Farewell Subic Bay Farewell Subic Bay « The Joys and Sorrows Of a Life At Sea

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.


Then we passed by an optician and got new glasses made, because I broke one pair just few hours off Kaohsiung. We left our laundry at a small shop near the gate to Freeport and went back to the yacht club, where we met a group of mechanics from Broadwater marine. We’ve chatted with them for a bit and revealed our troubles with the engine. Young guy jumped up willing to take a look, but we told him that we are waiting for a mechanic we arranged through the Watercraft venture, but we took his number, just in case.
Than we called Spanky (real name) of Watercraft and asked about the mechanic he promised to provide today.
“Well, he’s busy, he might come tomorrow, or maybe on Monday.”
I hang the phone and called Sandro, the young mechanic from Broadwater. He said he will come at three, so we started to cook lunch. Suddenly Sandro appeared followed by a rain squall.
He asked us where are we from and if we carry vodka. We said we have something much better (home made slivovice). Then we revealed our engine and the inquiry began.


Sandro tried couple of moves we tried ourselves and then started disassembling the hoses and pumping fuel into the system in few stages. This was naturally accompanied by diesel spills, but we were quick enough to catch most of them in time and prevent too much contamination of our bilge. In the end Sandro managed to start to engine from a jerry can and then even from the tank. We were happy and celebrated by a shot of the delicious Moravian spirit.
With engine running, we were free. Except that it was Friday afternoon and we needed customs clearance out, which won’t be available until Monday. So we decided to suck it up and stay till then and do some work on our translations and on the boat.
On Monday we went to the marina office for our check. We were supposed to come at 9am. The guy at the office didn’t know anything about us, so we told him to get someone who knows something and went to port control office for our harbour clearance.
Back in the yacht club we got our customs clearance too and also the check from the marina. When we arrived, we were tied to a T dock and after two days asked to move to a different berth. So since we were at two berths the marina decided to charge us twice for water. It wasn’t much, but I said no. The basic charge is for 1000 liters. We were charged for 4000l at the first berth and then again 1000l at the other.
“You have filled your water tanks, that’s why you have used so much water,” said the clerk. I have asked him (not very politely), how much water does he think that we can carry in the boat. He just gave me a stupid grin.
“And you have washed your boat.”
“With 4000 liters of water?”
Then he gave up, but he still charged us the minimum charge for two berths.
“You were at two berths, weren’t you?” I couldn’t deny that and neither was I willing to spend another minute of my life talking to that sleazy face.

We had a lunch, prepared the boat and started the engine. We were about to cast the lines, when a guy from a yacht next to us approached Jana with some pointers about our route, especially the reef in Puerto Galera.
Then we finally left that annoying place. The wind was fresh and on the nose, so we motored, hoping to get as far from the shore as possible before the night sets in.
Once out of the bay, the wind was getting weaker by the minute and just when we were passing a flock of anchored tankers, the wind died. The engine followed. We were in a safe distance from the ships, we always keep our distance in case we loose the wind or the engine or, like in this case, both. The wind has picked up a bit, so we were able to drift-sail south away from Subic, the ships and the shore.
Oh, well. Sailing ship again. Just to be prepared for any eventualities, we disassembled the fuel lines and rigged a jerry can from which we could run the engine. We started it just to be sure that it runs smoothly and then continued under sail.
Soon we had the mainsail down and gennaker up.

We met very few fishermen or ships, only around midnight a big fat black cloud started to approach. The wind picked up and we hoisted reefed main and small jib. We rode the along the squall till the morning, when the wind died again and we knew that we won’t be at Puerto Galera before dark. The light wind conditions followed us the whole day. We run the engine for a while in the afternoon, but soon we noticed that the fuel consumption is quite high. We didn’t realize that the engine pump is actually pumping more fuel that is actually consumed and we had the return from the engine directed to the main tank. So out went the wrenches and rubber hoses and finally we had a system that worked. Except that most of our fuel was now in the main fuel tank, which is usually a good thing. Fortunately we still had about 7l in one jerry can and another one full. We decided to keep sailing and see how far we can get.
When the darkness fell we already had the jerry can rigged in the cockpit, we rewarded ourselves with a hearty dinner, this night might be quite long.
Then the seas lit up. We’ve noticed the small fishing banghas leaving the shores and filling the seascape around us. Small light were flashing yellow, green, red, blue, anything that the fishermen could buy. No idea which lights are from boats, which are crab pots and which are the terminals of a half submerged net.

Immediately we decided that we are not going for Puerto Galera. It was still about 20 miles away and we were still battling against a current. The engine was happily humming. We headed east towards the Maricaban Island and a small cove on its western tip. We will have to approach it at night, there won’t be any lights, but the skies were quite clear and the moon will soon come up. At least, once we go in the lee of the Malicaban Island the current got weaker and we were making a good speed.
We reached the cove at around midnight. I’ve prepared the anchor and Jana slowly entered the cove announcing the depth. When we reach below 6 meters we dropped little over 20 meters of chain, our beloved Rocna bit immediately and we were soon snug in the cockpit, watching the stars and the big rock cliff the loomed above us.

The morning was just… clear water, lush tropical island with a white beach sand… After a slow breakfast, the wind picked up, we sailed off the anchor and started to dream about a lunch in Puerto Galera. We decided to sail as much as possible, but our speed was below 2 knots and we still had to cover about 15 miles.
We hand steered and at about 2pm we were about 4 miles away from our goal. The wind had dies of course. We could have drifted and waited, but we chose not to, started the engine and in an hour tied to a club mooring in one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

20130501-140059.JPG 20130501-170508.JPG

Leave a Reply