30 April, 2009


Made it to Palawan after a peaceful five day sail.   All sailing to weather.  Where were the trusty Nor'easters???  We had all westerlies, or some version of them.  But it was a great easy going trip.  Ate some great meals.  Played lots of guitar.  Relearned some stars.  Caught NO fish, but saw some whales and dolphins and the like.
We are provisioning in Puerto Princessa before heading south down the coast to places beyond.

22 April, 2009

Brillig at a distance off NW Camotes

Annabelle on a Carabou (buffalo)

And we're off. . .

Bonbonon, Negros, Philippines

My documentation came through after a second trip back to Cebu to receive it.  We loaded water and some stores, said some serious goodbyes and were off.   In earnest.
This time I could feel it.  We were heading south to Bonbonon with nothing drawing us back.  Finally, after a year and some in Drydock I was really, truly leaving.

We got a fair breeze, which was unexpected.  We sailed.  Brillig sailed!!  And she sailed well.  Close to the wind we could let the tiller free and she would steer her own course.  This is a blessing.  But the weather turned squally, and the rain was not unappreciated.  And would be the tone of the passage:  Rain, followed by calms, winds that quartered around the compass unti the next squall came along.
But we were gone, and loving it.  It took a couple of days to do the miles to Bonbonon.  We actually tried making anchor on Siguiour Island but the harbour was so noisy and nasty we did a u-turn and went back to sea.

We saw plenty of dolphins for a change.  Motored a lot of the way--a new experience for me.  But I am glad to see the engine running reasonibly well.  Minor leaks here and there.  We call her Yolanda the Yanmar.  We have a list of names actually.

Herbie   -    windvane
Frida    -    fisherman anchor
Suzie   -     stay'sle
geeps   -     gps
Sea Biscuit- inflatible dinghy
Alice, Carol, AC, or Carolina - hard dinghy
Algernon -   main anchor
Boots   -    Bootsie's ashes that hang on mast step
blotter   - the chart plotter
CPR     -    the CQR anchor, that we don't love
MaxSuck - a chart program called MaxSea, that Annabelle does not love
Marvin   -    a name I am considering calling the main'sle

Tomorrow we set out for Palawan, west of here a couple hundred miles.  Until last night we were going east to Palau.  But. . . plans don't always last.  And this seems the better plan.  Though a drastically different one perhaps.  We shall see.  But our time in the Philippines is nearly done.  Hopefully we saved the best for last.

13 April, 2009

Brillig's first passages

Camotes Islands.

First, I have loved having an engine. We would have gone nowhere for the last few weeks without one.
Second, the Camotes were brilliant. People said, "Oh, it is a convenient stop, good shakedown, ect. ". . . Man the Camotes are Grand! Forget convenient. They were clean and quiet and wonderful. The people were so happy to have us around. A few kids spent the entire day sitting quietly in our Sea Biscuit, our dinghy.
We went for walks down dirt "highways" and drank a bit with the locals.

We made two trips. My mail hadn't arrived in Danao, and it was a long holiday for easter, so we left and came back to the Camotes until after the holiday.

The first trip we did the south side of the islands. The second trip we did the north. Three of the four anchorages were fine. All a bit exposed. Pretty rolly, and all pretty. One was a bit "pecular", anc.ed on the edge of a shallow reef. Too shallow with spring tides. We only stayed a night there.

Highlights were Annabelle riding a buffalo (carabou in Visayan), the kids always swimming around the boat near San Isidro, and then capsizing their boat, breaking the outrigger because of the sheer population of kids aboard.
Actually, at Lake Lanau (a brackish lake that reportedly has crocodiles), the beer was so shockingly cold, it was truly a highlight as well.
I enjoyed the afternoon walks. The streets in the Camotes were so quiet and clean, and shady, you could walk forever, farm to farm, village to village, everyone waves and is courteous and curious. We are always comfortable with the people. There is little to fear here. No dark eyes.

Brillig has performed well. No wind to really get a fair trial, but a little. Herb, the windvane, worked well when asked to do his service. A little surprising for a first go.

So all is well. Still have plenty of little problems, but we are now seeing the last of Danao and gearing up to cross to Palau, a far western Micronesian Island about 550 miles to the east of here, famous for diving.
I have some good pictures and will load them soon, maybe in Negros. The computer here wants to be unhelpful.

Congrats to my niece Marty, who just had a baby girl. Hurray!!!! I'm a Great-Uncle (????).


Awesome. John, the buyer is a great guy. Spent several days with him going over the boat. It is a done deal. It is wonderful to have that burden removed before leaving the Philippines in earnest.

Also got to meet some of John's friends who happened to be cruising in the area and came by. Their names were Mike and Sheila, on Kantala. We became friends and cruised across to the Camotes with them for a night.