Phillipines - Paddling

Phillipines - Paddling


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 1

Fun in the sun
winter 97/98
part 1

THE PHILLIPINES, what a trip

Manila is one ugly city, for a tourist point of view, or more to me it was...No real tourist area other than Angeles city, porn city of the Phillipines...The area I stayed at seemed more like a industrial area than where a city would like to have it's tourists come to when first arriving there, give them a good first opinion...Something like Kosan road in Bangkok, Pham Ngu Lao street in Saigon, Ubud in Bali...

Arrived Saturday am and left Tuesday morning, other than walking around and reading, I was not impressed, I did however find one damn good rack of beef ribs, I knew would be the last red meat in a while...I was quite impressed with all the armed guards everywhere sporting pistol grip 12 gauge pump action shotguns, everywhere....

Met up with Jon O, my paddle partner from Vietnam when we got in trouble, he's born in Manila lives in USA...We're gonna paddle together for 10 or so days until he has to return to the USA...

By Tuesday morning 7 00 am we were at the terminal for a short flight to Coron city on Busuanga island, part of Palawan province, what a colorful flight, aboard a 10 seater, being but a few thousand meters off the ground, we could see the incredible spectacle that the myriad of islands offers a flyer. What a sight, so many islands, thousands of beaches, all whiter than the next, and coral formations everywhere...
Magnificent!!!!
Totally weird - my flight to Coron was 50 USD, and my boat was 107 USD and it came the next day as the plane was full and overloaded, all the luggage came the next day, delivered to KoKosnuss where we were staying...

Brian and Jeremy were there waiting for us to us, wondering who these characters coming are .....Real hospitable, real nice guys, Brian from USA and Jeremy from New Zealand...

On our first day there we took out a Aire inflatable, of Sea Canoe Int., out to Coron island, to wet our appetite a bit...We went out for 3 - 4 hours, feeling out this inflatable thing we're in and the magnificent corals formation around this magical island, sheer limestone cliffs going up 75 - 100 meters straight up, black as coal with the most colorful corrals this paddler ever seen...Looking better and better all the time...

Sleep came real easy that 1st night at KoKosnuss, away from the pollution and noise of Manila, charged from our short exploratory of the afternoon, ready to head out and enjoy...

The kayak made out quite good on the plane, except for a couple paddles which are now duct taped together just like new...Finding a boat to take us to the bottom of Coron [paddle with the elements]about 30 kms south west...some shopping and we were heading out on our 3rd morning in Coron city...

The ride down the island was great, looking over the massive cliffs that form Coron island, checking out the beaches, casing it out, it looks like a great paddle, numerous beaches, great colors and hot... A real Paradise..........


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 2

Fun in the sun
winter 97/98
part 2

THE PHILLIPINES, what a trip, part 2

...The ride down the island was great, looking over the massive cliffs that form Coron island, checking out the beaches, casing it out, it looks like a fantastic paddle, numerous beaches, great colors and hot...Will be paddling on the leeside of the side and the weather, magical is what it is promising to be...

We arrived at Calis point [ 11'48'41"N/120'14'32"E] around noon, hoping to find the place deserted, but a fishing family had decided to camp over for the hot period of the day...Not wanting to invade their space, we paddled over to Monkey beach, 1.9 nm up the beach, this took us a few hours as we were totally mesmerized with the scenery and had to roll over into the water on more than 1 occasion...

I am now realizing that distance is very minimal while paddling the tropics, not even like Vietnam where it is cooler...Here in the heat, it is more pleasant to jump into the waters and swim and snorkel than it is making wake...

The corals are so incredible in color and shapes, it looks like some artist's work more than just grown there, how can so many colors be together...

The second day paddle was even shorter, as we had so many Kingfishers moving with us, I had to contemplate them as I never seen them before and are truly the majestic bird they say...It looks like the fruit loop bird with a smaller beak...We went just past monkey beach as there were some fisher people who had made camp on this beach...So after a short rest we went not 1 but 2 more beaches, to find a spectacular one just big enough for us...W tied up to a cashew tree, did some delicate pruning and had us a very small fire with cashew wood to boil water for my b'day dinner...And I tell you what a B'day it was, the idyllic spot folks...

