The Great Southern Route : 2010 - 2011
084 | GSR CAPTAIN'S LOG WESTERN ASIA Being a designated duty free port, Langkawi offers cheap, clean low sulphur diesel, petrol and even A1 jet fuel for today's expanding fleet of helicopter-equipped superyachts. The island has also become famous for its diverse supply of fresh provisions, either from the many local regions, or imported directly through its international airport. Pre-arrival formalities can be easily arranged by John Orr, who will meet you on board upon your arrival, then complete any further paperwork ashore, saving you the hastle of visiting officials and their big rubber soled work shoes. The main island features 5-star hotels, top class restaurants, spas, golf courses and white sandy beaches surrounded by virgin rainforest. As an added bonus, any ship's spares can be sent to Langkawi and will incur zero import duty, saving thousands of dollars over the cruising season. I often visit Langkawi two or three times a season to fuel and provision. At the start of the season, I would generally spend only a week or two in Langkawi to enable a passage north to Phuket, Thailand, in time for a Christmas cruise. Phuket´s main marina is situated on the northeast coast and can accept all but the deepest draft superyachts with secure berthing and three-phase electricity. Two more marinas are being built that will accept deep-draft vessels with 24-hour access. One of the marinas will be able to accommodate a maximum LOA of 100m. Phuket is a great place to spend time; the international airport has hourly flights to Bangkok and it also services the main international destinations in the area such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Perth, Sydney and Tokyo to name a few. The people can be found just northwest of the terminal, allowing a short tender ride from the airport. Following your time in the Maldives, a short 450NM passage to the northeast takes you up to Sri Lanka. This is one of the newest cruising grounds in the region and offers a more land- orientated option than the Maldives and will appeal to the more adventurous superyacht owner. With the yacht based in one of the marine facilities on the south coast, owners and guests can explore the spectacular interior of this unique tropical island. The island's 18 million inhabitants provide Sri Lanka with an intoxicating mix of cultures and diverse ethnic groups. While Sri Lanka is progressive and forward-looking, it is at the same time proud of its traditions and cultural heritage. The centre of the island is home to the hill country, the highest pinnacle of which is mount Pinurulagala at 2523 metres. Kandy, the cultural heart of Sri Lanka is nestled deep in this lush and mountainous region of the country. Kandy is the perfect size to be explored on foot, as the relatively high altitude makes the climate conductive to long and leisurely strolls. The city is visually rich, with narrow streets lined with colourful old buildings and crowded with people. This historic old city is home to the Temple of the Tooth (or Dalada Maligawa) that contains the most sacred relic of Buddhism and the most precious symbol of Sinhalese Pride. It is one of the most holy symbols of the Buddhist faith. Indeed, wars have been fought over it! The highlands are also famous for their extensive tea, coffee and rubber plantations. All of which were introduced by the Dutch and British back in 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. From the highlands down to the coast lay large swathes of forested land; set aside for the preservation of the islands indigenous creatures. These national park areas are home to Asia's largest number of wild elephants, as well as rhinoceros, crocodiles, leopards and tigers. There are three main ports in Sri Lanka; Colombo, Galle and Trincomalee. Colombo and Galle both are man-made, while Trincomalee is one of the world's largest natural harbours. All three have deepwater berths for superyacht use with one, Galle, planning a new superyacht marina in the very near future. From the Seychelles, I have always headed east, around the tip of Sumatra and across Langkawi, Malaysia. This group of 99 islands is the perfect place to re-supply and relax. In the main town of Kuah you will find one of the two large yacht marinas with secure berthing, clean water and three-phase electricity.
2008 - 2009
2013 - 2014