April 14, 2013: At 04:50, in the dark, with the depth sounder reading just 5’9″ of water beneath our keel, we departed from North Pandan Island and started to make our way north along the west coast of Mindoro. As we rounded the end of North Pandan, the water depths quickly increased to a couple hundred feet. Strange how that feels so much safer.
Mindoro sheltered us from the Amihan, the dry wind of the northeast monsoon that exists over much of the Philippines from November to April. There were quite a few fishing boats and freighters about, and wouldn’t you know it, despite the vastness of the ocean, on three occasions we had to give way to approaching vessels…even when we technically had the right away. But who’s going to argue, especially when there’s a monstrous cargo ship bearing down on us.
No breeze and lots of sun meant another hot day, but the seas were cooperative and we were making good time. At least until we reached Calavite Passage. We weren’t quite so lucky this time around. This was the place we’d been warned about before we left Puerto Galera. Rather than re-rounding Cape Calavite, this time we would cut straight across from Mindoro to Lubang Island. It was more rock and roll than rough, with some spray on the deck, which meant closing all the windows, doors and hatches on the windward side…and closing out all the cool breeze that arrived once we left the shelter of Mindoro behind.
Poor kitty. He didn’t enjoy this part one bit. He likes to sit outside on the back deck to get the full effect of the breeze, but it was in full sun. Not a good place to be when you’re wearing fur. It meant he got a dousing with fresh water to help him keep his cool and then got to sit under a wet tea towel. At least he was somewhat accepting, if not exactly enthusiastic.
Once we made it to the lee side of Lubang, the seas calmed right down again, the rest of the day was pleasant and kitty perked right back up. The wind was behaving oddly here, changing direction every little while. Being out of cell service, we weren’t sure what the weather was going to do overnight, so we decided to play it safe and anchor a little earlier than our intended spot at the southwest tip of Lubang. We found a little bay protected from all but winds from the south and dropped anchor in about 35 feet of water at 16:00 hours.
Here’s where I discovered, and quite unpleasantly I might add, that best before dates on eggs really ought to be respected. We had to enjoy our Pampanga’s Best Beef Tapa and rice for dinner minus the fried eggs that usually go with.
Although we never set foot on Lubang Island, we did know a little something about its history. Mostly a fishing community, it gained some notoriety in 1974. That’s the year when Hiroo Onoda, an Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer from World War Two, was relieved of duty by his commanding officer. No joke! His orders had been to do what he could to disrupt enemy attacks on the island, and not to surrender or take his own life. And so he’d continued to fight the war for nearly 30 years after it ended. Given the circumstances, President Marcos granted him a pardon for his part in the killings of 30 islanders. (Onoda doesn’t get full credit…originally there were four Japanese soldiers holding out).
You just can’t make this stuff up. There’s a lot more to the story here and in his autobiography, appropriately entitled “No Surrender”. Fascinating!
Distance Covered: 68 NM
Travel Time: 11 hours
Anchorage: Near Pinagdagatan Point, Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro 13⁰ 45.741 N / 120⁰ 8.188 E