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The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on "Pied A Mer"
Kinabatangan, Sepilok & Sandakan Trip
Joanne
03/26/2010, Labuan

Wednesday, 10th March we were all up at 5am and picked up by a taxi at the marina at 5.45am to take us to the Inanam bus station where we were booked on a bus to take us to the Kinabatangan. It was a 20 minute taxi ride to the bus depot and as we were there in plenty of time we had breakfast at the bus station. Unfortunately that morning I woke up with what I called a headache from hell (migraine) and even though I had taken several lots of pain killers during the day there was no improvement so the 6 hr trip in the bus for me was spent mostly dozing. The bus took us past Mt. Kinabalu and we had better views of it than the day we went up there as well as passing through the outskirts of Ranau. The bus dropped us off at Kota Kinabatangan and then we had about an hour's wait for the Nature Lodge Resort bus to pick us up and take us to the resort we were staying at. However we were dropped off at a little village and then taken across the river by boat to the resort. We were given afternoon tea and then shown to our cabin - it was pretty heavily booked so the four of us were in a dormitory type cabin for six with the other two being a very nice young couple from
Scotland.

We had a 2 hour river cruise before dinner and saw one orangutan in the wild, probiscus and long tailed macaque monkeys, crocodiles and a variety of birdlife. After dinner there was a night jungle walk which I did not go on as I felt I needed to go to bed and sleep off the migraine but Don, Linda and Dave enjoyed it but there were no leaches even though they were all togged up in their leach socks!! They saw a tarsus close up which is supposedly very rarely seen. Next morning (Thursday) we had another river cruise at 6am and the same the following morning plus an afternoon cruise on Thursday and a another jungle walk that night which Dave and I went on but was not as good as the previous night and all we saw were a couple of birds. We were disappointed that we did not see the pygmy elephants but it is the luck of the draw as to whether or not you see them.

