Against the Winds and Currents aka from Puerto Princesa to Kudat (Part 2)

Although we managed to avoid the two reefs in the mouth and in the middle of the bay, we motored too far inside the bay and hit the reef stretching from the far end of the Clarendon Bay! We tried to reverse and get out of the reef using our engine, but this time it didn’t work. It was clear that we needed some external help…

Luckily for us, soon after we entered the bay, we spotted a couple of local fisherman in wooden canoes. One of them was nearby so we called him to come closer to our boat. He couldn’t speak English but using hands and gestures we somehow managed to explain to him that we were stuck on a reef and that we need him to row our stern anchor back to deep water and drop it there. We would then try to winch ourselves off the reef.

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Perfect Birthday

“You go on reading! After all you deserve a proper rest after yesterday!” commented Petr on my slightly lethargic mood, when after breakfast I quietly disappeared to my favorite cockpit seat with my Kindle. I didn’t so much suffer from a post-celebratory hang-over as one might suspect given that the previous day was my birthday. Truth is, I was just plain tired. Janna, however, was almost spotless and our sewing machine saw the daylight again after quite a while. Not everyone would agree but for me this was a perfect B-day! Except perhaps for the evening downpour, that thwarted our plans of taking a stroll to town before dinner. On the other hand, nothing is ever perfect so there’s no point complaining. Instead of walking, we took a tricycle and contributed, in our own modest way, to the local economy.

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Janna’s Track So Far

We have been meaning to post maps with at least partial tracks of our voyages so far, for we can describe from where towards where and really try not to miss any island or rock that we passed by but in this case words just can’t compete with a map. A single glimpse and you are immediately up to speed! Not to mention the tongue-twisters and jaw-breakers that lots of the Filipino geographical names present to us ignorant foreigners. Try telling someone: “Today we passed Guintungauan and anchored at Ditaytayan.” Or Inambuyod, Dilumaoad, etc. Plus we found out, that sometimes same toponyms are used for different places. So far we anchored at two “Maricaban”s already. The former being an island in Verde Passage between Luzon and Mindoro, the latter a bay on the north coast of Busuanga Island.
In short, a map is a map and here we finally managed to create one (sometimes the speed of the internet and poor internet access here is real maddening! Especially when you spent last 30 something minutes clicking your track on Google Maps only to lose it all when the internet connection is suddenly lost) that roughly follows the trail we sailed so far, including all the anchorages we stopped at. In retrospect our favorite place so far is definitely Apo Island, whose gorgeous underwater world and breathtaking sunsets are just unbeatable! Not many people stop there but if you find yourself in the vicinity, you must definitely give it a try!


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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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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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Subic Bay

After arriving to the yacht club, we were met by the marina employees. They told us to come to the office to sign some papers and also helped the owner of the small speed boat, that towed us in, argue for his reward.

“This boat is private, you must pay now. It’s 5000 pesos (120 USD).”

“The tow was organized by the port control and tomorrow they will want us to pay once again. We don’t want to pay twice. Couldn’t we wait till tomorrow, we pay the guys from the port control and they will then pay the speedboat owner for his service,” suggested Petr.

In the end it was agreed that we will pay immediately and the marina office will write us a receipt, that we could show the officials at the port control the next day. At least we now had a rough idea how much they could ask for the tow, i.e. we knew what was the highest price we would be willing to pay. We sent the marina workers back to their office saying that we will come once we organize ourselves and the boat.

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5-9.7.2009 Philippines to Hong Kong and What Followed

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1-5.7.2009 Puerto Princessa – Bolinao

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30.6.-1.7.2009 Unusual Welcome in Puerto Princessa

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