The next morning, first thing I saw waking up was a dragon or was it a small dinosaur...Oh! I see it was a giant lizard, about 2 meters in length, barely a few meters away...What a day it is going to be...

At the end of the 3rd day we came to what I will call the nicest part of Coron Island, the tip of the western shore, where it turns right to go Northeast, it is there that the shore becomes a tangled mess of inlets, separated by limestone spires and walls, some with arches to paddle through...Good thing I have incredible faith in the tenacity of this Hypalon underside of my yak...

We spent the next 2 days travelling along this shore, going maybe 5 or 6 kms in 2 days...the first of these 2 days, we even ran into some ICE COLD beer, and cigs on a isolated beach...offered to us by a very interesting Filipino couple...We just had to stay there for the night, specially when they left and decided to leave us the rest of their beer...Most of the afternoon was spent snorkeling around a Japanese sunken boat at 7 meters deep...

The 5th and last day of this paddle we explored every inch of the last few kms and headed across to Coron city in the only chop we seen in the last 5 days, about 30 cm [1']seas with starboard/aft beam...

WHAT A TRIP ...

For a couple days we headed into the mangroves just west of Coron, for day trips...Paddling the mangroves is something else, the noise is so unreal, it is hard to paddle while watching the bottom so not to disturb and to try and find the source of the noise...Makes for very slow and interesting paddle...Blue spotted rays are abundant and very fast, the birds...it is almost eerie all the sounds ...


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 3

PHILLIPINES PART 3

Back in coron city, what a blast 5 days was just unreal...Where to now ??? ...

Getting ready to do the rest of the northwest/northeast coast of coron island, starting about 2 kms from Coron going for about 10 kms...sounds like a great overnighter...

Just as we are to leave, we make phone calls, I am told of major ice storms in NE USA and Quebec area, total disaster...Jon has to rush to manila, on the morning flight...so 1 more day to say goodbye to my paddle buddy and get ready for solo paddling...

This last trip was too great, I must get back to this magical island for a few more days, so I head out to where we left off, on day trips...For the next 2 days I am paddling the northwest shores, from the twin spires to Lima point [the most northerly point of the island...and then around the Maquinit island group, and back to Coron city via the shores of Busuanga island.

The corals around the spires are so unreal, so colorful, one could spend an eternity right there... Along the shores from the spires to Lima point, I find a few desolate beaches at which I hang for a while, then onto exploring the many inlets and rock outcrops along the way, it takes forever to travel as there is such an incredible visual display that it is very hard to go any further...At one of these small bays with sand the texture of white flour, I find myself spying on a dragon or is it the last of the dinosaurs, not quite sure...Oh I get it, it is one of them huge lizards, maybe 1 1/2 meter long, the head is huge. I get to check him out quite good, no problems until I try to get closer than a hundred meters from shore, then it is a race for the cover of the underbrush, which is better than a charge in this funny looking boat...So I carry on and away letting this critter return to his peaceful beach...

At the next bay, I find a cave, huge entrance about 5 meters high but only a couple meters wide, I study this place for a bit and decide to back into the thing and check it out, it is my first caving experience...It is quite spooky to back into the darkness like that...I get to go about 3 yak length into the place, what a blast, what a trip, a huge cavern inside this small entrance, the ceiling is about 10 metres high, so incredible...
I must do more of this , for sure...

Next I decide to peak around the corner to see the north east shore line, more of the same, but wide open coast line, with quite a current coming at me, and much bigger waves, and a big huge ferry boat coming at me...So I decide to keep within the sheltered areas and turn towards the Maquinit islands. There are 2 of these islands but right next to these two are 5 more very small unnamed islands [they are refered to as outcropping, but are just as magnificent as their bigger relatives...Again the corals are so incredible and colorful...

From there I return to Coron city along the shores of Busuanga island, going by shipyards with very nice and very ugly outrigger boats, a couple small villages and the government docks where the ferry is tied waiting for the morrow to leave with it's new cargo of goods and people...

I return to this section of islands for another great day, running into Sea Canoe international, Brian and Jeremy are out with 1 client, what a blast he is having he tells me, no wonder, being in paradise is usually quite a blast all right...

I even get to try out the sails, but am a bit nervous of it so I resume to paddling, snorkeling and beaching...

On the way back to Coron city, I head over to this great looking sailboat which just anchored off the bay...A couple Danish ladies out on tour, with a Danish skipper, are going down to Palawan island then onto Sarawak, Brunei, Sumatra, Singapore and Phuket...Maybe I should get on....No thanks, too much boozing...I resume my paddle...

Another couple days of rest, trying to decide which way to go...Let's get this show on the road...I head west towards Sangit island, 5 lazy but steady hours away. I get to paddle some mangroves, a shallow channel between 2 islands unleashes the beauty of hundreds of starfish, again totally different from any I ever seen, all bumpy all over, the bumps/pimples are 5 mm across and bluish on a tan colored body, awesome...This , it seems, is where I get adopted by a kingfisher bird, for the next 4 days, it seems this bird is always with me, singing at me, showing off it's colors and leading the way it seems it knows where I am going...or are there hundreds of these...

Along the way I am shooting "Merry X mass and Happy New Year to the people on the shores, get very nice replies and looks...After a couple rest on different islands and beaches, I reach Sangit island, privately owned by Andy [ a Brit living there for 13 years now] I check out this empty beach I was told I could use, looks great so I paddle to the other end of the south shore to the resort to ask permission to use that other beach...

These folks are great, there are 14 bungalows for rent [he's full up] and a small beach just on the other side of this bay where folks can stay at for free...So I stay the afternoon having a few cold ones, and decide to have a real meal with folks and stay the day. I sleep at this other beach...

The next morning after a great breakfast, I head back to my beach, or to the beach that is loaned out to me and hang for a couple days, after Xmas is in 2 days and for sure this place is the one, no one around, great sunrise views...and snorkeling a Japanese gun boat at 5 meters under the water...

MERRY XMASS ALL

On Xmass morning I head out, circumventing the island, going north, and out around a couple smaller island, one is a mangrove island with just enough dry land for a house, these folks sure have it made...

On the northern tip is again most incredible, colorful is almost an understatement...And down the west side to discover a couple pearl farms. This area is not as friendly as the rest of the place, I can feel the eyes on me, where are they...just around the next corner, a great location, He can see all over the place and cannot be seen until one is right up to him...At which time, again the sounds of "merry Xmass' brings out a smile and it feels better for the rest of the journey down this side

It must of been ESP with one another cause when I get to the southern outpost I guess they are called, the other fellow was smiling and his rifle was down on the rack where it is usually I suppose...The first one had his riffle at the ready next to him... I even circle the work platform, These guys even have a basketball court to play on out there on a float...

By 5 pm, just before dark I arrive back at Sangat resort, just in time for Xmas dinner and to hear the stories of last night and the morning...Sounds great, glad I missed it....Humbug...

I spent the night on the next door beach, and in the morning I was ready for the sea canoe to pick me up as I am crashing in on a tour to Black island which I am told is one great area to paddle.....

But that is another story...


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 4

PHILLIPINES part 4
Dec 26 am

After a great Xmas meal at Sangat resort [11* 57' 48" N / 120* 04' 14" E]

Xmass night treat...while paddling out to my beach around 11pm, the bio-luminance was fabulous, I started paddling backwards for well over an hour like a mad idiot, chanting away and being totally blown away, I was able to make tracers with my paddles that reached at least 2 boat length, unreal, never seen anything like this before...I could of easily get lost that night, no idea about my travelling except I was trying to circle and catch my stars...Gotta to do more of this...And back to the beach for a good sleep, loads of travel tomorrow...

10 am, the boys from Sea Canoe International [ Brian & Jeremie, where I stayed while on land] picked me up to take me to Black Island, another of caveman's great discoveries, a huge slab of jet black limestone, their destination with a ongoing 6 day tour...I am to catch a ride up the coast for more exploratory...Turns out 3 of their clients are from Calgary Alberta [400 kms from my house, where i go kayak shopping...] they buy my produce at the local market I deal with...So I hang around with promises to cook up a great breakfast...Stop in at Conception on the way and set up camp on Black Island at dark, on a fantastic beach...On the way there, 2 of us saw a shark ? No I am sorry a big mother shark way out there in front ...Naw...just wishful sighting...or was it ???
Black island 12* 9' 13" N / 119* 49' 06" E

In the morning, the paid vacationers were resting after 3 days of paddle and unreal amounts of great tasting Jeremy cooking, we took the outrigger and toured Caluit Island, a private zoo Marcos had developed with African critters, no predators and they did better than at home and reproduced greatly...But still a huge nature park = zoo.

We returned and had another great feast, and I headed off to circle the island and see the sun set over the south china sea [ now from here the sun sets right over Dam Mon peninsula in Vietnam where I hang out ] When I reach the edge of the island I check back, it's not so far maybe 1 1/2 km in distance but a very long time in sightseeing the cliff side, catching glimpses of monkeys, more of my friends the kingfishers who seem to be everywhere I go...Is it the same one or what??? and many more critters... ....

Suddenly I seem to feel / see lots of excitement on our beach back there...better return, I am but a hitcher...Get back in a hurry...Now everyone is out on the yaks...all dispersed in the ocean over about 1 km square. 5 yaks...what's up. ..I paddle out and hear...It's a shark...no it's a whale shark...it's right here...and this monster shark, whale shark that is swimming out with us, and coming right up to us time and time again, he bounce a inflatable to this one girl's total amazement and unreal shriek...Then a bit later I went to put my paddle blade in the water and looked and there it is... HOLY SHIT...MY BOAT IT'S JUMPING IN... a huge mouth filled with [what are they called them things they got whale teeth???]

Swear to god, I could tickled it's chin without stretching my arm...The eyes, the mouth, the magnitude... It was smiling at me and ducked under...swear to god the tail fin was millimeters from my yak... { I found myself face to face with a full grown grizzly bear, maybe 15 feet between us, and this afternoon the bear episode faded a whole bunch...]

So what the heck is swimming over there...another shark...NO way it's a huge Manta ray and it's 3 feet under my yak and most un...real...And another Manta ray...these 2 were about 3 meters long and wide and most impressive when full-stretched out under MY yak...Seeing them breach water all tucked in and rolling at water level...

These critters were around us for over 1 1/2 hour, they would go and return, every time going with inches of someone...Some of us even jumped in with underwater cameras and such, I even have a photo of myself with my new friends head right next to the klepper...

Dinner and evening was like kids after Xmas, the vibes and excitement was all over, took me 6 pages in my log and over 2 hours to write it down...

And we got a visit by a very colorful water snake who decide we did not have enough excitement today, slithered right through dinner set up and out again, maybe 1 1/2 meter long and very colorful...Someone did give me the name but me and name don't get along...

A good sleep filled with great dreams was had by all, and in the morning we set off to paddle up Busuanga river [12* 9' 03" N / 119* 57' 20" E] a smallish river meandering through rice fields, colorful mountains and suddenly turns into a jungle edge of unreal dimension [ the jungle plants that is ]

One of the yaks saw a small king cobra swimming across the river, too fast for a double take, never mind a photo...And we returned to Coron city that night, having had another great 6 days on the water....

OH, How do I love that South China Sea ???? with it's mid 20's 'C and so many colors...

Now time to get going on my crossing of the Cullion straight to discover off the route Linapacan Island before heading to Palawan island, a 2 week odyssey coming up in part 5 and 6...

Enjoy

*Having never been on a organized tour, I find myself looking at that idea now, after such incredible treatment from Sea Canoe International, and will for sure join up with Caveman's crew when I am in Thailand for one of their tour there, well worth the expense is for sure...even if I don't get to get so freaked by sea monsters again...


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 5

Phillipines part 5

So it is Dec 29 and we are back at Coron city, still looking to charter a outrigger boat for the crossing of the Cullion straight...very hard indeed, so many tourists tell me about 10 to 15 meter waves...And no one with boats seem to want to sign up...Been spreading the word out for 3 weeks now...What the heck...

Finally on the morning of January 2 it pays off, I find a 20 meter outrigger boat with crew of 6 to take me on for 2 weeks. This is deluxe, 20 meters long, 4 meters wide and outriggers at about 5 meters on either sides, being a fishing boat it's only got top deck, but without nets in the hold, we have one great cooler room...We sleep on top deck or on the wheelhouse roof...The crew loves it right off the bat, it's the first time these folks take on tourists, and they get me !!! The klepper fits perfect out front and it's a breeze getting it on and off with all the help on board...

January 3 we head out, having taken on the first 2 of the tag along hammock tourists, Dom and Dave from Ireland and Scotland [ They made me promise to tell of them in this story so there, i did.] 1st destination is the south end of Culion island [11* 40' 10" N/ 119* 56' 46" E] to tackle Culion Straight at 1st light, it is about 15 kms across dotted with a bunch of island, but the currents are quite strong and I heard of 10 to 15 meter waves..so I'll hang on the big boat for this journey to Linapacan Island.

4;30 am and we are heading off as breaky is cooking, crystal clear, glass flat it's is magnificent, the Sulu sea on the left, the south china sea on the right. With a first stop at San Miguel for more provisions as this island is way off the path, eve the crew and captain while having looked at it hundreds of times have never gone into the 2 inciting bays, which I plan to paddle for the next 2 days while the boat and crew hang out and meet me for dinner and sleep...

This paddle starts off at Bulawan point [11* 30' 50" N / 119* 49' 06" E ] The scenery is so varied, going from 50 meter cliffs with baby caves starting out, a few of which are actually a fair size. I managed to go into a few of them, was so careful to not get trapped by incoming waves...mostly backed into these, it's a gas...The furthest I coaxed myself into going was about 3 boat length before I just had to get out, but I really enjoyed working the waves to minimize my ups and downs in there and feel ready to blast out when the claustrophobia attack comes in...These mini cliffs and caves give way to incredible beaches , some barely large enough for a campsite, but all loaded with monkey tracks and lizard trailings, or are they more of them Dinosaurs like on Coron...Then and again the place would transform into mangroves, an incredible paddle experience, must of seen hundreds of small blue spotted rays about 30 cm long, some at about 50 cm...loads of noises so unreal...Motion all over but so hard to actually see anything. I think the reason I saw the spotted rays is that they split we I arrived...Not many snakes, no crocs, thankfully...

The boys from the boat often took turns sitting in the front cockpit and touring around, they were amazed at their good fortune at work for this week...For the next 2 days I paddle these 2 bays, meeting up with the boat for great food, fresh mackerel, tuna. Must of seen hundreds more kingfisher birds, many others even more exotic.

Only 1 incident on this adventure while out there with Dave [from Scotland, remember] we paddle into the mangrove and get going into these labyrinths of water and vegetation and come out way up the shore at the other end of the smaller bay, behind Pangititan island and this dude is out there with a small outrigger maybe the length of my klepper at 17' he's with his son, very quiet doing something in the water, but the son sees us, Dad seems to freak and runs for the motor and goes about 100 meters away...but he's still in our line of travel as we are longing the shore...couple minutes later, he moves again and is quite agitated by now, and finally the shore veers away and changes our trajectory away from him, seems to relieve him, and he prepares to return to where we figure he was fishing with cyanide for them there American aquarium, did not see any guns, but later the captain told me to get away next time even back away if needed...

That night we pulled in at Royog for the night and more stuff, in the morning we got a live chicken to tie off at the stern [the banca, not the yak] for dinner later, my best dish, chicken and cashew nuts, spicy...The stay there was special, I don't think many whities go there, we had a audience of about 3 dozen children from the moment we arrived till we left...the crowd got up to almost 100 when we put in that klepper and I got ready to paddle. [Now you have to visualize me, egg white skin, wearing long silk tyedye drawstrings and white "sumbrella" sunshirt, hat and bandanna over my face with glacier glasses...PFD as a back rest...]

