The Rally Begins

me and the Furthur crew at the Kick Off Party
After a gala Kick Off Party, where we were entertained by local dancers and a howling funny large ladyboy MC we readied Furthur for the beginnings of our next adventure. With our “full dress parade flags” flying joined the twelve boats in the Sail Tamini Rally and as the gates opened formed a parade departing Oceanview Marina. It is with a tear that we leave Samal Island as we have all grown to like this place, “gonna miss this island” we all say.

As the parade broke up we headed south down the water way that separates Samal Island from Davao Cit. The adverse current took us down to 5 knots and yet Furthur seemed to pull ahead of the fleet. We are traveling with another Trawler, Restless, a brand new North Pacific Trawler, with my friend John and his three Filipina girl crew. John is a long time follower of the blog, Furthur Adventures, and seems to adapt to my all girl crew idea well.

Sadly one of our cruising buddies quickly found out why i preached, “test ride” before the rally and Sidewidner had to turn around to solve an overheating problem. Knowing that gremlins thrive on idle boats, we had taken Furthur out the week before for an overnight run just to avoid such discoveries. We had sat in the marina for three solid months, possibly the longest time Furthur has been marina bound ever.

The first leg was a short one, forty five miles, to a nice quiet anchorage just south of the city, we arrived ahead of the fleet which is odd as we didn’t to exceed seven knots. Soon four other boats joined us. The smaller, slower sailboats took a different first stop but would catch up soon. A first light departure put us enroute for Sarangini Island, the last of the over 7,000 Filipina islands. Where we were invited to a local village festival.

The next leg gave us the choice of a night passage or breaking it up with a stop at an island that might be less protected, we opted for that risk. Even with wild current swings, from plus 1.5 knots to minus two knots, we arrive just as planned at 3pm. When we could look down and see the anchor in 70ft of water, we all chanted dive, dive, dive and in we went. We spent a rolly night, thank God for our Rolex stabilizer system, sadly our cruising companions did not have one so we watched them roll quite a bit. The next morning John added the system to his next wish list, haha.

We arrived at the first Rally destination, Sangihe, early afternoon only to discover the promise new moorings were nowhere to be found and all the old ones taken by the five boats that arrived earlier. We did find on a bit down the bay and albeit a longer dingy ride, we were in much smoother water. i dove the mooring as no one seemed to know its structure and found it to be OK, if the wind did not switch.

ten customs officers searched Furthur, all very friendly albeit thorough
The customs/quarantine and Immigration officials cleared us in only after a thorough searching of the boat by ten men. This seemed a bit over done to most of us, especially when they insisted we all sing a document stating they did not steal or seek bribes, we had to sign it before they inspected!

reuniting with cruiser friends is always a party
Now was time for the fun. We reunited with our friends, heard the news on the remaining boats and joined the town in their gala weeklong festival. We were treated like rock stars. The usual mob of gleaming teenagers holding smart phones, “picture with you mister?” This went on everywhere we went, it is so much fun!

We were given front row, guest of honor seats for the presentations. Each regional group does a show, exotic costumes, singing and dancing. It was truly awe inspiring.

Donna and i skipped one of the sponsored dinners and hit a local spot. As we were enjoying our diners, two giggling teenage girls approached us, cameras in hand. We did every possible combination of the four of us for the photos. Some friends of theirs joined us and we all chatted quite a while. As we left i was near tears, (ya again) and i told Donna, this would never happen in America. No way would any teenager seek my company let alone a complete stranger. i laughed as i told her that if i was seen taking selfies with a 15 year old girl in the states, someone would call security. The respect and eagerness to connect with older people is prevalent here, sadly not so in the US.

The next day we joined the Restless crew and hired a van to take us to some famed waterfalls. Ten of the government tourist folks seemed concerned so joined us, we had more tourist staff than tourists. The water falls were spectacular and the cool swim after the rugged hike was a welcome treat.

One more night of gale dancing and festivities and we left beautiful Sangihe, bound for the next adventure.

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