Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tuba River

We Checked out of Porto Princesa and went on south toward Malaysia. The wind came up so we sat in the mouth of the river at Tuba River for a few days waiting for the weather to get better. As you can see this was not much of a town, just a squatter village by the barge loading area. There is a very large nickel  mine a few miles inland. They ship the raw ore out and refine it elsewhere.

As you could guess, Trinda got bored here.

7 New Wonders of Nature

While we were in Porto Princesa we took a tour to one of the "New 7 Wonders of Nature". This is the Underground River. It is a river that has eaten a path under a limestone mountain for about 8 kilometres. 4.5 Km is navigable. Our ride on a small paddle boat was only 45 minutes, about 1.5 Km into the cave. I took lots of photos inside, but the new cheep Kodak didn't think much of the dark. Twas a nice day all in all. Included in the tour was a 1.5 hour ride each way in a 9 passenger van, this time with less than 9 in it! Beautiful scenery and an all-you-can-eat buffet. What more could you ask for.

Nothing like Carlsbad though.
Larry & Trinda waiting for our banghka to take us to the cave opening.
The mouth of the river/cave.
The only photo that came out, the mouth of the cave, exiting.
In the waiting area, with signs all around and the guide saying not to feed the animals, this little monkey was enjoying  a banana.
While he was sitting on the rope, guess what Trinda did. Yep she jerked the rope! Really excited the little bugger. I thought he was really going to come after her for a minute.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

While at Porto del Sol watching Denny get ready to leave, we took a dinghy ride up the river with Greg and Grace. We went about 4 miles up the river. It was completely enclosed by mangroves. Very nice ride.

Greg and Grave. Greg is the one who sent me the plans for the dinghy.

A house on the river.

After Porto del Sol we went to the old leper colony at Culion. We took a tour of the museum there. It was closed as a leper colony in the 80's. A nice clean small village now.
The emblem on the hill is made of white painted rocks. The hospital is the buildings center, up from the beach.

The grammer here is NOT the same standard as in the states, but Trinda had to pose by this sign while we waited for the museum to open.

Then last week on our way to Puerto Princesa we discovered an anomaly in the charted position of a reef! There was a seaweed farm in the bay we were planning to anchor in. They tie 6 or 8 buoys together then drop ropes down with the seaweed on them. And do this all over the bay. There were hundreds of buoys that we could not sail over for fear of catching one of the ropes on the prop. We had a track from the GPS of a friend who had successfully anchored here a few weeks ago, missing all the buoys. But the local security guy insisted we follow him safely through the buoys, so we did. Just past the buoys he said "OK. Just go that way and pointed vaguely to the back of the bay. I decided we should go back to the track we had been following. I left a good 200 yards to go around the marked coral reef between me and the track. Then bump, bump BUMP! and the boat stopped. It was the middle of the out going high tide of the day. Within minutes the boat was too far out of the water to pull it off. So we sat there and gradually leaned over. It took 12 hours to go down and come back up. About 9 in the morning we floated off.
Trinda demonstrating the angle we spent most of the night.

The horizon is supposed to be level with the solar panels!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coron Again

Well I did get a new camera, but I didn't really learn to take any more or better pictures. Here is an update.
I finally got the wind generator mounted! Only 2 years! It doesn't seem to make much gin!

Looking around the anchorage in Coron. The black boat is Greg and Grace on Shanghai.

Looking south is Denny from Jubilant in his dinghy and Walt and  Jane on Collisto.

We took a dinghy ride to the places we had gone on the "Island Hop" snorkel trip that I broke the camera on before. You can now see what I described then. hahaha.

Trinda does like to have her picture now and then.

Again! Twice the same day.

More of the dinghy ride and snorkeling. The water is really clear.
A day resort for the "Island Hop" guys. They sell cokes and such.
They sell cokes and such.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Subic Bay at Lunch

An old friend from Majuro came by for a visit yesterday. She had a camera! We decided to go to lunch with James (also met in Majuro) and his girl Marg.
Trinda in the cockpit, in Watercraft Marina. James managed to pay for two slips and only has one boat, so we ware helping him use one of them. Ha.

James and Marg

Getting the mast ready to take down, or as we say "Prepare to step the mast".

At lunch at Dos Amigos. Actually god Mexican considering the distance!

Jenel, me and Trinda in the cockpit of the Katie Lee

James can be a little ornery sometimes.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Change of Plans

We have noticed a problem with some of the work done on the main mast step in Carmen. Looks like some of the epoxy didn't quite work right.

So we are now headed for Subic Bay, Philippines, near Manila because the yard there has better facilities to solve this minor problem. The yard at Kudat Malaysia is not reported to have an easy way to lift the mast off while we repair the epoxy, otherwise the pricing for the haulout and bottom paint job are very nearly the same.

