Good By Davao After pondering the typhoon riddled weather reports, i found a window to head back out into the Pacific and up the coast we go. Again it is with a tear and a smile that we leave Davao as we have grown to love Samal Island and our marina friends. Our return there a month ago was bittersweet as we left a place of peace and returned to a place of fear. After the hostage taking the marina looked more like a war zone base, machine gun totting military guards and iron gates now dominated the area. Machine guns and guards aside, life went on as usual; the Friday BBQ’s and our Wednesday night jam sessions continued all with tight security. We even had a M-16 armed guard next to our band! A huge banner of the hostages hangs from the club house now, a solemn reminder. The talk in the marina always shifted back to the hostage taking and what might come next. Rumors flourished in the vacuum of real information. It is apparent after nearly four months that the government is doing diddly to rescue our friends. We pray for their safe return. Many of our cruising friends joined us in Davao, but most either left their boats and flew home for the holidays or stayed a short time. By the time we left the population had decreased so leaving was a bit easier.
The trick to traveling north during the northeast monsoon season, ie wind on the nose, is to follow a big storm up the coast. A huge low pressure, the kind that spawn typhoons will break up the pounding trade winds giving a four to five day window. After hours of pondering weather sites i found just such a window but it was short as another system was following close behind. We left Davao with our friends Eric and Christy who came along for the ride. Note here that with the security risks of Davao, my usual source of crew just did not work. For the first time i did not have eager girls waiting to join us, understandably so. Also given the risks, without disclosing details, let’s just say i was well prepared for defense. We made the 250 mile run up the coast in calm seas, never more than 10 knots of wind. The preceding typhoon did leave some big rolling swells but nothing uncomfortable. A 36 hour run followed by a night at anchor and a long day and we were inside the islands again, and none too soon. Another front blasted in as we found a safe anchorage inside the islands. The next ordeal is winding through an intricate passage way. There is a short cut that puts you under a low hanging power cable, the sailboats cannot pass but we did “just under the wire”. With blind luck we hit the current right and spend through the pass hitting 14 knots at one point, yahoo. The second storm gave us what i call “car wash rains” for the night, we found a couple new tiny leaks on that one. The wind hit 40 knots and cycled around indicating the end of the storm. The next day we enjoyed sunny skies and calm winds as we returned to Cebu and the Cebu Yacht Club. First mission: get to the new Star Wars movie!!!