Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sailing Sorong, Papua, Indonesia

Dive boats in Sorong

Nice government buildings in Indonesia

Wisdom from the bureaucrats of Indonesia:
One man + hand = bad
One man + one woman = good
One man + two women = excellent!

The bureaucrats of Indonesia help you to understand their simple immigration processes. Notice that there is no end to this process.

A strange juxtaposition: fenced-in fuel storage yard, with resident deer herd

Sorong harbor
Population 130,000

Hop on an angkot minibus (Rp 3000) and it will take you about half an hour to traverse the long business center of Sorong.  Several large supermarkets, fuel stations, and endless small hardware and repair shops are strung out along Sorong’s hot and charmless main road.  We found the city’s best feature to be the harbor, chock full of Indonesian boats of every size and description. 
As a major port, Sorong is probably the best bet in Papua for marine repairs- we were able to have our primary anchor straightened here after we bent it on Biak bottom clutter.  Check out the bustling main market for veggies, Sega (1 km south of dingy dock on main road) for best grocery selection, and Mandiri International Store for hardware and limited boat supplies.  Watch the dingies from the live aboard dive boats and land at the small dock ½ mile south of the Port where they tie up.  Next to this dock is a live aboard office whose manager offers help with fuel, repairs, and sells Raja Ampat park entry passes (Rp 500,000).  Passes are also available at the Raja Ampat office in the Hotel Meridian, near the airport.  Sorong is very strict on fuel; no filling of jerry cans at service stations, no fuel dock accessible to larger boats.

Customs in Sorong were unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant.  They interviewed us extensively about our plans in Indonesia, had a conversation with our agent in Jakarta, and at one point they requested that we pay the bond.  Fortunately this request had evaporated by the time we returned to check out.

Anchorage can be found north or west of Sorong.  Most local boats use the better-protected main anchorage in western Sorong harbor.  The main anchorage is deep (~60’+ in mud) with good protection to the south, east, and north, and limited protection from the west by distant islands. 
Anchorage is also possible in about 40’ off the broad shoals that front the town‘s north shore.  The bottom comes up quickly.  Be aware that if you land on the north shore, public transport does not go much further east than the main market.

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