Friday, 28 September 2012

Dive Kapalai and Mabul islands. Fri 28/09/12

Local diving,so sleep in till 7,breakfast and down lift to diveboat at 8 am.
5 minutes over to kapali.huge resort built over  reef/ sand.said to be most expensive at 1000 rm per person per day.on this dive we saw little things- nudibranches,octopus,ghost pipefish,moray eel.pleasant but not exciting like sipidan.back to rig for surface interval coffee break.
Dive 2 was at mabul-Called LobsterLair.we only saw one lobster but he was technicolour.50 minute dive.lots of lovely nudibranches.BLue ribbon eels- vertical,half out of sand,bright medium blue with bright yellow head and fangs.
After lunch on rig we went back over to mabul for third dive,called Paradise One.sandy bottom,50 min,- striped snake eel,seahorse,little shrimps shining translucently in torchlight,a floundfr swimming flatly,crocodile fish,nudibranches,ornamental pipefish,, two big turtles- one cleaning its back under artificial reef,and my favourite- the black frog fish- looking as if waddling along on "hindlegs".not sure about paradise name for dive,as too much rubbish on bottom- glass bottles,plastic bottles,plastic bags,food the dive site is within 75 meres off expensive stilt resort,I think they should keep their front yard tidy!

DIVE SIPIDAN DAY 3 sept 27,2012

Another great day with 3 dives and all the usual stars.
After lunch we edited kerry' s photos from yesterday,and then they were put on CD

DIVE SIPIDAN DAY 2 - wed 26/09/2012

They said there was another big storm overnight ,,which I Slept through.It remained overcast for most of our stay.would have been nice to have had some sun,but is the rainy  season,and less crowded,so ended up with 3 days diving sipidan.
kerry hired an underwater camera for today.some of the shots came out adds another dimension to we will have to do some research and get one.
3 dives again today.highlights of first dive were the humphead parrot fisg again,but this time,not busily swimming,just hovering in current.also the jackfish- a huge school again,ditto the barracuda.
Dive 2 had over 50 reef sharks,many just resting on bottom,others swimming close,all putting on a great turtles.
Dive 3-a drift dive- turtles and sharks,and lots of coral fish at 5 meter ,3 minute,decompression stop.
Amazing to be back by midday,hot shower and  nice lunch by 1pm,having done 3 fabulous dives.So pm read and nap.then 6pm,donned scuba gear,descended by lift,for a night dive,under the oil rig.the fish look so bright in the torch light.some some cute,and some ugly hermit crabs,lion fish, and parrot fish withteeth that a dentist would drool over.7 pm dinner. The noticeboard says we dive SIPIDAN again tomorrow! So 8 pm bed.

DIVE SIPIDAN tue 25/09/2012

What a magical day!
Mango and coffee 0530.speedboat departure 0600. Arrive sipidan0630.just a little green island(13acres) with pale beach.there is a small hut where you sign in.40 rm ($13) per day for permit.
1st dive =Coral Garden.the highlights were the Bumphead Parrotfish and the Barracuda.
The BUMPHEAD PARROTFISH swam in huge schools in single file,big grey fish,with huge teeth.the teeth crunch the coral.
The BARRACUDA were in a large school,slowly swimming into the current,killing machines in slow motion up close.
Then we went deeper- half a dozen reef sharks and turtles- fabulous.
Back to island ,for cooked breakfast.
Dive #2-Barracuda point.huge school of Jacks- siver fisg,swimming slowly,mouths opening and closing,fish all around us- magic.then deeper- sharks and turtles galore.
After another surface break on island,hot coffee,did dive  #3=HAnging Garden.about .20 sharks,and50 turtles! Many swimming by very  slowly and very close.some turtles resting on sandy ledges  in rockwall.
Sipidan has lived up to its reputation!
Back to rig by shower.lovely papers and book,have a nap,then 5 pm ferry over to mabul is a small island with several luxery resorts,with many rooms on stilts over water.however half the island has local housing,providing a dramatic contrast- many very smakk and rustic.perhaps another contrast- none were overweight,and they were very happy,especially the the bay in front of resorts were live aboard boats- local people, with women cooking on little fires on back.teenage boys on coloutful speedboats were sharpening harpoons. Lovely greenblue water - all very photogenic.young boys were swimming.walking on,we were on a beach belonging to resort,another contrast,going from a crowded scene of brown people in clothes,to uncrowded beach with white people wearing very little.we then continued around the island,past local stilt houses silohetted by lovely sunset,then main local village,then a few more resorts,then back to jetty for 6.30 ferry back.7pm dinner- they have a very good cook here.during the meal there was live music- very tgood,3 guitarists,and drummer,all rig crew,with lead singer being Mando.then out came a birthday cake as the band played happy birthday- it was the boss's birthday- everyone sang happy birthday- a popular boss.he made a short speech,saying he had the best crew ever,so they all cheered and sang again as the band played H B again,a great night.after a break,the party was ready for second session at 9.30,but we were ready for bed.
And the noticeboard says we are diving SIPIDAN again tomorrow,so. 6 am depature.

