PN51 Philippines to Singapore PN52 Philippines to Hong Kong PN53 Philippines to Japan PN54 Philippines to Guam PN55 Philippines to Palau
Rumours of piracy in the notorious Sulu Sea, difficulties with the officials, and the threat of typhoons have all combined to keep most cruising boats away from this beautiful and interesting country. As in other parts of the world, some of these points may have been exaggerated and reports from cruising boats which have visited the Philippines recently paint a brighter picture.
Over 7,000 islands make up this large archipel-
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ago and with so many islands over such a large area it is obvious that local weather conditions will vary considerably. The prevailing winds blowing over the islands are influenced mainly by the monsoons of the China Sea, the Philippines forming a border between this sea and the Pacific Ocean. The NE monsoon blows from mid-October until mid-May and this is regarded as the fine season, with dry and clear weather.
The SW monsoon only becomes well established from July and lasts until October. During the latter part of this period the weather becomes squally with violent gales, which can last for several days. These gales usually begin from the N or NW and back to SW or S, blowing strongly with heavy rain. September to November are the worst months for this kind of weather. This is also the
Because of the low incidence of tropical storms in the areas traversed by this route, southbound passages can be made at any time of the year, although more favourable sailing conditions occur during the months in which the NE monsoon is well established. During summer and the SW monsoon, typhoons occasionally pass through the Philippines and therefore offshore passages are best avoided, particularly during the peak months of August and September. As these are also the months when the SW monsoon is blowing at its strongest, passages should indeed be left for another time.
After leaving the Sulu Sea through Balabac Strait, from WP PN511,12 miles south of Melville Island, the route runs parallel to the north coast of Borneo to WP PN512, south of Luconia Shoals. From there, Singapore can be reached either through Api Passage, close to the NW extremity of Borneo, or by an offshore route that goes through the pass separating Subi Kechil Island and the Natuna Islands. To take the offshore route (PN51A), from WP
period during which typhoons strike these waters. These storms usually originate to the SE of the islands and move across them into the China Sea, some reaching the China coast, while others curve up towards Japan. The Philippines have one of the highest incidence of typhoons and although the main season is from June to October they can occur at any time between May and'December.
PN512 a course is set for WP PN513 before altering course for WP PN514 to negotiate the Strait of Singapore through the Middle Channel.
The more southern route (PN51B) splits from WP PN512 in a SW direction and passes through Api Passage to WP PN515. From there a course is set for WP PN514 and the Strait of Singapore passing south of a group of small islands, the closest of which is Pulau Kajuara. Boats arriving in Singapore from the east may find it easier to go to the anchorage off the Changi Yacht Club, NE of Singapore Island, and complete entry formalities from there. The alternative is the new Raffles Marina (1 °20.53'N, 103 °38.22'E), on the west coast of Singapore Island.
Few boats sail this route without stopping in one of the three small states in North Borneo, all of which have excellent harbours, Kota Kinabalu (5°59'N, 116°03'E) in Sabah, Muara in Brunei (5 °02'N, 115 °04'E), and Kuching in Sarawak (1 °34'N, 110°21'E). A stop in any of these ports is particularly
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