Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 11, 2012

Sailing on in the Philippines

8.3.12 – Thursday – Here’s how I planned our Philippines cruise: I tried to find interesting places 30 to 40 miles apart so that we would not have to sail at night and arrive at a reasonable hour to be able to enjoy the daily destination.

In this spirit I selected today’s target – Bantayan island. On the chart I could see a well protected bay and my tourist guide said: "Bantayan, now becoming popular among venturesome beach fanciers with a taste for excellent soft-shell crab". It goes on to extoll the rich fishing grounds of the place. So what did we find? The east coast of the island is full of fishing villages and many local boats of various sizes and modes of propulsion ply the waters all around. One fisherman waved a crab at us to prove the guide right. Here are two examples of the fishing craft we met.

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The Bantayan town, as we approached it, looked decrepit and uninviting so we turned back and after narrowly escaping some frightening shoals, anchored on the lee of Patao village in 3.5 meters.

In the beginning I was not happy with the surroundings but as the sun started its descent to the west, that special light that comes with sunset illuminated the scene, and fishermen sailed their small canoes out to sea, everything seemed much nicer.

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9.3.12 – Friday – After motoring most of the way yesterday it was a relief to have wind; 15 knots on average, minimum 12 maximum 22, from the northeast, it gave us a good run to South Gigante Island. After dodging all those fish-traps, or whatever those flags on poles signify, and losing a lure to a fisherman on a canoe we sailed into a bay near the village of Lantangan, perfectly protected from the prevailing winds.

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Going ashore in the late afternoon, we became a big hit with the local children, who followed us everywhere, making a lot of noise and having a lot of fun. 

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When our tour was over the water receded and we had to drag the dinghy quite a long way. The kids followed us in and gave us a hearty send-off.

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I’m starting to acclimatize mentally to the Philippines, feeling and understanding the differences between the small islands and population of the South Pacific and what we see here. This has become a voyage of discovery, of going into places we know practically nothing about and getting to know them. That’s what cruising is all about, isn’t it?

10.3.12 – Saturday – Early in the morning we set out to the west, Capiz bay harbor our destination. Good wind in the beginning gave way to light northeasterly with the dreaded engine noise disturbing the peace.

We entered the harbor with care and anchored near a jetty full of fishing boats.

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Not being sure whether it was O.K to stay there, I remained on board, while Dany and Yaron went ashore to check availability of a supermarket and water filling facility.

They found the first in Roxas city four kilometers away and came back with all the stuff we needed. For water we tied to the fishermen’s dock, where a two inch fire hose was brought over. The thread did not fit so I had to hold it in place while the harbor people opened the tap releasing the flood and spraying me all over, bringing gleeful outcry from the watching locals.

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We went to bed early because an early departure was planned. I had a rude awakening thinking we were hit by something, rushed outside to see a fishing boat, one of those trimarans they use here, passing nearby. Couldn’t find any damage so maybe they just made a wave or hit our anchor chain.

11.3.12 – Sunday – It was a grey, drizzly morning as we went out to sail 50 miles to Boracay. Forecast:e wind 060/15. Very quickly it intensified, reaching 30 knots and forcing us to reef down to third in the main and second in the jib. Passing in between two shoals we were hit by some really nasty waves that "Two Oceans" took in her stride. The upside was that we came to Boracay earlier than planned.

Boracay is a world famous tourist attraction and the amount of traffic near the jetty and the southwest anchorage was astounding, parasailing, banana boats and the works. We ended up taking a mooring near two other catamarans, one called Mango Moon, a 50 footer and Mahal – a Venezia 42 whose owner was playing the flying the spinnaker game.

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I think we’ll stay here one more day, use the facilities – internet, restaurant and maybe dive tomorrow.

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