In for the Long Haul

A month ago we hauled the boat.

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Kate on the hard in the Philippines

It seemed like it took forever to finalized the haul out plan with the yard. Spaces were limited, the travel lift broke, communication was via email was difficult. Then we had to actually get there; hoping for wind that never seemed to blow while we were underway and babying our extremely tired engine while we asked it to run for many more hours than we liked or even thought possible. By the time the stars aligned and the morning of our haul out arrived we were both exhausted. Yet there was still a whole lot of work to do.

Although we planned to our haul out to so we could finally tackle our on going engines troubles (you may remember the fun had when we sailed around Costa Rica, or when we replaced the fuel tank and pump back in Fiji, or when we burnt the head gasket back in Palau, ) and do some routine below-water maintenance there was a much bigger project we had to tackle first; closing the boat up for long term storage.

For the first time in several years we were heading home to visit family in Canada, only we decided to make it a complete surprise. So there could be no posting pictures on instagram, no FB updates and no detailed blog posts about all the mold I wiped off the ceiling, and how many years I shortened our lives by when spraying the boat for cockroaches.

Leaving a boat in the tropics is always a big job and by the time we put in the last board, hefted our luggage onto our shoulders and headed to Manila we were both exhausted. Then came the 30 hours of travel time, including three flights and a sleepless night in an airport on my birthday.

The surprise was a complete success, and although we are enjoying some time away from the boat the work continues; sourcing parts, researching projects, hatching ideas. Now that the secret is out I will take advantage of the crazy fast internet here on land and start to catch up here on all our latest adventures. Until then, you’ll find us in the backyard enjoying a Keith’s, watching the fog roll down the bay.

Love,

H&S

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Galley Notes: Street Food

I haven’t been here much recently. By here I mean both on the blog and in the galley.

My enthusiasm for the blog ebbs and flows like the tide. Ironically, when we finally have half decent internet access and I get a chance to ‘catch up’ with the world is when I experience the most resistance to blogging. I start comparing our adventures to the thousands of other sailing and travel blogs. I spend too much of my time online and I find myself thinking things like “Oh, this would make a good blog post”, and “Gotta make sure I get a good photo to post online.”

Thinking of our lives as fodder for the blog, as not much more than material for a story, means that I am not being present in my experiences but rather just recording them. Living your life for someone else, an unknown, online audience, is exhausting. So, I chose to put down the camera, forget about the blog and just enjoy my time exploring the world with Steve. Only when I fill myself with enough real-world experience do I feel able to come back to this virtual world.

My time in the galley has also been brief as of late. This is partially because we’ve been trying to cover a lot of miles in the Philippines, without the help of much wind. This has meant early departures, lunches underway and two tired crew that can’t be bothered to stand over the stove after they’ve just thrown the anchor. There has been a lot of rice and fill-in-the-blank meals; spicy beans, shredded chicken with a splash of salsa, veggies and a fried egg. There’s also been lots of quick bowl dinners; pho, whatever’s in the fridge salads, pasta served with a hasty pan sauce. There’s been lots of leftovers. It’s food that fills the belly but doesn’t really inspire the soul.

It is also because ready-made food in the Philippines is practically on every street corner, and we’ve been taking full advantage.

Continue reading

Top Ten on the Beach

We spent last weekend on the beach, but not just any beach. We spent last weekend on perhaps the busiest beach in all of the Philippines.

The island of Boracay (pronounced Bor-RA-cai) is only 9km long and 1km wide. White Beach takes up most of the western side of the island and is THE tourist hot spot, not just for locals but for the international crowd as well. With everything from hostels to exclusive resorts you can imagine that the scene on the beach is pretty interesting.

Although we did enjoying some world class people watching what caught my eye the most was the vendors, who make the rounds laden with goods, some practical, some absurd. Also, it wouldn’t be a day on the beach without some street food, or I guess beach food. So here, in no particular order, are:

The Top 10 Things You Can Buy on the Beach Continue reading

Gigantes Sur in a Nutshell, OK Seashell

Last week we stopped at a little island called Gigantes Sur. Still in the Western Visayas province of the Philippines it is a small island off the east coast of Panay; a dot among several others in the area. There isn’t too much in the way of Cruising Guides for the Philippines, or at least not that we have. Quite frankly it has been nice not to have one, nice not to have some unknown opinion mire our choices. Gigantes Sur was not listed in our almost decade old Lonely Planet and Google Earth only showed a small fishing village, so we had didn’t expect to find much ashore. All of which was fine with us.

Our choice to anchor there was made purely by how it looked on the chart; a wide bay with a slowly shoaling cove that ended in a sandy beach, which probably meant good holding and there wouldn’t too many rocks to snag the chain on. The anchorage was protected from the predicted winds, was within our travel range and we were well provisioned. Really Gigantes was just another stepping stone in our voyage north, not much more a convenient stop over, a place to rest for a night or two.

The thing is about exploring is that you never really know what you’ll find. So we when pulled into the anchorage and saw flags lining not one but two beaches nearby and a parade of boats depositing people on those beaches we were more than a little surprised. Gigantes Sur was not just a sleepy little fishing village, it was a destination. Continue reading

First Impressions; Philippines

We’ve been in the Philippines for almost three weeks now, which for me is just enough time to start to get comfortable in a place. After a few weeks I’ve finally stop comparing our current destination to the one we just left. After a few weeks I have gotten past the shock and awe factor that always comes with exploring a new place and instead I let the everyday happenings inform my opinion about the country and its people. And so after three weeks what do I think of the Philippines?

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Kate on anchor in Surigao City

It’s amazing.

There are 7107 islands that make up the Philippines, so even though we had 13 anchorages at 10 different islands so far we haven’t even scratched the surface of getting to know the country as a whole. That said everywhere we’ve been the people have been friendly. We are greeted with big smiles and enthusiastic waves and since we try not to frequent the tourist spots, so those smiles are genuine. We feel welcome. Continue reading

Goodbye Palau, Hello Philippines

After what seems like endless delays we are finally underway to the Philippines!!! The passage from Palau to Surigao, our first port, is about 500NM, so with any luck and some good winds we should be in the Philippines in 4-5 days. As always we will be dropping a GSP waypoint daily via our SPOT. You can follow along on our Facebook page or HERE.

Until we see you on the other side, Safe Sailing!

Love,

H&S