Interview with Captain Andy Scott

by Captain Su -

Interview with Captain Andy Scott – Author: Cruising Guide to Indonesia

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry,smell the sea, and feel the sky let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”Van Morrison

For a young man, Captain Andy Scott has done a lot with his life so far. From studying philosophy at San Diego State University, earning a US Coast Guard 100 Ton License, to Skippering a yacht that has sailed all over the world; cruising, diving, surfing, exploring along the way and more recently acclaimed author and not to be ignored, an avid Van Morrison fan.

Having uploaded recently an article about the 2nd edition of his book, “Cruising Guide to Indonesia:A Pilots Guide to Indonesian Waters” I thought it would be a good idea to talk to the author himself.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I am a United States Coast Guard licensed 100 Ton Master of sail, steam and power.

How long have you been living in Bali/Indonesia?

I first came to Bali in 1997 on an around the world ticket and just fell in love with the place.  The people, the culture, the smiles and just the general simplicity of life.  I went looking for other amazing places out there, sailed across the South Pacific stopping at all these wonderful little islands with an intent to find another Bali but nowhere felt just right and when I next stepped foot in Bali in 2004 I already knew I was home.

Why did you write a book about cruising in Indonesia?

I never intended to write a book.  I was working on a private yacht and just taking notes for myself and logging waypoints for the safety of the ship.  Nautical charts and Electronic C-maps in Indonesia can be very inaccurate with large chart offsets through much of the country and we would frequently find our expensive state of the art charts showing us anchored half way up a mountain.  Whole reefs, rocks, and islands are occasionally completely missing from the charts. Obviously these are huge navigational hazards and curiously I would jot them down. After a couple of years I realized I had written a book. Most countries already have a Cruising Guide and with Indonesia lacking, I just filled the void.

Does the Indonesian government want more overseas yachts to visit here?

Absolutely.  Arief Yahya the Minister of Tourism set a target of attracting 4,000 yacht arrivals in 2018; and 5,000 in 2019.€

What are they doing to encourage more yachts to visit and spend some time here?

The Government is pushing hard for development in the marine sectorand as the largest island nation in the world to say the potential for growth is huge is an understatement.  New marinas are being funded and regulations for visiting yachts are changing for the better.  The new online registration system is a major step in the right direction.

I would like to add though; the success of this new campaign depends largely on the implementation of regulations at ground level.  It is one thing to hand down new government regulations from Jakarta but quite a different thing to enforce these regulations throughout such a large country.  Indonesia calls this ‘Sosialisasi.’  Basically the problem lies in the sheer size of Indonesia.  The people want Regional Autonomy.  If individual harbormasterscontinue to make their own local bylaws then really nothing has changed.

Do you think it will be enough to attract more yachtsmen? 

If there is a simplification of regulations and permits and a consistency in enforcing these regulations throughout the country then Yes! Once word gets out that Indonesia is welcoming, the people will come.

As a sailor what else do you think the government needs to do? The Java chapter of your book suggests there is little in the way of yachting infrastructure in the form of marinas (but maybe serious sailors prefer to avoid those sorts of things anyway…) 

I would of course like to have marinas and boat supply chandleries and workshops across the archipelago.  We need these types of businesses as places of rest and repair.  Indonesia is a maritime nation and there are generations of skilled craftsmen and boat builders in all the old ports around the country just waiting to fill these positions. It is not as easy as just building marinas and sailors will come.  I think it is more of a ‘welcome them and they will come.’  When this begins and more and more yachts arrive each year growth in the service industry will come organically.

What are the biggest risks to sailing in Indonesia? Bureaucracy?Weather?Currents?

Most sailors visiting Indonesia report nothing other than the time of their lives.  Bureaucracy can be difficult no matter where one travels and should be expected. Indonesia is lucky to sit right on top of the equator andmost of the country is bright and sunny with predictable trade winds, calm waters and pleasant weatherthroughout.  Currents can be strong in some straits but they are also predictable. The Indonesia-Through-Flow for example, pusheswarm Pacific Ocean water through Indonesia and on out in to the Indian Ocean, and some straits and channels experience currents of up to 12 knots.But this same current and its clean, clear Pacific water brings nutrients to the coral reefs and is a major part of why Indonesia is so beautiful.

I have sailed both foreign flagged vessels and Indonesia flagged vessels through Indonesia and I can tell you the biggest risk is that you might fall in love with the place and never leave, as I did.


More Info

Cruising Guide     :

Into the Mystic” : song from the album Moondance by Van Morrison


Written by: Captain Su