Back to Sebana Cove

Thirty years ago someone had a huge vision for a mangrove swamp in Johor, Malaysia, just opposite Singapore Island and sank a very large amount of money and effort into a marina and golf resort. The target market would have been Singaporean weekenders and holiday makers.  It's built of stone, 'dry laid', although not really, just stone facing with concrete behind, but still a massive effort to construct a mile or more of marina wall plus all the building foundations that way. There's a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, laundry, and great showers. Being 4.5 nm up a river it is fresh water so very little marine growth and extremely well protected, not that the area has much in the way of bad weather anyway. It is virtually right on the equator and therefore out of the TRS zone. For those not familiar with the term a Tropical Revolving Storm is otherwise known as a typhoon, a hurricane or a cyclone, depending on your geography, and they are very rare within about 8 degrees of the equator. And if you like a round of golf then all you need do is hire some clubs.

The marina is inexpensive and, while not in the best condition, is fabulous luxury after sailing through Indonesia. There is power at most berths, and water, and Zacharia, the manager, can arrange clearance, customs and immigration -- a fantastic convenience for international yachts.

So why isn't Sebana Cove overun with yachts? Well, most international yachts arriving in the area are in need of some maintenance and Sebana Cove is too out of the way. There are no local  services, no haulout, no chandlery, nothing -- and professionals will charge you travel time to come from Singapore. The second reason is that Singapore waters are not much of a cruising ground. There are other places, such as Langkawi, that are much more attractive to yachties from a cruising perspective Finally, it's a bit difficult to get to Singapore for a day trip. First you take a taxi, then a ferry and you end up on the wrong side of Changi Airport so you need another taxi just to get to the terminal building and it's even further to the CBD. Apparently, there used to be a ferry directly from the marina to Singapore, thus eliminating the first taxi ride, but it proved uneconomical. Pity.

I am here because Gary wants to move Deep Chill from Sebana Cove to Nongsa Point Marina in Indonesia -- just the other side of the Singapore Straits. It's closer to where he lives and he'll find it easier to source ship maintenance professionals from Batam, which is probably the centre of the Indonesian marine industry, at reasonable rates.

Gary takes the helm the whole way and the trip is uneventful. There isn't much wind and we mostly motor. As we enter the marina, Gary passes the helm to me — he's not yet up to backing the boat into a berth. From here on it's just a matter of practice and confidence. He'll make a competent skipper eventually.

Nongsa Point Marina is the ONLY Indonesian marina I have been in. It is a proper marina with floating pontoons, electric power and water, although they had to get an electrician in to make the power work. I don't see any haulout facilities or yacht service providers but that's not my concern -- Gary can sort it out from here.

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