January 31, 2024

Noonsite January Sailing News and Updates


Sailing into the New Year we have a jam-packed newsletter for you this month: reports from cruisers in Sydney, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Namibia, Thailand and more; tips and links for those New to Cruising; a new Survey so we can find out more about you, how you use Noonsite and how we can do better; the Ocean Round-Up outlining all the latest formalities updates and news from around the world; plus we are collaborating with the Cruising Association over the next few issues to bring you a step-by-step guide to navigating the western Iberian peninsula and the infamous "orca alley".

We hope you enjoy this month’s dose of cruising around the world and can find just a little time to give us your Noonsite online experience feedback.

Thank you and fair winds,

Sue and the Noonsite Team

Previous newsletters can be viewed here.


Blueprint for a Successful Sailing Relationship 

Living in a confined space, unable to leave that space for extended periods, can be challenging for even seasoned relationships. In this report, regular INSIGHTS contributor Alison Gieschen discusses why cruising couples should put as much planning into their relationships as they do into their sailing adventures.

How Can Cruisers Protect Themselves?

After being robbed at gunpoint while at anchor in the Las Perlas Islands, Panama, almost 12 months ago, long-term cruiser Michelle Shultz wants to spark conversation about what cruisers can do to protect themselves. The security measures she discusses in her report mirror those adopted by James Ashwell and his crew, who spent two months cruising Papua New Guinea and had a fantastic time because they did their homework and took precautions. Join the conversation.


TELL US: We Want to Hear From You

We cast off with a short survey for the New Year. We want to learn more about you and your cruising, hear how you use Noonsite, how you rate your online experience and what you think we can improve. From the feedback we receive we will be better-placed to plan improvements for Noonsite that will make your user experience more useful and enjoyable.

Whether you have just starting using Noonsite or have been a regular user for some time, we want to hear from you. The survey will take no more than 5 minutes to complete and is anonymous. Thank you for your time and help. 


The Seven Seas Cruising Association has a great line-up of Webinars for the start of the year, with some being complimentary for all sailors. Check out their list here. Experienced circumnavigators SV Totem also offer free practical talks about cruising on the last Sunday of every month, ranging from anchoring tips, to double-handed dynamics to talking about squalls, with replays available for 6+ months. Find out more here.

Brandon, Ashley and their 3 children have spent much of their lives on the water and have been cruising aboard their sailing catamaran, S/V Bagia since 2022. They've traveled 5,000 miles, visited 13 countries and are currently in Colombia with the plan to transit the Panama Canal in March. Frustrated with the lack of information on what tools to carry on board for bluewater cruising, they have shared their blog post detailing the 80+ tools they keep on board.

If you are considering buying a new anchor or changing or replacing your existing one, there are some important issues to consider, as outlined in this latest article from Jimmy Green Marine.

Step-by-step Guide Online Custom Build Tool

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Atlantic Iberian Peninsula

At this time of year many cruisers in northern Europe have warmer destinations on their minds, and getting south – unless you are heading through the French canals - requires a transit around the Iberian peninsula. The stretch of coast between northern Spain and Gibraltar (encompassing the coast of Portugal) has been much talked about in recent years and has earned the nickname "orca alley" because of the number of yachts that have encountered orcas playing with their rudders, and in some instances breaking them.

The Cruising Association [CA] have been collecting data since June 2022 in collaboration with Grupo de Trabajo Orca Atlántica [GTOA], both from skippers that have encountered orcas and those that have had an incident-free (uneventful) passage. This valuable data has enabled a huge library of reports and guidance to be established for yachts, which continues to grow as more passage reports are received. Be sure to use the CA’s free resources to stay informed and report - even if you have an incident-free (uneventful) passage. .

If a passage through “orca alley” is in your plans this year, careful preparation is required to ensure you have knowledge of where the orcas are going to be, how you can protect your boat and crew and what to do in case of an encounter. Over the next few months we will be giving some guidelines, in collaboration with the CA, as to how you can best-prepare for a passage in this area and what you can do to help those following in your wake.

Read Part 1: Passage Planning Tips

Discover, learn, share and help others



Communities across Northern Spain are facing a potential environmental disaster from millions of tiny plastic pellets washing up on their shores, which were spilled by a cargo ship off Portugal in December 2023.

Practical Boat Owner extoll the virtues of year-round salt water swimming with great tips on getting started and how to stay warm. A must-read for those who are determined to swim off the boat 12 months a year.

