IS Torres Strait to Bali

Australia. From that point the course can be altered for WP IS113 to pass through Dundas and Clarence Straits. Because of the strong tidal sets and near impossibility of clearing the straits in one daylight period, this route is not recommended. Those who are taking it must allow for the strong currents, which usually set either north or south.

The route around both Melville and Bathurst Islands, although longer, is recommended and is the route most commonly used. If this offshore route is taken, from WP IS112 a course can be set for WP IS114, NW of Bathurst Island. The course should be changed again for WP IS115, off Cape Fourcroy, and finally altered for WP IS116 at the start of the main shipping channel into Darwin. If arriving from outside Australia, boats are required to give at least three hours notice by contacting Darwin Port Authority on VHF channel 16 or HF 2182 kHz. Because of the large tidal range, the easiest place to come alongside is Fishermen's Wharf and this should be requested when arranging clearance.

Him ,;V.!,:

May to September

Tropical storms:

December to April



BA: 15, 34,35

Waypoints: Departure




Distance (M)

IS121 Thursday

IS! 22 Melville

10t34'S, 142C06.5'E

10C30'S, 130"00'E

IS123 Roti

11'15'S, 123'00'E

IS124 Dana

IS125 Bali E



11'00'S. 121'20'E

8'50'S, 115'20'E

8°45'S, 11515'E

For most people the timing of this passage is crucial for the later stages of their voyage. Most boats bound for the South Indian Ocean pass through the Torres Strait between June and August when the best sailing conditions can be expected on this route. After the Arafura Sea has been crossed, the same directions apply as for those setting off from Darwin (route IS14). If one is too late in the season, the best way to avoid encountering a cyclone en route is by sailing along the north coast of the southern Indonesian islands where cyclones are not known to occur. Boats bound for Singapore and the North Indian Ocean have more time at their disposal than those intending to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, so they tend to pass through the Torres Strait later, in September or even early October. This means that they will have missed the best time for the passage to Bali and should be prepared for light winds and calms on that section.

The direct route from Torres Strait to Bali crosses both the Arafura and Timor Seas, where the weather is dominated by the SE and NW monsoons. The trade winds blow strongly from May till August from between SE and SSE and there is a considerable sea. At the start and end of the season the wind is often E backing to ENE. The SE monsoon lasts until the end of October or even November, although SE winds are both lighter and less consistent after the middle of September. It is then followed by variable winds and calms. As the NW monsoon coincides with the cyclone season, passages during this time are best avoided. The seasons in the Timor Sea follow almost the same pattern. Sometimes during the SE monsoon the air is laden with dust brought from the Australian desert and visibility can be poor. In the vicinity of land the winds are generally influenced by the contour of the islands, while in the channels between the islands the winds often blow with great force.

The effect of the tidal streams is felt particularly in the area between Darwin and the Ashmore

Reef. For westgoing boats it is mostly favourable both east and west of Ashmore Reef. West of Ashmore Reef the westerly set can reach 2 knots. A weaker countercurrent, of up to half a knot, may make itself felt for a few hours every day. Further west, the currents in the Lombok Strait run at considerable rates and can produce dangerous conditions in the approaches to Benoa harbour when a strong wind is blowing against the current. During the SE monsoon, the main direction of the current is southerly.

From WPIS121, west of Thursday Island, at the western end of the Prince of Wales Channel, a westerly course can be set which passes close to the north of Booby Island. By setting a course for WP IS122 the route avoids all dangers off the north coast of Australia. From there, the course should be altered for WP IS123, 20 miles south of Roti Island, SW of Timor. This course stays well to the north of the oil drilling area around 12'00'S, 125 WE and also avoids the Hibernia and Ashmore reefs. Karmt Shoals will be crossed en route, but the area presents no known dangers. Making a detour through Roti Channel, between Roti and Timor, is not recommended as currents are very strong.

From WP IS123 the route then goes to WP IS124, south of Dana Island. The course can then be altered for WP IS125, SW of Nusa Penida, in the approaches to Benoa harbour, Bali's main port. A buoyed channel leads through the reef, which is clearly visible in daylight. Entering at night is not recommended as often the lights are not working and the leading lights can be confusing. Because of the strong currents it is preferable to spend the night out at sea, although with care it may be possible to anchor for the night near the landfall buoy if there is not too much swell.

The opening of the new Bali International Marina in 1994 has considerably improved docking facilities in Benoa harbour. The marina is located in the NE of the harbour. Anchoring space is rather limited and is restricted to the area south of the various offices lining the causeway leading into the main wharf. Entry formalities are completed at Denpasar.

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