Saturday, March 5, 2011


We left Palau Wed morning under cloudy skies. The wind was a light breeze as we motored the 18 miles across the lagoon to the west pass. The wind continued to build through the morning mostly from the NNE. It started raining just before we got to the pass of course, when you need to be able to see the most, it squalls. That set the pattern for the crossing.

The wind was supposed to clock to the ENE and the wind die to 15 the second day, but it apparently forgot to read the GRIB! It stayed 25 NNE all the way, except for the rain squalls when it would go to 30 before and to 10 for a few minutes afterward. Since the wind was on the beam, (NNE when we were going West), the auto pilot didn't do very well. We spent a lot of time motor sailing with just the staysail or a double reefed main and staysail up. Occasionally we would get surprised by a squall with too much sail up and run a few minutes at 8 or 9 knots, but mostly we only did 5 to 6. It is safer and more comfortable that way.

The seas were big and confused. With the wind on the beam, we had a component of the swewll on the beam too, but a bigger swell from NE and a smaller one from SE. As each of these added or combined beneath and beside the boat, we had 18 foot peaks and big looking holes all around. It wasn't like a big swell coming from one direction where the boat goes up then comes down, it would go up some then a peak would slam into the side then go up more then surf down into a hole and stay low a while. The period of each swell was quite different so it felt more like sailing in a washing machine. All this made Trinda seasick all the way, 5 days and me for 3 days.

We aimed for Dinagat Island, with Suriago Strait to the North and Hinatuan Passage to the South. We finally chose the southern route. There is an island in the middle of the entrance to Hinatuan Passage, Lajanosa, that I thought we could anchor behind out of the weather to rest from the passage. The crazy mixed up swells wrapped around both ends of the island to make all the areas to uncomfortable to anchor. Me motor sailed on into the passage and around behind the first big island. It was much better protected from the weather, but all the little nooks an crannies were over 150 feet deep. The deepest we can safely anchor with our 300 feet of chain is about 100 feet and I am nervous above 80 feet. We finally found a shallow shelf in a little cove and put the anchor down. It was 75 feet, but as the boat swang on the hook, parts were only 40 feet.

We rested! two nights worth!

Some locals came by in their little boats. The standard here seems to be a canoe, 15 to 20 foot, with two outriggers and an inboard 2HP gas engine. They run about 8 knots. 8 of these came by together and ask for food. We had 7 lbs of rice Trinda didn't like so they got that. They had come for another island to the East ( not sure where or how far) to do some fishing, but they couldn't go home because of the typhoon blowing. I hadn't realized we had come through one, but they thought it was a typhoon!

Next we motored on toward Cebu City. We got as far as the last part of Suriago Strait, near Suriago City when the tidal current hit us at 3 knots on the nose. We decided to anchor for the night in front of the wharf. It was calm but not quiet. I forgot to mention that NONE of these little canoes have mufflers! Just think of all your neighbors mowing their lawns at the same time with no mufflers on the mowers! About 9:00 the settled down to only one or two milling around.

Since we are not checked into the country yet we didn't go ashore. We got visas in Palau, but are supposed to see customs and immigration here. It may have been alright, but Suriago is a Port of Entry, so I was nervous. Anyway a canoe came up to the boat and started yelling. They wanted to sell pearls. White pearls grown locally by a Japanese farm. Trinda couldn't resist so she is the proud owner of a couple strings and some earings.

We have not been successful talking on the HAM radio. I try to talk to Denny each day at 6 AM and PM. I only succeeded about 1 out 4 tries. I can't connect to the winlink either. We weighed anchor and started out of the harbor. I turned on the computer chart program ( and noticed it connected to a free WiFi!!~! When we anchored, I had casually checked for WiFi and didn't notice any. So, I had Trinda steer slowly while I got winlink to send the mail I had already written before we left. It is 30 miles to the next anchorage against the current so we couldn't stay long enough to do any more email. Next time I'll look better.

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