Sailors for the Sea is an ocean conservation organization that engages, educates and activates the sailing and boating community toward restoring ocean health. Their Green Boating Guide gives lots of great tips on how to help keep the ocean clean while you sail and their KELP program (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) has more than 50, free, downloadable activities that address topics including overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and plastic pollution.


Terry and Elaine McCaroll

Australian cruisers Terry and Elaine have had to stop long-term cruising due to unexpected health issues. Their message is “go now before it’s too late”. They also stress that the people you meet and the places you visit, far outweigh the negatives. Find out more about them in their Portrait of a Cruiser.

A special thanks to our top contributors from 2023, Canadians Brent Crack and Mary Bevan

This pair of double-handers have sailed across the South Pacific on their Lagoon 400 catamaran SV Knot Safety this year, and have sent Noonsite information from all their stopovers (a total of 8 wonderfully descriptive and illustrated reports), and continue to do so. Their latest report is from Sydney, Australia, where they spent New Years Eve.



Limited Places


Experience the Wonders and Diversity of Japan

From South to North

March 29 to June 1, 2024


Enjoy the Beauty, Culture, and History of the Seto Inland Sea

April 28 to May 27, 2024

For more information contact Kirk@konpira-consulting.com

Also, don't miss:

The Ocean Cruising Club

70th Anniversary Event

All cruisers welcome

April 26-28 2024


Relief Mission for Haiti

The current situation in Haiti is unstable, with gang violence paralysing the country. Supplies of fuel, food and water are very limited and cholera is rife. While cruising there should not be attempted at this time, a vessel and crew from the International Rescue Group (IRG) (part of the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Clean Wake Project), has left the east coast of the USA on a relief mission to Haiti.


Sustainability in Namibia

Understanding our relationship with nature and why we need to become more sustainable is one of the most crucial things that our generation is facing nowadays. In Luderitz, Namibia, Giel du Tout, founder of the Seven Seas Ldz Project, is looking to the past to help us into the future. Many of his sustainability projects can also help bluewater sailors and his long-term support of the cruising community means a visit to Luderitz would not be complete without meeting Giel and discovering more about his important work..


Pacific Ocean:

In Galapagos, yachts with pets on board are now banned from coming to the archipelago, except in emergency situations. All four ports of entry are back open as long as arrival at your chosen port is pre-arranged with your agent. They include: Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal); Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz); Baltra (N of Santa Cruz); or Puerto Villamil (Isabela). Galapagos fees on Noonsite have also been updated this month.

Following various prison riots and the escape of gang leaders at the start of January, Ecuador has been under a state of emergency. The U.S. Embassy has now downgraded the security alerts from level 3 (Reconsider travel) to level 2 (Exercise increased caution) for the majority of the country. Gene Tatum of Puerto Amistad Yacht Club, Bahia de Caraquez, has sent a security and entry procedures update for mainland Ecuador.


A new berthing and moorings app was recently launched in New Zealand for quick and easy booking.



The new Japan Yacht Rally is almost full. Organisers Konpira Consulting told Noonsite, “Unlike 2023, it looks like 2024 will see a return to the traditional pattern of most cruisers passing through Japan quickly (10 weeks or so) on their way to Alaska/BC. At this point, we have 10 confirmed clients for this year and another 10 probables (with a last-minute flurry of another 10+ clients likely in the next 2 months). Of the 20, about 15 are heading to Alaska (vs. 2 out of 16 in 2023).

Vuda Marina

Vuda Marina is a unique commercial marina complex, operating as a hub for yachts traveling throughout the South Pacific.

It is conveniently located at Vuda Point, which is situated on the western end of Viti Levu between Nadi International Airport and Lautoka city.

The marina is a great place to be based year-round. Its crossroads location and close proximity to key areas on the mainland and offshore islands is unique in Fiji.

The marina also offers a unique convenience for those wishing to explore the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands (Fiji’s premiere resort locations and beautiful chain of islands), situated just off-shore and within eye view.


South China Sea

The new digital arrival card system in Malaysia has been in place since 1 January for all international arrivals by land, air and sea.

Cruiser Frank Weiand in Thailand warns visiting cruisers about the high National Park fees when cruising around Phuket. He says; “Rangers (and other Island inhabitants) are waiting for your arrival to cash in. A sailing day trip around some Islands and National Parks with a family of 4 people can easily end up with charges of at least 4000 THB (Lawa Yai 300 THB Per Person/ James Bond 400 THB per person / K.Hong 400 THB per person). Just to mention a few. This is approx. US$115.”