OIL RIG monday 24/09/2012

Up at 0500,taxi0530'to airport,for flight to TAWAU, northeast sabah.dive shuttlebus drove us past endless palm oil plantations on one hour drive to SEMPORNA,where Seaventures have their office.paid balance on dive trip,bought some mangos,and hopped on speedboat 30 min trip to oil rig.this structure is painted in bright colours,is next to mabul island,near kapalai island,20-30 min from sipidan island,and is our accommodation for next 6 nights.
We got off speedboat onto external lift,which took us up to oil rig platform.having sailed past so many oil rigs recently,we were fascinated to be on one.after the welcome drinks,briefing and lunch we were off on our first dive - under and around the oil rig- down the lift and jump in.lots of fish,with several artificial reefs- the dive highlight being the 2 biggest moray eels we have seen- they were huge..after a 75 min break back on rig- coffee-we had our 2 nd dive,a short boat trip across to MAbul island,about 1 km- luxery resorts on stilts over aqua blue water.more artificial reefs on sandy bottom.there were  2 huge turtles just flopped on artificial reef,ornate pipefish,frog fish- looking like a bit of black seaweed,snake eel .with its head coming out of sand.Mando,our dive leader was great.he is a little philippino man,shorter than me,with a big smile,a ready laugh,and a good eye.when he spots something he jangles a bell on his metal pointer.on the rig he often plays his guitar and sings.
Afternoon tea every day is 4 pm- today it was banana fritters.then hot shower and wifi.
We have a lovely room on level 3,with en suite,and view over M abul.
SIPIDAN island is the main dive site.there are no resorts on has a permit system- only 120 divers a day!if we booked 4 nights,you get 1 definite days diving sipidan,but as we booked 5 nights,we are guaranteed 2 days.
And we are on the list of 11 divers going to Sipidan tomorrow!

Miri marina fri 21/09/12

Nice sleep in.simon taxied us to customs and immigration.bbq duck for late lunch.3 km walk back to marina.
SAT 22/09/12.up early- kerry booking flights,and bruce accommodation for sipidan trip.kerry organised pickup and deliver laundry and gas bottle,and simon ditto ,4 jerrycans of diesel.
Technical problems fitting new anchor winch phlange,so took photos,and emailed australia.
Read loan copy of jimmy cornells book on world cruising routes - lucky we didnt read it before we went to philippines,as he says wrong time of year to return!useful reading on rest of trip to singapore.will have to get latest edition.
A yacht came in last night and said this is their last stop before mauritius.
Dinner - fried last potatos,tomatoes with onoin- delicious.
Skype home-isn't skype great.
SUN-23/09/12.more diesel- main tanks now full.simon took us into cbd for his and hers haircuts- nice for diving.another lovelyduck rice lunch at a lovely little local busy chinese restaurant.then fly to Kota Kinabalu.stayed at borneo backpackers,address =Australia Place- as site of camp spot for liberating australian soldiers 1945.we walked to waterfront,bought antihistamine for kerrys diving,then found a lovely sidewalk bar,and had a few drinks,relaxing,watching the world go by,and enjoying bruschetta with salmon,so nice we had seconds.then on to dinner- another cosy busy chinese back to hostel as a huge storm hit- so glad not at sea.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

