Malacca Strait Notes - 2012

Baraka worked north up the Malacca Strait from Singapore to Langkawi in late 2010, and back down again in March 2012. Here are our notes on anchorages and marinas, ordered from south to north.

The passage weather is dictated by the monsoons. It is best to work northwest in the wet monsoon, Nov to March, and southeast in the dry monsoon, April to Oct. "Sumatras" can blow strongly, and squalls are fairly common, but overall the passage is not threatening for any cruiser who made it this far. Currents are tidal, flooding south, ebbing north, peak current lagging the tide change by several hours, and can vary from one to nearly three knots, neaps to springs.

David and Heather of Milliways came to Danga Bay several years in a row and were the original source of some of this info. They advised doing the trip up the strait in day hops to avoid the many nets, hugging the northbound shipping lane, marked on some charts as the inside lane used by barges and slower moving ships. We have made several overnight jumps without problems, though we did pass over a number of unlit nets.

See Sea Bunny's Log for many additional anchorage waypoints and helpful info on the passage up Malacca Strait.


One Fifteen Marina, Singapore

01 14.8238N 103 50.4737E

This delightful marina, located on Sentosa Island, is definitely first world with pool, gym and laundry. Tel. +65 6305 6999 A free shuttle takes you to Vivo City on mainland Singapore for easy shopping and access to Singapore's excellent MRT.

You bob around in the Western Anchorage to clear in, with the immigration boat coming by to take passports in a net, then go into Singapore for the rest of the clearance, doing the reverse when you leave.


Danga Bay Marina, Malaysia

01 28.2752N 103 43.4253E

The Malaysia Rally stopped here in late 2010. At the time free moorage was offered. The tidal/river current is strong, and afternoon squalls from the NW blasted the pontoons. The rally did backflips to make us comfortable, helping with clearance formalities, propane, diesel, parties and tours, but I have to mention we picked up a rat here that did a fair amount of damage. It is possible to anchor off. Reportedly a good restaurant ashore, and easy bus access to Johor Bahru. We took a bus from JB's Larkin terminal to colorful Melaka, staying several nights at charming Cafe 1915.


Puteri Harbour Marina

01 25.1N 103 39.5E

Very nice marina in the strait between Singapore and Malaysia, affordable, safe base to leave the boat for SE Asia land travel. Downside, quite isolated, though the marina provides a weekly shuttle to Tesco supermarket and a night market, and can arrange a shuttle to Changi Airport for 300 RM. Tel. +60 7530 2122, email puteriharbour@uemland,uemnet.com, VHF 18.


Pulau Pisang

First anchorage around the corner, going up the strait, 30 miles from Puteri. Various anchorages are possible depending upon wind direction.


Pulau Besar, aka Water Islands

Overnight anchorage 70 miles from Pulau Pisang. Close to Melaka, and there is a ferry but we have not talked to anyone who left the boat to take it. Melaka has a marina, but it is silted shallow, offers no protection and has a reputation for damaging boats.


Admiral Marina, Port Dickson

02 28.5584N 101.50.1440E

70 miles from P. Pisang. Well run marina, very protected behind a solid breakwater. Pool, bar, restaurant, gym. Walking distance to a grocery. Free shuttle to Port Dickson. Possible to visit Melaka from here. We paid 55 RM/night here plus electricity in 2012. There is a coral patch north outside the entrance, so once out of the breakwater you need to turn out to sea. VHF channel 14, Tel. 06 647 0888. www.admiralmarina.com.my, email m.rhuad@rpb.com.my


Pulau Indah

02 54.4595N 101 18.6865E

We stopped here on the way north in late 2010, after receiving word that there was a new marina. Pulau Indah is the island that lines the south entrance to Port Klang. The marina, located in the river just south of P. Indah, was already falling apart, underbuilt for the strong tidal currents, with dicey electrical wiring. Several yachts were damaged trying to dock in the wicked currents. If we were to stop here again, we'd just anchor in the river for a quiet night and forget about the marina.


