February 5-18, 2016: With our solar project and multitude of other boat projects completed, it was finally time to get cruising and try everything out to see how it all worked. For our first adventure of the 2016 cruising season, we settled on a short stop in Puerto Galera to be followed by a trip down the east side of Mindoro Island. Boracay was our ultimate destination before turning around and heading back to Subic. However, sometimes things don’t always work out to plan.
Day 1: Subic Bay to Port Binanga
We left the Subic Bay Yacht Club around 1400 on Friday and headed a short distance to Port Binanga for our first overnight anchorage. Usually this bay is very well protected but today we had some large swells coming straight in from the west. So much so, that Chris put out the paravanes while I made dinner. With all the work this week getting ready to leave Subic, we were wiped and asleep by 1930 (or 7:30 pm if you prefer).
Port Binanga Anchorage: 14 44.508 N, 120 15.985 E
Day 2: Port Binanga to Hamilo Cove
That made for an early wake up, but nevertheless it was around 0700 before we actually set off, taking time to bring in the paravanes and complete a few chores. It was overcast and we continued to roll our way along the coast and across Manila Bay. This stretch is notoriously rough, but didn’t kick up too much of a fuss until the last little bit to Hamilo Cove (aka Papaya Cove) where we anchored for the night. We had a short visit from our friendly Papaya fisherman, Junior and his daughter, before spending a relaxing evening on board.
Hamilo Cove Anchorage: 14 10.878 N, 120 36.214 E
Day 3: Hamilo Cove to Puerto Galera
We set off by 0615 the next morning for the final leg to Puerto Galera. The overcast skies and swell continued to follow us down the coast so we put up our main sail. That helped to stabilize things quite a bit. Even Verde Passage decided to treat us kindly today with a favourable current and smaller than usual whitecaps, and we made good time on the crossing, anchoring in the bay by 1530 on Sunday afternoon. The bay seemed a lot busier than usual with oodles of boats anchored. It was also greyer than usual, and windier than usual, with a light drizzle off and on.
Puerto Galera Anchorage: 13 30.662 N, 120 57.017 E
Days 4-14: Puerto Galera
The next couple of days were much the same with the occasional rain storm thrown in for good measure. To keep ourselves busy for two days while we were trapped on MOKEN by the weather, we started compiling an inventory of boat parts, I worked on a freelance writing assignment and the blog, Chris puttered around on an assortment of boat projects, we watched a multitude of movies and played a lot of Words with Friends. At least we had good 3G. Needless to say, the solar panels were not living up to their full potential because there wasn’t much sun to speak of.
It was so blustery that it took us a couple of days before we even attempted to lower the dinghy on Wednesday for a wet ride in to town. We didn’t see the sun until the following day.
Then we finally got a few nice sunny days, but in the bay the wind never really let up. At least our solar panels got a good workout, putting out up to 20 amps.
While waiting for a good weather window to continue on our cruising adventure, we made a few trips to the market for supplies, ate lunch at some new and some old favourite restaurants around the area, met up with our friends Paul and Flora and made new friends with some of the other cruisers, like Sy from FREE BIRD and Grant from PUERTO GALERA. We even celebrated Valentine’s Day.
We did a couple of dives with South Sea Divers in Sabang. I tried out a new underwater camera on the second dive, without success. I’m still learning the settings. The water was cold, only about 21C, and I was really happy to wear a hood and vest under my wetsuit. What’s up with this weather?
Eventually the wind let up, more or less. And yet we stayed put. We took the dinghy to a couple of different deserted beaches on a couple of different afternoons.
We even ran into some of our Subic Bay neighbours. There was Jeff on our sister ship, MOBY DUCK, and Ron and Victoria and their crew — Ninee, Henry, Mann and boat cat Wha Wha — from SLOW DANCE. Wha Wha is Nukaat’s frenemy. I guess we could have arranged a play date, but we should have been long gone before they ever arrived in PG.
We weren’t supposed to stay here this long! New islands awaited exploration. So what were we still doing anchored in the bay, not going anywhere, now that a perfect weather window was finally taunting us and our remaining days were counting down?
That’s a whole other story, so let’s save that for the next post.