Posted by: catamarantwooceans | February 18, 2012

A bad day

13.2.12 – Monday – In hind sight I can say I was complacent and unfocused. Going out of our anchorage to the harbor to do customs and immigration I hit a reef. Badly. I was navigating to the same way-points I did yesterday using the plotter map screen and when I noticed the depth going down to 5 meters I reduced speed and turned north for deeper water. Obviously it was too late as a big bang was heard and felt. I put the engines in reverse and went back until I was completely clear.

Later, at the harbor anchorage, I went down and saw the damage to the leading edge of the keel. This must be repaired A.S.A.P. Fortunately, there is a good boatyard in Carmen City, 20 miles north of Cebu. We’ll fix it there.

Back to the task ahead; we took the dinghy to a place in the harbor where all the local pangas were loading and unloading people and merchandise.


It did not feel safe to leave it there unattended so Dany stayed nearby, while I went to customs. The custom officer was a nice guy, after completing the paperwork he told me I will have to visit custom in Cebu too and advised me I could keep my boat tied to the coast-guard vessel.

That done, we took the local popular mode of transportation – the Tricycle – to immigrations, whose office is not in the port but somewhere in town.

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                                          Tricycles in Surigao

The immigrations officer said bluntly that Surigao was not a port of entry and made us make two copies of every document he found in my docs folder. I also had to write a letter to immigrations head office in Manila explaining why I happened to go to Surigao. "You’ll have to go to immigrations office in Cebu" he said. But at least I had proof that I did not try to sneak into the country.

Once freed from officialdom we went to an internet café. As I downloaded the weather forecast I understood that publishing a post will not be possible. A file of 131 kb took about 10 minutes.

We went to buy a local SIM card; it’s the cheapest one on earth, costing 40 pesos, less than a dollar! Shopping for food was not so easy. The available supermarkets in the area had quite a poor selection, but the markets were good. One market is dedicated to fruit only while the other had veggies, meat and fish in abundance.

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All this was very tiring and we were glad to go back to "Two Oceans" after a wet ride in the dinghy against a fresh easterly.

I was putting the things we bought in their regular places and went out into  the cockpit to throw some package into the garbage bin when I saw our dinghy floating away. Gone with the wind! Dany, who was wearing swimming trunks, jumped in and retrieved the runaway tender.


We did not want to stay in the open anchorage of the Surigao port so we found a bay called Nonoc, 5 miles to the northeast that looked nice and protected. Once we got in, we had our anchor drag twice in the soft mud and only after I added a second anchor in tandem with the regular Delta, we were secure.

We  sat down to plan the days ahead and only then checked the weather info  that I downloaded in the morning. Whoops! A deep low, with winds up to 45 knots is forecasted to pass between here and Cebu early morning Wednesday. If we went out to Cebu tomorrow, we would have been caught in its path. Pondering the options we arrived at the inevitable conclusion. We have to wait it out right where we are. It is a well protected bay, almost close to all directions and I think I will add yet another anchor to the two already deployed.

I didn’t mention it, but it is still raining, sometimes heavily.


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