Donna at Boracay
Each year, at this time, I reflect on the Furthur Adventure and where it has gone, the boat, the crew and the captain. 8 years ago, September, a scared shitless, nervous, excited and thrilled guy left his lifelong home, a place he loved, and set out to the unknown. Eight years later I have never regretted a thing and keep living the adventure.
This year our adventure started in a familiar place, the Subic Bay Yacht club, where we do boat work and sit out the rainy/typhoon season. We left in October for one of our homes away from home, Puearto Galera.
We spent the holiday season at the mooring at the PGYC, and even sat out our first typhoon, the day after Christmas. My normal response to a typhoon warning would be to dash back to safe harbor at Subic Bay, a 14 hour run. This time all the models showed the storm heading directly to Subic, se we stayed put. The moorings at PGYS are well tested and typhoon safe plus the harbor is protected. Well we got tricked, during the night the eye of the storm took a left and headed right for us. We saw strong winds (higher than my meter reads) and absolute white out rain. I sat at watch, engine running in case the mooring broke. Ah technology, we watched the eye on the computer. I told Donna, in ten minutes the wind will shift and it will be over, it did exactly that and bam it was gone. Within an hour the sun came out and we played in the dinghy, amazing.
the new house under construction
One of the great lessons of the Filipino people unfolded next. Many with houses flattened and roads a mess they awoke the next morning and went to work. I saw kids cleaning up the school yard with no adult bossing them. I saw neighbors taking in those left homeless. The most amazing thing is they all did it singing and smiling! We found a family t help, single mother of 5 whose house had been smooshed. After a quick visit I ordered all the materials needed to rebuild their house, all for a couple hundred bucks. The next day the older kids and the neighbors were at work and soon the house was back better than ever. Once again proving what I often say, it is easy to be a nice guy in the Philippines!
Next we returned to Coron, heaven on earth. We did a month of great diving and playing with old friends. Furthur was plagued with electrical issues, dramatic voltage drops with no visible source, something it took a while to figure out.
The great plan for the year was to go to Palau, diving Mecca, which meant a 3 day ocean passage and weather to allow it. We began our trip towards this end and returned to PGYC. There we worked on the battery issue with little success, but could make it all work.
Next stop was Cebu, where we would fuel up, re supply and wait for a weather window for the passage. When we got there, we met the crew of a 180’ expedition mega yacht who was also heading to Palau, and also waiting for weather, for 2 months they waited. They finally found a short window and left but not what we wanted. I eventually scuttled the Palau plan, another year.
So, this gave us time to explore the Visayas, the central area of the country and home to endless wonderful anchorages. We left Cebu and hit a few new islands, all short hops. We found crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and made some new friends along the way.
We stopped at Malapasqua island to dive with the famed Thresher Sharks, found a place we could buy fresh scallops right off the boat, yum and many isolated anchorages where we were the only boat. Donna finally got to visit Boracay, the hottest tourist spot in the country, the Waikiki Beach of the Philippines, a place a avoid usually.
We took the boat up to the closest town to Donna’s village, Sorsogon. The bay is miles long and very shallow. We anchored with less than 5 feet under the boat. It is also exposed directly to the Pacific side of the island so the wind howled. We attended Piam’s graduation from Kindergarten and Donna’s sister’s graduation from university, quite a week.
the town truck
A couple nights of bouncing over the bottom in 40 knots and I was done so I moved Furthur to a bit more distant but comfy anchorage. We must have been the first cruising boat to drop the hook in this picturesque place as the locals including the town mayor came to visit. Donna went back to her village via jeepney and I went exploring. I wanted to visit a nearby hot springs, so sought a motorbike rental and looked up the head of tourism, what must be an unchallenging job as I was the first tourist. He could not find a bike after quite an exhaustive search, so he offered the town dump truck! I jumped in the tiny truck and off I went, Only in the Philippines!
Now with Piam aboard we headed back to Puerto Galera, where we participated in another sailing regatta, a wedding, and playing with kids. After Piam’s vacation was over and the “summer” coming to an end we headed back to Subic Bay Yacht Club for the rainy season.
She Said Yes
After setting Furthur up for a make over, we jumped on our motorcycle, headed back to Gubat and Donna’s village for their Fiesta. This year I had a surprise up my sleeve. With 30 neighbors and relatives attending a surprise party, I proposed and she said yes. So, the Furthur adventure now officially becomes the adventure for two.
I Shall Return!
Our travels took an historic bent this year. We visited the island of Corridor, a pivotal site during WWII. It is the place where General MacArthur (one of 4 sites that make this claim) proclaimed, “I shall return” as he was evacuated from the island as the Japanese invaders defeated the Filipino/US troops. The Allies later retook the island ending Japanese occupation. The site that gave me the chills is the Japanese memorial where thousands of Japanese troops took their own lives rather than surrender.
the death march markers
The area is ripe with historical sites, one of the most chilling is the Bataan Death March trail. The march is marked each kilometer. The atrocities played on the Filipino peoples by the Japanese go largely untold, but they were horrid.
Moving up a to another war we visited the UN site where more than a hundred thousand Vietnamese refugees were given cultural training and language skills before being shipped to new and foreign homes. As the refugees had varied cultures and religious beliefs, the area is still marked with specific Buddhist Temples, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnamese. The site is still maintained by the UN, lets hope it is never used again.
Thus ended the 8th year of the great adventure. We visited many familiar places and old friends and some new ones along the way. Furthur is standing tall with new work done, and the captain is a happy fellow for sure, more to come on all of that.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert