From Nongsa Point Marina in Indonesia it is 50 miles to Puteri Harbour Marina in Malaysia. In between is the Singapore Strait, one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. We had also had reports of strong currents in the straits which could make the passage more difficult.
Our route to Malaysia
We were up at 0430 and left at 0500 to give ourselves plenty of time in case of adverse currents. It was still dark and the sky looked threatening, but there was no rain. The first part of the trip was bumpy with wind over tide conditions caused by 2 knots of favourable west going current and a head wind of up to 20 knots. The lumpy sea slowed us down to 3 knots at times but by the time we got to the point where we crossed the shipping(1-2 on the chart) wind and tide had eased and our speed was back up to 5 knots.
There had been a steady succession of ships in the separation scheme, but when it came to time to cross they melted away. We slowed down to pass behind a west bound ship then altered course for an east bound one and in 20 minutes we were clear. The process was made easier by AIS, which gives information on the speed and course of other vessels and how close they will come, and by many years experience crossing the shipping in the English Channel!
Dodging the ships
There were actually more ships to worry about once we were across the separation scheme with vessels coming in and out of the various anchorages around Singapore. We were not allowed to enter Singapore waters, a restriction that was enforced by police boats all around the island, so had to follow the shipping lane south west and then north west (2-5 on the chart) until we could turn up the West Coast of Singapore. Around here we had a mostly favourable current, reaching 4 knots on times, but little wind so we motored all the way.
The Singapore skyline. Quite a change after 4 months in Indonesia
There was one final obstacle in the form of the second link bridge between Singapore and Malaysia but it has an air draft of 25 meters, which is more than enough for us. We tied up in Puteri Marina at 1330, giving plenty of time to start the check in process. The marina did all the paperwork then we walked across to the neighbouring ferry terminal, together with Scott and Kat from Muskoka who had arrived before us, and half an hour later we had 90 day visas stamped in our passports and were officially in Malaysia. It was one of the easiest check in procedures we’ve experienced for a long time, with no one checking or questioning what food or alcohol we had on board. Back on Serenity we had a celebratory beer and an early night after a long day.
The link bridge between Singapore and Malaysia. The middle span, which we passed under is in Malaysian waters