard to find, normally it is best to leave on slack water or when the tide is high in Serranggan and about to run out.

Sail close to the Bali coast past the Sanur reef in about 20 meters for about 5 NM, almost due north following the 20-meter line of water.

Then cross leaving the most Northern tip of Nusa Lemboggan to starboard about 300 meters to sea from the reef line. Check my waypoint 08.39.175S 115.26.770E on your charts and ensure it makes sense, if it does, set your course.

Observe your COG and SOG as you go and make adjustments accordingly, it’s not always the same but this course is the course with the least standing waves and most consistent currents. You should find if you stay close to the rum line the two counter currents which will keep you roughly on course to the waypoint.

Once you are there, stay close to the Northern coasts of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, it’s deep in close all the way – I’m talking no more than 200 meters. You will have current against you now as the SE monsoon is set by now, but the least resistance is close in.

Once you reach 8.40.163 S 115.34 110 E change course to 08.41.00 S 115.52 .995 E about 18 KM bearing 272 degrees. Keep a close eye on the set and drift and make adjustments accordingly, you will be swept out or in depending on the current but will predominantly be headed by the Southeast trade wind and current.

Any set south will betide.

Ensure you don’t get swept south of this Rumb line too much, any northerly drift is ok, just make the West Coast of Lombok north of the Rhumb line on a course that suits the prevailing wind and tide as best as possible.

You will find two opposing currents over the 18 NM, running north to south and south to north, they change location. The idea is to make the Lombok coast and be tucked into the SW corner known as Banko Banko as fast as possible, but not too close (hence the 3rd waypoint). This way you will be in flat water as soon as possible.

What I am trying to do is keep you out of the uneven topography of the Sunda Selat between the NW Nusa Peneda waypoint and the tip of Banko Banko, where the sea bed rises to about 120 meters in parts and this causes standing waves because of opposing currents and tides to the Southeast swell. If the swell is small, below one meter, and the wind is light, then it’s not that bad, particularly if you are farther away from a Black or Full moon and tidal currents are less. If the swell is big and there are South Easterly winds of more than 15knots, stay alert. The closer you get to the south side of this crumb line the waves get higher and the sea more irregular.

It’s not that bad in a Yacht, frustrating I guess as for its only 50 NM and can sometimes take a long time, but be patient, stay above the Rhumb line and out of the Selat Lombok and you will be fine.

Enjoy the sail and make your own Judgments as you see fit as well, I’ve been crossing the straight the past 2 years at least twice a week and even though I have found some consistency, things change and I have not worked them out 100% yet.

Pretty much, if you follow that crumb line you will see your drift over the first 4 NM, therefore set your course accordingly, stay in deep water and you will be fine.

Raymond La Fontaine

CEO PT Lombok Marina Del Ray

Gili Gede

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