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Crossing the Sulu Sea!

Posted by Keith on August 6, 2007 at 2:14 am  

August 6, 2007
17:00 Local Time

The Past 24 Hours

We departed Cebu City yesterday afternoon bound for Porta Princessa on the Philippine island of Palawan. Palawan is located about 300 miles west of Cebu Island, away from the main Philippine island group.

We spent all of last night on a south-southwest heading along the eastern side of Cebu Island. Then early this morning as we cleared the southern-most point of the island Negros we were finally able to steer westerly, on a heading of 280 degrees across the Sulu Sea toward Palawan.

All morning we dodged the lines of tiny one-and-two-man fishing boats. The boats were nearly impossible to see until we were almost upon them; and the small white floats holding their fishing lines that they strung together across many hundreds of yards were even harder to see.

But it was important that we avoid them if at all possible. Unwrapping nets and fishing lines from our propeller or rudder is a royal pain.

As we headed further into the Sulu Sea, the fisherman slipped farther behind us, but winds from the west-southwest – almost on our bow – picked up and have provided quite a chop. There is little swell action — just small choppy waves a few seconds apart.

Relieved to Be On Our Way

I can’t express how pleased I am to be out to sea again. Cebu, for all its wonderful people, was depressingly dirty and poor. While there was growth and economic activity wherever I looked there, there was also grinding poverty. It deeply troubles me that since World War II, and despite The Philippines close political and economic affiliation with the U.S., so little progress has been made in lifting the living standard of the average Filipino. Thirty-six million of them live on less than U.S.$2 per day; and 14 million of those people live on less than a dollar a day.

Even the highly-skilled technician we hired in Cebu to resolve some computer issues on the boat made it clear that wanted to come with us when we left. He was entirely serious. He even brought his wife and children to the ship for us to meet, I believe in an effort to convince us that they supported his desire to travel with us.

Hiring him was out of the question, as we are fully staffed, and we never discussed his compensation. But all indications are that this Microsoft-Certified technician would have jumped at the opportunity to travel with us for far less than, say, U.S. $12,000 per year.

I wish that man, and so many millions more like him, every success as he works to make a better life for his family and for himself.

But that is behind us now. I realize we’ll see even more poverty ahead; especially in the Indian sub-continent. But for now I look forward to enjoying a quick stop at picturesque Palawan Island before crossing the South China Sea for Bangkok.

Here’s the Plan

The plan for now – unless we succeed in our continuing efforts to obtain landing clearance near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – is to head directly across the South China Sea for Bangkok from Palawan, and to explore Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam by land and air.

Our approximately 1200 mile voyage from Palawan to Bangkok should take about seven days, subject to weather.

We’ve already been in touch with the beautiful Ocean Marine Yacht Club near Bangkok. They’ve promised to keep the light on for us.

All hands are in good shape and good spirts. We are all equally glad to be underway, and we all look forward to whatever lies over the next horizon.



1 Comment so far

  1. Philippines Travel Blog on August 6, 2007 4:49 pm

    Wow its good to hear that you guys are traversing the Philippine Sea.. Hope you enjoy it.

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