.MIRI MIDNIGHT thur20/09/2012

We arrived off miri marina at midnight.457 n m by chartplotter log,4 days ,3 nights,90hours,mostly motorsailing,10 hours just expected going against prevailing windss,avoiding reefs etc and having a deadline.looking forward tradewind sailing next year.
when passing brunei we saw lots of offshore oil/gas platforms.on reaching sarawak ,there were more.we went thru a huge field of about a hundred structures just before sunset,following our track on chartplotter from borneo yacht race,and another field ,after dark,similarly.quite spectacular all lit up,and one huge flame burning brightly.lots of anchored ships,and some moving,so ais very helpful.
a relief to finally be off miri,with bad weather behind us,little swell and wind.rounded the seahorse statue marking channel in to marina.hightide so depth OK. Dark water perfectly still.marina completely quiet.Drifted into empty bay,tied up,motor off.Had a few beers.\/wines,sitting in cockpit,with boat not moving,and reflected on our passage and the great time we had had in the night watces tonight,so nav lights off,and both went to bed.

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passing brunei thur20sept 2012 7am

good morning,we are still going south.last night was 3 rd night,and we split the watch.the stars came out,the seas flattened,it was a lovely night.put 80 litres of diesel from our 4 jerrycans into main fuel tanks.breakfast was delicious-baked beans with leftover casserole,with kerrys bread toasted.overnight could see lots of squid boats,out on a dark night they like.just passed between many huge tanker ships,anchored off labuan,labuan is another state of malaysia,small island,off sabah,with big refinery..also gas wells on horizen with big bright flame,creating false sunset / have true lightening ,and storm,25 knots.hoping we get below it passing brunei.should arrive miri tonight-if calm may go in,otherwise anchor off till daybreak.just read 2nd inspector rebus novel-a good read on a long back to paul theroux,in the pacific,in N Z in current chapter-he is most amusing,so will continue with the pacific inthe south china sea!bye for now love bruce/dad and mum/kerry

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morning swim wed 19sept2012,sailing sabah storms 10am

good morning,decided to continue overnight,crossing philippines to malaysia.good crossing.picked up vibration early am which on 3 prior occasions meant rope caught aroundpropellor after sunrise I went overboard with mask and fins,and a rope tied around my waist,went under haven and removed offending piece of old rope.kerry has made bread dough,so fresh baked bread for lunch.we are sailing along n w coast of sabah ,borneo.we passed my kinabalu,but most of it covered by cloud.then whole sky
clouded over,we just got hit by storm,now just driving rain and wind on nose again,the less glamorous side of sailing!but safe and sound,on time to get to miri in sarawak,by friday,we then need to fly to kota kinabaku to fly to sipidan 24 sept for 40 n m will pass KK,then 180 n m past brunei,to the safety of miri marina,sarawak.bye for now,love bruce/dad and kerry

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still sailing down s e coast palawan 7am tue 18sept2012.puerto princesa to miri

good morning,motor`sailed thru nite.going into moderate heavy wind and swell.lots of water over front of haven but cockpit dry.thunderstorms over land but not on us so far.will probably stop for a break at balabac island,just south of palawan,and plan crossing balabac strait,and next section to kota kinabalu/miri.lovely pork casserole with veges for dinner last nite.about to get breakfast.kerry just finnished land beneath the wind by agnes keith,.yesterday i finnished 2nd dick francis,now reading an inspector rebus mystery.bye for dad/bruce and so safe and hotmail till further notice.just sailmail.

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BACK TO BORNEO mon19-tue20/09/2012

We pulled the anchor and chain upoby hand,and left about 6,followed by azzan and veedon fleece.
we are aiming for miri,but could stop at kota kinabalu.480 nm to miri marina in sarawak,.we fly to sipidan mon 24 sept to go diving.160 nm to balabac,philippines island just below palawan,55nm ocross balabac strait,where weather could be worst,then 85nm to KK in sabah,then 180 nm to miri,passing brunei on the way.
In the afternoon there were rolling storms and rain along coast,but over land and not over us. the rain flattened the sea and storms gave better wind angle.the forcast had said sw winds and we are going sw=not good.
the other 2 boats stopped to anchor for the night,we continued on.
Overnight some stars came outand we made good progress.In the 1st 30 hours we motorsailed24 and just sailed 6 hours.
We downloaded the grib files wind weather via HF radio,which showed good wind angle in balabac strait=from west,so plan not to stop at balabac island,and go overnight 4pm we passed the tip of balabac island=leaving the philippines.while returning against the sw monsoon(easier coming back in ne monsoon which starts dec),and copping bad weather from typhoon effect,we are really glad we came to the philipines.we saw some amazing scenary,kayaking, wreck diving,leper museum,some great anchorages,and especially visiting a new country-culture,food,history.
we started crossing balabac strait1600 hrs,had a great run,and reached borneo 0200 hrs

