The Enchanting Bay of Sada

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It was a particularly misty day and the land was almost invisible. Finally, we were able to make out the island’s silhouette. Anyone wanting to paint it would need a palette of distinctly orange nuances.

These landscapes reminded me of the high plateaux of Madagascar, in the Tananarive area. Huge, isolated mountains, different shades of browns, with very few trees and magnificent rocky peaks.                                                                         

We approached Sada Bay, sailing along the coastline that was most exposed to the swell. The anchorage turned out to be extremely calm - at least once the anchor had been sent down twenty meters (65’). We were around 150-200 meters (450-600’) from the small coral bottleneck where we were supposed to be heading. Only a few boats could anchor there at the same time.  

On the beach there was a tiny village. Everything looked perfect. A few sailing craft, some wooden huts, lots of children and constant smiles on the faces of the families that had come to get their fish. 

I wasn’t surprised to notice that the sea was completely transparent, and that visibility was maximal. I couldn’t wait to take a dip and explore the seabed


Anchorage Position:

Attention! You should never take Indonesian marine charts for granted. Very many reefs are uncharted and electronic charts are offset (Navionics).

Suggestion: there is a smartphone app (Ovital/Map) which allows you to download satellite images and then save them in your cache. They are very accurate and mean that you can avoid a lot of reefs, even if the best way is still just using your eyes!

On three occasions we realized that there was a coral barrier at the entrance to an anchorage, despite the marine charts not having flagged anything up before our arrival.

Arriving at Sada is relatively easy, but there’s no point trying to get closer into shallower water as the coastline drops away too steeply. We ended up anchoring in 20-25 meters (60-75’) of water.


Weather Check:

Don’t expect the trade winds. In the north of Indonesia, at least close to the coasts, the wind is unpredictable.

In general, there isn’t much wind, and the forecasters struggle to predict the whims of the local weather.

It is always a good idea to check your engine before sailing in these areas.

However, despite this, in ...

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