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Old 02-24-2013, 06:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Home Port: sydney
Posts: 2
Default Which route? Brisbane to Bali April/June 2013?

We need to take a 45ft cat from Brisbane to Bali: the suggestion is leave last week in April and make our way leisurely north through the islands then onto PNG, then head west. An alternative would be to go round the top end and across to Darwin - but we have heard of rough crossings that way.

Any advice about route, timescales, winds, weather, places to stop/visit, pitfalls or hazards would be most welcome.

Many thanks
Newbie to forum

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

It's been a long time since our cruise through Indonesia, but the logs below can give you some ideas about places to stop. Must see: Rinca (Rinja) island, where there are also Komodo dragons. Hint: they're pretty nasty, so don't go ashore alone, but do keep your camera with you at all times, my best pictures were from the cockpit in the early morning when everything came down to the water. This is an amazing and quiet island, no people, no tourists to distract from the wildlife. (Darwin to Sumbawa log).

The island across from Bali, Lombok, is pretty wonderful.

Darwin to Sumbawa
Lombok and Bali

Practicalities. April is still cyclone season.
Be sure you have good tide tables. WXtide is downloadable and gives you tide tables world-wide. You will need them!

In my opinion, the PNG islands east of mainland PNG are more interesting than mainland PNG, unless you want to stay in Port Moresby and travel inland. Easier, IMO, is to sail over to Gove, then on to Darwin, and up to Indonesia and really see Indonesia. You know that you have to obtain a cruising permit to go through Indonesia, right? Don't know what it's like now, used to be a real PITA and rather pricey to get it. Do your homework there, it's not an easy thing to accomplish.

My enduring images of Indonesia are of the beauty that they bring to everything - their boats are beautifully painted and decorated (even the everyday fishing boats) - the little Bali boats that individuals go out fishing in every night - all their decorative arts. My biggest annoyance with Indonesia - buying anything is not easy. You have to haggle over the price of everything. Everything. On the other hand, once you get used to it, it's just a game that you have to play to earn the locals' respect.

Another way to go is the Darwin-Ambon yacht rally which starts from Darwin in August, 2013. Organized by the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association, it's a lovely way to meet fellow cruisers and have a good time. My only comment is that it's 'way far north of your route to Bali and you might miss a lot going that way. Get a really big map of that part of the world to help you decide what route to take.

I'd go back through Indonesia in a heartbeat. Loved it. All of it.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

The route across the top to Darwin from Thursday Island is, at that time of the year, a pleasure. It is downhill all the way with the south easterly trade winds taking you swiftly across the top. The Gulf of Carpentaria can get a bit lumpy, but it is a quick crossing and, again, you are sailing with the breeze.

As you get close to Darwin, you will encounter big tides and a correspondingly speedy ebb and flow, but the trip and potential dangers are well documented. Try to get a copy of the Northern Territory Cruising Guide by John Knight. Trip Planner, Australian Marinas Guide, Darwin Marina, Northern Territory Coast Cruising Guide
"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:51 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Home Port: Port Douglas
Vessel Name: S/V Travesty
Posts: 214

Hi David,

My mate Jeff in his 45' Roberts ketch and me in my 42' sloop are doing something similar and have been planning this trip for a while now. We are leaving Port Douglas around April 2 and heading north on a leisurely 6 week cruise to Darwin. Main stops will be Thursday Island, Gove then Darwin, but we will be coast hopping and anchoring up most nights.

I know early April may be a few weeks before the end of the cyclone season but we believe the risks are small enough to warrant the early start.

After this leg I will be heading down to the Kimberly Islands for a while before heading back to Darwin and on to Bali via Kupang, island hopping till we get there. Contact Bali Marina well in advance for your Indonesian cruising permit, they are very helpful and take the pain out of it all.

As Auzzee said the Gulf can get a bit lumpy at times because its a bit shallow at about 20 to 25 metres average depth but at this time of the year the wind and weather are generally with you and it is downhill all the way so relax and enjoy the trip.

Have fun,

"No matter where you go, there you are".
I've Contributed to the Cruisers Wiki: https://www.cruiserswiki.org/wiki/Port_Douglas
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:13 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2013
Home Port: sydney
Posts: 2

Hi Jeanne, Auzzee and Lexx,
THANK YOU very much for your helpful and informative replies - we appreciate them (and Heather is suitably reassured!)
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Home Port: delhi
Vessel Name: Anil kumar
Posts: 57

no idea man never been to such type of place in australia

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