After the work was done in Cebu, we headed east through the Vasalia Islands. This scarcely populated area sees few cruising boats, we have not seen a one. We stopped at several picturesque anchorages along the way, then through Hinatuan pass and the Bilibid islands which separate the interior islands from the Pacific. This is where two bodies of water meet and it makes for some wild currents, much reminding me of the British Columbia routes to Alaska. We hit fourteen knots at one point as the water swirled us through a narrow passage, yahoo.
Our last stop was Bucas Grande island, where we anticipated some spectacular diving. We often dive in sites no one has seen, sometimes they are absolute jewels and sometimes duds. Sadly this area has been victim to ruthless fishing methods of dynamiting and cyanide poising, both are short term, exceeding foolish and devastating. The place we picked looked good, a long reaching coral reef in an area exposed to the open ocean. It did have a small village nearby. We dropped down over the wall bordering the reef and it looked like a scene from Mad Max, total devastation and not a living thing, heartbreaking.
Back on the boat we enjoyed the visit of some bright smiling local kids in small outrigger canoes, just curious as they rarely see a cruising boat or white person.
The next day, a twilight departure put us on the southerly track of about 250 miles to Davao. The prevailing wind should be the Northeast trades this time of year, not a bad deal for us but rolly. I watched the weather and spotted a typhoon 400 miles off shore and heading north, not a threat. The disturbance of the massive low actually benefitted us as it disrupted the NE trades and provided us with 5 days of calm weather.
With nearly flat seas we got another unexpected bonus, a boost from a forceful southerly current. We got a push of up to five knots, and a steady three for two days, free fuel i say. Our daily trips hit over ninety miles. On the next to last leg, we had two choices for anchorages, an OK one in seventy miles and a great one in ninety, with a steady ten know speed over ground, i set course for the great one. Just as we passed the chance at the OK anchorage, the current switched and byby push hello five knots. There was nothing geographical to indicate this would happen, but it did. The resulting effect is finding an anchorage in the dark, one of my least favorite things to do. This one was easy, a large bay with a shallow end, so i eased through the entrance and up near to the shore. With no knowledge of how shallow how fast the bay became, i opted to anchor fairly deep, eighty feet. Fortunately i carry lots of chain. When i awoke the next dawn i could see i could have gotten a lot closer to shore but we spent a quiet night and slept without the worry of grounding, so it was all OK.
We did one more anchorage amongst fishing boats and headed to Oceanview Marina. i had contacted the marina for reservations and go a friendly reply. The marina is gated with a surge protecting gate and net to keep the marina clean so it requires them to “open the gates”. We radioed when close and sailed right in.