Notes on Entering The Santubong River

Published 14 years ago, updated 5 years ago

We used the British Admiralty Chart Number 3834. This was the largest scale chart we could obtain, but is really too small a scale to be really useful! Note, there are now two apartment blocks on Tanjung Tambak, which are conspicuous, and do not appear on the chart.

The chart shows the leading marks/lights on 160 degrees, to enter the river system, over the bar. Either the leading marks were missing, or has been moved, or had been obliterated by jungle, as we could not see them anywhere on shore. However, there is a conspicuous red building with a white tower on its left-hand side (looking from the sea) and this tower was approximately 160 degrees. The bar has a least charted depth of 1.8 metres over it. We saw nothing less than 2.8 metres under the keel at half tide (we draw 2 metres).

The Santubong river itself is entered by turning to 90 degrees when the second charted set of two leading marks/lights line up. These two marks are conspicuous. However, the starboard hand mark, near the river entrance, is about 1 mile east from its charted position.

Passing the starboard hand mark, the leading marks line up well, they are triangles, one apex up and one apex down. The associated lights were functioning when we visited (July 2010).

The fringing reef is alarmingly close, but the deep water channel is free of dangers.

After closing the marks, as far east as you feel is prudent, governed by depth, the private marina and Government Quay will be seen on your port hand side. Make your way over to this side of the river, as a large sandbank extends from the starboard hand side at the next river bend.

Anchor in suitable depth near the private marina, but do not berth there. It is a private marina and not for public use. The operator graciously allows dingys to moor up, free of charge. Water and fuel may be available, check with the marina staff.

There is an unmarked dangerous wreck, (a wrecked fishing boat) just off the Government Quay, so this area is to be avoided.

Kampong Santubong has nothing much to offer, there is a shop, but the stock is non-existent. The Palm Garden, a Chinese Sea Food Restaurant, can be clearly seen between the private marina and the Government Quay. This is open every day except Tuesdays, serve beer, and the food is good. The ramp to the left of the building can be used for landing if the state of the tide allows.

Clearing in and out of Sarawak is carried out in Pending, just outside Kuching. Getting there can be a problem. We were told to “stick out your thumb” and wait for a lift. This we did and were taken into the centre of Kuching by three very pleasant people from the Civil Defence. After being dropped off, we jumped into a taxi to complete formalities.

Jerry & Caz

s/y Mandarina

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