08/21/2013, Oceanview Marina
We went back into Davao yesterday to run a few more errands and saw the effects of the recent flooding in Manila. All the docks were empty. There were no ships being loaded or unloaded. Every day, we see ship after ship coming into the docks keeping Davao(a very big city)supplied. We're trying to find out were our batteries are so we can get them installed and run through some cycles before we leave. Yesterday, we found out was a holiday commemorating the assassinating Nino Aquino, one of there Senators thirty years ago. There is another holiday on Monday so we have to get done what we can when we can. With luck, today I will be going over to the mainland with Chardon(marina manager) to get our anchor chain. Progress comes in small steps.
08/20/2013, Oceanview Marina
Another cruiser here at the marina went into Immigrations two days ago to get her passport stamped and was in and out in less than 15 minutes. No questions, just let me stamp your passport. No one has a clue as to why the agent they got yesterday went off on this tangent. Just the luck of the draw I guess.
08/20/2013, Oceanview Marina
All the "captains" on the boats that are going on the rally headed into town to get theirs and their crews passport stamped for leaving on Saturday. They had to make a stop at the Indonesian Embassy first to get the passports back that had been left there so the cruising permits could be glued into them. Well, that took almost two hours. The reps for the rally and marina were in the embassy while the rest sat in the van waiting. Once that was done, they all went to lunch and then to Philippine Immigration. Here is where the rest of the day fell apart. The officer at Immigration put the first person that they talked to under the third degree. Questions like: When did you enter the country, Where have you visited and when and how long did you stay at each place? Do you have the paperwork to prove that? It wasn't a simple--Here's my passport, I want to leave your country. Oh no, this officer had question after question for each of the "captains". The organizers of the rally tried to explain about what was happening but the officer could not have cared less. In the end, no one got their passport stamped. It was decided by Immigration that officers would come to the marina on Saturday(the day they were supposed to leave) and inspect each boat and interview each person that wanted their passport stamped. It could take hours and they were supposed to leave and sail past the city with the Mayor of Davao in a boat to inspect and wave good bye to every one. No more!! Here is where it really goes off the tracks. Once they get their passports stamped, they then have to wait till Monday to go to Customs as they are closed on Saturday and you can't visit Customs till your passport is stamped. What a cluster f__k! Since we have now bailed from the rally(still no chain and still no batteries) we got our passports back from the Indonesian Embassy. We are cleared to enter their country when ever we can get down there(or within the next 90 days). Needless to say, the "captains" all came back really frustrated.
Meanwhile we continued doing chores on board. Donald put two more coats of teak oil/sealer on the port side in the morning and a fifth and final coat on in the afternoon. It's now done and looks great. Once that job was done, he started waxing the hull. So far, it looks great too.
Tracy and I grabbed our water filters and started refilling the freshwater tanks. Every bit of water that comes on board goes through a paper filter and then a charcoal filter. We've got good water and want to make sure it stays that way. The water here is pumped from a well right on the premises. A bit high in calcium but tastes fine to me. All the drinking water on board goes through another filter just in case.
We had been told by Chardon that our chain was finally back and he was going to organize a trip over and would get back with us in an hour to let us know when we would be going in. That was at 0800 this morning and it's now 2200. We're still waiting.
As to our batteries, we have no clue as to when they might so up. Apparently, there has been some major flooding in Manila(where the batteries are coming from) and the entire town has shut down. I texted the company and they told me that they would see what they could find out and let me know but it would be Thursday at the earliest before they might have any info. Once they get here, we have to install them and then put them through some charge/discharge runs to make sure they hold a charge and are working properly.
We lost power again at the marina today for several hours. Happened yesterday also. Just a fact of life out here.
Tomorrow, off to town to get Tracy's new glasses and a trip back to the hardware store for some more parts.
The picture today is of the fruit and veggie market at Babak, a small town about 8 kilometers from the marina. Get there early to get the best stuff.
08/19/2013, Oceanview Marina
It's another Monday full of fun. At 0830, Tracy took off in the shuttle to get the ferry to go visit the Pulonologist in Davao. Hopefully the last doctor she will need to see. It's been swallowing our days for the last week each day going into town to see some one different or visit a different clinic or another hospital to get tests done. It's been a long fought ordeal but we think we are in the final stretch. Every test she has had comes back that she is perfectly healthy yet she has felt light headed and dizzy for most of the last week.
Meanwhile, I stayed at the marina and attended a navigation seminar about the upcoming rally. Ports of call, anchorages, waypoints, anticipated weather reports, etc. Lots of information. By 1030 it was over and I returned to Zephyr to start in on chores while Tracy was gone. Donald showed up this morning at 0800 and we had him continue to scrub the hull with rubbing compound to get rid of all the oxidation that has happened since we left Mexico. Once he finished the port side(did the rest last Friday) I had him start applying the teak oil/sealer to the port side. The starboard and stern both have at least 5 coats on them and they look great. Donald got 2 coats on during the afternoon. A good start. We have to have the wood dry for at least 24 hours before it can be applied and we just kept getting sprinkles during the night. We got lucky and it didn't rain last night. Put it on while the Sun is shining. In the afternoon, I ran the water maker for several hours checking all the tubes to make sure it wasn't leaking. I even changed the filter. The old one is now soaking in a solution of water and clorox bleach. Once dried, it can be reused. I even got the new(ok, old fishing nets we got in Pohnpei) attached to Zephyr's stern. The old white nets we have passed on to another cruiser that just got a new kitten.
