From WPIS211, south of Benoa harbour, a direct route runs south of Java and Sumatra to WP IS212, two miles east of Christmas Island. The best anchorage is at Flying Fish Cove. Boats should fly the Q flag on arrival and will be visited by customs. The rest of the entry formalities will be completed ashore. As the island is an Australian territory, similar visa requirements apply as in Australia itself and those arriving without a visa may not be allowed to stay. The strict Australian food quarantine regulations may also apply-
Best time: : Tropical storms: Charts:
Waypoints: 1 Departure 1
May to October
IS222 Blenheim 5P20'S, 72'35'E
IS223 Salomon 5'17.5'S. 72'15'E
This more direct route is preferred by those who are not tempted by the usual detour via Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands. The route from Bali runs slightly north of latitude 106S where good sailing conditions can be expected throughout the SE monsoon and the risk of cyclones is almost nonexistent. The route is joined south of Sumatra by boats that have reached the Indian Ocean through the Sunda Strait. Although the route from Bali is under the general influence of the SE trade winds, strong winds from the southern quarter are not unusual during the winter months and they are often accompanied by a big swell. Rough seas have been encountered especially around longitude 90 °E, the disturbance being apparently caused by a submarine mountain ridge.
Chagos enjoys South Indian Ocean weather with SE trade winds from April to November, but as the islands are close to the upper limit of the trade winds, they can be light and more variable. From December to March, when the ITCZ moves south, the NE monsoon is deflected south of the equator to give a NW flow of wind. The NW monsoon is not so reliable, brings rain, and blows most strongly in January and February. The period of the NW monsoon is also the cyclone season, but these storms normally form south of Chagos and move in a southerly direction. They almost never track north towards the equator.
From WP IS221, south of Benoa harbour, a direct route runs south of Java and Sumatra to WP IS222, 10 miles SE of Blenheim Reef. From there a course can be set for WP IS223 close to the NW pass leading into the lagoon at Salomon Island. The lagoon is entered through the NW pass and the recommended anchorage is off Takamaka Island, on the east side of the lagoon. Because of the extensive reefs and absence of lights, except at Diego Garcia itself, the area should be approached with great care. Special regulations apply to visitors to Diego Garcia, which is a military base leased by the UK to the USA. Only genuine emergency stops at Diego Garcia are allowed, although the presence of cruising boats is tolerated in the other islands.
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