Philippines Log

Davao & Samal island area of Mindanao

It is hard to comment much on the Philippines, since basically we pulled into the Ocean View Marina on
Samal island and pretty much parked there while getting major boat work done.  We only spent a total of
5 nights anchored out of the marina and one week up north diving for a mini vacation.

This is certainly a great place to get work done on the boat and we had lots done.  The hulls and cockpit
were painted a nice shiny white.  Of course we got the usual bottom job done as well.  A fellow cruiser
was an expert at sail and canvas work so we hired her to go over our sails and to correctly fix the faulty
UK genoa that UK sails refused to correct.  We had the outboard motors serviced, the anchor
regalvanized, etc.  Really this is the best place for repairs we have seen in a long time and the prices are
beyond reasonable.

The other great bonus of this marina is that it is out of the Typhoon zone!  Unfortunately my insurance
carrier would not believe this and did not reduce my rates...

The only downside of this marina is that it is far from town and takes about an hour to get to a major
store.  The marina provides a free shuttle and a free ferry, but still it is time consuming to get to town.  
Most folks bought motor bikes to get around, but we never did.

It is also convenient that the marina hosted the start of the Indonesia rally that we signed up for and so
off to Indonesia.

Davao (after 6 months in Indonesia)

Things changed big time...

First you have the big incident where 4 people in the marina were kidnapped by terrorists.  This
happened the first month after we left for Indonesia.  Unfortunately the outcome for them was not good.  
We even debated not returning here, but the winds were wrong for Malaysia.  Palau was an option, but
Claudie being Canadian only gets 3 months there.  The last option was farther north in the Philippines,
but we did not want to play dodge typhoons for the next few months.

So anyway we are back in Ocean View marina finding the place a bit different than when we left.  Nothing
like living in an armed compound with military guards and even a coast guard boat locked in with us.  It is
pretty much a cruiser prison with short escapes to Davao to hide in shopping malls.

The marina is quite changed and way more expensive.  They jacked the rates 33% for having a
catamaran here.  They raised all the rates excessively.  Heck even after being here a few months they
just raised the beer rates at the "club house" 20% with no notice to anyone.  Boats are leaving quickly,
since we have been here and few are arriving.  Even boats that have been here for years are leaving,
due to the increased rates.  Most seem to be running north to find safe anchorages and hopefully have a
typhoon strategy mapped out.

Certainly the cruiser atmosphere here is gone.  I would guess that there is less than half the boats that
were here last year and mostly it is boats being stored.  You can still get work done on your boat and we
had the decks painted so at least we are all painted now.  The friday BBQs are 2 or 3 tables instead of
the 10 to 15 we used to have.  If you need extensive work done this might still be the place to come, but
then they have an advisory for the whole gulf to beware of kidnapping so anchor at your own risk.  
Maybe the new President will finally do something about the terrorists and make this a safe place again.  
At this time there is one hostage left (the former marina manager and the one who kept this place
functioning) and we are all hoping he is released safe.

Off to spend the rest of typhoon season in Palau and to enjoy those 3 months we get.