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A few familiar yachts-babadudu and amazing grace heading north,azzan also going south.our oddtsy and veedon fleece came over for a chat.anchored off Albonoca Yacht Club is one our favourite places.
we checked the weather,.the depression had turned into a typhoon.alth in N E p,pines,& not heading away our way,it still creates bad weather down here,so probably not able to continue for a few we had a complete day on the boat,.so nice.time for rading and relaxing.kerry-land below the wind.bruce-twice shy-ancient 1982 dick francis thriller.also started paul theroux's the happy isles of oceania-paddling the chap 20-the cook islands-in the lagoon of aitutaki-a book to read by also started another dick francis-the edge 1988.
The next day ,sat,still intermittentrain and departed.did a diesel run.the buoy weather wer subscribe to indicatescan go on mon or tue.
On Sunday we got a trike to markets to provision.a full house for abonica yachtclub buffet.a great atmosphere.dinner on haven,and final weather check-we leave tomorrow.

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This was our wildest passage yet.187 nm,34 hours,overnight,nonstop.
we rechecked weather first thing,and while not great,going back seemed better than being a sitting duck in el nido anchorage.We said goodbye to papillion and naiete,then rushed in to collect laundry and get breadrolls.we left about 10 in sunshine,but half an hour later,while still amongst he islands,with mainsail with 2nd reef half up,we got hit by our strongest storm yet.35 knots with gusts to main up,and partially furled foresail,and started clearing the islands and finding open so cold and wet ,i put my wetsuit on.will have to think new dodger with sides.lots of swell.only lasted an hour.all good experience.By 2pn we were rounding the top of palawan,with a storm behind us .we went south and it missed us.Calmer seas in lee of sw wind ,on east coast.glad we were not going down west coast.That night was a dark night,so lots of squid boats out.good progress till wind on nose,20-25 knots,gusts to43,big swell,and slow going motoring into it.moved away from coast and got better angle,doing 6 knots.then came the rain,flatter seas,less wind,good progress,chartplotter says can make puerto princesa by 7pm.which we did,in a rain after sunset,but we crept in again,using chartplotter to avoid 22 boats at anchor,before was 18.Kerry showed great spatial ability choosingsafe spot to drop anchor.What a relief.anchor alarm says not dragging.dinner=all our leftover veges boiled and topped witg grated parmesan cheese and pepper,with a lovely 3 y o oz chardonnay.early bed and deep sleep.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Art cafe do 4 main island tours-see brochure photo.we chose tour A Minoloc island-kayak and snorkel.the weather didnt look perfect as we dinghied ashore in the rain.our big banga was waiting for us at the beach,with 3 double kayaks loaded on the outriggers.took about 20 minutes to get over to minoloc,and on the way they had to hand out the raincoats.we put our short wetsuits on and were OK.The banga then left the sea,going into island via narrow shallow passage,to Big Lagoon-lovely still blue water,with tall steep grey limestone cliffs with adherent tropical vegetation-most spectacular,and a great kayaking spot.
Then around to Secret Lagoon.Quite rough,so we had to wear masks when swimming to beach,to see rocks under water.safely on beach,we went thru a very small opening in cliff to a lovely little lagoon,open to the sky,but completely surrounded by high cliffs.Next stop was Small Lagoon.we kayaked into it via a small hole in cliff-more spectacular scenary.We then had lunch on a lovely beach-luckily the rain had stopped and the sun came out.after a nice snorkel over coral reef,they served a great meal they had just cooked on the beach.On the way to last stop we were hit by a big storm-at one stage there was a 360 degree after a short snorkel,we headed back to el nido.I was relieved to see haven ,albeit not where we had left her.klaus on papillion, noted haven dragging,went over in his dinghy,let out more chain and stopped her.he said they had wind gusts up yo 45 knots during storm.Not a relaxing anchorage in this we want to get going.had a very relaxing sundowners on papillion with klaus and aneth.we were most appreciative of his rescue.he also showed us latest weather-with a depression in n e philippines making s w tradewinds and seas worse off west coast palawan-and not we will go north over top palawan,and back down east coast.small world-klaus built papillion in patterson,about 10 km from our is amazing it ooks so immaculate as he built it in 1986.

