Lighthouses of Indonesia: Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra

Indonesia has been independent since 1945 after having been the Dutch East Indies for more than 350 years. It is a huge country, stretching along both sides of the Equator for more than 46 degrees of longitude (roughly 5100 km or 3200 miles). Comprised of some 17,000 islands (more than 6000 inhabited islands), it has hundreds of major aids to navigation.

Sumatra (or, as Indonesians prefer, Sumatera) is the world's sixth largest island and the westernmost of the major islands of Indonesia. It is separated from Malaysia to the north by the Malacca Strait, from Borneo to the northeast by the broad Karimata Strait, and from Java to the southeast by the Sunda Strait. Its south coast faces the open Indian Ocean.

The Mentawai Islands are a chain of islands lying about 150 km (90 mi) off the coast of West Sumatra province and included in that province. Lightly populated, the islands are best known to surfers. From south to north the four major islands are South Pagai, North Pagai, Sipura, and Siberut.

The Indonesian word for a lighthouse is mercusuar or (in two words) mercu suar. The phrase menara suar, which includes the Arabic word menara, is sometimes used instead. Tanjung and ujung are words for capes, bukit is a hill, pulau is an island, selat is a strait, karang is a reef, sungai is a river or estuary, teluk is a bay or harbor, and pelabuhan is a port.

Aids to navigation in Indonesia are operated and maintained by the Directorate General of Marine Navigation (Direktorat Jenderal Navigasi Laut).

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volumes F and Q of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Indonesian Lighthouses
Historic postcard views from the collection of Michel Forand.
Lighthouses in Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia; most of the photos are historic.
World of Lighthouses - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Indonesia
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Navionics Charts
Navigation chart for the islands.

Pelabuhan Tua Pejat Light, Tua Pejat, Pulau Sipura, June 2012
ex-Google Plus photo by Kawi Boedisetio
Pulau Pagai Selatan (South Pagai) Lighthouses
Pulau Simonga (Simongguk)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 8 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Coast guard station with half a dozen buildings. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Located on a small island off the southeastern end of the Mentawai archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.75; NGA 23116.
Pulau Singisingi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) square white skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. NGA misspells the name as Sangingi. Located on a reef off the southeast coast of Pulau Pagai Selatan (South Pagai), the southernmost of the Mentawai islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.7; NGA 23124.
Tanjung Bio
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 4 s. 21 m (69 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located just offshore near the southern tip of South Pagai. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.65; NGA 23115.
Pulau Sibarubaru
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 45 m (148 ft); white light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the southwestern tip of South Pagai. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.62.
Pulau Silau (Solawi)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 3.5 s off. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view that probably shows the lighthouse. Located on a small, uninhabited island off the northwest coast of South Pagai. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883.6; NGA 23120.

Pulau Pagai Utara (North Pagai) Lighthouses
Selat Sikakap (Sikakap Strait)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) square white skeletal tower with gallery. Ervina P. Hasibuan has a very distant view and Google has a satellite view. NGA lists the tower height as 20 ft; 20 m seems appropriate based to the satellite view. Located on an island in the eastern entrance to the Sikikap Strait between the islands of South and North Pagai, marking the entrance to the town of Sikikap. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0883; NGA 23132.
Sikakap
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. The light is near the left edge of Ervina P. Hasibuan's photo of the harbor and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located off the waterfront of Sikakap. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0883.4; NGA 23134.
Pulau Pinangpinang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) white concrete post with gallery mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located just offshore at the northern tip of North Pagai. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0879; NGA 23135.5.
Pasapuat
2017. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s.12 m (39 ft) white barbell-shaped fiberglass tower on a platform supported by piles. The light is at the right edge of a photo by Furwan Agus and Google has a satellite view. Located off the north side of the pier at Pasapuat, a small port on the northeast coast of North Pagai. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0880.05.

Pulau Sipura Lighthouses
Bukit Sioban
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white fiberglass tower. No photo available and the light is barely visible in Bing's satellite view. Located on a forested headland on the north side of the entrance to Sioban Bay on the east side of Pulau Sipura. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0878; NGA 23137.
* Sioban (Pulau Sipura)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A view from the water is at right, N. Nofi Sastera has another view from the harbor, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Pulau Sipura. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0878.1; NGA 23136.
Tanjung Kinapat (Batukinapat, Kinapet)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The light guides vessels in the Sipura Strait, the passage between Sipura and Pagai Utara (North Pagai). Located on the southern tip of Pulau Sipura. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0878.5; NGA 23135.7.

Sunset at Sioban Light, Pulau Sipura, January 2005
photo copyright bobbymbot; permission requested
Pulau Siburu
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located off the east end of Pulau Siburu, an uninhabited island off the northern tip of Pulau Sipura. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0877.8; NGA 23138.
 
Tua Pejat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 5 s.12 m (39 ft) green barbell-shaped fiberglass tower on a platform supported by piles. Richard Hardiman Pardede has a 2020 photo, Eddi Novra has a closeup (also seen at right) and a photo of the light in action, a distant drone view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the approach to Tua Pejat, the capital of Mentawai Islands Regency, at northern end of Pulau Sipura. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0877.85 or Q0877.9. (The Admiralty's listed locations for Q0877.85 and Q0877.9 differ by less than 25 m, so it's possible one of the listings is incorrect and should refer to the next light.)
* Pelabuhan Tua Pejat
Date unknown (recent). Active; focal plane about 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s (?). Approx. 21 m (62 ft) tapered square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Kawi Boedisetio's photo is at the top of this page and a closeup and a view from the sea are available but the tower is difficult to see in Google's satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Tua Pejat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0877.9 (?).

Pulau Siberut Lighthouses
Pulau Ngiau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. Skeletal tower, height unknown, painted white. No photo available and the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view of the island. Located on a small island off the southern end of Pulau Siberut. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0877.6; NGA 23153.8.
Tanjung Sakaladat
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) white beacon, probably a skeletal tower. No photo available and the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. Located on a headland on the northwestern coast of Pulau Siberut. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0876.2; NGA 23153.5.
Tanjung Sigep
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. Three coast guard station buildings. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view of the station. Located at the northern tip of Pulau Siberut, the largest of the Mentawai Islands. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0875.7; NGA 23153.

Tua Pejat Light, Tua Pejat, May 2016
Google Maps photo by Kawi Boedisetio
Tabekat Bay (Pelabuhan Sikalabuan, Tanjung Limo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square white skeletal tower with gallery. Alfonsus Widhi has a 2018 photo and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Sikabaluan, a village about 25 km (15 mi) south of Tanjung Sigep on the east coast of Pulau Siberut. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0875.8 NGA 23152.5.
Ujung Sikabaluan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 7 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square white skeletal tower. No photo available and the lighthouse has not been found in Google's satellite view. The light may well be offshore. Located at or just off a low promontory about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Sikalabuan harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0876; NGA 23152.
Simalepet
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) white fiberglass (?) tower on a platform supported by piles. No photo available but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located off the entrance to Simalepet, a small port about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Muara Siberut. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty Q0876.5 NGA 23151.
Muara Siberut
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white flash every 7 s. 12 m (39 ft) square white skeletal tower. No photo available and the tower is not conspicuous in Google's satellite view of the station. Located at a coast guard station at Muara Siberut, on the southeast coast of the island.Site status unknown. Admiralty Q0877; NGA 23150.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Southwestern Sumatra

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted April 13, 2006. Checked and revised February 10, 2021. Lighthouses: 22. Site copyright 2021 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.