Batan Island

pos 20:26.91N 121:57.76E
Baluarte Bay, Basco

It was a challenging sail heading north to the Batanes, the winds were quite strong and the waves considerable. We had been in fairly gentle winds for some time and so discovered all of the small items that had been left unsecured when they were quickly scattered throughout the boat. The general state of disarray below was added to when waves began to rush over the deck and, the hatches having loosened over time, we got several buckets of water in the kitchen. None of this bothered me terribly much until the waves became strong enough to enter into the dorade vents and so drop a handful of water directly onto my pillow at regular intervals.

Given the hard heel of the boat and the occasional splash on my face I slept quite well and was fairly fuzzy when awoken for my watch. That condition passed quite quickly when I realized I was now in charge of a boat traveling at over ten knots in heavy weather. I was trying to head directly west to the island of Batan which would, I hoped, shelter us from the wind and waves but the wind took a malcious bent and degree by degree forced me further and further south until I was only about two miles off of Itbayat Island which had no sheltered anchorages at all. Rather than tack north again and try once more to reach Batan we opted to drop the sails and motor directly to Batan. This made our speed more comfortable but without the steadying action of our sails we rocked even more than before.

Given all this I was quite happy to give up the watch to Jonathan and return to my bunk, salty and unstable as it was. I woke again when the motion of the boat calmed and the anchor chain was let out. Lying bed I breifly considered going above to have some fo the rum which is traditional at the end of a passage but not even the promise of rum could lure me out of my cozy, if damp, bed.

In the morning we woke to relatively calm weather sheltered from the wind and waves but not from the heavy rain that had fallen through the night and continued in the morning. The bay itself is beautiful with crystal clear blue water savage looking cliffs and rolling grassy hills populated by cows hiding on the lee side of the slopes. The landscape reminds me a bit of Scotland but with rather more palm trees. Over breakfast we got a radio call from the Coast Guard asking us to check in with them when we land. They were unable to come out to the boat themselves as their own boat was broken down and after heading ashore and satisfying the Filippine official's love of paperwork we walked into the rain soaked but charming town of Basco.
Darryl.

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