Vigan

pos 17:46.68N 120:24.76E
Salomague Harbourï

We had some rather tempestuous winds on the sail from Subic to Vigan, the weather seemed to have a mischevious mind of its own, when we decreased sail area in deference to its strength it would quickly die only to roar back stronger than ever when we had raised sail once more. I must have done something to offend it as the wind seemed to target me in particular. Starting my watch we were motoring into light contrary winds but as soon as I was on my own the wind opened up and gathered strength and I was soon doing over ten knots. The wind continued gusting higher and higher throughout my watch, I had never sailed alone in winds like that before and didn't really know what to do so settled for trimming the sails as best I could, keeping a sharp lookout, and worrying a good deal. It probably did not help in this regard that my choice of book for the watch was an account of famous shipwrecks. About fifteen minutes before my watch ended, a time which I had been checking each time we heeled especially hard, the wind quieted to a comfortable 15 knots, perfect sailing winds. Lars did not seem praticularly horrified at anything I had done so I can only assume it was mostly correct.

The next evening we approached the river that ran up to Vigan but as the charts did not seem to indicate any place to anchor in anything approachinng shelter we opted to continue for a bay about 20 miles north of the city itself and bus back to visit the next day. Coming into our anchorage in the dark was typical of night sailing in the Philippines as we motored along and saw potential hazards only after we had passed them. One of us would remark about the large object in the water five meters to the side to which the reply would invariably be "shit!". In this case it was large bamboo piles sticking out of the water, constructions whose purpose we never really figured out.

The next morning we beached the dinghy next to the small dock and set off for Vigan, a trip which took significantly longer than any of us thought it would. Eventually making it there though the city turned out to be well worth it. The colonial architecture a welcome break from the more standard concrete boxes so prevalent in this country. We spent a few hours wandering the streets stopping often for a beer to relieve the oppressive inland heat. Vigan is one of the only places in the country where these older structures hsve been preserved and the intricate wooden construction and windows made from sea shells lend it quite a bit of character. Given though that it would take us at least two hours to get back to the boat and that we were intending to sail that evening we had to head out. On being told that the bus would be leaving in a quarter hour we determined that we had time for one more beer, as it turned out we would have had time for many more as the bus was about half an hour late.

We did eventually make it back to the boat though and even had time for a swim to wash off the dust from the road before the sun set and we had to head out once more in our race to the Northern tip of Luzon.
Darryl.

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