From Kaohsiung to Puerto Galera From Kaohsiung to Puerto Galera « The Joys and Sorrows Of a Life At Sea

From Kaohsiung to Puerto Galera

We left Kaohsing at 9am. We have announced our departure for 8am, but who would’ve expected that the water hoses we used to leave on the dock would be so unbelievably dirty. Partially UV rays working on the plastic, partially the ever-present dirt of Kaohsiung. It took almost a pint of acetone to clean.
Just before eight o’clock Kevin arrived. I have greeted him in my swim trunks, because I was just about to dive to check our propeller and the state of our rudder. There’s a little play around the bottom hinge, nothing serious, but something we need to take care of when we haul out in the Philippines. I scraped only couple of tube worms from the prop, otherwise everything was quite clean, since Jana scraped the whole boat few days ago.
Just when I climbed out of water, the immigration officers arrived to stamp us out of the country. I wrapped a towel around my waist and stretched my hand to great them. There were three of them, two guys, who whole-heartedly shook my head, and one lady, who kept her distance from this water dripping man.

Right before the immigration, our dear friend Mr. Ou appeared with a bag full of gifts. He embraced us dearly and reciprocated the feelings. We spend quite some time together and became quite close.
We were ready to leave, but then we recollected we wanted to buy some ice for the first two days… Then our Czech friend Tomas called that he’s ready at the breakwater to take our pictures. Poor guy! I borrowed Kevin’s bike and paddled quickly for some ice. Then a quick stop at the Cickle K (in Taiwan it’s called OK) store to spend our last 100 Taiwanese dollars on soda. Deniz from the Kaohsiung Yachtclub just showed up and was kind enough to take few pictures of us leaving the dock. Looks like our departure from Taiwan will be well documented.
Engine started, lines cast off, even the traffic control gave us a green to leave the harbour, no standby, no nothing. Just stay clear of incoming vessel. Sure we will, it’s a bulk tanker.
Jana pushed the throttle to 1600 recs, the ferries to Qijin were nowhere in sight, as if we had the whole port to ourselves.
Once we turned around the rock next to the coast guard station, Kevin appeared and we began waving. Then we hoisted the mainsail so that Tomas gets a bit more exciting pictures. We passed the breakwater, waves our last goodbyes to Tomas and started to prepare the boat for sea. Our phones beeped constantly as our three friends Deniz, Tomas and Kevin posted and shared the photos they took.
Jana at the helm, I was coiling lines, tying fenders on the dighy and checking that everything is ready for few days at sea. Jana then took a phone and called said the last goodbyes to friends we couldn’t meet, and most importantly her professor Fan Minru. Then we lost the signal. The shore began to recede into the mist.
We were motoring to get as far from shore as possible, there was not much wind anyway. We blasted through the ship anchorage and watched the grey skies around us. Naturally we were a little annoyed by the prospect of rain. In fact, when we got up that morning it was drizzling. I complained to Kevin about that, who took a breath as if he wanted to say something, but then he suddenly exhaled and waved his hand:
“No, I can’t say that. One shouldn’t say things like that.”
“You mean that Taiwan is weeping that we are leaving,” I said with a smile.
Kevin smiled back.
“Yes,” he said.

The sea was calm, so we were able to motor at about 6 knots. We hoisted the genoa to get a bit more speed. Kaohsiung gradually disappeared in the mist.
I climbed down to the navigation table and started preparing our notebook for navigation. Few minutes later, Jana called that she will shift to neutral, so I shouldn’t be alarmed. After few more minutes, she turned the engine off entirely. We continued to glide across the water at about 5 knots. Could we ask for more? Actually we could, but the nature provided everything. Few drops of rains fell on us, but then the clouds scattered, and the sun started to scorch the earth and the sea and us. We stretched the square awning from the boomgallows to the solar panel arch and lounged in a shade, breeze cooling down the heat that surrounded us.
We had a bowl of tomato soup that Jana made in the morning and which was stored in our pressure cooker. She grated the rest of the cheese we had left and we finished it with a cold beer. Was anything missing that evening? We couldn’t think of anything.
The whole day our speed was constantly around five knots, the sea was calm, very little traffic. We were heading SSW and aiming for longitude 118* 30′, where the winds were supposed to be more constant.

