Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

December 13, 2007

Anchorages Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, Sabah.

There are many other anchorages besides ours to choose from. There are also many beautiful sand cays to explore. The fishermen anchor behind some of these.

We were cruising around here in October/November, 2007 and of course, had NE/E winds going there and W/NW coming back! Generally, we had good weather during the day but SW squalls at night – only to around 20knots for short bursts. The offshore anchorages have good NE protection, but not from the SW – not that we found anyway. This is the main reason why we chose to come back along the coast.

Palau Gaya: T. Melohom

Anchorage was in 9m sand. Reef that is marked on the chart close to this has been bombed and is more rubble than anything else. Good protection in SW monsoon and perhaps NE monsoon as there is a substantial reef running out from the nearby point. A new resort was being built on the western side of the bay and there is a small village in the opposite corner.

06 00.696 N 116 03 451 E

Usukan Bay

South of Usukan Bay there are numerous other bays that perhaps are worthy of exploring, some of which appear to be excellent sheltered anchorages. Usukan Bay has a significant harbour for rig tenders picking up workers. Excellent protection in both monsoons.

SW monsoon: 06 22.00 N 116 19.993 E (12m)

NE monsoon: 06 22.884 N 116 20.128 E (11m)

P. Kalambok

Excellent protection in NE Monsoon. Apparently there is a development happening here. We have seen the aerial shots of the brochure and for some reason reality is a little different!! The other side of the small island may provide protection in SW monsoon.

06 59.094N 116 43.184E (9m)

Kudat (pond near haulout)

We experienced good holding. Be aware of plastic bags on bottom though.

06 53.449N 116 51.495E

Although we did not have the time to explore Marudu Bay, one yacht we spoke to said there are many beautiful bays and beaches to find, which are very quiet and remote.

P. Banggi

There are many anchorages around P. Banggi. We chose to anchor around the corner of Karakit town, in 8m of water. This is very well protected anchorage from all directions; quiet and peaceful. The town has a few supplies and some basic restaurants on the pier. Around a reef that is marked by a few sticks is Mitford Harbour, which is an extremely well protected anchorage with a few entrances that are narrow, but clear. We explored this in the dinghy. In the NE monsoon the winds funnel down the harbour. It appeared to us that the reef systems marked on the charts corresponded to what we could see and the electronic charts were quite accurate. We would be happy to go in at night now that we have explored the area.

There is a significant reef to the east of the anchorage with a house in the middle of it.

07 07.6 N 117 05.6 E (8m)

On the way to Sandakan we mostly followed the recommended route between the islands and reefs, which is well buoyed. As we had good weather during the day, good light and visibility, we followed the coast back. We had a good visual on all the reefs and rocks. There is a strong police/military presence in the areas due to smuggling. Often the police boat would come out to identify us and tell us we were ok. We found all our anchorages to be good holding.

P. Tigabu

Good protection from the NE. Exposed to SW. Anchored in 12m sand.

06 52.874 N 117 28.362 E

P. Lankayan (marine park/turtle hatchery). Protection from NW wind.

There is only 1 mooring buoy in front of the jetty. Can anchor away from the reef but it is very deep. We did not explore the other side of the island/reef for any anchorages with SW protection as it all looked very deep. There was no charge for the mooring buoy and it was very substantial. We had no wind when we were there.

The island welcomes yachties. In the Marine Park office there is a good display of marine parks in the area and the officer was keen to chat with us. You are welcome to join in the release of the baby turtles at night.

06 30 29 N 117 54.8 E

P. Gulisaan

There are many anchorages around the ‘Turtle Islands’ to choose from. Baoan (Booan) Island is conspicuous as you approach the Turtle Islands. It is a Philippine island; an extinct mud volcano. The Philippine border runs between P. Bakkungaan Kechil and P. Bakkungaan Besar. Our choice of anchorage was purely in consideration of the night squalls!

06 09 404 N 118 03 303 E (5m mud) It was late when we got in but we did notice a few reefy patches closer in to the main reef.


The anchorage in front of the yacht club is interesting. The yacht club has a pool, cheap beer, wifi and very welcoming. We had a prolonged squall there on our return from the Kinabatangan River, which eventually came from the south east, putting us on a lee shore! We moved across the other side of the bay.

05 50.4 N 118 07.4 E

Kinabatangan River

Sandakan Yacht Club has a CD left by Lifeline with waypoints to get into the southern entrance via the Mamuyon River. As you go in on Lifeline’s track, there is deeper water to your starboard side. This entrance has a wide flat bar. Going in with any swell running would be hazardous. We entered on a 0.5 m tide but we only draw 1.2m. Minimum amount of water under our keel was little over a metre. We found that the electronic charts were not accurate at the river mouth.

We anchored at the small village, on your port side as you enter, just past the police jetty.

05 48.181 N 118 19.576 E

Abai Village

05 41 N 118 23 E

outside Damau Pitas (oxbow lake)

05 40.209 N 118 23 257 E (5m)


Just before the power lines, opposite the cemetery. We could not get underneath. Our mast height above DWL is 16.9m.

Approx 05 30 N 118 17 E

On our way back to Kota Kinabalu:

P. Gullisaan

Anchored on sand, which proved to be good holding in the night SW squalls.

06 08.731 N 118 03.303 E (7.6m)

Near P. Tegapil

Behind reef approx 1.0 nm from shore. The reef provided good protection from the two different wind directions we were experiencing. Anchorage is open to the east. Further north, other yachts found a good anchorage at P. Billean. These two islands are marine parks.

On leaving this anchorage there is a semi marked channel to get through the reef. Good visibility enabled us to see the entire reef. We went close to the reef and drove in and out of some of the reef to see if the electronic charts were accurate. They were!

06 30.078 N 117 40.739 E


This anchorage is between the mainland and a substantial reef in 5m of sand/mud. Very quiet. Although we did not experience NE winds, the reef is high enough to perhaps offer good protection from this direction as well.

06 53.017 N 117 16.145 E

We are now back on our track to Kota Kinabalu. We actually got a bit of a hammering for a few hours north of Usukan Bay and ran back to P. Matanani to see if there was shelter in a SW blow. Forget it!! Far too rolly for us. We pushed on to Usukan Bay which we knew we could easily get into at night. We found a spot in between the rig tenders and fishing boats. We were all huddled in the corner!

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