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EL NIDO 10sept2012 palawan,philippines

we had a beautiful morning view of the village of el nido strung along the beach,under those big cliffs.2 other yachts at anchor,naiete-gove,and papillion,darwin,an immaculate,bright yellow catamaran.we dinghied to the beach,to the art cafe ,with name on surfboard .we had coffee and wifi,and found out that a new phlange can be sent-we said send it to miri marina.we will fix it there.then we did a town walk.narrow little concrete streets,lots of cafes,little sari sari stores,a few dive shops-got a computer top up,lots of tour operators and busy trikes.then a good walk over to corong town,to the market-pork chops,long beans,oranges,bananas,mangoes,then bread rolls at bakery on way back-unusual to be able to buy nice breadrolls without 4 jerrycans diesel,lunch on boat,more diesel in pm,dropped off laundry, and booked an island tour for tomorrow with art very changeable-storms come and go quickly-amazing scenary with low clouds over cliffs of el nido and islands.dinner on haven.windy night-good for wind generator.

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Sunday, 9 September 2012

EL NIDO,Palawan,Philippines 09092012

a surprise start to the day when the motor broke off the gearbox of our NEW,australian made anchor had only been installed 2 months ago.we took the 3 electric cables off the motor and removed it from anchor well,having first taken photos.has broken metal joining phlange.we retrieved chain and anchor by hand ,for 1st time.3 hours later we arrived at EL NIDO.Spectacular coastline and islands with dramatic limestone cliffs,some cute beaches,and still ,dark water.lovely anchorage.only 6 meters deep, so can get anchor up again ok.tricky getting in with big reef across bay-klaus from tellow trimaran,papillion,came out on dinghy,to tell us to go between inconspicuous red buoy and land,along narrow ,shallow channel,0.9 m under keel at one stage,but lovely spot, anchored between papillion and  the one other yacht.small beach below big cliffs,with small town inbetween.very pretty.emailed hutton winches,with photos,and await reply tomorrow monday.easy leftovers for dinner on boat,with lovely reflections from town on water,.watched another yacht come in confidantly after dark and drop anchor near us-must be local.nice to have internet.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

towards el nido 08082012

time to move on.we left the calamian islands,crossing linapacan strait,to Palawan,again.heading down northwest coast towards el nido.grey day,with some rain,and swell,but curent with us,and motorsailed 58 nm.storms ahead over el nido=not ideal for entry,so dropped anchor,about 3,at nacpan bucana beach ( thanks mv solita).cooked pork internet coverage.sailmail not connecting,so will try after dinner.nice calmn evening so far.

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WRECK DIVING from puerto del sol 07sept2012

