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Cruising SE Asia
Contact

dave@svsoggypaws.com

+63 949-343-7413


     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

Cruising in SE Asia
Last Updated: November 25, 2017

Cruising in this area is different from typical Tradewinds cruising.  Because of the huge landmass of China, the winds actually reverse for part of the year... NE Trades in the winter months, and SW "monsoon" winds in the summer months.  This makes moving east and west easy to plan and execute.

Philippines

The Philippines have a bad reputation because of typhoons (aka hurricanes).  We have found that our current base at the Holiday Ocean View Marina at Samal Island, Gulf of Davao, Philippines, is a very safe base during typhoon season.  (see location maps here)

Typhoons (cyclones/hurricanes) generally form in the Western Pacific out in Central Micronesia (about 1,000 miles east of the Philippines), at about 8 degrees north latitude.  Due to the rotation of the earth, as they travel west, the storm systems curve northward.  They cross the Philippines usually in the upper half of the Philippines and curve up toward Taiwan.  Our location at Samal Island is about 7 degrees north latitude.  We occasionally get a little extra rain or wind associated with a typhoon crossing further north, but nothing over about 35 knots--typical summer squall conditions.

Samal Island is a resort island located just offshore of the city of Davao--the Philippines 2nd largest city, with an international airport (direct flights from Singapore).  We consider Davao to be as safe as any similar-sized city, and Samal even safer.  The marina itself has 6 full-time guards on the property, and there has never been any reported incidents of theft from stored boats.

We, and our friends, have cruised and land-traveled all over the Philippines.  It's a beautiful country--lots of good sailing and diving.  There are good marinas in several locations in the Philippines, and many many remote anchorages. 

The cost of living here is very attractive.  Some examples:

  • Beer in a bar $1-$2

  • Budget meal $2-3

  • Fancy meal $10

  • Taxi across town in Davao $4-$5 

The people are friendly and most speak English.  Davao has 4-5 very modern malls, and all western goods are available at near U.S. prices.  But the island of Samal is more village-like, with a nice but not huge open air market and basic provisions.

Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, and Thailand

From the Philippines, all of Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo and Thailand is easily reachable.  Some of the best diving spots in Indonesia--Raja Ampat--is only a couple of days easy sailing south of Davao.

You can day-hop through the Philippines to Palawan, and then down Palawan to Borneo, and from there into the rest of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are also very reasonably priced cruising grounds with some areas of big cities and some areas of small villages.

Micronesia

The unspoiled islands of western Micronesia are about 500 miles east of Davao.  It is fairly easy to pick a weather window that will let you sail/motorsail to Palau, Yap, Truk/Chuuk, and on toward the Marshall Islands.  The exact strategy varies by the season, but it's do-able. 

South Pacific

Once in Micronesia or the Marshall Islands, the South Pacific islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomons, and Papua New Guinea are reachable.  And from there, it's feasible to work your way east as far as French Polynesia.  Not exactly tradewind downwind sailing, but much shorter hops than the 3-4 week trip from America to the Marquesas.

Australia

The Australians' version of "the Caribbean" is Southeast Asia.  It is typical for Australian cruisers to make a 2-4 year circuit up from Australia through Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and then back to Australia.

New Zealand

Once in Australia or any of the SW Pacific islands (Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia), it's easy (as easy as it ever is) to reach New Zealand.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan

North from the Philippines lie the island countries.  The only caution for cruising these areas is to be sure to be in a safe place for tyhpoon season.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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