Don and Linda enjoyed the trip but we could have seen and done what we did in one night, two days instead of two nights, three days so for us it was a little disappointing as we have seen so much wildlife and been a lot closer to them. The day we arrived was actually Linda's birthday and so the staff in the jungle of Borneo managed a surprise for her. Don had gone over before dinner saying he was going for a beer and told the staff this was a special birthday, asking if they could do something with the candles and balloons (Don had them hidden in his luggage). After dinner out came a 'cake' made up of hot French fries piled under a disc made of white bread with the candles atop and small crust-less sandwiches forming the rest of the cake into a star!!. They apologized that they could not make something better at such short notice.
Linda is a Berthing Practitioner ( www.birthprep.com ) in the States and along with giving classes etc. writes articles about birthing practices in the various countries she visits around the world so one of the high lights of our trip to the Kinabatangan for her was talking to a couple of young women about the myths and practices for pregnant women, especially those who opt to have their babies at home, although most in the main towns and cities have their babies at a hospital. While we did the jungle walk the second night she was taken to see and talk to the local midwife. Linda has agreed that when she has written the article she will send it to me and I can add it to our blog and am sure the women at least will find it very interesting to read.
All the other tourists that were at the resort at the same time as us were young people, so we were by far the oldest by some 30-40 years!!
After the early morning cruise on the Friday, breakfast and the short boat trip across the river we went by the resort bus to Sepilok where they dropped us off at our accommodation - Sepilok Bed and Breakfast where we spent two nights. Had lunch there between going to the Rain Forest Discovery Centre with a walk through the beautiful gardens before lunch and then in the afternoon doing the sky walks over the rain forest which involved climbing up several towers and walking across high bridges above the rain forest. The B&B had a nice barbecue for all its guests the first night we were there which was an additional cost.
Next morning we walked the kilometre or so to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary to catch the 10am feeding of these animals. We were there just after 9am and a couple appeared before feeding. We watched them for a couple of hours but they certainly weren't as close as what we had seen in Kuching. In these places it is always the luck of the draw and we just struck a really good day at Kuching.
After seeing the orangutans we decided we would get a taxi and go over to Sandakan, something we had not actually planned to do and so glad we did. Our taxi driver was great and he took us to see an amazing Chinese temple and the Sandakan Memorial Park which we would not have got to if we had taken a bus to Sandakan as both places were some distance from the main town.
The Memorial Park is the original Sandakan prisoner of war camp and commemorates the tragedies and atrocities inflicted by the Japanese between January & August 1945 when an Allied victory was in sight in the Pacific War and approximately 2400 Australian and British prisoners of war were held by the Japanese at the Sandakan POW camp. The POW's were starved, overworked, given beatings and punishments and forced over 1000 weak and sick POW's on three marches under brutal physical conditions.
In 1942 and 1943 the Japanese brought to Sandakan about 2700 Australian and British POWs, the majority of whom had been captured at the surrender of Singapore in February 1942. They were used as a labour force to build a military airstrip. The Allies eventually bombed and destroyed the airstrip at the end of 1944. Early in 1945 the Japanese decided to move about 1000 POWs 250km west to the settlement of
Ranau. On three forced marches between January and June approximately 500 prisoners died. The rest died at the destination camps. None of the 1400 prisoners held at the Sandakan Camp at the beginning of 1945 survived.
Of all of those who had been alive in January 1945, by the end of August only six, all Australians-survived. Two of the six escaped into the jungle during the second march in June 1945. Assisted by local people they were eventually picked up by Allied units. Another four escaped from Ranau in July and again with the help of local people, were fed and hidden from the Japanese until the end of the war.
Today the POW dead, whose bodies were recovered, are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission war cemetery at Labuan. Those who could not be identified or who have no known grave are commemorated on Memorials to the Missing at Labuan and Singapore.
The taxi driver then dropped us off in the main part of town and we visited the market and generally had a look around Sandakan. Linda and I both bought several lots of material and Linda got conned into some Indians making her a dress out of one of the lots of material she bought. Created quite a laugh and we had to leave them to it for ¾ hr. The dress wasn't what we expected (10RM to make) but she gracefully told them she was pleased with it and we all agreed that it was just as well the material was only 5RM ($NZ2). She has since given me the material to do what I like with it!
Our driver picked us up again at 6pm and we went to a fabulous seafood restaurant for dinner and we would have had the most expensive meal we have ever had in Malaysia (still cheap by NZ standards) but it was fabulous - we all ordered something different and shared it. Our driver then took us back to Sepilok after our meal and we got there at around 9pm, after having a great day.
Next morning caught the 9.15am bus from Sepilok back to Kota Kinabalu, arriving back at the marina at about 4pm.
KOTA KINABALU - BRUNEI - LABUAN
On Monday, 15th March all four of us caught the 9am Sutera bus into town to do fruit and vegetable shopping at the market and were back at the marina by 10.30am, went and paid our berth age fees and at noon left the marina and headed the four miles over to Gaya Island where we enjoyed a swim and a snorkel during the afternoon. The next morning we went across to Sapi Island in the dinghy and snorkeled for over an hour and we saw numerous types of fish ....schools in the 1000s swimming along with the angel fish, clown fish and many others. The coral too was amazing likewise types we have never seen before along with huge brain coral, blue starfish...oh yes just to keep us on our toes some jelly fish. We up anchored at 10.30am and had a lovely sail down to Pulau (island) Tiga - a distance of 31 miles and we dropped anchor at 3.40pm.
