March 2011

Thursday 10th March - Location Puerto Princesa Philippines

It has been almost a month since my last blog but the difficulty is being able to get power for the computer together with a good internet connection to enable access to the website and upload photos. We are now spending a lot of time on anchor so power is a problem except when we are running the engine which normally means we are out of internet range.

Since leaving Brunei we sailed to the duty free Island of Labuan where we loaded up with wine and beer. We also obtained a really strong yogurt culture from another cruiser which is enabling me to make yogurt everyday.

 
 

From Labuan we sailed to the Island of Tiga – home to the “Survivor” series. The island is home to a large quantity of Monitor Lizards – some up to 1.5m long. These lizards are equally at home on land and under the water. The main attraction of the Island is the hot mud volcano which Lars and Mia bathed in. Unfortunately there was nowhere to shower off when they got out so they had to walk 0.75km barefoot through the jungle back to the beach.

 
 
 
 

From Tiga it was to Kota Kinabolo and one of the best marinas in SE Asia. Fantastic showers and swimming pools so it was our little taste of 5-star luxury for 24 hours.

From Kota Kinabolo we sailed to Kudat – the most northern point of Borneo, where we provisioned the boat and cleared out of Malaysia. It was a shame to leave Malaysia as I really like the country and the very friendly and honest people; but The Philippines was our next destination so we were all excited to arrive in a new country.

 

Our first landfall in The Philippines was Balabac - a very small fishing village with a mixture of Christian and Moslem villagers. Even though this village was so basic we did manage to obtain new Sim cards and Internet cards for use in Philippines.

It then took us a couple of days to sail to Puerto Princesa, with a stopover near Arrecife where Walter and Mia tried to dive – not very successfully as the visibility was poor and the water shallow.

We arrived in Puerto Princesa 5 days ago and anchored off the Albanico Yacht Club – a fantastic old style yacht club built on stilts out over the water and run by a British ex-pat and his Filipino wife. We were given a lift into town to eat as we had absolutely no food left on the boat. We had a fantastic meal and then a great Saturday night in a bar with live music from a local band playing odd instruments like a 2-string and 14-string guitar.

 
 

 
 


Puerto Princesa is a great place to be – plenty of good supermarkets to get food, beer is cheap and the people (99% Christian) very friendly. We took an organised trip to visit the Underground River which flows over 8km underneath a large mountain. It was a long trip bt well worth the effort as we saw quite a bit of the countryside en-route. The size of the caverns below the mountain is huge with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. Sorry not many good pictures underground due to lack of light.

 
 
 
 

Walter from Sweden left on Monday which was a great shame as I loved his sense of humour. He will be 72 this year and he still had no hesitation in climbing up the mast to free our courtesy flag. I am hoping he will join me on Freya in the future.

We now have 2 new crew – a Russian couple who seem very nice and willing to learn and participate with the duties on Jennifer

2 days ago we had hoped to sail to a fantastic world class dive site – two coral atolls - Tubbotaha Reefs. This is 130 Nm offshore and is a rigidly protected World Heritage site. We had to obtain both visitor and diving permits and the local support team visited us on Jennifer to brief us on our visit.

Unfortunately we are still in Puerto Princesa as we now have strong winds for the next few days and there is no shelter at the dive site. Which is the reason I can now produce this blog whilst sitting in the yacht club drinking beer and using their power and WiFi.

Malcolm


posted Mar 9, 2011, 11:20 PM by Malcolm Sanford   [ updated Mar 10, 2011, 12:20 AM ]


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