Also in Thailand, Danish cruiser Mai Rasmussen reports on the difficulties when clearing into Pattaya. However, once cleared they say; “The nicest island we can recommend is Koh Mak. This is very quiet and a beautiful gem of the Thai Gulf with a really white sandy beach and rich coral. I personally spotted a 4 meter whale shark while snorkeling off the rock at Koh Rang National Park.”

From Indonesia, Douglas McLean reports on Indonesia’s confusing clearance procedures which necessitate hiring an agent familiar with the pitfalls. Douglas was unfortunately boarded at night by thieves in Sorong and robbed, the third boarding since he arrived in Indonesia.

Indian Ocean:

If planning an Indian Ocean passage, bear in mind that Madagascar still requires visiting yachts to have applied for a permit to enter in advance. This can take several weeks to obtain. Jeremy Horne had to divert this month into Nosy Be, Madagascar, en-route to Mayotte from the Seychelles with a technical problem. He reports that permission to enter was denied but he was given a 24-hour stopover to effect repairs and re-fuel. Cruiser Susan Harrison, based in Nosy Be, reports that several boats were successful in obtaining permits last season coming from Tanzania, South Africa, Mayotte, Reunion, and Asia. All followed the procedure as outlined on Noonsite and were welcomed.

The Ocean Sailing Association of South Africa (OSASA) have released some interesting statistics concerning incoming yachts from the Indian Ocean last year: Richards Bay welcomed 133 international arrivals (including 20 yachts in World ARC and 13 with the GLWYO rally); Durban 14; East London 2; Port Elizabeth 6; Mossel Bay 1; and Cape Town 64 (including Ocean Race (5), OGR (14) and Clipper (11)). Twenty eight arrivals were UK yachts, 31 from the USA and Canada, 34 South African (mainly sailing the East Coast to Mozambique, Madagascar, etc.), 44 from Australia and New Zealand and 46 from France. Of the remaining 32, the majority were from Europe (Spain, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland), with 1 from India, 1 from Singapore, 2 from Malaysia, and a couple from Brazil. The majority came from the Indian Ocean via various islands.


Long-distance cruiser Anna Eriksson outlines the complicated checking out process from Cape Town, South Africa, when leaving for foreign shores.


With its strategic position close to the sailing routes between Europe, the Mediterranean, Madeira and the Canary Islands, more and more yachts are taking the time to visit Morocco. Although the coastline and harbors offer limited cruising, the attractions ashore, great food, safe marinas and friendly locals, make a visit to Morocco worthwhile. SV Novara report on having had a great time there and “totally recommend it to other cruisers.” Read more about their time in Tanger, Rabat Bouregreg and Agadir.

Regular Noonsite contributor Alison Gieschen and partner Dan, share information they wish they had known before setting sail for the Canary Islands to prepare for their Atlantic crossing.

Brazil has decided to postpone the new e-visa requirements for US, Canada and Australia nationals until 10 April 2024, after the busy tourist season.

The BRally is a "Sailing in Company" event in Brazil that promotes the inclusion of the Brazilian coast into the Circumnavigator´s route. The organisers report that the number of foreign yachts visiting Brazil went from 15-20 boats in 2022, to over 160 in 2023. BRally starts every year around May, in Ubatuba and goes North. The Amazon portion of BRally starts in November in Soure, Marajó Island. There is no charge to take part. The BRally task force is a group of volunteer local sailors who give free help and advice to foreign yachts that want to visit Brazil and they have a number of WhatsApp groups for sailors to help share information.

In Salvador de Bahia, a popular clearing-in port for yachts coming to Brazil, the Terminal Nautico marina in the city centre is temporarily closed due to bad weather that hit last week and damaged the floating pontoons. Works are expected to start soon. There are other marinas outside the citry centre.

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Caribbean Sea:

There have been several serious security reports from cruisers in the Caribbean these last few weeks, including an early morning rampage of theft, assault and burglary on occupied and unoccupied yachts in St. Martin, a single-hander attacked by pirates off Colombia and unwanted boarders in Saint Lucia. All security reports be read here.

The Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas have introduced a drone permit fee of US$30 for recreational use by visitors. Requests made within 48 hours of arrival will be charged US$50 for expedited processing. To obtain a permit in advance go to https://caabahamas.com/drone-registration/.


When clearing out of Antigua, SY Idril suggest Barbuda. While Codrington, Barbuda, may be a tricky port to anchor and get ashore, the frigate bird nesting area and friendly people make it worth the effort and for a westbound boat, it’s faster than going back to Antigua to clear out.


The recent enforcement of port clearance by St. Martin Port Authority has sparked confusion amongst visiting yachts, who are unaware of the requirement to check -in with both Customs and the Port. Find out the exact entry requirements for St. Martin in this news item.