there are several WW2 japanese ship wrecks very close to resort ,so we booked another days wreck diving. Alao they claim this area to be in top 5 wreck dive sites in the world.a civilised stert at 0900,with briefing by Freddy,the french dive instructor.another excellent safe divemaster,.lovely open plan dive center,just downstairs from on bangka,with michael,who is ta=echnician,and bon,the boat captain.the first wreck was AKITSUSHINA,see drawing was a seaplane was sunk on 24sept1944 by US airforce planes,from aircraft the time it was the longest distance air-raid attack,and thus caught he japanese by surprise.lots of mangled metal-marking the horror of it has pretty sealife.We went down to 35 meters,which is deepish for us ,and did some penetration,the term they use for going inside the wreck.we had a surface interval of 90 minutes,so time for coffee and bananas,and short ride to next wreck-TAIEI MARU.OIL TANKER,SFINALLY SUNK ON 9 OCT,1944.SET ON FIRE ON 1ST RAID,BUT DIDNT SINK TILL 2ND USAF RAID.NOT SO DEEP,AND A MUCH LOMGER PENETRATION.MORE MARINE LIFE-STINGRAY,soory about caps!,lots of nudibranches.back at resort by 2.wash all our gear in their fresh water and leave out to dry.after lunch on haven,back to dive centre to pay for diving using paypal,and their patchy wifi.take gear back to haven,then over to swis resort for sunset drinks,with walter,a friend of swiss owner,who is caretaking.amazing 43 storet white buiding on top of hill.also 8 white chalets-we were shown inside one-very guests at moment.a nice cold sam miguel,overlooking pool,and across huge bay of islands,.photos later as doing this entry by sailmail,as no internet at moment.after the lovely sunset,back to pds resort for dinner-just us,fish curry with freshly cooked pita bread,candlelight,nice spanish housewine.watched lightning getting closer,so paid our running tab,and back home,put dinghy and outboard aboard,put sunshades awat,in preparation for departure next day,.Then sat on back of haven, enjoying the view and ambience and lightning display.enjoying a 5 year old australian chardonay we got cheap at labuan duty free-it was superb,especially with some real parmesan cheese.

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Culion town stilt houses looked picturesque over early morning smooth water.then off to puerto del sol -PDS.Beautiful trip across,surrounded almost 360 degrees by islands.PDS resort in lovely bay,owned by mike,a yacht friendly exsailor.he has even put in navigation buoys recently.plenty of moorings,with only 2 other (unoccupied) yachts at anchor.mike came past on speed boat and said come over for lunch and info.the deal is free mooring if you patronise restaurant and bar-a good deal,as beers were cheap,meals inexpensive,and very good.mike is an architect-and has built a most impressive mainly caters for divers.we were the only guests as season is dec to the season there are usually 20 yachts moored(no anchoring allowed).after lunch we took dinghy over to Calumbuyan island for a fabulous drift snorkel,over an hour ,just floating length of islands coral ref with dinghy.dinner ashore was mudcrab with chili sauce-very good.

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we motored over to Culion Town in a few hours,no wind,but smooth seas,and great scenary surrounded by calamian islands.culion looks good as we approached-prominent church,stilt houss over water,other houses going up hill,then a large bare hill with radio towers.on side of hill some sort of insignia,and big jesus statue.kerrys bread for lunch on haven in culion harbour,then dinghy ashore.first stop was the hospital to go to the leper museum,which was fabulous..they show a nice little historical video.when the americans took over philippines(1898) they established a leper colony on culion,which was biggest,or one of biggest,in the american pathologist ,dr wade,worked there for 50 years.a lot bof his medical equipment is on display,including a room of leprosy and postmortem slides.a lot of the leper colony infrastructure survives,making the town walk 1740 they had a small fort ,enclosing a small church.unfortuneately the leper colony used most of the fort walls to enlarge the church,but one corner bulwark survives,with 2 cannon.climbed church tower for good view of haven and harbour.also climbed the 350 steps up hill to statue of jesus.then back to haven for dinner.the leper colony is now closed,but culion town was well worth the visit.

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

CORON TOWN 4sept12

the sun came out so did some laundry,and the dive equipment finally driedDid some trip planning-Kerry put in waypoints and worked out distances..Kerry gave the head (the loo) the vaseline treatment,and it pumps easily again..Went ashore in dinghy,and got a motorcycle trike to petronas petrol station,to get 4 jerrycans of them back on boat,then headed in to climb the hill with giant cross above coron.726 steps.great views.Haven sitting sedaredly at anchor in middle of bay.then to ATM,then to butcher shop,called jamaica meats, for pork,.then fruit and vege market nice jeepney drove past with Be Happy signage..back just before rain..pork chops and  4veges-just like home..a cosy night in the rain on haven.Moving on tomorrow.
reading biography of Jose Rizal,philippines national hero and martyr.there was a statue of him in coron civic centre we walked past today.
CONGRATULATIONS -to ken and wendy on selling Cop Out,
& to adam and kay,formerly on Lucis Dream,for buying cop out.

this internet too slow to download photos.


SEA KAYAKING 02sept2012

WRECK DIVING 01sept2012