Posted by: catamarantwooceans | April 10, 2012

Waiting in Motion

29.3.12 – Thursday – Another quick sortie ashore for internet and weather check and then we gladly left the Quezon bay to go to Eran bay. A Typhoon may be brewing in the distance but here there was no wind at all.

Only when we got to a distance of 10 miles to Eran a big rain cloud gave us a little wind so we could shut the engine down and enjoy some quiet sailing. Reaching the bay we had a difficulty finding the anchorage spot. The bay turned out to be much bigger than I thought, the Google earth photo made it look smaller than it actually was. Getting closer we identified the place and dropped anchor at 3 meters on a sandy bottom.

Swimming was not what we hoped for as the water was murky. Perhaps a river is flowing into the bay.

We looked again at the new weather chart and found out that the system is moving north a bit faster than previously forecasted. We also saw that the south of Palawan will not have strong winds by Sunday, Monday and Tuesday having almost no wind at all. So why not use the time to advance to points south and shorten the leg to Singapore?

A quick glance at the chart and two nice bays were located; Tagbita bay, 36 miles from Eran and Port Ciego in Balabac island 43 mile further away. We’ll go to the first tomorrow and the second on Saturday.

30.3.12 – Friday – Uneventful trip to Tagbita, if you discount the frustrating part of motoring, then tempted by a puff to shut the engine down only to have the wind die again. Tagbita is a pretty bay with some remains of a concrete dock on the north side of the entrance, a few huts on shore and a fish–trapping contraption smack in the position you should anchor according to S/V Arnak.

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                                 Entering Tagbita

We settled for the starboard corner, 8 meters on mud, seems very good holding.

Just a few minutes after we got there, a formation of three fishing boats joined us. I swam over to see whether they had some fish to sell (our stock now finished) but they were here waiting to go out at sunset and they best they could offer were some small fish that I thought were used as bait. It’ll be Corned beef dinner tonight…

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                             Part of the fishing fleet

31.3.12 – Saturday – Out of the bay just before six a.m. Motoring again! The first 10 mile were sailed over shoals but after that I put out a lure, the Rapala that dives down to 20 feet. I had a good feeling about catching a fish today AND IT CAME TRUE! We took a nice 6 kg Jack, or Trevally as it’s called in my fish-book.

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As we left Palawan behind, the wind became a little stronger. 10 knots! Wow! We can finally sail! We aimed at a point to the west of Secam island to go around a big area of reefs. "What’s that at 2 o’clock? a small boat?" As we got closer we were surprised to see a free diver, finning along holding some floatation device ahead of him. There was a fishing boat at anchor about a mile away, so probably he came from it.

We lowered the sails and entered Port Ciego looking out for a shallow spot that was marked as being 1.8 meters deep but never found it. We crept past an "Ultimate Beach" and anchored in a quiet nook on the west side of the bay.

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                                                         Ultimate

Our first priority was getting an up to date forecast for the six or seven days that the leg to Singapore will take. Ugrib and Passage weather internet sites enable you to see and download such a forecast but you need to be on-line to do it. A file like that will be too big for my Iridium, which connects through the Mailasail service at a speed of 9.6 kbps.

I actually mailed a friend a few days ago, to check the weather for my timetable, but he had to go abroad and only sent a part of what I needed. Luckily the "Smart" cellular system was active in the area and I could contact Gili. She called some sailing friends but non of them was available. "Maybe I can do it" she said. With me guiding, she downloaded the grib file and gave me the data. Good show, gili!

Now we had the full picture; The low did go north to Vietnam and we are going to have light winds and a lot of motoring. We will leave tomorrow.

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