Originally Posted by twoblocktom
Am I correct that the best sailing in the malacca straits is durning the northeast mausim? (December to march)
Any time is a good time to sail or mess around in boats.
The monsoon regime connects Australia
to Southeast Asia
to Northeast Asia
. That monsoon regime (NE monsoon - first Inter-monsoon - SW monsoon - second Inter-monsoon) has been blowing for hundreds of millions of years.
In the NE monsoon, big raptors fly the wind
from Siberia (and neighbouring localities) to the Maritime Continent (otherwise known as the Great Archipelago that includes the thousands of islands of Philippines
and more). In the SW monsoon, the big raptors fly back. In Lumut you'll get to see some of them fly over.
Bugis/Makassar navigators used the monsoon regime to sail to the northern coast of Australia
with the aboriginal Australians (and take some of them back to Sulawesi), including collecting trepang, pearls and other marine
goodies to sell to China
. South of the Equator, the wind
bends. So the NE monsoon becomes the NW monsoon, the SW monsoon becomes of the SE monsoon.
The use of the monsoon regime for trading ships, with sailing ships plying to and from ports
in S China
(eg Quanzhou, carrying porcelain), to the Maritime Continent (for spices, deep forest timbers, gold and other minerals, pearls and seafood delicacies) Kerala state in India
(for pepper), to Yemen (to link with markets in Europe
and N Africa
, and for Arabic/Islamic advanced knowledge and technology).
such as Phuket (aka Junk Ceylon), Penang, Melaka, and Singapore
developed as waypoints or harbours in which sailing ships could wait through an Inter-monsoon. Lumut played a part, particularly in the export of tin when canned food
In the NE monsoon and the SW monsoon, a fairly reliable gradient wind blows. Of course, that wind is reliable offshore
. Close inshore, island effect, land breeze/sea breeze can be more significant.
In the Inter-monsoons, calms or light winds may be more common that a reliable gradient wind. But close inshore, island effect and land/sea breezes can still supply a pleasant sailing wind.
Pulau Pangkor and the smaller islands around it rank, according to me, among the more stunningly beautiful parts
of the world. The Dinding River (called Sungai Manjung on recent Malaysian charts) is fun to explore.
I think you will find the new marina at the artificial island "Marina Island Pangkor" (at 04 degrees 12'.699N 100 deg 36'.030E) valuable. The island was built on a shallow bank, with the hope of earning big RM from real estate sales. The marina looks good and has good management (Mr James Khoo) and facilities. Time will tell if it survives commercially and does not silt. It is connected by a narrow causeway to the mainland. And a ferry service
connects it to Pangkor Island.
The big disadvantage for Marina Island Pangkor is that, unlike Langkawi, it is not tax free. Everything from antifouling to electronics
are available at Langkawi duty free. Alcohol is duty free in Langkawi, but heavily taxed elsewhere in Malaysia
. When the GST is introduced in Malaysia in 2015 to replace sales tax, Langkawi will remain tax-free. Not Lumut and the rest of West Malaysia.
As for the winds of the monsoon regime, I can do no better than to introduced you to the internet
resources supplied by the National Environment
Agency of Singapore
. The Sing NEA publishes each day a Regional Weather
Chart of the area, a forecast
of the wind for 0700 Local the next day.
That Regional Weather
Chart is a Surface Streamlines chart. The surface pressure weather chart used in temperate latitudes is useless in the tropics as a guide to predict wind direction. Surface streamlines are what works - a display of wind streamlines and wind barbs for 10 metres above sea level.
See the Singapore NEA Regional Weather Chart
. Check it each day (and perhaps save the graphic) so you can see the pattern of the monsoon regime. We're just now at the start of the 2nd Inter-monsoon, so you could accumulate a library showing a year's worth
Singapore NEA also publishes every hour a satellite
image - see their Index to Images
On top of the seasonal or monsoon pattern, you need to learn about the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). One easy way to think about the MJO is as a wave of atmospheric energy that starts in Western Hemisphere/Africa and then runs along the tropics through Indian Ocean
, then to the Maritime Continent, and finally into the Western Pacific. When the MJO wave is at an active peak over, say the Maritime Continent, you can expect stronger winds, squally weather, and cyclogenesis.
The US Climate Prediction Center operates a website that brings together the MJO predictions from 15 or 16 nations' meteorological bureaus. If you check it regularly, you start getting a feel for which is the more accurate (although that changes from season to season). My favourite is the prediction from the Taiwan
Central Weather Bureau (TCWB).
You'll need time to learn how to read the diagrams of the MJO predictions. If you hover your pointer over the name of a national met bureau, you will see their latest prediction. The thin red line with black dots is recent history (the black numbers are the days of the current
month). The thicker green line is the prediction, with black dots as the days ahead. The distance from the centre of the square is the height of the wave. Check the CPC page of aggregated MJO forecasts here