February 21-28, 2018: After keeping MOKEN at the Subic Bay Yacht Club for nearly six years, the day finally arrived. It was time for us to move on, casting aside our complacency and dock lines, and cruise into new waters. Suddenly we were on our way to Borneo, land of the orange men (orangutans) and jungle treks to remote villages once populated by head hunters. But first we had to get there, and we were in no hurry to do so.
Here’s a sampling of our log from the first week of our latest adventure…
21 February, Wednesday
Last minute running around. Oliver’s guys washed the boat. Morning trip to market for fruit, veg and seafood. Ador’s guys brought new stainless davits around 1400h. Dealt with marina regarding final payment. They were confused as it was Pecxon’s day off. Big sendoff at the dock from Les and Kerri, Alice and Tracy, John and Kathy, and the guys. I cried. Betty is onboard with us as far as Puerto Galera.
1500h departure. Leaving Subic means no more air conditioning for us until we reach our next marina stop in Kota Kinabalu. Yikes! Oliver, Al and Carb (Carl Benson) came with us as far as the fuel dock. Took on 1400 litres. Chris added Biobor.
VHF not working. Called SBYC marina on phone to ask them to notify port control that we were leaving. Short smooth run out past Grande Island. Anchored in Port Binanga. Sunset swim. Dinner was pan grilled tuna with mango salsa and a green salad. Early night.
22 February, Thursday
On our way by 0620h. Set up Garmin inReach for tracking. Easy run to Hamilo Cove but salty. Our Raymarine E120 monitor grew very dim. Anchored by 1400h. Betty and I cleaned stainless and windows, then swam and wiped the hull waterline. Chris fixed the VHF and swapped to our “new to us” E120 monitor and worked on cleaning the outboard. Had an expected visit from the Rodriguez family. Shamel is now 13 and getting tall. Tostados for dinner. Another early night.
23 February, Friday
Up and away just after 0600h. Easy run down the coast of Luzon to Cape Santiago, making good time. Rough and slow across Verde Island Passage to Mindoro, so we took turns hand steering. Arrived in Puerto Galera and anchored near Bogete (sand bar) at 1630h. Another very salty crossing, so more stainless cleaning for Betts and I. Windy in the bay meant dinner on board, spicy chicken curry with coconut milk and rice. Belgian chocolates for dessert. Betty and I drank wine and played Punto.
24 February, Saturday
Boat from Edgewater Dive Resort picked us up at 0900h after coffee and breakfast on board. Dove with Larry (DM) and Gerry (boatman) as our friend Paul was teaching a course. First dive at Sabang Point. Second dive at giant clams and muck dive in the bay. Both excellent. Larry has great eyes. Lunch between dives at the resort with Paul. Service was very slow, so we held up everyone for the second dive. Afterwards, had drinks and back to the boat. Betty packed her stuff and we took her to Bogete to send her off on the seaplane. Fun to have her along, but too short. From there, we went to Montani’s for a snack. Chris asleep by 1900h, me soon after.
25 February, Sunday
I spend the morning washing floors and doing bookkeeping prep. We had late lunch with Paul and Richard at Edgewater. After we paid up, we took our rinsed dive gear back to the boat. Then off to the PG yacht club for showers and a drink. Ordered kilawin but it never arrived. Somehow order got lost during a shift change. Chris dropped me at Muelle, and I ordered two pizzas at Robby’s and walked to town to buy some Turco rust converter while waiting. Back on MOKEN, Chris lifted dinghy and I kept on with bookkeeping and submitted T4s while we still had internet. Didn’t get to bed until after 2200h. Kitty came in and puked once on sheets and then once on the floor, which I managed to step in and slipped. What a mess to clean up. Poor puss. Chris ran the wind generator overnight. The whirring white noise is very quiet but may take some time to get used to.
26 February, Monday
Up before 0500 and underway in the dark shortly after. Light following sea, but we hand steered to save wear and tear on our autopilot pump. Sunrise at 0619h. Easy run along north coast of Mindoro. Winds under 10 knots from stern and speeds up to 7.5 knots. Messy as per usual as we neared Cape Calavite. Winds briefly topped 27 knots and knocked our speed down to 5.3 knots. Once past Apo Point, winds dropped, seas calmed, autopilot switched on and a quick run to Mamburao, averaging 6.6 knots. Got rid of dodgy vegetables overboard. Anchored by 1515h. Slightly overcast, light breeze from offshore. Not much roll, thankfully. Dinner was leftover coconut chicken curry with extra veg added.
27 February, Tuesday
Alarm at 0430h, underway by 0500h. Straight line for entrance to Maraicaban on the north coast of Busuanga Island. Dodged a few freighters. Hot, partly overcast. Winds under 7 knots. Some swell/roll but seas calm. Would have been a great overnight at Apo Reef but didn’t stop as outboard not in tiptop shape. Arrived at El Rio moorings and tied up to outside mooring by 1600h. I went for a swim while Chris let down the dinghy. Then we headed to the resort’s lobby to sign in. We had a quick chat with the manager, Menshi, (who we met last year) before back on board for dinner. More leftovers.
28 February, Wednesday
Hung out on MOKEN during the day. A little cleaning here, a little snoozing there. It was a super calm day. Went for a snorkel to the reef bar. Oodles of fish under the bar. They are getting big. Must be all the rice they get fed by the guests. We went to shore around 1700h for drinks and met up with Steve. This time we stayed for dinner on shore. The Spicy Seafood was excellent. We left before the singers came to serenade us.
Stayed tuned for more adventures on MOKEN as we continue to slowly, slowly make our way south to Borneo, and I slowly, slowly remember to update the blog.