Last Updated: 6 September 2016
These notes are a result of a 2 month cruise in the Anambas Islands in July and August 2016 on “Alba” our Hallberg Rassy 42F. Our draft is 2.0 metres (6’ 8”). Some of the time we were accompanied by “Amulet” (USA) and “Sea Monkey” (AUS). We visited over 50 anchorages and only met 4 other boats in our time in the area.
Before we visited the islands, I had email conversations with various people who provided information on anchorages and regulations. I would particularly like to thank Captain Warren Blake, who has visited the Anambas Islands no less than 78 times and provided a wealth of information on the outlying islands, including some lovely hand drawn charts. Prakash Reddy at Nongsa Point Marina was also extremely helpful on the regulations for clearing into and out of Indonesia.
If you find any errors in these notes or want to add new information then drop me a quick message using our Contact page and we'll have an email conversation about it.
The latest version of this document can be viewed on line at:
A PDF version is available from:
We kept a daily diary of our time in the Anambas, which can be found at:
A set of GPX routes and waypoints (which will load into OpenCPN) can be downloaded from:
A set of KAP charts (which will load into OpenCPN) can be downloaded from:
2. THE ANAMBAS ISLANDS
The Anambas Islands are a collection of over 200 small islands in the South China Sea, 150 miles east of Singapore. The archipelago belongs to Indonesia and is a Regency within the Riau Islands Province. The main town is Tarempa on the large island of Siantan, where most of the administration is located.
While the Anambas have spectacular islands with white sand beaches and coral reefs, the area has been avoided by most cruising yachts, mostly because of security fears and the problems with administration, especially obtaining clearance in and out of the country.
For the purposes of these notes, we have split the region into four cruising areas - Tarempa, Jemaja, the Central Islands and the Eastern Islands.
Cruisers have been avoiding the Anambas for years because of rumours of piracy and reports of hassle from local officials.
While the cruising community acknowledges that the piracy attacks in the region are focused on commercial shipping, targeted at the main shipping route between Singapore and Hong Kong, there are fears that this could spread to attacks on yachts.
In recent years have been a number of acts of piracy in the Malacca Straits and Singapore Straits, where a large number of cruisers already sail. To our knowledge there have been no reports of piracy attacks or boarding of small cruising yachts.
I had many discussions with the local people and officials in the Anambas. The Tourist Office in Tarempa were shocked that cruisers think that the Anambas Islands are dangerous. I talked to the Navy and they constantly patrol the Anambas waters with outposts dotted around the islands. They are mainly concerned with illegal fishing and were unaware of any piracy.
During our various visits to Tarempa, we saw about a dozen armed ships belonging to the coast guard, navy and police. I believe that these are all patrolling the area.
Any hassle with local officials has been resolved with government controls - the customs office even had a large sign saying that customs officers should not be offered tips and the Immigration have a price list prominently displayed. All of the officials that we met were extremely friendly, pleased to see us and there was no suggestion of bribes.
We were woken up by the Navy one night in Tarempa at 02:00. They were very polite and asked if they could come aboard. As we were then awake, we invited them on board and had a long chat. They wanted to see our papers, but I think that they were mostly curious about what we were doing in the Anambas Islands. They also approached “Amulet” who told them to go away and come back tomorrow - they didn’t go back.
The local people and the fishermen were curious about our yachts, but are surprisingly shy (unlike other places in the world.) The small fishing boats will chug past slowly to have a look and a quick wave will be sufficient to receive a beaming smile. When we have shared remote anchorages, the fishermen normally keep a respectful distance and we never felt threatened about being boarded at night. It's nice to go over and have a chat to the fishermen and see if they have any fish for sale. They won't speak any English, so first work out what you're going to say in Indonesian. We were paying 10,000 Rupiah for a fish.
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