Some Photos

Filed June 14, 2010 at 2:17 am under by Administrator

A typical outrigger, Puerto Princesa harbour.

A HUGE barracuda!

A native village, Clarendon Bay, Balabac

A duty free beer in Labuan harbour.

A great big tree trunk, lots like this float by the Borneo shore.

Filleting a Spanish mackerel.

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Palawan after 36 days sailing!

Filed June 10, 2010 at 9:21 pm under by Administrator

Yes, we are safely anchored in the well sheltered natural harbour of Puerto Princesa, outside the Albanico Yacht Club, surrounded by the big jungle covered mountains which are part of the central range which form the backbone of Palawan. This is a nice, sleepy little place run by a British expatriate, John and his Philippino wife, Cissy. There are only three other yachts here, probably partly because this is the start of the off season for the Philippines, which means a lot of rain and the possibility of cyclones, although in Palawan the chance is quite small.

The good thing about arriving at a place like this after being at sea for a while is that things like being able to get gas bottles refilled and go to the supermarket seem really thrilling! Puerto Princesa is a small city, or a big town, with only one supermarket, a market which we haven’t visited yet and a large amount of tiny little local shops, all selling the same selection of stuff. Alcohol is very cheap, the local Rum is about a pound a litre, and is supposed to be good, although we haven’t tried it yet. Most of the population is very poor, and the most popular item for sale is  a variety of different little tins to mix with rice. This is actually a great idea, as it makes a really cheap meal, needs no fridge and is really quick to prepare- perfect for sailing! There are really lots of kinds,meat, fish and seafood in lots of flavours, and the tins are just right for two people, about 150 grams or so. They are really cheap too, about 20p a tin. Meat here is good too, we had spare ribs for dinner and we have seen good beef too, for the first time since……and avocado too, which is wonderful.

Check in was easy and pleasant- Israelis get 59 days without a visa, which is almost unheard of for any nationality, so the contrast with Malaysia and Indonesia is extreme.

We did stop in Labuan on the way, and stocked up with tins of meat curry, clams and anchovies in sauce, rice, flour and water. Labuan is a duty free port and the centre of a thriving smuggling network between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, but we didn’t see any of the well feared pirates we were told about- the only boat which bothered us at all was a wretched fishing boat dragging a trawling net with heavy steel cables which kept getting exactly where the wind was taking us. As this was one of the rare days when we had a fair wind, it was annoying!

The weather on the way was ok, but could have been a lot better. We had days and days of sitting in complete calm, looking at a glassy sea and waiting for the faintest breath of wind. Then a squall would come over, and within three minutes the wind would get up to 30 knots! This would either give us a push on the way, or throw us off course, depending on which direction the squall came from, and meanwhile scare us to death as we rushed to shorten sail and control the sudden rush of speed. In the middle of the night this could be a problem, so we reefed the mainsail most evenings, only leaving it full if there were no clouds at all in the sky. This reduced our speed, which most of the time was pretty slow anyway, but was worth it for the peace of mind. In the end we got fed up 70 miles from Puerto Princesa and treated ourselves to 20 hours of motoring to get in. The engine actually worked perfectly, and sounded better at the end than at the start, also was running cooler! It must have needed the practice.

We don’t have any hard and fast plans for the near future, but we do want to go out to Honda Bay at some time, so we will probably rest for a while and stock up, the head out for a week or two then back here, or up north to El Nido.

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