Last night was quite uneventful. The wind it light, but we were still able to maintain more or less 3kn. The sun was strong from the early morning. We underestimated it’s power and got burned a little.
During the day the wind was really light and the speed dropped to 2kn. In the after noon the wind dropped completely, but we were still moving at about 1kn. We must have been making way through the water, because the helm was responding, even though slowly. The rest of a push from a current. We discussed the situation for a while and with a sigh we started the engine. We were in no hurry, but it would be nice to make a good time, so that our parents are not too worried. This is a first longer voyage after quite a long time of sitting in port. Jana came up with this argument for starting the engine, and I agreed. If we kept drift-sailing for another week, it would certainly raise a panic. We realized that we might’ve bought the SPOT messenger instead of GoPro. It would allow us to send short messages that we are OK and what we are up to. But for next couple of months we won’t make a passage longer than few days and will be in the reach of mobile signal.

It was almost dark when a tiny swallow started inspect our boat and then decided to fly right into the cabin and sit on the kerosene lamp. I pushed her out and she found surely much more comfortable spot on the lifelines and then we saw her fly around for some more and disappear. We thought she might be hiding somewhere and we didn’t want to step on her in the night, but she was nowhere to be found.
It was dinner time and since we didn’t catch any fish, Jana made a tomato risotto in the pressure cooker. As soon as the meal was ready the engine died. Little annoyed we opened the engine room knowing by the sound of the engine that the reason is probably air leak into the fuel lines. We suspected an o-ring of the fuel prefilter, because we could see few tiny bubbles around it. We reassembled it and it’s been working fine up until now.
Jana was sleeping when the engine died again, which woke her up. I send her back to bed and started the engine again. It coughed a little, but begun running just fine. The wind picked up, so I hoisted hank-on genoa for light winds. If the engine dies again, we will continue under sail and have a look at the air leak in the morning. We have a replacement for the prefilter housing if the problem is the o-rings.
We are roughly in the middle of the Bashi Channel.

The engine died a while ago. I connected the Cape Horn windvane. Who would want to mess with diesel on such a beautiful night. Fortunately, the wind has picked up again and we are sailing 2.6-3kn. That’s below our average speed, but good enough to get to Puerto Galera in 7-8 days.

The night was terrible. We were moving slowly in the beginning under mainsail and light wind genoa, but the monsoon started to blow north of Taiwan and it kicked up an annoying swell, which constantly kicked the wind out of our sails. Around midnight we had to take down the mainsail, be cause the noise and strain on the rigging was just unbearable. Later the genoa came down too. Finally we had chance to taste the pleasures of the mariners of the old. Being becalmed, no engine (or dysfunctional one), you can do nothing but wait. We continued keeping a watch and listen to the sounds of our screeching little boat. The off-watch slept surprisingly well, even though the boat was tossed around quite violently.
I woke up early in the morning and found out that Jana already hoisted hank-on genoa. We were steering by hand, because windvane couldn’t cope with the swell in this light wind or maybe we haven’t found the trick how to make him to stray on course. Soon we were able to hoist the mainsail. We were making way, but westward, which was little out of the way, so we took down the main and unrolled the heavy genoa and sailed wing-on-wing due south. The wing was gradually picking up and it was turning east, which meant that we could reach down under our heavy furling genoa and the mainsail.
It was obvious that the North-East monsoon that was blowing already for two days at north Taiwan finally reached us. The GRIB forecast that we had from Kaohsiung suggested that it should became even stronger and hold for about two days…
Jana: And what became of the swallow? When we chased her out of the cabin, we thought that she flew away, but it turns out she was hiding underneath the dinghy. In the morning it flew out and sat on the tip of the tiller right next to my head. I tried to wake Petr up and have him take a picture, but he was sleeping too well. We looked at each other, the swallow and I, for about five minutes and then she spread her winds and flew away for good. I felt that she came by to say goodby and thanks for the lodgings…

2 comments to From Kaohsiung to Puerto Galera

  • Amy

    C’mon guys, I want to hear about 40kt winds crossing the Bashi Channel! But hey, congratulations for leaving Kaosiung!

    • Petr

      Sorry, no 40kn winds. We know when to go, not like you 😉 One day it might have been around 30kn and 4m waves, the surfing was exciting. Next time you should come with us! :)

Leave a Reply to Petr Cancel reply