One year ago we were on the great Raja Amput adventure. By this time the organized rally had unraveled totally and we were cruising with our buddy boat. We had crossed the worst of the weather, and were in the wilds of Saluwasi Island. We had also just gotten the gut wrenching news that our last marina had been invaded by criminals and four of our friends taken hostage. This news and its ripple effect cast a cloud over the remainder of the trip.
The boat we were traveling with had some issues and finally totally broke down. We towed them 140 miles to safe harbor, a long often up current trip dropping down to 2 knots at times. Thirty-six hours later we dropped anchor in Sorong.
From then on the trip was a marvel. Raja Amput is one of the most beautiful places I have seen and the diving is truly world class. Our last stay was about a week in Weyag Island group. This is a spectacular place; one I would love to return to. We awoke each day to the sounds of Manta Rays jumping about the boat. The crystal clear water and the cornucopia of sea life made for some juicy good diving.
We ran into our old friends from the Komodo, livaboard dive boat, Whicked Diving. They operate half time in Komodo then follow the season up to Raja Amput with the fleet. We had spent time with them in Komodo and were welcomed with open arms. As they did not have guests coming for a while we took one of the boat men with us for four days to be our guide. It was good to have that local knowledge.
After a mystical week in Weyag, we began the long trip back to the Philippines. The weather was changing and the wind switching back out of the Northeast. This meant we would go “uphill both ways” beating against southerlies going down and northerlies returning. This was one of many of the indicators this rally was thoughtlessly planned.
The Rally brought us many new friends
one of the many white sandy beaches
I saw a weather window and we took off, doing one over nighter which put us into the bay at Davao just after dark after crossing the area most likely to see trouble, we were all on edge. As we entered the bay we were hailed by name on channel 16. Donna was sure it was pirates and I was leery as well. The very military sounding voice said they were Filipino Coast Guard and asked a lot of questions. To insure I was talking to someone in the military I quickly phonetically spelled Furthur: foxtrot, uniform, romeo, tango, hotel, uniform, romeo. When the guy understood me I was relieve and glad the coast guard was tracking us.
After a long unsettling night, we were back in what had been our peaceful home at Ocean View Marina. Things had changed, barbed wire on the breakwater, M16 totting military guards and a very dampened spirit marked our return. Gone were the care free days of taking the small boat diving, riding freely about the island on our scooter, and the serenity of quiet nights.
On the trip back home the water supply hose to the dripless shaft log became constricted, causing a horrid noise and smell. I hauled Furthur to inspect and replace. While at it we painted the hull and replace the entire main engine exhaust pipe. The yard did a great job and oh so cheap. Top notch boat yard men cost ten bucks a day!
Repairs done we became eager to get out of this area. Many of our friends had already left. It just was not the same loving place we had known, such a pity.
For the first time in Furthur Adventure history I could not find crew from findacrew. No one wanted to come to this dangerous area and I could not blame them so gave up quickly. Two of our friends from the marina came along for the experience for the 4 day trip to Cebu.
From Cebu Donna and I manned the boat doing long days but no overnight passages, we did our first of several visits to Romblon Romblon, soon to be a favorite. We landed at one of or “homes” Busanga Island and Coron. Again we were welcomed with open arms, seeing old friends again. I met up with a friend writing for a national online diving magazine and enjoyed showing her the wreck.
We took on new crew and I took her and Donna to the wild life refuge park, never tire of this adventure
Our route took us back to Puerto Galera, another familiar place. This time we joined the Puerto Galera Yacht Club and participated in several of their events, great to be back in a yacht club.
The biggest decision to make in SE Asia is where to go for the rainy/typhoon season. For the last several years we have sought sun in the southern hemisphere, Indonesia. This is a long trip which I have done three times, so this year we took the easier path. We got a slip in a berth in Subic Bay Yacht Club an extraordinarily safe place in all weather and hunker in for the rain.
We have now been tied to a slip for three months, longest time since I left Seattle seven years ago. We have made many friends here and gotten both the boat and the captain back in shape. We are also doing some land trips on our motorcycle. We visited Donna’s home village for their fiesta, and I was given the honor of an invitation to be one of the judges at their “Ms Gay Beauty Pageant” another one of those amazing experiences one has to leave home and comfort zone to enjoy.
Donna and I presenting first prize to this beautiful ladyboy
So the second half of my great adventure has turned inward, more personal growth than miles covered, more on that in the next report.
We are enjoying civilization and new friends. Things one takes for granite are treats to a cruiser; going to a movie theatre, great Mexican food, a gym, unlimited shopping. The stay has been fun and rewarding but I am already eager for the next adventure!
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert