Saturday, March 5, 2011

Suriago to Jau Island, Bohol

It was a long but uneventful passage to Limasawa Island, the first place Magellan went ashore to hold mass in the Philippines.We anchored off the west side near a village. It looked small, but there were plenty of canoes on the beach. These were the same kind with the small motors. Late in the afternoon, they started leaving to go out fishing. Lots of them, by twos and threes but continuously for an hour! must have been 60 of them. I smilled and waved to most as they went by. Most managed to launch so that they came close enough to gander at the yacht! I was surprised that most of the canoes were painted very nice. They seem to have the island name, maybe the village name and probably the husband and wife's names. Very few were nameless or had peeling paint. And nearly all started with the first pull of the starter rope.

We still haven't checked in so I didn't feel comfortable going ashore. That and 'kinda hurring' toward Cebu. I think it would be a neat place to come back to for a week sometime.

The next leg is 54 miles. So about 5:30 we weighed anchor for the next stop. We were told thet there were too many 'fishing things' in the waters in the Philippines to travel at night. So we are stopping to anchor every night. Although we haven't seen that much stuff. Maybe the canoes are everywhere with out lights though. It is better rest too. The tides here are funny too. I haven't been able to predict whether we'll have current against us or not on any given leg.

It was not too bad on the way to Jou Island. Since it is a Spanish word, it is pronounced 'ou' like in ouch. The ancient cruising guide book we have says to anchor on the SE side of the island but you have to approach from the west. It talks about the guy who runs a resort here and is friendly to yachts. So, without thinking much we start this 10 mile spiral course into the island. Then I notice that we started in 30 feet of water and it got shallower and narrower all the way in.

Sure 'nuf, you guessed it! We found the mud again. It was 18 feet. I was in the center of the channel. everything was good at 4.5 knots. Then STOPPED! Max reverse did nothing! Trinda was sitting below at the computer and came running up. She couldn't believe the sound, "Like we hit rocks!". But it was only mud and sand. I believe it was nearing low tide, but I'm not sure my tide program is working right here. The dinghy was still on the fore deck from the passage. So we proceeded to get the dinghy down, aired up, motor on etc. in record time. Maybe 10 minutes. I took the hand-held depth finder and went each way to find the channel. It was only a few yards to starboard. I tied a 100 foot rope to the main halyard and started off to starboard in the dinghy. I pulled as hard as the dinghy would, tipping the boat over maybe 45 degrees while Trinda did max reverse. No soap! So next I went back over and pushed against the side of the bow with the dinghy. Still nothing. I started around to the port side of the bow to try pushing back but I couldn't get lined up. I thought it was current. No It finally broke loose and was running away. Trinda backed well away while I got the dinghy tied along side. We left it out there for the last 3 miles of the trip, just in case.

We got to the end of the channel according to my charts and no sign of the "Laguna Escondido Resort and Yacht Haven" so we just anchored in the middle. While we were aground, a smallish ferry came by and kept on going. It was at least 100 feet long and 10 of draft. I don't know where he went, my chart shows not that much depth the direction we saw him last. If I had known where his channel was earlier we could have saved 3 hours on th e trip and missed the mud!

Since the dinghy was down I started ashore to inquire about the resort. It was really shallow. Even though I saw people sitting in their canoes near shore, I only had about 8" under the dinghy when I got to the first one. He was a "government chaffer" who had brought some folks for a meeting. He said the resort had been closed a long time as the guy in the guide book had died. We chatted a while anyway. His canoe, freshly painted white with blue trim, was 18 feet with a 10HP Briggs & Stratten and 6" draft. Briggs & Stratten is the only American motor they have. Mostly Honda and other Japanese ones, from 2, 5, 10 or 15 HP. They have a scaled up canoe, maybe called a pareau, and they use old car engines. I didn't get the size.

Trinda had fried some chicken for lunch so we finished it off and watched a movie.

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