Angsa Lighthouse

03 11.2685N 101 12.9713E depth 25'

Anchorage just north of Port Klang, useful for trimming the long trip to Pangkor. Very smelly fishboats anchored in the lee. We made the mistake of anchoring on the open north side on a calm night to avoid the stench. 30 knot winds came up off the strait, rolling us ear to ear by the time we escaped at dawn. A more protected anchorage is SE of the lighthouse.

There is also Royal Selangor Yacht Club in Port Klang, where we did not stay, Tel.033 168 6964.


Pangkor Island Marina

Turning point to enter marina: 04 12.767N 100 35.100E, docked at 04 12.6602N 100 36.1219E

Efficiently run by James Khoo, a small marina tucked next to the ferry landing on the Lumut side. Helpful staff, a good mechanic (Muthu), and a haulout yard popular with yachties as it is cheap and well-protected. Probably a safe place to leave a boat, though unattended boats seem to get rats so close up well. Tel. 016 559 2800.

There are also several good anchorages on the W side on Pangkor Island, offering good protection in in the NW monsoon season. We have not anchored there, but others enjoyed it.


Pulau Rimau

05 15.0731N 100 16.3739E, depth 26'

Small island just south of Penang. We anchored one night in calm weather among small fishing boats on the N side, not wanted to attempt transitting the old and new bridges at night where there are many nets and unmarked obstructions.


Jerejak Anchorage, Penang

05 18.7399N 100 18.3196E depth 39'

Very protected anchorage, entered between the bridges around the S end of Jerejak. Large Queensbay shopping complex ashore on Penang but difficult to access. We anchored in late 2010, having lost our transmission. Used the dinghy laced to our stern to move at slack water to Pen Marina boatyard 05 16.9132N 100 17.4685E where we were hauled out and had a very good experience getting the transmission rebuilt by competant mechanics. Ordered rebuild kit from Oz.


Straits Quay Marina

Very upscale small marina on the north end of Penang. Inexpensive moorage (2012) at 40 RM/night. Walking distance to large Tesco, and easy to take a bus into Georgetown. Need to call for reservations as space is limited. Tel. +60 4890 6521, email Marina@straitsquay.com, website www.straitsquay.com

Don't miss Georgetown. It will grow on you. Bananas on Chulia St. will help get a Thai tourist visa, the Yeng Keng was our splurge hotel, great meals at Tek Sen, too many delights to list.

There is also Tanjong City Marina more conveniently located right in Georgetown, but it is falling apart, exposed to ferry wash, and dangerous in bad weather and strong currents. Tel. 0421 02336, VHF 68


Fjord, Langkawi

06 11.2285N 099 47.2871E

Lovely small anchorage, very protected, on the south end of Langkawi, which helps shorten the long haul to/from Penang.


Rebak Resort Marina

06 22.0762N 99 41.0567E

Favorite yachtie hangout, super protected and safe. Many stall here for years. We left the boat for trips home and land travel, both in the water and on the hard. Laundry, tiny gym, pool, cafe with cheap food, wifi, and a free ferry to Langkawi where you can obtain a cheap car rental for shopping, or on Friday mornings meet The Veggie Man who imports the best produce you will find in SE Asia. Easy access to Langkawi airport. 55 RM/night in 2012, with discounts for prepaid longer stays. Tel. 04-966-5566.


Telaga Marina, Langkawi

Entrance 06 21.55N 099 41.07E. Just a few miles north of Rebak. Marina has a fuel dock, but fuel is 1/3 cheaper at the Petronas pumps by jug. The Telaga station limited us to one 20-liter jug per day per person. so we took a car with six jugs to the Matsirat station. It is often possible to clear in and out of Malaysia for Thailand at the Telaga Customs House.

We mostly hung out at Rebak, but whenever we had heavy provisioning to do, we visited Telaga and rented a car. Don't miss The Loaf, Malaysia's best pastry shop, a short walk around the marina. VHF 69 to hail, then go to 72. Tel. +604 959 2202. We have also anchored comfortably inside the "eyebrow" islands at the entrance, in shallow water, crowded with cruising yachts.

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