Nail biting experience through Singapore Strait

Sailing under a road bridge is always a nail biting experience – even when you have been under the same bridge successfully on a previous occasion!

Following Yantara out of Puteri Harbour

We followed Yantara out of Puteri Harbour in Malaysia and under the bridge that leads from Johor Bahru to Singapore and despite knowing full well that both our boats would easily fit under, we still, most definitely, felt extremely nervous. 

Arghhh! Will Yantara fit under the bridge?!

From our position behind Yantara as we were motoring up towards the bridge it looked as if her mast was going to hit the span. With our collective breath held we watched as she passed under the bridge with several metres to spare. 

Under the bridge she goes!
Our turn next – hope that sign is correct!

The first challenge of the day completed successfully we went onto the second test of our nerves – sailing through the Singapore Strait dodging the multitude of cargo ships plying its waters. 

There were plenty of these going through the Singapore Straits!

We wove in and out of anchored boats without too much stress. The moving ships were, for the most part, travelling quickly and efficiently in the shipping lanes while we were out of their way nearer to the coast of Singapore. 

No wonder Yantara turned around for this one!

That was all just fine until we saw Yantara suddenly turn sharply and then keep turning until she had travelled 180 degrees and was heading back towards us. 

We realised that a massive ship had turned out of the shipping lane and was heading into port with Yantara in its path! After a few minutes Yantara was on her way again but minutes later another massive vessel sounded its horn – one big long blast “I’m about to enter the fairway” (or as we interpreted it “Get out of the bl##dy way you little pipsqueak”!

We had to move out of the way for this one!

So like Yantara we turned round and ran the other way until the monstrous ship had steamed by.

A short while later we received a call on our radio from Yantara letting us know that a container ship close to them was in the process of pulling its anchor up. They scooted past but from where we were – a little way behind – we could see the black smoke belching out of its funnel. 

These beasts move so fast and you don’t want to be in their way!


With some trepidation we crept past the ship and were fortunate that the anchors took a long time to be raised so we were well past before the ship was underway. 

Everyone dreads crossing the shipping lane in the Singapore Strait, and we are no exception. There are special crossing points and basically it’s like crossing a busy road – look right, look left, look right again and proceed across when it is safe to do so. 

Fortunately we made the crossing with ease and were soon sailing in Indonesian waters on our way to Nongsa Point Marina on the island of Batam. 

The Singapore skyline

Published by

Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

One thought on “Nail biting experience through Singapore Strait”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s