Posted by: catamarantwooceans | February 16, 2012

Sailing in the Philippines

11.2.12 – Saturday – I was awakened by a flapping sound. It’s 0230, the wind is blowing and the water catcher goes according to the old Bob Dylan song ("The answer my friends is blowing in the wind"). Fortunately the rain is light and I don’t get too wet as I take it down. So far for the necessary gallons.

At 0430 – wakeup again. It’s a dark, overcast morning and the moonlight cannot penetrate the clouds. I can discern the shapes of the fish-pens at our rear (see pic below) and they seem much closer than they were when we re-anchored yesterday evening. I dress up and keep an anchor watch until Dany appears and we move again, anchoring in a different, better holding, place.

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                               fish-pens that were too close

There is another change in our plans. Last time I spoke with Gili she updated me on her father’s condition, which is still uncertain. We are very worried and hope for the best. She said there was no way she would be able to get to Cebu on the 14th. Our next crew change takes place on the 18th in Cebu so we could take our time, do the entry in Surigao, north Mindanao, and continue day-sailing leisurely, stopping in nice locations on the way.

When the gloomy day breaks and we have enough light, we go out of the cove. Just past the exit a vibration from the starboard propeller is felt. We stop and anchor right there and I go down, knife in hand and cut away a piece of old net that was caught on it.

We start sailing; the wind is from the northeast and is getting stronger by the minute. We are quickly down to second reef, and with wind gusting to 30 knots we fly on the flat water at high speed. Great sailing! But thinking ahead, Surigao is not well protected from the NE and anchoring there might not be so pleasant. The forecast for tomorrow is for light winds, so better stay another day in some safe, secluded bay and go there on Sunday.

We go into Melger bay on the west coast of Dinagat. There are a few coves there and one is very alluring, a fjord-like body of water with steep rocks covered by dense jungle on both sides. Unfortunately it is either too deep for anchoring or too shallow over forbidding reef tables.

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Taken in the rain, the picture does not convey the full impact of the place. On we went in the rain, until we got to Nasarok cove and anchored near two fish-pens in a small bay to the east of a big village. This time the anchor was tested by the wind, which blew 25 knots for a while, and passed brilliantly.

All the area seems to be based on the fishing industry. We passed many fishing boats, typical to this country, narrow hulls with floats on both sides. This one was taken by Dany.

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12.2.12 – Sunday – It rained all through the night. I was awaken once by the noise the deluge made hitting the cabin roof over my head. Went into the saloon to check the wind speed, I was relieved to see it was down to 3 knots. The water quantity gauge showed full, meaning we collected about 150 liters of rain water.

The weather improved a bit, clouds were a bit higher and the wind and rain were light. We motored south between Dinagat and the small islands close to its west shore. Fishermen village all around, with houses built on stilts in the sea.

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In contrast to those, we saw this "Chateau" up on the hill on the other side.

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Distracted by the view I saw too late that the depth went down to 1.6 meters. I never noticed the shoal on the chart, where it was clearly and accusingly depicted. Promptly the fishing lure caught something on the ground and when we went back to release it we hit the bottom. TWICE! Miki, shame on you!

Five miles to Surigao, I started calling the port on V.H.F. No answer. Maybe they are closed Sundays. In the port we saw a coast-guard vessel and came close to ask them about the authorities. "Closed today, come back tomorrow!". I thought about this ahead of time and not wanting to anchor near the noisy port, designated a small bay, 1.5 miles away, to spend the night in.

13.2.12 – Monday –

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