Short boating guide to Kudat

We were not intending to stop there, but we were low on fuel and were going head on into strange currents so much that we may will not have enough to head up to El Nido where we hoped to fuel up. Before leaving SG, we read and printed MV Solito’s account of their Palawan cruise, and read that they checked into Malaysia at Kudat. Seems easy and it was just 120nm SE from where we were… much easier than 250nm NE to El Nido.

Sketchy map of Kudat. Did this on my iP4d.

Sketchy map of Kudat. Did this on my iP4d.

Well, we didn’t know that Balabac strait was always choppy and it was rough. Not much wind, just waves from 3 directions. It was same going in as was going out. A few hours of inconvenience, but we were happy that Kudat turned out ok… not really, we picked up a reinforced plastic bag on our prop and had so much difficulty with it for the rest of our trip. Now a rather expensive repair too.

We got what we needed though, 300l of diesel and some water. Some dinner, some fresh food, some internet. Put up a sketchy map of Kudat town here.

We arrive just before sunset and anchored off the seawall near to the PETRONAS station. After 10 days at sea, I was eager to go ashore and get immigration checkin and dinner! For going ashore, we took out the 3 piece kayak from the quarter berth and assembled it on our foredeck.

Calliste is at the fuel station, note not fuel dock.

Calliste is at the fuel station, note not fuel dock.

1830hrs, still a bit of daylight left. Lang paddled over to say hi to MV Tonka, a cruising neighbour sharing the same anchorage. They warned me about the difficulty getting ashore at low tide, which happens to be right then when I was really looking forward to a nice shore side take out dinner. I absolutely have to try climbing up the pier… so I paddled to the fish farms rafting area and watched the locals. They developed a system of floating rafts with overhead ropes to pull themselves to/fro the pier to their farms, and they climb from the rafts onto the pier… maybe I can try that…

1900hrs, Lang has a plan. Asked the guy on the raft if I could tie up kayak to the pier and use the raft… sure its ok, but its nicer to ask. Getting on the raft makes all the difference for being able to climb the pier or not. Raft is riding higher and alot more stable than the kayak…. so I was able to get up on the pier afterall! YES! Next stop, walk over to the Petronas to ask about getting fuel, they are ready to sell me 320l diesel as soon as I bring my jugs over…. 16 jugs of 20l each, how are we going to manage that transfer tho? On our kayak, climbing up and down that pier? That would be such a nightmare… have to sleep on that… Got a take out Satay dinner from the hawker right there on the waterfront, would like to have a Chinese stir fry dinner too, but they were too busy and I was not willing to wait… Climbing back down to raft, then kayak and back to Calliste. Satay and rice was great! We both enjoyed!

Calliste at Kudat, pointing to the floating fish farm and restaurant.

Calliste at Kudat, pointing to the floating fish farm and restaurant.

Next morning, Doug observed some local skiffs motoring right up to the rock wall by Petronas, tied up to the rocks, got fuel in jugs and supplies. 0700hrs, I paddled up to one of the boats and worked out something with a nice family. 1 of the girls understood some English enuf to get by. So we had 3 men from the family to haul our fuel and water jugs to us in their skiff. I dunno whats the going rate for such services, but I was happy to have fuel and gladly gave each one RM50… I believe they were very happy with the 1 hrs work.

Later in the day, I walk further into town. I did get to top up my Hotlink SIM card at the shop outside Millenia supermarket. And got fresh fruits and eggs, rest of stuff were horrible looking. And then a take out KFC dinner for us underway.

Only spend 24hrs at Kudat and left. We didn’t need anything else more than to get going again.


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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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