We will go back thru Coron over the next week or so then north to Subic Bay. It is about 200 miles from here and the wind has been really light and variable. During the NE monsoon season, normally it would be against the wind the whole way, but this is just beginning the transition to the SE monsoon season.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More than 2 weeks round trip to Port Barton, about 40 miles south of El Nido. Still the sharp and pointed islands sticking up out of the water. No more than 10 miles in a day between anchorages and often as little as 3 miles. Lots of sitting, drinking coffee and telling stories. Trinda watched a lot of movies. There were tiny clear jellyfish that only stung a little, but they took the fun out of swimming.

I had to scrape the barnacles off the bottom. It took 3 days because I was too lazy to do it all in one day
More islands. We came from between these.

Another bangka hauling people somewhere.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We have been just 'gunkholing' around here, A night in a new spot nearly each day. Sometimes snorkeling or just dinghing around looking.Some of the anchorages only 3 or 4 miles apart. It is great to relax!
View from coffee shop in El Nido

Getting fuel in Lingcongcong.

Anchored in a small bay south of El Nido

Drinking coffee with Denny on Jubilant, Katie Lee in background in another small bay by El Nido

In front of El Nido town

Monday, February 27, 2012

El Nido

We took a couple day excursion into the islands south of El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines.
The camera is still broken, but I managed to convience the laptop to do a still with the webcam. as we were motoring back to Corongcorong and El Nido.

These are of just one of the small islands we passed. Very tall!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Busuanga to El Nido

We left the Wild Animal Park and went only a few miles south and anchored in a very quiet bay north of the town of Busuanga on the island of Busuanga. Our route is the purple line below. The next morning we planned to go an easy 17 miles to Galoc island. Started off an came out into Busuanga Bay to a sea of hundreds of buoys! They are 5 or 6 floats tied with a rope about 100 feet long with traps hanging down to the bottom from the top rope. So there are these strings of floats that we cannot cross with the boat. The ropes would get caught in the propeller. They are not oin order, just randomly strewn about the bay.

I noticed that they seemed to stop toward one side where the chart showed a small reef. I thought I could squeeze between them and the reef so moved ahead slowly. I was only 10 feet from the buoy and doing fine, watching the computer and the water on the other side for the coral. When bump! bump! bump! Then stopped! Trinda, below, yelled "What was that"! Arg!!! The reef only had 6.5 feet of water and we really need 6.75 feet!
I had this chart up, zoomed in even more and still....Google Earth photos are old, so the buoys don't show of course.

I tried reverse with a lot of gas. No good, then there was a breeze so pulled out the jib quickly to see if the wind would turn the bow off the reef. Still no good. Trinda helped me get the new dinghy off the davits and into the water. Then put the outboard on it with the gas tank too. I tied a long line onto the main halyard (rope that pulls up the mainsail) and took off in the dinghy. As I pull on the halyard to the top of the mast and the angle out to the dinghy 50 feet away it leaned the boat over just enough that with full throttle it started to turn. I eased up and let the outboard rest 15 seconds and tried again. This time I got a running start and it leaned the boat over just enough. It started to move again! Trinda cut the throttle and steered away from the buoys and stopped. We lifted the outboard abd fuel tank bacvk out of the dinghy and pulled it back up on the davits again.

Then we started looking for a different way through the buoys. What a mess! Staying well away from the reef we tried several paths into the mass of buoys. Finally with only 3 or 4 wrong turns and backing out, we got to the last row of them. An hour lost!

I hear another outboard racing up and see 3 guys in a local small speed boat. They come along side and ask where I am going. I point to Culion. They say, "Follow me I guide you".  Great, now that I've run aground and wasted an hour and am through the buoys, now they want to help! I say ok and they take off the wrong direction. I wave them back and by now remember the name of the small island we're headed for. They lead off again. There is not a buoy in sight so I finally wave them back, thank them and say I can probably make it myself.

Almost to Galoc we turn around a rock and there is another patch of buoys! Oh well, now I've figured out the pattern they use, so it is only a 10 minute delay to thread our way through these. We anchor and have a restful night.

We were headed for Halsey Harbor but I get a text from Denny, of Jubilant. He says he's left Puerta Princessa and where should we meet. Trinda really wants to see El Nido cause everyone has been talking about it. Sitting in the restaurant in Coron waiting for the package to arrive, she saw the local bangka providing transport there for the tourists each day too. So I tell Denny we'll meet there. So we skip Halsey Hbr and head for Linapacan. I really wanted to stop there to see if I could get a pie! Thought it might have limes or linas or something! hahaha. Or maybe they spell those different. No pie, not even cell phone coverage, much less internet access!

We anchored and then the mosquitoes came out! The biggest yet and lots. With repellent on, I killed 15 in the hour that I read in bed before dropping off to sleep! This morning we left early, 6:30 for El Nido. Half way across we spotted Jubilant coming up from the south.

As we cruised down the channel to Bacuit (El Nido) the sheer cliffs to the water are extra ordinary! Yep the camera is still broke.