Here is what Tracy ran into while in town. She'd been told by her cardiologist to go see a specific pulmonologist at the San Pedro Hospital. When she told the cab driver where she needed to go, he asked her if she was visiting a friend. When she responded no, she was going in for some test, Tracy told me he shook his head sort of. The reason became evident when she arrived. Now Tracy grew up as a military brat living on or near Air Force bases all over the world. The medical clinics on base were not always the most up to day in equipment and they were far from the modern hospitals that many of us visit when we get sick. She told me that no matter how bad the Air Force clinics were, this place was a hundred times worse. Dark(burned out light bulbs) and dingy(paint all chipped) and with lots of out dated equipment. It was filthy. Now we had been told that when you go into a hospital here in the Philippines, that you need a "minder". Some one that stays in your room at all times and "minds" you. Bring your own sheets and gowns as none are provided. Now she sees why. she could not believe how bad it was in there. She has nothing to compare it to. Now it is cheap. The pulmonolgist charged a whopping $375 pesos($8.75US) and the full chest X ray was $185 pesos(about $4.25US). It doesn't get much cheaper than that. The doctors opinion, she has asthma. A mild case that can be brought on by heat and exertion. Just what has been happening. Her dizziness and light headedness is due to not getting enough oxygen into her system as the breathes she was taking were no where near getting it to her brain and other parts of her body. The doctor put her on some inhalers that she is to use twice a day as a "maintenance" so that it doesn't rear it's ugly head again. So, the mystery is solved and we can get on with our lives. But wait--there is one more test we need her to take. We go back into town and back to Davao Doctors Hospital for a lung capacity test that to be given on Thursday in the afternoon after 1300. So we will be taking the shuttle and ferry into town early in the morning so we can be there long before 1300 so we won't have to wait so long. The doctor told her that the test is free and she is to have it done and bring her the results. At that time, the doctor will give her more prescriptions.
We did get notification that our chain has arrived back where it started and we can pick it up. We're making arrangement with Chardon(Marina Manager) to go in and get it. Maybe tomorrow but I'm not going to hold my breathe as there is an bunch of the cruisers going in to visit the Indonesian Consulate and then the Customs and Immigration people to start the exit procedures to leave on the rally. As we still have no batteries and still have more tests for Tracy and still have to pick up the anchor chain and get it marked with markers(telling me how much chain I've let out). It will probably be next week at the earliest that we get out of here. We will probably miss the rally or be really late.
Stay tuned. It just keeps on coming.
The picture for today is a thank you card made by Ella, Donald and Carols daughter to thanks us for taking them to town last Saturday. She's quite the artist. Really good with colors.
08/18/2013, Oceanview Marina
We decided to head for Davao on the bus the marina hired to take the cruisers to Davao to see the Katayawan Festival parade yesterday. From what I have read, it's similar to our Thanksgiving and they give thanks for the bountiful harvest of the crops grown around Davao. We made it just in time to see the parade with all the floats and kids playing their instruments. Most of the bands played the xylophone (with metal bars instead of wood)and drums. It was great to watch and listen too. From time to time one of the floats would come by with a Philippine TV or movie star on board and the crowd would go wild, especially the young girls yelling and screaming their names at the top of their lungs. Security was tight as it has been all week long. Lots of Army military milling around in the crowd. There have been random check points along the road with spot checks for the last several weeks. It really got bumped up when the US started closing it's embassies and consulates.
After about 90 minutes, we hiked down the street to "G" mall to do some shopping since we had a bus to take what ever we bought back to the marina with us. Just about everyone took advantage of it and we all had boxes and bags for the trip back. We were back at the marina by 1415. Both of us settled in for a short afternoon nap.
Later in the afternoon, Donald and Carol stopped by to drop off the chicken curry we had her make for our passage. I had it last week at the cruiser dinner that they make each week and we couldn't pass up the chance to have her make some for the next crossing. I took it up to the club house and stuck it in the freezer. We'll vacuum pack it once it's frozen. YUM!!
Today, we have a navigation seminar scheduled to go over the route and ports that we will be visiting on the rally. I'll be attending it while Tracy heads back in to Davao for a chest x ray and another visit to another doctor. We want to make sure all is well before we leave. This has gone on long enough.
The picture today is of one of the floats. The pointy thing on the back of the float is a piece of Durian, a fruit that comes into season this time of year.
08/17/2013, Oceanview Marina
This morning we headed back into Davao City to take care of a few things. We stopped at a foam store and bought some replacement foam for the folding seats we use in the cockpit when we are up there. We got the "chairs" from West Marine years ago and the foam and fabric covers are shot. We'd priced out replacement foam in Palau and it was cheaper to buy new chairs and have them shipped in than have the existing ones fixed. The foam we got was about $35US. We're going to have Carol(she and Donald(her husband) have been working on our boat shining the stainless steel and cleaning and putting new teak oil on our old teak outside the hull. They also helped us pick out the foam today as we took them to town with us. It's a big bonus having a local family that has live here in Davao for years and know where to go to find what we need. Plus, they can do translations for us so we will get exactly what we need. They made it much easier. We all had lunch at McDonalds before stopping at a pharmacy before returning to the island.
While we were gone, just about everyone at the marina went to the big festival(Kadayawan). From what I have read about it, it's similar to Thanksgiving in the US. It started years ago to give thanks for the abundance of crops in the area. It's one of the biggest festivals in the city. Lots of dancing and singing. Parades with floats. Even a beauty queen. The cruisers were supposed to be in the VIP area but something happened and they ended up having to stand in the hot Sun. Really sort of glad we passed on it. They all headed into town in a big bus at 0630. Tomorrow, they are headed back into town for the parade and other festivities. I think we will be staying here and getting more chores done so that if the batteries show(still have to charge and discharge them several times) and if the chain ever shows up from Manila(still have to mark it at every 30 foot length) and if Diana's chest Xray comes back clean and the doctors say she is healthy, we will be ready to go. I guess time will tell.
Todays picture is of us all having lunch at Mc Donald's.