At Anchor in Puerto Princesa

Once again we’ve found ourselves settled in the comforts of the routine life at anchor. After breakfast in the cockpit, we usually sit down to our computers and in the afternoon, when we just can’t take it any longer, or more precisely when our behinds already hurt so much that we can’t sit any longer, we go for a ride on our folding bicycles, which we keep conveniently parked in the yacht club (which also gives a chance to enjoy the abundance of space in our V-berth!) Mostly we buy some provisions on the way to stock up on some of our favorite local goodies before we leave Philippines and from time to time we stop in the club before heading back to the boat to have a chat with some of the local regulars. Most of them are from Australia, though there is Klaus and his wife from Sweden, who live on a beautiful yellow trimaran.

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Puerto Princesa Four Years Later

Our days in the lovely Bacuit Bay and the anchorage off Corong-Corong are over. We’ve spent there almost two weeks, half of it translating, i.e. working, and half exploring. When the wind was fluky we were hitting the keyboards and with the first sign of a breeze, we pulled the plug, stashed our awning and set sail.
But the time has come and we had to move. We’ve got this condition, you know. A travel bug. Quite contagious. We are turning literally in front of our eyes into nomads, pure and passionate gypsies.

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Coron and Beyond

Busuanga was nice. We’ve spent two nights in Coron and had to make decision where to head next. The typhoon season is upon us and we wanted to spend some quality time daysailing, anchoring each night, and swimming and writing. Most of our goals were on Palawan proper, but we decided that we have to see at least the Kagayan lake on the Coron Island before we leave. We were ready to heave the anchor when Jana said, why don’t we sail there on our dinghy instead. The anchorage there was supposed to be deep and very narrow, we don’t want mess around places like that with our boat. We rigged the dinghy and sailed in a stiff breeze (stiff for the small dighy) two miles across the bay between Busuanga and Coron Islands. We made quite an entrance and soon dipped ourselves in Kagayan lake.

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Palawan Here We Come

We’ve made it to one of the most beautiful places on the face of the Earth. At least that’s what people that have been places told us. As for ourselves, we were little worried about this description. We are just at the beginning of our cruising lives. Do we really want to see the best right at the start? Won’t we be disappointed with the rest?

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A Week in Puerto Galera

We’ve been here for more than a week now, in one of the most beautiful bays in the world, and we’ve spent most of that time staring into our laptops. Some of the local guys make fun of us that we come to such a beautiful place and instead of admiring the wonderful local flora and fauna, we spend the whole day on our boat playing with a computer. On the other hand, we have the privilege to do the work that feeds us at such a gorgeous place.
Naturally we want to get out and explore, but we are also excited to announce that we have finished the translation of the second novel by the Taiwanese author Li Ang, the famous Butcher’s wife. This novel has been translated into many languages, but the Czech translation was still missing. Now it’s ready and will be published by IFP Publishing this autumn.
Now we can finally take few days off, well, we are going to take few weeks.

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Water And Washing

When we arrived to Puerto Galera, we visited the yacht club and then went straight to town. The flyer we’ve picked up at the tourist centre, described the town as “first class municipality”. It must be local demographic technical term, because that handful of streets hemmed by souvenir shops and bars full of fat old foreigners sipping on rum with water, the wet market hidden in poorly lit dirty yellow ground floor, reeking of raw meat, blood and fish, somehow does not fit the description “first class”.

Puerto Galera is first of all a touristy town. On the east side you will find a fishing village, but other than that you will mostly see tricycles, whose drivers constantly shout “White Beach” and “Sabang”, which are the names of the most famous local attractions.

But people come here for first class diving. Our mission wasn’t tourism, but a hunt for some fresh veggies and fruit.

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Farewell Subic Bay

We’ve been here in Puerto Galera for a week, mostly working on finalizing the translation of the taiwanese novel Butcher’s wife by Li Ang. This is done and we have time to recount our last days in Subic Bay and the passage from there.
The third day in Subic we unpacked our bicycles and went on a supply trip to Olongapo. We tried to recognize the streets and corners we’ve seen the previous day from a window of a taxi driven by the good man Elmo. Soon we got lost in the unwieldy streets of Olongapo, but thanks to modern technology and google maps we’ve soon found the market and laundry we were looking for.
I waited buy the bikes, because we forgot to bring locks (well we had the locks, but not the key, so…), and Jana dived into the market. From time to time she emerged, hands full of plastic bags with veggies and chirped about how cheap everything is, almost the same as in Taiwan, and how lovely all the ladies at the stalls are.

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Visitors

Once again we’ve left our sanctuary at Xingda fishing harbour and returned to Kaohsiung. Main reason being that Jana was asked to share few of her delicious “instant meals” with few friends.

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At the beginning of last week, still in our oasis of quiet, we finished the last version of the translation of Li Ang’s novel “Magic Garden”, put it aside for a week to read it one last time before we send it to the publisher and submit it to a scrutiny of a proof-reader. Have you ever noticed that every time you read what you wrote, there’s always an error to be found? We’ll soon know how many we’ve left behind.

Anyway, we felt good about the work done, and the rest of the week just flew by. We cleaned the boat and became hosts to couple of groups of visitors.

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Back in the Oasis of Quiet

We casted off as planned. This time we were resolved that nothing can stopped us.

The last three days were a real ordeal. From peace of a quiet bay we stepped right in the midst of a full-blown house-party. The Chinese New Year that’s nine days of national holidays, desperate traffic jams, every hotel in the favorite destinations is hopelessly over-booked, even small shrines and temples offer their meditation cells to tourists.

Why would we go back to Kaohsiung at the peak of the busiest tourist period of the whole year? Why?

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We Had Enough of Life in Public

We’ve left Kaohsiung, at least for few days. We couldn’t stand the place anymore. We had enough of our life in public. It was on our minds for quite some time now, but there was always an excuse or two, which stopped us from leaving. True, our berth in Kaohsiung is really convenient. Everything is within the reach of a hand. Food, tools, material for the never ending repairs. In fact, we don’t have that much to do anymore and for what we still want to do, we have everything we need. Janna’s waterline had risen a bit already. After all we have loaded 30l of paint and epoxy, rest of wood that we still could use in the future, 20l of backup diesel.

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Most important reason for getting out of Kaohsiung is that we are starting to forget what silence sounds like. We do live in the Chinese society, so there it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s a bit more noise. The Chinese are by nature playfully noisy, which is cute and most people are just unbelievably friendly, but we grew up on the Bohemian meadows, groves and peripheries of small Czech towns, we simply need a good helping of silence and quiet.

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