We spent two nights at Tiga and on Wednesday we had a bit of a walk around the island and to see the volcanic mud pool that everyone talks about and is supposedly a must to get in to. We found an English couple in the pool and I was supposedly the only one that thought about getting in but once I found that there was a severe water shortage on the island and that you had to walk the 1.3km back to the beach to get rid of all the mud on your body, decided that I was not going to get in.
Thursday, 18th we up anchored at 6.40am and headed off to Labuan (the duty free island 20 miles off Brunei) and had another lovely sail - a distance of 36 miles and we caught a lovely Spanish mackerel en route which we enjoyed for dinner that night. It was the smallest Spanish mackerel we have ever caught but we stuffed it inside and did it on the barbecue and was beautiful and we still had enough for lunch next day. We tied up in the Labuan Marina for the night and then headed off on Friday morning across to Brunei. Anchored off the Serasa Yacht Club and then went by dinghy to check in with Customs, Harbour master, Immigration etc. at the ferry terminal. Went ashore for dinner at the yacht club that night.
At mid day on Saturday we were picked up by one of Allan Riches (Brunei Bay Radio, Intrepid tours) employees and taken into the city, picking up a Welsh lady (Maritsa Kelly) at the airport before Allan took over and he did the city tour that we had done when we were in Brunei previously so saw the Sultan's Palace, the Sultan's mosque, the Sultan's Memorabilia Museum, the water village where we had afternoon tea and we ran out of time to go to the museum. Allan lent us four 20 litre diesel containers and with our five we got 206 litres of diesel for $64 - 31cents a litre!!
Maritsa was filling in time in Brunei as she was en route to visit family in Perth. When she heard what we were doing she said that her best friend's sister and husband were sailing around Malaysia and had been in Australia etc. I asked if she knew the name of the yacht and she said "Three Ships". It is a small world, Fiona and Chris on Three Ships sailed around NZ with us down south in 2007 and we are hoping to meet up with them in Borneo later this year. They did the Indonesian rally last year so are a year behind us but we have kept in touch.
Finally got back to the yacht club at around 7pm and Linda and I decided we weren't about to cook dinner so had another nice meal at the Yacht club.
Sunday morning we dinghied over to the ferry terminal and went through all the same procedure again to check out to come back to Labuan. A cruise ship had arrived in and the harbour had several boats of Maritime Police (with guns & in camouflage gear) checking all the boats around the harbour and they came up to us, asking what our destination was. All the local boats were checked as well.
We are now tied up in the Labuan marina for a few weeks which is free, including power and water. Have the air conditioning going but can't use the kettle or microwave while the air conditioner is going as it blows the fuse.
Monday morning we all went to the market to stock up and had a look around the town and Don and Linda bought a few last minute things to take home. On Tuesday we hired a car (couldn't believe it, didn't sign any papers, no license check, no insurance charges) and did a tour around the island doing all the tourist sights. Went to the Bird Park which had a variety of birds, along with hornbills which Linda was dying to see and we did not see down in the Kinabatangan. Visited Peace Park which is a beautifully landscaped memorial built as a renunciation of war - a symbol of peace and harmony. A bronze plaque commemorating the surrender of the Japanese army is mounted on a stone slab near the entrance. Surrender Point is the historic spot which witnessed the surrender of the Japanese Army to the Allied Forces on 10th September 1945, which marked the end of World War 11 in Borneo. It was also here that SE Asia's the first war crime trials were conducted. It overlooks the South China Sea. Also visited the WW11 Memorial which is the largest in the country and the final resting place of 3900 war heroes from NZ, Australia, Britain, India and Malaya.
Went and had a look at "The Chimney" which was built in 1800 and constructed from red bricks imported from England and is 106ft high. It is believed to be a ventilation shaft and linked to coal mining but there appears to be no evidence of smoke or burning and there are at least 12 layers of brick beneath the surface so it has been thought that it might have been a light house.
We stopped at a little roadside place for lunch and had some delightful Muslim ladies cook our lunch and talk to us. Linda was in her element once again talking to them about birthing practices and confirming all what she had been told down in the Kinabatangan. It was the first time that they had had any Americans or NZers stop for lunch.
Visited a Water Village here - was a bit scary walking over the decrepit paths, with holes and broken boards over the water. Some of the inhabitants tried to sell us some fish but we gracefully declined. They look so poor but all seem happy enough and content with their lot. Most of the houses have their own boats.
As Tuesday night was Don and Linda's last night with us they took us to the Grand Dorsett hotel just up the road from the marina for dinner and we had a beautiful meal. Linda bought a NZ Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc wine from a duty free shop which we had a drink of before dinner as drinks at the hotel are an exorbitant price. For over 55's you get a 50% discount for lunches and 20% for dinners at night so all in all is very good value and fabulous food to boot.
We are now back on our lonesome as Linda and Don left at mid day on Wednesday and went by ferry from here to Kota Kinabalu and flew out at 1am on Thursday for Japan where they are spending a week with Don's sister who lives there. We had a great time with them and we all got on really well - I think we think the same way about things and the time seemed to just fly by. They loved it here and it was not what they expected and most of their friends thought they were mad joining up with a couple of kiwis whom they had only met for one day in NZ in 2006 through Rotary. We are really looking forward to having some more good times together in the years to come.
We had a Swiss couple who were in here for two nights on board for drinks on Wednesday night and they had come down from Japan after spending 18mths there, originally intending to be there for only 6 months. They reckon it was the best country they had visited so was very interesting. There was a method in Dave's madness in inviting them over I think as he really wants to go there so we shall see - just when I thought I had changed his mind about things!!!