The third morning I left at 1st light and paddle out towards the open channel till lunch time As I was approaching the open channel, I sure could feel the currents, slowing down and down whoops I'm going west a tad...It's the way to Malubutglubut Island for snorkeling, my 2 brit companions are a bit tired of hanging around waiting to go meet me...But they are out snorkeling and got great shaded hammocks and great food...Last night I changed batteries in the GPS, DID NOT close it's bag proper...at night it fell into the bilge water...guess what color the water looked in the morning after the new batteries were into it for a while ...[let's see a bit of oil, diesel, let's not forget copious amount of fresh battery acid, some sand...not too good.] Dom who is into audio labs, carries a great cleaning kit, washed it down and it still works sort of...one terminal is ate away but holding it with 3 hands and wiggling it it does work, that's no problems in 6 foot seas after all I am in a klepper...Oh well less luggage for now, fix it back in Canada...[Not fixed yet]

This afternoon we hit Malubutglubut island, Manga island, Barsalisa island, all 3 with long sandspit coming out with majestic corals on all sides, so it's 1/2 hour and hour there. At the 1st island with that long funny name we met up with a stranded /way smaller/ banca [ the Filipino name for the outrigger] with 8 tourists on board, the motor conked out last night and they drifted out into the South China sea to be towed in by a floating fish factory. These Europeans left El Nido [ my destination from Coron for Coron In a boat that thrice too small, no food, very little water, but there are folks around and a short paddle into the visage had taken of all their needs except the motor. We rescued a French lady from Paris, the others hoped to get to destination...good luck.... Soazig could not believe her bad / good luck, and was totally impressed with the size of boat / crew for 3 of us, now 4...

By 6 pm, after going we are crossing the northern point of Palawan island at Calibu pass for yet another magical sunset. By 7 pm we are anchored in Calitan bay, the first refuge on Palawan...There are a bunch of fishing boat around us, I figure I want crabs or prawns which have been few and far between so far on this boat...Trying to get their attention I kick the large cook pot overboard, throw down the sarong and dive in to retrieve it and come up on the outrigger...Now I am real close to the big fish boat, so start screaming at it...GOT ANY CRABS, LOBSTERS, PRAWNS ??? The spotlights come on, the siren goes on, what the hell is that naked skinny whitey up to out there ...

The next day we cruise down to El Nido, the first city since Coron, where I am to meet a couple friends from Edmonton Canada and take them on for the rest of this adventure...


Date sent: Fri, 21 Aug 1998
To: adventures@cyber-adv.com
From: wgarden@cyberlink.bc.ca (sylvio lamarche)
Subject: phillipines part 6

Phillipines part 6 final

El Nido, nice little place, a shower! far out !!! Replenish drinking water [had 40 gallons on board] and wash water [ 200 gallons] diesel [200 gallons]... 2 days touring around some great islands, again loads of limestone formation, grottoes

At Matinloc island, I saw a giant cuttle fish while out snorkeling, it was about 2 meters long and I am sure I would not of been able to put my arms around it. It was talking at me from about 3 meters, changing colors so fast and from weird to bizarre in shades.

At Miniloc island I paddled into the island through this narrow channel about 10 meters wide and very shallow [no motors] it opens into a lagoon about 30 meters wide and maybe 100 meters high on the cliff sides...Saw even more colors which until then were unknown to me...At this lagoon I saw a dozen giant turtles doing it all , beaching , floating, swimming and doing the noon siesta...

Back at El Nido for the night, [my 2nd in a row in a real bed] we leisured in the morning, getting ready for the second week of adventure on board the MG banca...We got to meet El President, M. Ramos himself, was wished a great trip [he was in this puny yacht we were looking down at him and talking to him...Much better than yesterday afternoon, when we went onto this great little beach and BBQ'ued a 10 kg Lapu Lapu [Snapper family] It was scrump-delicious BBQued on cashew coals and wrapped in banana leaves...For desert we had the snipper /frogmen team come in and set up post and tell us to get lost [boy what scopes on them there mile long rifles they got...what big air tanks they got...So we went down 1 more small bay [there are zillions of these small beaches] and I got out paddling for the afternoon, heading back towards the army boys to see what would happen when they seen me, but did not get that far before I decided to play the grottoes along the way instead...maybe my Vietnam military detention was enough after all...

