IMPORTANT NOTICE TO SKIPPERS
Although every effort has been made to publish the correct coordinates it would not be good seamanship to accept these as accurate for passage making and they should always be checked and verified prior to the voyage.
Those Yachts sailing and cruising on through Indonesia after leaving Ambon have many options.
Let us suggest a few:
Firstly you could travel directly west towards south west Sulawesi where you could traverse the Buton passage (05° 16.3′S 123° 21.6′E) which is renowned for its beautiful scenery and then on to the city of Makassar (05° 07′S 119° 24′E) located on the south west coast of the Province of South Sulawesi. Makassar is the home of the Makassan and Bugis fishermen who, for centuries, fished the northern Australian coast in their majestic perahu “Pinisi”. After leaving Makassar cruise west to the island of Kalimantan or south west to Bali.
Another option is to sail up the west coast of Ambon island and continue north to cruise the north west coast of Seram (31Nm NW of Ambon) where the waters are very sheltered in July/August/ September. Later cruise further north to explore the numerous and fascinating small islands along the west coast of the Island of Halmahera. (183Nm Nth of Ambon) Without a doubt this area offers some of the best cruising grounds in Indonesia, as the area abounds with numerous volcanic islands inter mingled with coral atolls. There are old forts and many villages to explore and breathtaking scenery abounds.
This route takes “adventurers” to the ancient trading city of Tenate (00° 47′N 127° 23′E) located on the volcanic island which shares its name. For centuries the region was under the administration of the Sultan who controlled the lucrative spice, timber and fishing trades. The current Sultan now lives in Jakarta however his Palace is still maintained as a museum and well worth a visit. Tenate was also a port of call for early marine explorers on their travels around the world. Another claim to fame for Tenate is that the anthropologist Wallace based himself there for a number years whilst he undertook the research which resulted in the recognition of the Wallace Line ie the imaginary north south line which separates marsupial animals from other species.
From Tenate you can cruise further north along the west coast of Halmahera to the island of Morotai, (within Tanjung Wayabula 02° 17′N 128° 12′E) made famous as a base for both the Japanese and Americans during the second World war. There are many wrecks from the war which make the area a divers paradise.
Another option is to travel west to the port of Bitung (01° 26′N 125° 12′E) located on the south east coast of the province of North Sulawesi.. Bitung is only one hour drive south of the capital Menado (01° 30′N 124° 50′E) and a visit is recommended. From there you can sail south along the east coast of Sulawesi to the Buton passage or north east around the northern most tip of Sulawesi and west to Manado. Upon departure from Manado continue west along the north coast and the turn south to the port of Makassar which was mentioned earlier.
If you prefer not to take the northerly route but to head more directly towards Bali then perhaps the island of Komodo is the place for you. Komodo is the home of the famous Komodo Dragon which is capable of attacking and killing a medium sized animals such as goats. It is rumored they have also been known to kill humans.
If Komodo is the place for you then cruise south west from Ambon and you will find Komodo island located at the western end of Flores. From there cruise the northern coast of Sumbawa, then Lombok and on to Bali.
Comprehensive information on navigational passages, dangers, and general port information can be found in the following publications:
Indonesian Sailing Directions Vol III & IV
UK Admiralty Publication NP 35 (Indonesian Pilot Vol 3)
UK Admiralty Publication NP 34 (Indonesian Pilot Vol 2)
US Sailing Directions Publications: 162, 163 & 164 – these US publications are freely available on the internet http://www.nga.mil/portal/site/maritime