Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Island hopping through Visayas

It is almost a week ago that we left Carmen. We have since then slowly hopped our way through Visayas (kind of the middle island part of Philippines). Our first stop was Camotes Island (anchored off Pacijan Island by Santiago). The water was amazing, crystal clear and inviting, although we didn't see many fish snorkelling. Ashore we chickened out of a motorcycle ride on the island, although fun, we have our lives too dear. Next stop was Palompon on North Leyte. The best thing about that anchorage was its protection, no rolling!
From Palompon we had a long days beating into the wind (it's supposed to be NE trades, but this particular day, when we finally were heading west after a lot of northing (since Bohol), it was NW! It was still lovely sailing, and we did arrive at Malapascua before sunset. Malapascua is a tourist island most known for the place to see thresher sharks (scuba diving), but we gave those a miss and did our own snorkelling instead.

From Malapascua we headed more NW and are now at Giantes Islands, north-east of Panay. This is the most remote we have been since our very first stop in Philippines at Lapinigan Island. It's also super pretty islands with lots of limestone cliffs, green bush and white beaches. And just like in Melanesia, we got visited by local kids, although these paddled out on sacks filled with styrofoam. They were quite shy, but warmed up when I gave them a lollipop. As I had guessed might happen, ten minutes later a whole mob came out, all giggling and laughing and they got some lollies too.

Our cruising guide had mentioned something about caves and white monkeys, and suggested getting a guide in the village. Ashore we again got mobbed by about 50 kids (people claustrophobia would not be a good thing) who first took us to a mango tree where we were given green mangoes (the owner refused payment). We were told nobody wanted to guide us to the caves, as it was too hot a day. Luckily a couple of young girls came to our rescue, they were keen to take us, so we jumped in our dinghy and off we went. We did see a beautiful enclosed lagoon and another small cave, but the white monkeys were hiding.

Soon we have to decide if we're going straight to Palawan (with several stops on the way), or if we go via Puerto Galera, which is quite a detour. I'm keen on the first and see no attraction in another cruiser hang-out place (most likely a bunch of old men with Philipina wives, sorry, don't mean to offend anyone, but that does define most cruisers in Philippines), but Phil is keen to go. I think I should win this one, as Phil won our last route argument we had back in Vanuatu when we missed out a couple of islands that I was keen on.
Unfortunately this post comes without photos, as the internet we get with the smart phone here is excruciatingly slow, no pics on facebook either. (Update 24 hours later, with better internet have uploaded the photos, both here and to facebook.)

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