07/20/2013, Oceanview Marina
We headed back to Davao this morning taking the 0830 taxi and then the ferry. Jumped on one of the small local buses(holds about 14 people when we all jam in close). We needed to go back to the SM Mall looking for some hardware. Specifically, quick disconnect attachments for multi strand wires(for our fans) and a new nozzle for our outside hose. You'd have thought I was looking for some Egyptian tomb for all the help I got at Ace Hardware. Nice store but it hasn't made the leap to a real hardware store. A "tarp" to them is a sheet of thick vinyl with no grommits on it. They did have real tarps elsewhere in the store but it took some looking. As for "quick disconnects" that can be crimped on wires? Well, they have NO fittings for crimping anything. No butt connectors, no nothing. Looked at me with a little lost dog look not having a clue as to what I was actually looking for. And they call themselves a "hardware" store????? What a joke. Tried for a motion activated lamp for outside--nope. While not giving them credit, no other "hardware" store in Davao had the motion lamps either. We did find the nozzle for the hose though.
We had lunch at a restaurant called Gilligan's. Nice place with a decent menu and we both had chicken and pork on a stick. Four sticks of each to a meal. An appetizer of spring rolls and it was a pretty good lunch.
Tracy looked for a casual dress to slip on to go up to the restrooms at the club house without getting all the way dressed. Found one that should work.
Last night was the weekly barbecue get together. The group didn't even start the fire for the coals till after 1830 and that was way past our normal dinner hour so we baled and I cooked my steak on the grill on board. Beef here is ridiculously expensive and never that good in quality. We'd bought a box of Australian steaks the other day and I finally got to try one out. There are 5 steaks to a box and it comes in a one kilo. Runs about $26.00US for that kilo or about $11.00 a pound. That works out to $5.50 per steak and those weigh in a about a half pound. They are better called "minute steaks" as that's about how long it takes to cook them. While it was tasty, we probably won't be buying them again as they just cost to much for what you get. Meat at a place called the Swiss Deli(explored today) is even more per pound. Guess we will be sticking to lots of chicken and pork as they have that in abundance. surprised about the pork as while this is still a Christian town, there are still a bunch of Muslims here and they won't go near the stuff.
We stopped at a local fruit and veggie stand after taking the ferry back to the island and bought some apples that are very fresh and a good bit cheaper than in the bigger markets in Davao. I guess it pays to shop around
Tomorrow, more projects here at the marina. We have asked the boatyard/marina manager for a quote to take off our teak decks and redo with fiberglass. It should be interesting as labor here is cheap and from what we have seen, pretty good with boats.
07/18/2013, Davao, Philippines
Last nights dinner provided by a local family consisted of a hamburger/stringbean combination with a sauce and rice to put it on. Add on steamed Carrots, long beans and Cauliflower. Add on a chicken soup with big chunks of chicken. For a desert of coconut milk and Pandanus. A nice spread for just $175 pesos(about $4.00 US). Afterwards, the games for the evening was darts. We bowed out at that time and headed back for Zephyr as big bolts of lightening and winds were starting to come at the marina from the North. We zipped up the sides of the dodger and battened down the hatches and just waited as we watched the CBS evening news on our computer. The winds intensified and waves started crashing against the North side of the breakwater going at least 6 feet above them is a spray. We actually had waves with boats bobbing back and forth inside the well protected marina. About an hour later it was all gone and calm returned to the area.
This morning, we headed into town on a special trip set up by the marina to S & K store. It's just like a Costco or Sam's. Lots of oversized goods and a bunch of things from Costco on the shelves. We made the trip with folks off three other boats so it was a full van and even fuller on the trip back. We arrived about 1030 and had the van set to return about 1400. On our first trip around the store, we only picked up a few bottles of cheap(some under $4.00US) wine. One even came with a free pair of sandals. We stopped about 1230 and had lunch there(a hotdog and coke for Tracy and a Chicken/bacon roll and coke for me). Tasty and cheap.
We did a second trip around the store after lunch and got a few more items, the biggest being a box of 5 Australian Strip Steaks. We had these when we were in Fiji and it was great meat. Good beef is hard to find here in the Philippines so we thought we would give them a try even though they were in a box and impossible to see what they looked like. Guess we will see when it's time to fire up the grill.
The van showed up right on time(early actually) and we stuffed the van to the gills and headed home. It's now just about 1630 here with the sky again threatening to rain and a hint of thunder in the distance. Guess we will see what the evening storms bring. Most times, it rains in the afternoon or evening and is then calm though the night.
The photo at the top is of the inside of S M Mall in Davao. A relatively new and huge mall with lots of store for everything.
The adventure continues.
07/17/2013, Oceanview Marina
Yesterday, we climbed back in the taxi and headed back to Davao City. One of the other cruisers here at the marina had found a brochure about different businesses and restaurants in Davao and in it was an ad for a chiropractor. Some how, I'd thrown out my back while we were in Pohnpei. It started as a bunch of muscle cramps in the tops of both of my thighs. It slowly worked its way out of my left leg and really played havoc with my entire right leg. There were days I couldn't walk more than a few yards with out having to stop and try and get the muscles calmed back down. When we left for Palau, I already had an appointment with a physical therapist. He didn't do much other than give me a couple of messages but the pain continued. We headed in yesterday after calling him the day before to see if I needed an appointment. "No" was the answer. Just come on in. We got there about 0945 and were third in line. about 20 minutes later I was shown in. Gave him a quick history and then on to his "bench of horrors and pain". A twist here and a twist there. Cross your arms and let me shake you up and down. Hey, I'll let him do anything that will get rid of the pain I've been having. He told me that the people in the adjoining offices were used to the screams. A few minutes later and I was all snap, crackle and popped. He told me if the pain continues in three days to come back and he will do more work on me. Tracy grabbed the back pack and off we went.
We headed for the SM Mall on the way back to the ferry to Samal Island. It's another huge mall with tons of stores and strangely, a bunch of open space. Nothing was crowded in the mall. Not even that many people. We had lunch at "Army Navy" restaurant. Some Mexican and American food. I had the "Starving Sailor" sandwich. Really nothing more than a Philly Cheese steak sandwich. Fries on the side. Tracy wanted crispy tacos but they were out of the shell so she settled for a hamburger. The food was adequate but not worth going back to again. We got our cell phone activated with a new sim card and picked up a dongle for the computer so we can do internet from the boat if we want to instead of going up to the club house at the marina(where I am right now). All the malls here have grocery stores attached so we took a look to see what they have. Again, nothing jumped out at us telling us to take it home. We did get some cucks, a ponkain, some onions and a bit of lettuce for a salad. We also got a radish for the mix. It was all under $3.50. We jumped into one of the local buses and made it back in plenty of time for the ferry and the taxi ride back to the marina. Dinner was some snacks as we had a big lunch. Watch some old TV shows and off to bed.
I was up just after 0500 this morning and at the clubhouse to check our emails. We had a few things to do today but since we were running low on gasoline, I took the taxi to the ferry dock where we get our diesel and gas and came right back. Once the tank wa back on board, we filled the water tanks. Tracy had gotten the hose and filters ready while I was gone. Now our tanks are back to the top again.
One of the cruisers here at the marina is selling his boat and wants to get rid of the extra diesel his has on board. Several jerry cans and about 40 gallons in his tank. We told him we would take it all as we figure to need about 70 gallons. I loaned him a 12 volt fuel pump so he can get the fuel out of his tanks. Over the next few days, we will make the transfer. I'll be paying him $44.10 pesos per liter which works out to about $4.00 US per gallon. The same price I would have had to pay at the pump with a lot less effort. A good deal for both of us
It's too hot to do much this afternoon. Tracy did a couple of loads of laundry at the boat using water from the faucet on the dock. Much faster than getting it from the pump we have on board and there is nothing we have to replace later. While on a whole, the Philippines are humid, where we are is quite dry. Out laundry actually dries in a couple of hours on the lines we have stretched around the deck. It's much drier than Palau, or Pohnpei.
So that's what's happening here. Another day of getting a couple of projects done. If I'm up early again tomorrow, I do the windlass as it's clear at the other end of the boat from the sleeping compartment.
The picture I've added is of one of the buildings at the Capital of Palau. It's out in the middle of nowhere with lots of other buildings around it. Supreme Court, Legislature and general offices for the clerks and office staff. All pretty much abandoned.
07/13/2013, Davao, Philippines
Yesterday we took off for the newest mall in Davao. We had a bit of a delay as the rear step on the taxi had come loose. Now this is more of a small pickup truck with a box with seats on the back. It's open to the cab so the air conditioned air flows into the rear box. It's a mix of dirt and concrete along the way to the taxi. Sometimes nice and smooth and sometimes rocky.
We got the ferry only to be delayed again as they wanted a different ferry to be docked before they would allow the first ferry to load. No clue why. We traveled into town with Steve, another cruiser that has been here for several months and know the lay of the land. He told us we didn't have to pay for the ferry since the man that owns the marina also owns the ferry. Just tell the cashier "marina marina" as you pass and it's free. Nice deal.
Steve was headed for the SM Mall and we were going farther in so we shared a taxi(a real one this time). We got to the mall just after 1000 which worked out fine as that's when they open. It was huge!!! The newest mall in Davao and would put any mall in the US to shame. We were told there were 37 shoe store alone in the mall. It's three stories tall and packed to the gills. Food courts on each floor with a wide selection of choices. I know it was wrong, but we ate at McDonalds. A Big Mac combo meals(medium size) was just over $4.00 US. A good deal. Restaurants are cheap here as the daily wage is just a couple of dollars a day(not be hour).
We stayed till just after 1400 and grabbed one of the decorative busses back toward the ferry arriving at 1445 just in time to get on the ferry. We were on Samal Island by 1500 ready for the bus to pick us up at 1530. There are free "taxi" rides to the ferry at 0830, 1300 and 1500 with return trips at 0900, 1330 and 1530. There ferry runs continually so that when one is on one side, there is a second at the other side. They just switch docks about every 25 minutes.
Getting around, we found a great way to save money. The taxi ride to the mall was $197 pesos or just under $5.00US. If you take one of the decorative busses, it's only 24 pesos or about .55 centsUS. The bus we jumped on got a flat tire on the way to the ferry so the driver flagged down another bus and told the other driver where to take us and even paid him. People are very nice here and willing to help out. One of the people in the bus translated for the driver and told us how much the fare was.
Anyway, we got back to the marina just after a big rain storm had blown through so we had a bit of mopping up to do inside Zephyr.
The picture I posted is one of the small runabout fishing boats we saw on the way to Davao.
07/12/2013, Oceanview Marina
We've been playing with the electrical system here at the marina trying to get it up and running for our boat all with no success. We just keep getting the warning on our circuit panel that we have "Reverse Polarity". Zephyr won't run on that. I've tired every way I know of on changing the wiring set up to the boat all with no success. I even plugged it into a different power post on the dock.
Today, the marina manager showed up with two electricians and we went at it. he checked the circuit at the dock and said all was well there. He checked our wiring where it comes out of the stepdown transformer(the Philippines run on 220 volts) and said all was well there. But we just keep getting the warning light. He tried several different configurations and still the problem persists. I use much of the same wires from our Yamaha generator so I don't think it's anything inside the boat. It has to be something in the wiring at the dock. We have no clue and the electricians left thoroughly confused but promising to think about it and see what they could come up with. In the mean time, we will use our trusty Yamaha.
As to diesel fuel, there are no fuel docks here at the marina no anywhere nearby. It all has to be jerry jugged in from the ferry docks about 20 minutes around the west side of the island. We have only one 5 gallon jug and one 2.5 gallon jug so a friend on another boat is going to loan us his 4 jugs. We leave on the 0830 taxi to the ferry terminal where we get them filled and promptly return on the same taxi. It runs several times during the day so in a few days, our tanks should be full again. Diesel runs 44.10 pesos per litre or abut $4.00 a gallon. We used about 70 gallons getting here so it won't be too painful getting out tanks filled. The cost of fuel here is some of the lowest we have seen all across the Pacific. It just take a bit of work to get it back to Zephyr and pumped below decks. We glad that Philip on Carina introduced us to the "Super Syphon". stick one end of the hose into your jerry can, shake it up and down the fuel flows quickly and cleanly down the hose and into our filter system.
That's about it for now. We have a barbecue set for tonight so it will be fun meeting more of the residents of the marina.
The picture is of the kids greeting us at Sigaboy village.
07/11/2013, Oceanview Marina
We arrived at the marina about 1300 on Tuesday, right on schedule. While it was at low tide, we still cleared the passage into the marina by just over 3 feet. One of our friends(Paulo on Super Mario was already here though we had thought he was headed for Indonesia when he left Palau. His boat has a very deep keel and he ran aground when he entered earlier.
We got in and with lots of help from fellow cruisers, we tied up easily at the dock. Even got a starboard tie up which is great for Zephyr. It made coming into the dock easy. With lots of fenders along the side and plenty of lines out we were in nice a safe and sound. We cleaned up Zephyr a bit and then headed up to the office to check in. Easy paperwork and we were set. The office manager went though what we would need when we headed into Davao to check in with Customs, and Immigrations on Wednesday. They are quite lax with the formalities we have run into as we crossed the Pacific. Going in the day after we got here was perfectly alright with them. So for the rest of the day, we snoozed and cleaned up. Even took showers in nice restrooms here.
One thing I forgot to write about was the blockades they have across the entry way to the marina. First, there is a set of long buoys across the outside entry, the and swing open gate made of steel at the water line right at the narrowest point and then another set of buoys inside of that. All these are set up to stop the swells that could come up when the winds shifts to the northwest. The marina is right on the northernest point on Samall Island. We have jets flying over head from time to time with is different for us. We haven't seen or just about heard any planes for quite some time.
Yesterday, Wednesday, we took off for Davao to get checked in. The marina runs a taxi service to the ferry that takes you across from the island to the city. The taxi is free and the ferry is just 10 pesos(about 25 cents). Once on the mainland, we jumped in a taxi and headed for the Customs office. It had been explained to us that everyday dress(shorts and a tee shirt) would no be allowed in the government offices. We had to wear LONG PANTS!!! Plus a dressy shirt to boot. Shoes, not sandals. No mini skirts were allowed(like we have those on board?). It was all nice and proper and took just a few minutes to do all the paperwork and surrender our exit paperwork from Palau. Back to the main road and into one of the local colorful busses that are all over the place. We knew that Immigrations was next to the Victoria Mall so we had him drop us off there. The office we needed was right across the street. In we went and up to the third floor where we met Ms. Gomez who got us all checked in and passports stamped. We now have a 21 day visa. When that time fame is up, we have to go in for an extension. So far, no one has asked us for any money. We do know that the extension will cost a few bucks.
Once that was done, we crossed the street and headed into the Victoria Mall. We needed a bank to get some local currency. We'd tried a back across the street and our ATM card didn't work with their system. We needed another bank. It took some looking but we found an ATM in the mall that would give us some money. The bank puts a limit of just $10,000 pesos(about $225 US) on any transaction and adds a $200 fee(about $5.00 US) on every transaction. That can really add up after a while. Now with money in had, we need a hardware store. On Tuesday, after checking in, we had attempted to hook up to the 220 volt system here at the marina. I have a stepdown transformer that we used in Fiji and it was perfect for the task. The problem was was that all the cords I have are set up for Fiji wiring, not US style. I cut the heads on one of the cords and wired it onto the turn lock head from Marinco that fit their connections. The other end was set up by the Fijians and it just didn't want to play nice with the US style wiring. I tried numerous ways to hook it up and every time I did it, I got the light on our circuit board that we had "Reverse Polarity". Not a good thing. It normally means so wire some where is not hooked up right. The problem was that I didn't have a "female" end for the wires. Yesterday, while in town, I found the correct fitting. In the mean time, I was using the generator to keep our batteries topped up. When we returned to the marina, even with the new fitting, I still kept getting "Reverse Polarity". The marina manager is getting an electrician to take a look at it. Meanwhile, our generator just keeps on running.
Tracy went up to do the laundry at the office and found that all the machines were half the normal size and to do it would not only cost a fortune but take forever. So after just one load, back she came and she will now be doing them at the boat. Water is free and she can get them done much faster(though lots more work) than to use their machines.
Last night, we had a get together at the club house. A local family brings in a dinner for all the cruisers and for $175 pesos(About $4.00 US) we had a great dinner. Afterwards, we had game night with everyone set up in teams. We did well coming in third out of five teams. We only had three on our team while the winning team had 6, so we did well all in all.
And that's about it. I'm trying to add a picture of the marina.