Puerto Princesa to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Joanne
03/17/2010, Tiga Island

PUERTO PRINCESA TO KOTA KINABALU

We eventually anchored off the Abanico Yacht Club at Puerto Princesa at 3.30pm, after nearly hitting the bottom after going rounding a green bouy on the starboard side, then realizing that the Philippines use the US system and you leave the green bouy to port and the red to starboard - oops!

Went ashore to the yacht club later on for a drink and to gain some info etc. and ended up having dinner there and a long chat to the co-owner John.

Next morning we went by tricycle into town to do immigration clearance and have a look around the town before getting our tricycle driver to pick us up at 3pm and take us back to the yacht club which is quite away out of town. Had a drink at the club before dinner back on board. We paid another 500 pesos to immigration and the lady told us that we had certainly been ripped off by "our appointed agent" when we cleared in. We had never appointed her, she had appointed herself as she is in a group along with Alan Riches (from Brunei) that is trying to promote sailing etc. in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

We left Puerto Princesa at 6.40am on Friday 26th February and motor sailed the whole 45 miles to Raza Island where we had a lovely calm anchorage for the night. The wind was on the nose until just after 1pm when it turned to the NE but only 5 knots.

We were up and away at 6.20am the next day and decided to do an over night passage with a very light Easterly wind and motor sailed all day, except for 1 ½ hrs. Dave was asleep and I was on watch when at 11.15pm the reel on the fishing rod went so had to wake Dave to pull it in. It appeared to be a big fish but I said to Dave that I had better bring in the hand line so the lines don't get caught around each other and lo and behold found there was a fish on that line too. However the supposed fish on the rod turned out to be a big fibre glass sack but the hand line had a nice mahimahi on it. After landing the fish etc. the breeze had picked up and we were able to turn off the motor and sail until 4am the next morning when we motor sailed for another 2 ¾ hrs and then had lovely sailing until 11.15pm on the night of 28th Feb, when the wind died, having caught another two fish - a Spanish mackerel and a big one which we still do not know what it was but it was nice eating and very nice smoked. We made 114 miles in the first 24 hrs and 124 miles in the second 24 hrs. Finally arrived at Gaya Island, 4 miles from Kota Kinabalu, at 6am on 1st March. As neither of us had had much sleep over the previous 2 days we headed to bed and sleep as soon as the anchor was down.

We got up again at 10am but we seemed to be out of kilta all day but we did get stuck in once we had had breakfast with a big clean up for our guests and continued to do so the next day. I spent a whole day moisturizing the teak through out the boat as it had become very dry. We headed into Sutera Harbour Marina early afternoon on the 3rd and that night went out for dinner with friends, Gloria & Richard Shaw from Aquarius 1 and a friend of their's from Motueka who were flying back to Australia the next day. Richard and friend were to be sailing back but Richard had a health problem and was advised to fly back to Australia so their boat is still in Sutera.

Thursday we spent most of the day in KK doing customs and immigration, supermarket shopping and getting some fruit, reconnecting our Celcom internet etc. and having walked for miles. Also had a look in a new, fabulous mall that had opened in December. Got back to the boat late in the afternoon feeling a little weary!

We were just finishing our lunch and had one or two more small jobs to do when our friends, Don & Linda Jenkins from the USA arrived. We were not expecting them until later in the afternoon as they were being met at the Tune Hotel at 11am by some Rotarians who were to take them to lunch etc. However, by 12 noon they had still not shown up so they came on over to us. The rest of the day was spent chatting and relaxing and we had dinner on board.

Saturday morning we headed off into the city to visit a travel agent to book a land based trip down to the Kinabatangan River and Sepilok and to book a rental car for a couple of days. Took Don & Linda to the new mall which they were pretty impressed with and had lunch while there. I also had a hair cut and blow wave, expected it to take half an hour but was there for well over an hour and my scalp would have been massaged for at least half an hour!! At the end of it I was pretty pleased with the cut.

Sunday morning we all went to the Gaya Street Sunday market which is a tourist and local attraction. Over these two days we were also looking for leach socks which we were advised to wear while jungle trekking in the Kinabatangan, with not a lot of joy. We were in the mall which is the closest to the marina and passed by a sports shop, went in on the off chance that they might have some leach socks and lo and behold they did so we all bought a pair. Linda and I caught the bus back to the marina and Dave and Don went and picked up the rental car.

Monday morning, Dave and I had a brief meeting with Allan Riches and then we headed off up to Mt. Kinabalu, stopping for lunch on the way. While up there we did a couple of little walks and visited the information centre. Unfortunately the top of the mountain was mostly covered in cloud and also there are a lot of fires in Sabah at the moment which does not help the visibility. Had dinner at a Korean restaurant before getting back to the boat.

