Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Day passages, Coron and Kayagan lake

After Romblon we had four long passage days, where we were on the move from early morning to literally just before sunset most days, about 40-50 miles a day. It's not very nice to do night passages in the Philippines as there are a ton of fish traps, buoys and fishing boats all around, all not lit, but we also prefer to get a nice un-interrupted sleep every night. We sail the far majority of the time, but the wind is quite variable, and almost on all passage, we end up having to motor a bit as well.
Enjoying the sunset over Busuanga Group (Coron) after almost 800 steps, phew
What's at the top of the 800 steps
Our stops were: Santa Fee on Tables, Bulalacao on Mindoro and Grace Island Resort by Ambulong island, south of San Jose, Mindoro. We didn't even go ashore at the first two stops, we just slept there. We had intended to stop at San Jose to get new supplies, but the wind has suddenly turned NW (it's still NE trade season, although getting towards the end of it), so that anchorage was no good, and instead we went to Ambulong where we didn't expect to find anything, but there was a resort there, although we weren't too impressed with it, below average food for high prices and lots of animals in small cages. It was quite big, mostly floating houses, but there were no guests. The upside was the anchorage was super calm and protected.
We have now been in Coron a couple of days and have enjoyed staying put a little bit, weird/funny, we even had a day where we didn't do a single thing, except hang out on Sophia, read, play on the computers and only ventured ashore for one or two hours. You'd think we get enough quiet with all those passages where we literally just 'hang' on Sophia also. Ashore (in towns anyway) it's usually quite noisy, dirty and super hot, whereas Sophia is cooler (sea breeze), quiet and clean.
Amazing Coron Island. The beach in the corner was our picnic stop
Today we took a boat tour, just like regular tourists, but simply because we wanted to go to Kayagan lake, and there's no anchorages around there for Sophia, so this was easiest, plus we got to go to a couple of other snorkelling sites, and lunch was included. One of the snorkel sites was pretty good and even had some fish (there really aren't many left in Philippines!), but the total highlight was the lake. It's located in Coron island, which in itself also is quite spectacular, steep lime stony cliffs, and this lake (70-80% fresh water) is basically that same landscape turned upside town, like a mirror, underwater. There were hardly any fish, but it was the underwater landscape and ultra clear blue water that was the attraction. The snorkelling has also been especially cool after my newly learned freediving skill, I can stay down longer, go deeper and I equalise much better (my ears don't hurt after lots of dives like they sometimes used to. 
To get to Kayagan Lake you walk over a pass from where there's a beautiful view
Kayagan Lake, unfortunatley still no underwater pics as our underwater camera has pretty much been declared dead

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