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!