On to the Play Grounds

We spent several days in Puerto Princesa, provisioning and exploring the town. We had the help of our driver, Roland, who walked me through customs, found everything i needed an was our constant companion, all for two bucks an hour. After we acquired the needed visa extensions we were set for two months of Philippino adventures.

The dinghy started leaking water in and air out again. the patch that had held so well for two years had failed. i tried to repair the patch but it seems to not be working well, i foresee a lot of bailing and pumping until i can get it done right. Just another thing to fix you know. On the plus side the electrical engine repair, the stabilizer repair and all the other things i did in KK are working great.

the charts in the Philippines have been a topic of discussion for cruisers for a while. i find the Nobeltec charts i have used half way around the world are not so accurate to worthless. The C-map charts i installed on my Coastal Explorer system on my laptops are very good. Today i will install them on the ships computer. Navigating here it tough, many small reefs miles off shore and the bays are filled with them. Unlike the South Pacific where you dodged coral heads regularly in crystal clear water, here the water is murky so the reefs are hard to spot. We have bumped up on more than one. Fortunately i am always super careful and slowly plod my way into the new bays and inlets so only a small bump is felt but it is unnerving for sure.

We took three days to do the 170 mile trip from PP to Coron, we were racing a weather system so had to move fast through areas i would like to explore more, no worries as we will pass back through here on the way south. The scenery here is magnificent some very reminiscent of Thailand, with stark rock islets thrusting from the sea. Some of the area brings back images of home, the San Juan Islands. The big difference is that there are very few people here, no crowds. A few small local boats pass by and that is all we have seen.

We reached the Calamian Island group under a bright sun and calm seas. This is the play ground of the Philippines. the main draw here is the diving! yahoo. Coron Bay was the site of a US air to Japanese naval battle in which many ships were sunk. The wrecks all lie in depths suitable for sport diving and have survived the passage of time and even the recent typhoon very well.

There is another unique dive here i am eager to try, an inland lake which has crystal clear fresh water on top, then changes to salt water on the lower depths, it is home to a native Barracuda i hear.

So for the first time in a while i slept until sunrise and will enjoy an easy day at anchor, the girls will probably sleep very late as we all are a bit knackered after the long trip. We are all eager to see what this beautiful place has to offer, so on to the next adventure!