Henrik Stenbæksgaard reports on cruising Cuba (see comments - speech bubble icon). He reports his clearing in costs in Santiago were $105 per person and only took a couple of hours. To see more of the country they left their boat in Cienfuegos at a very reasonable rate and explored by bus and taxi. He says “Bring food, repair stuff, fishing gear and cash! We enjoyed our stay very much and plan to come back next year, I can only recommend.”


Pressure group Irates of the Caribbean warn that hundreds of dogs suffer from poisoning on Carriacou (Grenada) every year. This is a growing problem, so always keep your dog on the lead when going ashore in Grenada and stay vigilant.

World Cruising Club are holding a Saint Lucia Rendezvous on the 14 April 2024 for all those who have taken part in a World Cruising Club rally, as well as potential ralliers and local cruisers. Welcome home the World ARC 2023-24 fleet and join fellow sailors for a social Sunday in Saint Lucia (plus there's 50% discount on berthing at IGY Rodney Bay Marina Friday-Sunday). Register here.


With monthly Transatlantic trips in between Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the United States, and the Caribbean, Sevenstar Yacht Transport makes it super easy for yacht owners to explore the world’s most captivating destinations.

Explore our upcoming sailing schedules.

You can rely on our high safety standards and the most experienced team to handle your yacht with the utmost care. Please contact Sevenstar for information or to request a quote.

See Sailing Schedules


There have been announcements indicating potential alterations in regulations concerning the entry of foreign vessels into Croatia and the issuance of vignettes (now called the Navigation Fee). These changes might be implemented by the summer of 2024, report Mandinus yacht agency.

The French authorities have said no to the proposed automatic visa/visa waiver to UK subjects who own ‘secondary residences’ in France. The CA had actively lobbied for this bill to embrace the cruising community too, which would have enabled stays in France for longer than 90 days without the need for a visa.

Red Sea

Port Clearance fees in Egypt are fluctuating yet again with Port Said seeing a huge increase this month from US$265 to US$900 plus. This means much higher costs for southbound yachts who have to clear in at Port Said for their Suez Canal transit.

The escalating situation in the southern Red Sea is of great concern to cruising yachts planning to use that route to head either to or from the Indian Ocean. We ask the moderator of the Red Sea Passage Facebook Group, a community for yachts transiting the Red Sea, what most yachts intending to transit are now doing.


Brazil: Interesting, Exotic and a

‘Feel Good’ Sailing Adventure

Sailing in Brazilian waters requires more planning and preparation than in some other sailing areas. Currents, distances between anchorages and an almost non-existent sailing infrastructure may be daunting for some, but for Austrian sailors Gerlinde and Josef Nöst it provided for some wonderful experiences and memories.



Curiosity as our Compass

Around the world in eight years

By Wietze van der Laan and Janneke Kuysters

This book is a contemporary adventure tale about two people with a relentless urge to explore outward. Dutch couple Wietze van der Laan and Janneke Kuysters succeeded in trading their stressful occupations for eight years of sailing around the world via the three great capes.

Cruising along unfamiliar coasts and backpacking to ancient cities, their 60,000 mile journey takes them to the deep south and the far north. Off the beaten track they explore Patagonia, Easter Island, Hawaii, Alaska, and Australia.

For those wanting to explore as much of the planet’s coastline as they can, or even if you are only considering cruising one of the regions that Wietze and Janneke ventured to on their global voyage, this book is a very enjoyabe and informative read.

How to get more out of Noonsite

While the majority of Noonsite continues to be a free resource, there are some ways you can get more enhanced viewing and more involved with the site:

Become a Member:

Starting from just $2.99/month you can benefit from enhanced access to key areas of Noonsite via our membership program. Your subscription will help keep the site on the web as part of a growing community of supporters. Our free membership is available to all but does come with a ‘fair use’ policy limiting access to country formalities each month. Enjoy unlimited access to all country formalities via our Basic Membership for just $2.99 a month, which also gives you the Noonsite community map, where you can view at a glance marine services worldwide, ports of entry and post your favorite anchorages. Noonsite's Premium Membership gives offline access to port and country formalities information to use when on passage. 

E-mail us with updates and reports:

Send us your detailed cruising reports and experiences around the world to publish on Noonsite and share with the community. Help us keep Noonsite accurate by feeding back any port updates or experiences of first-arrival in a new country. Any cruising-related questions are welcome, contact the noonsite team directly at noonsite@noonsite.com

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Join our nearly 3000 followers for notification of site updates, new cruising reports and news and other cruising-related tweets we find of interest.

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