We spent 1 day in Malampaya sound, another zillion very small islands with names like crocodile passage, crocodile bay, crocodile island, pirate cove and island...Still feeling secure...Although I did not venture into the dark depths of the sound where I am told there are crocs, I did not see any nor did I see any Pirates...

Sleeping on the beach at Inulutoc bay, we were in a good position to head out for Port Barton the next day, about 50 knots down shore, and at the end of the charts...There is a dude with a couple klepper there from Banff Canada[ 250 kms from my house]. So we went to visit for the night. By now we are 8 tourists on board, some get a hut, some on the boat...The next we race for St. Paul's bay and underground river at Sabang our final destination before returning, 14 tourists on board for the 4 hour ride to the caves.

Here after great talking on my part, I get to paddle the klepper INTO St. Paul's cave, a short surf into the outgoing river and 4 kms into this ever so dark cavern...It is huge, both wide and tall. The cathedral has a 75 meter high ceiling. I took a guide who usually paddles. He sat in the front seat with the huge battery and spotlight for a totally different tour he said...The caves go for 10 kms, they even dais if I go after 5 pm I could get in alone and go, go go...But don't tell them...

Spent the night at Sabang, returned to Port Barton for 2 days of paddle amongst more sandspits, islands, deserted beaches...My friend Darrell went fishing and caught a 10 kgs tuna and a 15 kgs Pandawan [don't know anything about this one except it was delicious for 3 days].

We made it all the way to Luminoncong the day we left Port Barton, another day gets us to snorkel and get in a bit of spelunking and we reach El nido for our last night on Palawan. Along there somewhere we were greeted with the sight of a dozen dolphin jumping in perfect formation within about 1 meter from the outrigger while we were just there...what a treat...Next came the floating giant turtles which we actually had to spot and veer from as there was a couple dozen, just there floating and sunning [yes they were alive]

On January 17, we made out way all the way back to Coron city, 14 hours away, calm waters hot and sunny, only 3 tourists on board, me and my 2 friends from Edmonton, so I spent the trip dismantling my klepper and washing it out thoroughly as it had been in the water for 6 weeks by now and quite pickled looking...

January 18 we flew to Manilla, Man was that ever a great cafe latte was it not... January 19 My 2 friends flew to Bali Indonesia, I flew to Ho Chi Minh city for the start of more adventures, taking with me some incredible memories, never to be forgotten. just top make sure i don't forget, I have taken about 800 photos, and am leaving the country with one nasty "staph / strep" infection which will leave me with not 1 but 3 wacky scars around my right knee [read more about this in the Vietnam portion of this year's wacky adventures...

It was so much fun, I made such good friends with the crew, One of the lads, Ranny is just part time with this boat, has been on the water since birth, now 31 you, that he is now looking for a 30 meter banca for me to buy and for us to renovate my way and take out tourists, go beaching, snorkelling, eat copious amounts of great food, get fat NOT with all the possible paddling to be done...

I can easily see myself there for a couple months per year, nice jobs touring around island hoping and paddling...after all there are over 7000 islnds in the Phillipines, 1700 in Palawan province alone...Hey Sarawak is just next door, so is the boogey man on Sulawesi...Better get a crew with passports..

See you out in Palawan sometime, you'd love it

enjoy

PS.: I am sure I am forgetting loads, like the hundreds of jumping tunas, the gzillion jumping fish, the few that tried to jump into the klepper, the stunning starfish that were everywhere, and oh yes the butterflies and the flowers....but imagination and a box of "fruit loops" will fill in the rest I am sure

I would like to give thanks to Caveman for it was him who talked to me about this trip and made it just so nice for me to go there. Thanks also to Brian and Jeremy 2 great dudes, guides for Sea Canoe International at Coron Phillipines who hosted me very nicely, and helped me out very much, great pointers and advice and a general great time...

Thanks again !!

Yours naturally

Sylvio Lamarche


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