Tuesday morning we headed off by car to the tip of Borneo - we have rounded it by sea several times but was good to see it from a different perspective. The car just made it there when it stopped to find that it had run out of water. Fortunately no damage so after waiting for it to cool added more water and all was well again. We then headed off into Kudat and went to the hardstand area by the pond to book in Pied A Mer for a lift out at the end of October and to stay on the hard stand while we are back in NZ for 3 months. On the way back we visited a long house where they also did bead making. We were to have the car back by 5pm but with the break down we rang and said it would be 7pm before we got back which was fine and the car was picked up at the marina.

We had a celebration dinner that night along with a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc which I had bought three of in Labuan and kept the last one for Linda's birthday and was very surprised when she told us it was her 70th. Linda sort of made it a joint celebration, celebrating both hers and our birthdays! Her actual birthday was Wednesday, 10th March but that was the day we were leaving for the Kinabatangan.

Northern Palawan
Joanne Booker
02/23/2010, Off Hook Bay, Palawan

Had not realised it was so long since I had updated our blog, I seem to have to be in the right mood to get in and do it! I think I am a lot slacker at it than I used to be because I talk to the family and some of our friends on skype more regularly.

From Inlulutoc Bay we headed up to the El Nido area and did a little tour up the Endeavour Strait where there were a couple of big and interesting looking villages and we later regretted that we had not stopped and visited the villages as Arnak and Koru did and found them most interesting. We spent the night anchored under Barron Hill, Port Cataaba. Next morning we motored around into Bacuit Bay to Lagan Island where we joined up with Sowelu, Marida and Vulcan for a late lunch barbecue on the beach. However, before lunch we dinghied over to Pintail Island with Icicle & Kelaerin to have a look at a huge cave in the island which is called Cathedral Cave and it was certainly like a cathedral with an opening at the top. The acoustics were amazing. Lagan Island was a beautiful spot with lovely clear water and some quite good snorkeling. The whole area is beautiful with karsts (large rock islands) popping out of the water everywhere.

All the other 5 boats headed off into Corongcorong the next morning but we went and visited a village on the mainland called Bebeledan which had a population of about 800 and one of the locals who spoke a bit of English took us to visit the local school. There were 6 classrooms with 40 pupils in each one and we visited every classroom and spoke to the teachers as well as took photos of each class. From shore most of the villages don't look very big but behind is a maze of streets, houses etc. All the villages we have visited have a concrete road behind the shore front row. After our village visit we headed into Corongcorong which is the best anchorage for El Nido in the NE monsoon.

We spent six days at Corongcorong and the township of El Nido was a 15 minute walk away. El Nido is a quaint town with a Spanish flavour and most of the tourists that were there were back packers. It is a 6 hr trip by bus from Puerto Princesa over a very rough road and to fly in is very expensive so you don't see a lot of middle aged tourists. We had some nice meals ashore and on 12th February we went to a local restaurant for a late lunch to celebrate Roger, on Sowelu's 60th birthday along with Marida, Icicle, Kelaerin, Vulcan, Koru and Arnak and a Texan guy who has a Philippino wife (Alan & Nelma) and has built a house at Corongcorong. Alan & Nelma invited us back to their place to have a look and what an idyllic spot and Nelma has been very artistic in the garden and in the house which is basically two apartments which they can also let out. El Nido only has power from 5pm -1am so when one wants water you have to pump by hand. Some of the restaurants do have their own generators. One day we went out to one of the islands with Icicle on Kelaerin with the intention of snorkeling and Jim and Dave having a dive but we could see all what we wanted to see snorkeling. The supposedly good dive spots require anchoring in very deep water which is a bit risky for us yachties.

We finally left Coroncorong on 15th February with Kelaerin and motored with the wind on the nose the whole 41 miles to North West Bay on Linapacan Island. Joy, Dave and I dinghied ashore and visited the local village and it seemed that everyone came out of the wood work to look at us. A local guy cottoned on to us to show us around and at first we thought he was drunk but then we realised that he was actually intellectually handicapped. His English was virtually nonexistent but he kept telling and asking Dave things and all Dave could reply was “I don't understand”. His reply, “No problem”. It certainly created quite a bit of mirth amongst the local village people!

