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    june 2024


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05/06/24 Weds. Managed to apply for an extension to my visa yesterday - following extended holidays in Sabah again!  Ana however, cannot get her visa extended and so we will have to leave by the 14th.  Currently, she is busy making clearview screens and side screens for Marc's catamaran.  I have fitted the new Furuno instruments and found the new ones are a little different from the old, so I had to reconfigure them.

12/06/24 Weds. A check of all the navigation lights showed a couple of faults - the stern light wasn't working and neither was the masthead tricolour!  The stern light is a wiring fault and the tricolour a switch fault.

14/06/24 Fri.  Went into town and checked out with Jabatan Laut, Immigration and Customs.  Bought some more engine oil, coolant and canned food stuffs.  Back onboard I stripped down the stern light wiring and made good a connection in the lazarette locker.  For some unknown reason, the tricolour light is now working as it should but I'm guessing it will fail again sometime soon.

15/06/24 Sat. Filled our water tank and additional jerry cans, bought some bottles of drinking water and we hope to leave tomorrow morning and head for Banggi where we will anchor for the night.

16/06/24 Sun. 0700 Slipped our mooring and motored out toward Banggi.  The two weather apps that I use both forecast 6-10 knots of wind behind us but that isn't what we got!  The wind was up to 25 knots and varied from astern to port beam. We abandoned the plan to anchor in the bay on Banggi as it is only small and offered no protection from the swell.  Instead, we anchored in Balambangan for a more peaceful night

17/06/24 Mon. Our plan to leave this morning came to nothing - on checking the water and oil in the engine I found that the heat exchanger filler cap and neck had disappeared!  It took over an hour to find and retrieve it from under the engine.  I cleaned it all up and epoxied it back onto the heat exchanger, then we had to wait all day and night for the epoxy to harden.

18/06/24 Tues. Weighed anchor at 0530 and made our way up through the narrows between Balambangan and Banggi.  By 0730 we had another problem!  I heard a bang from what I thought was the engine bay (it turned out to be a box in the nav berth falling over), so I opened the cockpit floor and the alternator was shaking so badly that the two lower bolts had become loose and were in danger of falling into the bilge.  We turned to starboard and anchored in 10 metres just south of Riflemans Rock and I had to climb onto a hot engine and repair the problem as best I could.  Underway again and crossing Balabac Straits we were accompanied by a pod of approximately 40 dolphins who played in the bow wave for about an hour.   The weather was reasonable but we motored with about 50% genoa out.  Just after crossing the shipping lanes and about 8 miles from Balabac Town, the alternator belt broke!  We tried to sail into a patch of water close inshore that was about 8 metres deep but the closer we got to land, the more the wind died.  Eventually we were motionless. We were in 200 metres of water, but at least we had the shelter of Balabac Island.  While Ana kept a watch on our drift back out to sea, I again got onto a hot engine to replace the belt, burning my hands and legs several times. It's the second belt in so the raw water pump has to be slid out of the way first.  I fitted a new, shorter belt, replaced the raw water pump belt also and bolted the whole thing back together.  It took about two hours to complete.  The shorter bellt seemed to have stopped the alternator shaking so much which I don't fully understand - perhaps it's the different geometry between the crankshaft, fresh water pump and alternator pulleys.  I will have to take everything apart again later and see if the alternator bracket bolt holes have been elongated with all the shaking.  We motored into the anchorage off Balabac Town and anchored just as darkness fell.

19/06/24 Weds. Weighed anchor at 0830, motored out and hoisted 50% genoa again as the winds are so fickle in direction and strength.  South of Bugsuk Island we ran into F7 winds on the port beam and hurriedly had to furl the genoa as the boat was heeeled over with the starboard toerail under water. It was the pattern for the day and with a 2 metre swell from starboard, made an uncomfortable rolling passage.  We threaded our way through the shallows near Pirate Island and anchored in San Antonio Bay at 1800.

20/06/24 Thurs. Happy Birthday to me! Weighed anchor again at 0730 and headed out into the swell and constant rain, visibility practically nil.  Another rolling day.  At 1530 we anchored in Crawford Cove which gave shelter from the wind but not the swell.  We stuck it for two hours then decided to move on. Weighed anchor again at 1730 and made our way to Rasa Island - it wouldn't be much better there but we would have moved another few miles closer to Puerto Princesa. Anchored off Rasa Island at 2200 - still rolling but we got a few hours sleep.

21/06/24 Fri. Up anchor at 0630 and onward with nil vis and again the 2 metre swell rolling us.  Another squall hit us as we were passing Malanao Island and by this time we had had enough, so we turned inshore to 'hide' behind the island.  Bruce and Gabby on Astrid were coming out as we went in but we had no time to call on VHF.  We dropped the hook at 1100 and spent a peaceful afternoon and night for once.

22/06/24 Sat. Weighed anchor at 0800 and back into the constant rain and swell.  At 1130 we entered the harbour limits of Puerto Princesa and at 1230 we dropped anchor off Abanico Yacht Club.

23/06/24 Sun. A sunny day!!

24/06/24 Mon. Authorities from Immigration, Customs and Quarantine came onboard, we filled all the papers, paid the (corruption) money and waited for a mooring to become available - the club would move a catamaran to a shallow mooring and allow us to use the now vacant one.  At 1300 we moved to the mooring and then settled down to relax and breathe easily for a change.  I'm glad that particular trip is over and we got here safely. The checking in fees have changed considerably over the last few years, when I first started coming here, you visited Immigration and Customs only and the fee at Customs was 130 Philippine peso. Now....Customs charge 2650, Immigration charge 2110 and Quarantine charge 2500 - that's some jump!  The thing that annoys me most is that airline passengers are not subjected to these charges, so why target us poor yachties?

25/06/24 Tues.   There is a USN ship in the port as usual, it's a littoral combat ship named the USS Manchester!

29/06/24 Sat. Moved moorings again to get closer to the yacht club - it was a long way to go each day from our old mooring!  Helped Bruce and Gabby on Astrid to move from anchor onto our old mooring.

30/06/24 Sun. Ana is busy again making boat covers and engine covers for other boats.  We went over to Haidee's boat for a BBQ in the afternoon.

The time onboard is.........


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