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Old 14-02-2011, 13:54   #1
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Irian Jaya to Palau and Back Again

Greetings all, I am working out a plan to sail from Irian Jaya, (Raja Ampat area) to Palau in August 2011. My plan is to leave my boat in Palau until January/Feb 2012 probably on a mooring or at anchor and then head back to Indonesia.
1.Where is a good place to clear out of Indonesia in the Raja Ampat area? Sorong?
2. How about clearing back into Indo arriving from Palau?
3. Any thoughts on the weather? Passage from and to Indo looks pretty good for August Indo to Palau, and then Jan/Feb Palau to Indo.
4. Anyone stopped at the big atoll next to Tobi on the way to Palau?

Thank you for your time. Any info is welcome.


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Old 15-02-2011, 05:37   #2
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I think you are on your own on that one!
I have heard of a few cruisirs going from Palau to Indonesia but not the other way.
Fatty Goodlander did it and you might be able to track some writings of his via Cruising World or his website. I think he has written a book about that area(?)

I am not sure if Irian Jaya is open at all. What does Noonsite say? I had a distinct impression you could only go there after you've cleared into someother port in Indonesia and then only by special permission (which is never granted).

You will certainly have an Intrepid badge if you do that cruise!

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Old 15-02-2011, 18:43   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts. I'll see if I can track down Fatty's writings on the area.
I'm pretty sure you can check into Indonesia in Irian Jaya. I'll write when I find out more.
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Old 28-02-2011, 02:00   #4
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Re: Irian Jaya to Palau and Back Again

Hi Steve,

We made that trip coming from Australia through Irian Jaya to Palau in Sep/Oct of 2009. Winds were very light and variable once clearing the last islands of Irian Jaya until almost reaching Anguar in Palau.

Do check your currents before going. They can run up to 4 knots, no kidding. has a helpful, more detailed surface current one called HYCOM. NOAA/Oscar website is a bit vague, but you get the overall idea. There's more then just the easterly counter counter going on.

We've since made the trip from Palau to the sw islands (Tobi, Sonsorol, Helen, Merir, Pulo Ana) several times. Winds have been again on the light side to non-existent every time. This from Nov 2010 through Feb this year. Using the current loop has been more help then the wind.

The whole last year has been on off one for this part of Micronesia. The sw'erlies never in from SE Asia. Usually late in the year they are kicking up consistently at 15+ knots and then upwards as typhoons form and/or go through us or to the north. Right now we should be in our second to third month of nice light to moderate trades and sunny skies, but it's been rainy and squally. A few lpa systems have passed over us or south of us. Nothing threatening but certainly annoying if you want consistent wind to sail.

There were some pretty islands in IJ that I forgot the names of and my wife was telling me those most northern ones before hitting Tobi/Helen mean 'skirt' in Palauan. They also looked like the Rock Islands here. Didn't see many boats or people around there other then fishermen or what looked like passenger bancas. A couple tailed us for what seemed like too long, but none came up for a hello.

There are metal FADS spaced somewhat evenly along the route we took after we rounded the western side of IJ.. We did see one between Merir and Anguar on the Palauan side too. If these are new to you all one can do is be aware they are there. No lights, no radar reflectors and often rusty.

You can anchor to the s/sw of Helen Island in Helen Reef(atoll). The pass is easy and obvious by day. Take the second left smaller pass to the north once in and head just a bit to the east of the island (you can see the remains of a shipwreck for a ref). There are two reefs to avoid as you near the island...first to your port second soon to your stb. Most likely the residents will bring the speedboat out to you soon as they spot ya. Great group of folks - Matty & Max, Amos, Prince and maybe two more whose names escape me at the moment. They would most appreciate cigs, and anything for a change of pace from eating fish and rice for months on end. If you can get fresh betel nut, aus/apo/lyme and kebui/pepper leaf before calling in I bet they'd appreciate it.

All the other islands are steep-to and crap to anchor. There are a few ledges, but the current has put us off of that. I know of big boats that have lost anchors in the rock/coral. If you drift by in daylight/higher tide surely someone will come say hello if they have fuel. Or if you've an extra hand take your dink in.

Fishing is fabulous around the islands. Not so between them and Koror.

Once you get into Koror and clear in motor over by Sam's to figure out the scene. All moorings are owned, so don't assume they're up for grabs without first talking to the care-taker or owner. There's space to anchor though a little deep (60-70 feet great holding). The back bay crowded with boats is all moorings - do not attempt to anchor - foul bottom and you'll swing into someone. It is safe to leave your boat here long term and many do.

PM me for more info if you like.

Best - Jay
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Old 28-02-2011, 04:37   #5
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Re: Irian Jaya to Palau and Back Again

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jay.

Thanks for sharing your relevant and detailed expertise.
Gord May
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Old 01-03-2011, 19:38   #6
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Re: Irian Jaya to Palau and Back Again

Wow! Thank you so much for the very detailed response to my question. We are getting really excited about our trip and your notes really help fill in the blanks.
Thank you again for taking the time.


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Palau, palau

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