05 March 2011 | south china sea
I departed Mcmurdo Station, Anarctica for the Philippines to meet Alex and Bubbles. I went via Christchurch, New Zealand and the day after I left a earthquick hit that toppled the hotel I was staying in. From there I had a short three day stop over in Cincinati to see family and to pick up some things from Alex’s brother Solomon (a cool guy I might add). Being a former airline pilot, I fly for basically free as long as there is space available on Delta flights my total cost was only $30.
Landing in Manilla I was to stay for the night but only stayed three hours before I decided to go back to the airport and see if I can’t get on a flight to Palawan a day early. While I was in my hotel room, I was reading my book by Jimmy Buffett called “a salty piece of land” when I heard a knock on my door..Come to find out, my taxi cab driver had sent a hooker up to my room! He said he was going to “take care of me” but I had no idea what this meant until I saw her! Hahaha I couldn’t help but laugh and I politely declined her “services” and continued to read until I left again for the airport. Sorry Art Bell, but Manila just isn’t the city for me.
I arrived in Puerto Princessa a day early and wasn’t expecting Alex to be there but I sent him a message and waited. Lucky for me, Alex got my email about being a day early and he was also there a day early! Glad to finally meet up with him after all the traveling!
Alex had a guy named Kirk from California and a lady named Valentine from France with him. They are very nice people and made me feel welcomed. We went shopping for food, and picked up Valentine’s clothes that were being washed before heading to the boat. Our taxi driver was named Eddie Murphy! He was soooo funny we all were laughing at him talk in his crazy philipino english. At this point it was getting dark and we were on some windy dirt roads and Eddie Murphy didn’t know where we were going and got lost. Somehow though, Eddie Murphy and Alex figured out how to find the small bay in the darkness on the west coast of Palawan where the boat was parked.
Once we pumped up the dinghy and got to the boat, Alex and I made a trip back to land to fill the water jugs for that night’s sail. The president of the community was singing karaoke with his family and invited us to sing a few songs, but we declined and finished getting the water out of a hand pump well that looked like something our grandfathers would have used.
After some rum shots and kirk giving himself a shiner while trying to hoist the dingy motor we set sail for Quezon that night. The bioluminescence of the sea plankton was a new sight for me. It was really pretty, as was the clear skys! I saw the southern cross for the first time that night as well.
The next day we arrived in Quezon and went to shore with the dinghy to get some more fresh water where we were greeted by thirty or so little kids who were climbing all over us and were very interested in us. While we were there we drank a few beers and listened to Kirk sing a few tunes on Karaoke. Luckly he didn’t sing “my way” by frank Sinatra, as a few days earlier someone shot the person singing for having such a bad rendition of the song!
The next day we set sail for Kudat. Alex began to show me the ropes of sailing and let me man the helm. It took about 54 hours and we had some serious fun! It rained really hard and I got drunk. I took a shower in the rain and had a good time! Later on that night though was a different story…The wind picked up to about 25 knots and the seas were 10 feet. When it was my turn to man the helm, I was very nervous, as well as hung over from the previous partying! Kirk and Alex strapped me in with a harness and said to keep it on a 170 degree course. I was so nervous I can’t even put into words how nervous I was. I thought to myself “what the hell am I doing?!?!” To make time pass I started to sing outloud to myself to try and offset thinking I was near death from the storm, but the only songs I could think to sing were, “the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and the theme song to the movie ‘we were soldiers’ about being laid down in cold cold ground…needless to say it didn’t really help the situation!
I messed up once and made the boat do a 360 degree turn. I started to cuss real loud and heard Kirk laughing at me. To me it was not a laughing matter, but he came out and helped me get back on course and a half hour later, he took the helm and I went in to a soaking wet interior of bubbles. She had taken on water through the windows and everything was soaked! I was ready for the sun to come out and the wind to go away.