Apo Reef, well famed dive site and natural wonder, lies mid way across the passage. We pulled up to Apo Island in large swells but little wind and found a mooring with decent protection so we popped in. Unlike the murky Palawan water, here it is crystal clear with wonderful visibility. We did two dives, saw turtles, sharks, large Napoleon fish and tons of others critters. We ducked into the large bay formed by the massive reef for the night. Next day up and at ’em early for a spectacular early dive.
A long prediction of 20 plus knot winds right on the nose changed my plans and we went north to Subic Bay. Here we reunited with Lost in Asia, or Palawan cruising buddies. Peter sent his engineer over and we went through the entire system, tracing fuel to the Racor filter but not past it. Low and behold he found a broken “O” ring on the filter cap. All that trial and tribulation over a nickel O ring, wow.
So with a week of bad weather ahead i took advantage of the resources at Subic Bay. My old friend Mario came by and started some cosmetic projects, wax and varnish. You ask why i love Asia? hull waxed, $200 usd, 6 coats of varnish, $200 usd including materials!!! try that at home. That and the first real bath in 3 months and Furthur is standing tall. i restocked parts and filters, food and other things only found in civilization.
The crew took this time to do some land cruising. When they returned we had a long chat. They were unhappy i had waited for good weather as they were under some time limits and wanted to move faster so they left the boat. This has been an issue before with crew who do not understand i make “go” calls on weather not their needs. I am going to express this more clearly to future crew.
There was another issue that has risen in the past and did again. i have learned to mostly leave my “right/wrong” beliefs i carried in the western world behind me. i am here to immerse and learn not judge. For short time travelers and some veterans this is not easy. As anyone who follows my blog or facebook knows i have a eclectic group of friends gathered from this adventure, most i would not have attained at home. I have endearing friends who are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Lady Boys, and yes, bar girls. I would not trade any of the encounters for what i had at home.
The culture here is based on different values, family being number one. Elders are cared for by the young, it is a duty eagerly accepted and valued. You see no old folks homes or abandoned elderly here. For reasons i do not understand, this duty falls heavier on the females. Add to this duty taking care of small children. Again this falls on the females, the men seem to not have any responsibility for child support.
So a young single mother will usually leave her child in the loving care of her mother and venture to the city to earn a living for them all. This drives many into the sex trades. Again leave your western values at the airport because here it is accepted and not deemed wrong. The girls are generally very happy, especially when they are successful at supporting their family, they put huge value in this. they are stressed when they fail to produce enough to support the family. My involvement with this part of the culture has risen some judgment from some of the western women on the crew, others have embraced the encounters and gained new friends.