We'll hang around here a few days then explore the bays a little further south then back to Coron.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

North Busuanga

We took the camera snorkeling ans the previous post shows. Big mistake. I have a deep dive case for it, but it had some corrosion and the push buttons didn't work so I skipped it! It got water inside and I can't make the display come on.

So, no more photos for a while.

This is significant cause we went to the Calauit Wild Animal Park yesterday. It is the small island attached to the very north end of Busuanga, on the north end of Palawan. The guide first stopped and gathered a handful of small limbs from a tree with leaves. He gave Trinda one and she fed a miniature Palawan deer. Right from her hand. I could draw a picture, but you wouldn't get it...

Next we rode in his jeep around the other side of a corral and stopped by a couple of giraffes. They both walked up and wanted to be hand fed just like the deer. They have 19 giraffes counting 2 babies. We didn't see the babies though. Then across the small valley we stopped by a water tank where about 20 zebras were licking a salt block and enjoying the shade next to the tank. These were black zebras with white stripes. Don't know if that makes them special, but that's what the guide said.

They also had a few fresh water crocodiles, monkeys, porcupines and a couple special wild cats in cages.

It was a beautiful setting and a very picturesque passage up to the park. The volcanic cliffs in the entrance pass and a sand bar with maybe 8 foot waves breaking was very neat.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Island Hop Snorkel Trip

We took an Ishlan Hopping Tour, that turned out to be a snorkeling trip. We went to 5 locations and swam or snorkeled at each one. At the first one, the camera got water inside and quit working so not many pictures.

It has dried out and seems to work some now, but I think my camera days are numbered. Two couples on a bangka headed for Seven Sisters Islands Park.

Next we went to an inland lake. Trinda actually hiked (climbed) up 75 steps to go over the ridge and down into the lake. It was really clear, but with almost no sea life.

Then on to Twin Lagoons where we snorleked under a low land bridge into the second lagoon. It had so much fresh water in layers in the salt water that it was difficult to see underwater with the masks.

Next was a stop on a white sand beach where the boys on the bangka grilled fish and pork for lunch. We rested and waded on the beach.

One of the WWII wrecks is just off the beach at the next place. The bow was maybe 10 feet down, but sloped off so much we could only see 30 or 40 feet of it. Lots of coral grow on these wrecks.

Last was a public island with a beach. By then we were tired, so Trinda and I sat on the bangka while the other (young) couple waded and played on the beach.

It was a nice day. Too bad no more pictures, the hike into the lake was really neat.
Seven Sisters Islands over the bangka

A strange fish Trinda caught a photo of

At first I thought it was a piece of cloth, but the black thing is growing there

Unusual coral

Our first blue soft coral

Dinghy Floating

Ok, this is the last picture I'll post of just the dinghy. I have put a plastic hose covering the rub rail to protect it and other boats I might bump while visiting, but it is finished.

It is a good feeling to have a dinghy again. And it is FAST, not too wet and I think lighter than the rubber one, so easier to lift.

It does float.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coron Market and Molong

On the way to the market we went by where we are finishing the dinghy so Trinda could see it and meet the wives of the guys.
Molong and family

Three neighbor ladies who giggled and talked in Tagaloga all while we worked. They seemed to enjoy watching us.
There is not a regular grocery store here at all. This the the front of the Tourism Office and a plaza. The public market is in the alley. Trinda didn't really want her picture taken. The market has drygoods, vegetables, and meat (chicken, pork, lots of fish and sometimes beef). Smells like you would expect with no refrigeration with this variety!
Entrance to public market, Coron.

Buying chyote green on left and bananas.

Most of the good veggies seem to be shipped in from Manila. Beans, bokchoy, tomatoes and the like are grown locally.

Dinghy Finished!

Well there it is, finished, but still sitting on Bobot's back porch. After we finished the green, I read the instructions again on the paint. "Allow a maximum of 48 hours to air dry before use." Oh darn!!! I think that means minimum, but two more days! Oh well. That was yesterday.

Trinda went with me today to screw on the protective plates where the engine mounts. She met the guys' wives and saw a 'squatter village' perched on stilts 50 yards from shore.

The Seuz Green is not quite the dark forest green I thought the spilled one looked like. The Topcoat Yellow is not quite the lemon yellow I thought but the White is white. It has glass beads in the white to make non-skid so we won't slip getting in or out. I think I'll love it even though it doesn't quite match the Katie Lee. No more pumping up the self-deflating inflatable!

Yellow and priner. Right is the 'sidewalk' to town, maybe 50 yards. Molong's house is the first right, behind the little girl and 2 doors down.

Green bottom. notice the sea only a couple feet below. Don't drop anything!

The removabel seat covering the 'dry storage' is in Molong's house across the 'sidewalk'.

Shiny white with the glass beads. Anchor locker up front. Entrance to Bobot's 'boarding rooms' above.

Holes in bow are for the painter, two, so if I am towing it, I can tie 2 ropes so it doesn't get away!