Back to the Philippines

We are have made the 1500 miles pilgrimage back to the Philippines! As we cross the border the Malaysian Maritime comes on the radio asking our destination, we are glad they are keeping an eye on us. Recently there have been some incidents in the troubled Southern parts of the country. A German couple was kidnapped off a broken down sailing yacht last Spring. A month ago an undisclosed ransom was paid and they were released, some fear this to be an inspiration for more shenanigans. When we got to Kota Kinabalu, a boat arrived from the north reporting an attempted boarding. The story was a bit murky and may well have just been a fisherman playing as no one actually boarded the boat. This did give me some angst. We went over some drills if we had trouble and i prepared some defense strategies. As we left the marina contacted the Malaysian Navy and reported our route.

I perused the weather reports and found a great window that would let us escape the 200 miles of head wind common this time of year. A low pressure system passed over the Philippines and was sitting off the west coast of Palawan, this would give us two days of calm or even following seas, yippee. We also got some boat issues resolved or at least found a way to cope. After ten years of loyal service the Outback inverter gave us grief, it would shut off when the gen came on and not resume when it went off. I feared an electrical gremlin but after testing thoroughly we determined it was the switch in the inverter, a new board is on the way, thanks Outback! Also the main nav computer died, my good friend in KK worked tirelessly trying to make a 240v computer work on 110v as it should. Again relief is in the mail as we ordered a new power supply, so that took us down to three operating computers and GPS’s, i think we will manage.

We said good by to the last 4 stroke outboard i will ever own, the small 2.5 Suzuki which has failed more often than ran. i replaced it with a 2 stroke Mercury, we are now an All Black boat!! 4 stroke engines just do not do well with the varied quality of gasoline available outside the US. When buying outboards, a wise observation is do what the locals do. I have not seen a Honda or a 4 stroke outboard on a fishing boat since the US. We use the small out board on the easily inflated small Walker Bay roll up dinghy. It serves as a spare–my if you need one, get two principle. It is also handy if we have to beach land in the surf but mostly it provides the crew their own shore access. Many a sailor have chided us on our two car family plan.

We checked out of the Philippines and headed north to an anchorage for the night, predawn departure took us past the tip of Borneo in daylight and across the channel to the south tip of Palawan we headed, a family of dolphins, baby in tow, greeted us as we crossed the border as well as a call on the VHF radio from Malaysia Maritime making sure we were OK, both were very welcome.