The next day we motored another 21 miles to a sheltered anchorage at the bottom of Culion Island for the night and the next morning had a rough trip for a couple of hours until we got into the shelter of some islands and then it was lovely and calm even though we were motoring and arrived at Port Culion.

Port Culion was a Leper colony so has quite a history attached to it so we visited the museum there and to get to the museum one has to go through the hospital and pay a fee of 250 pesos each there, which is a donation to the hospital. The last case of leprosy was in 2003. The lepers had quite a community there and set up all the normal types of business etc. but the town was divided into two sections - lepers and non lepers and neither was to go into the other's section. A lot of leper research was done in Culion. Joy and I had a big long snorkel along the reef there. Even though they had houses built over the water on what we term as sticks the water was still beautifully clean and clear. Malaysia and Indonesia could learn a lot from the Philippines as far as clean waterways and rubbish goes. There are big fines here for littering.

While in Port Culion we did some repairs to the genoa furler and also to the propeller on the dinghy's motor - a temporary fix but need to get a new propeller if we can in Kota Kinabalu, otherwise can wait until we go home in May.

Went to up anchor in Port Culion on the morning of 19th Feb to do the 13 mile trip across to Coron and the up anchor switch had died. Dave shorted it to get the anchor up so we could still head off (will fix it later). Set the water maker going and after an hour or so when I moved on deck I could hear water rushing, went down below to find a hose on the water maker had burst and the water in the aft head was just about up to the door opening ledge to the galley. The bilges were full. While travelling along I bucketed water out of the aft head to speed the job up as the bilge pump in there is for the shower and only does 3.6 litres per minute so was going to take a few hours to get rid of all the water!! Once in Coron Dave attacked the anchor switch and as usual the wire had corroded. With all the technology that is available today you would think that the manufacturers would have cottoned on to the fact that in the marine environment wiring should all be tinned wire not bare copper wire. The anchor switches were new in 2007. We had had a T junction fitting made in Miri for the water maker as were going to have two pumps to double the water capacity but found that system was not going to work for us and it was that fitting that had caused the pipe to burst so Dave has now removed it and gone back to the original set up. We also did some repairs to the main sail while in Coron.

Non sailors probably wonder what we do all day when at an anchorage but there are always little jobs to do to maintain and fix things as the marine environment is hard on everything and a yacht certainly requires more maintenance than a house!!!.

We had three nights in Corong which is a very busy little town and one afternoon Kelaerin & us went in our dinghies for a ticky tour around the bay and Joy and I had a snorkel on a reef. A NZ motor sailer (Vohangy) whom we first met in Sebana Cove in October 2007 was boarded one night by a local and had cell phone, wallet etc. stolen plus a whole lot of meat out of their freezer. The guy dived off the boat before they could stop him and obviously there was a boat waiting for him. They had been in Coron for 2 weeks and had become complacent. We have an alarm in our cockpit which we set every night. We bought it after the Englishman on Mr. Bean was killed in Thailand.

On Sunday night we had a farewell dinner for us at a local restaurant in Coron and had a beautiful meal along with Sowelu, Marida, Vulcan, Kelaerin, Icicle, Arnak & Koru. All but Kelaerin, who are carrying on to Hong Kong, are eventually heading back to Borneo.

We left Coron just before 8am on Monday and were originally planning to do a 35 miler and spend the night at an island but 4 hours later the wind picked up and for the next 9 hours we had beautiful sailing conditions so decided to carry on and do an over nighter. However the wind died at about 9pm and we ended up motor sailing right through until yesterday afternoon when we dropped anchor off North Verde Island. I was woken during the night by a crash and a curse from Dave in the cockpit and he had slipped on a genoa sheet and fallen into the cockpit, put his hand out to stop himself but in the dark couldn't see where he had put it and all his weight went onto his fingers on his right hand. He said I have broken my fingers, but no, three of them were dislocated and were pointing in all funny directions. He then immediately pulled them all back into place which caused a lot of pain but got them all back. They are still swollen and painful when he bends them. He says, “Life's tough but he wouldn't swap it for the world.” I felt all faint and sick and dived back to bed in a hurry. No good me being a nurse!

This morning we left North Verde Island at 6.20 and motored for a couple of hours and then the wind came up and we are having a lovely sail with just the genoa and will arrive in Puerto Princessa this afternoon where we will spend two or three nights, do our clearance etc. and then head on down to Kota Kinabalu to be there by 3rd March to be joined by US friends Linda & Don Jenkins on the morning of 5th March for 3 weeks.

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