We finally did it! I am usually scared to death of getting anywhere shallow at all, so it was with trepidation and a sinking stomach that I acquiesced to Oren’s plan to beach us. To be fair, he wasn’t exactly nonchalant about it either, and as we inched our way forward to come alongside Arlene’s bamboo dock we were both hoping for the best. While I winched us forward as much as possible with a rope tied off to a handy concrete post, ploughing through the mud, Boy, Arlene’s partner, jumped into the muddy water together with Oren, and they spent at least two hours rushing round Chasamba fitting bamboo poles and coconut trunks to hold her upright as the spring tide fell. We didn’t trust the dock to be strong enough to hold her, and in the end we didn’t even use it at all, except as a useful way to hop on and off the deck. Chasamba stayed upright, just settling back a little on her haunches, and we sighed with relief before showering thick black Negros mud off and having a wonderful meal of grilled chicken and rice at Arlene’s restaurant. The next day we started antifouling, hurrying to get the best of the shallow tide. Now, two weeks on, the antifouling is done with only a few centimetres of keel and rudder left unpainted because we did sink into the soft bottom mud a bit. The topsides are finally painted white after days and days of hand sanding, but the finish isn’t perfect and next time we will probably get a rotary sander and get the generator to work for more than five minutes at a stretch! Now we are chipping the deck, peeling off almost a centimetre of old paint which really must come off. We are bitten all over by mosquitoes and have at least one rat on board, a huge rodent which seems to be brighter than us and is proving to be difficult to catch; Oren has already killed one after chasing it all through the yacht with a machete, and there are plenty more on the dock every night. We have just bought a huge rat trap in Dumaguete, so maybe we will manage to get it tonight! We hope to get back in the water on about the 18th or 19th when the tide should be good, and then it’s back off to the wonderful internet and showers of Puerto Princesa.
Anyone coming to Bonbonon should know that Arlene’s restaurant is really a nice little place, and she does a buffet on Fridays which is an enjoyable social occasion, most yachties seem to come.
Catching ‘kagan’ ; a kind of little mud crab after rain makes the ground soft.
Arlene and Boy.