Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Epsiode 29 The Philippines Part 2

Lorelei’s Sailing Adventures

At the end of Episode 28 we were at Samal Island, Davao City, Mindanao, The Philippines.

Paul was about ½ way through Lorelei’s scheduled refit and Lisa was in Australia and a little over ½ way through her time back in Aus.

Lorelei’s Refit Part 2 – The Interior

We had decided to completely re-varnish Lorelei’s interior and as Lisa is allergic to the 2-pack polyurethane varnish, Paul was completing the job while Lisa was away. It was divided into 3 sections (the first 2 were detailed in Episode 28) and Paul was onto the last section which was our aft master bedroom and galley.
At the same time Paul also painted the ceiling in the main saloon area, the galley and our bedroom.
It was week 4 of the varnish project and the 2 excellent local painters, Popsie and Nit Nit could see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Popsie and Nit Nit varnishing our master bedroom

With the work going so well, we decided to get some extra things done and had the shower floor strengthened, re-glassed, painted and gripped.

Ecoy (surprisingly the only Muslim that worked on Lorelei, and one of our favourite staff memebers) in our Shower/Laundry area

We also had carpenters Gilbert and Alfredo come back and do a major make-over in our toilet room, putting a whole new series of linen cupboards in. It turned into a 2 week project as there was lots of  waiting and drying times between ripping out the old cupboards & basin and installing, gluing & painting the new ones.
The end result is amazing.

Gilbert starting to strip the old fixtures

When we first got to Davao  (before Lisa left for Aus) we decided to give our mountain bikes a major service and in particular the Hayes hydraulic disc brakes which where causing lots of issues on both bikes.  
The issue was finding a bike store that sold and dealt with that sort of
top-end equipment.
Admittedly we were a little dubious – but cycling around Davao and Samal Island is popular.
So we asked a local cabbie if he knew of any good shops. He asked, Road, MTB or BMX? Wow we had specific options???  For MTB he indicated there were at least 3. We checked out 2 which were great but we arrived at the third and were shocked to find this amazing new shop with a
$12 000US Cervelo full carbon fibre time-trial bike in the window.  
We had only ever seen one on the TV’s Tour-De-France coverage!  We went inside and met Laurence the owner and the shop had a great vibe. This will do nicely we thought, and vowed to return later….

Lisa and Laurence out the front with Paul’s dream bike

With many things needed in Davao city, rather than relying on the marina bus (and as we were on Samal Island, it involved a car ferry ride across and another 5klm ride into the city), Paul decided to hire Donald and his small van for a day. Donald and wife Carol live close to the marina and do casual work for boats as required and cook the Wednesday night local dinners for all the marina patrons.
Two of the main tasks in Davao involved taking Lorelei’s 6 anchors into Beta Springs, the cities only galvanizers and dropping off our bikes.
Well word had spread through the marina like wild fire and on the morning Donald turned up with his small van, there were no less then 12 anchors sitting ready to go in the parking lot and over 1200kg of anchor chain.
With a 400kg limit in the van, Paul simply had to say no to the majority of the stuff but we did manage to load in 8 anchors (our 6 and our friends Sidewinder’s and Alya’s ) as well as our 2 Mountain Bikes and a stack of other stuff and off we went for our fun mission into the city.

How in the world are we ever going to fit all this in???
That’s all were going to get in for the galvanizers...

It turned out to be one of the best exercises because Paul had a big list of things to get and knew where to get most of it – our so he thought. After a little running around Donald asked what Paul needed rather than where he wanted to go and he took Paul to his choice which turned out to be a better place, then helped with the local language, do the deal and in the end got a cheaper price as well. A few times Donald even flashed his discount card for that store. Perfect!!  Sometimes you just have to trust the locals…
To do all of that on his own would have taken Paul about 4 days and definitely cost a lot more.

Having lunch with Donald - that’s a big chair and a huge menu.

Paul hired him again 2 weeks later...

Lisa on the NSW Central Coast.

Meanwhile Lisa was on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia, enjoying her final week there before flying north to Brisbane for 2 weeks.
For her final week on the coast she spent time with her parents, Paul’s brother Rod and his family and caught up with her cousin Lisa, Uni flatmate Karen, Sydney friends Andy & Kristyn, Paul’s stepbrother Paul & wife Carman and was invited to a Saturday night BBQ at the Scully residence in Terrigal where she caught up with stack of our friends including The Scully’s, Nathan, Brownie, Brad and a stack of others.
Many thanks to Hayley for supplying the photos.

Lisa with friends Andy and Kristyn

At the Saturday Night Party at The Scully Residence

Lisa with family Rod & Hayley, Claire and Dean

Lorelei’s Refit - The Exterior

With the 5 guys looking after the interior, Paul started outside with another 2 guys and they spent 5 days polishing every single piece of stainless steel from bow to stern. They were so thorough and even did all the rigging screws and turnbuckles with a toothbrush. It’s the best the stainless has ever looked.

The back deck area with all bolt on bits removed for polishing and rust treating

When that was completed we tackled the messiest job, the rust treating. We had not treated any rust since Port Vila in Vanuatu in 2012 so we tackled all the problem areas like around the windows and inside the toe rail. Paul ground the paint back and treated the rust, while the boys did the rust painting, bogging, sanding and final coats in both deck colours. Thank goodness they were there to help as it was a mission of a job and they knocked it off in just 4 days.

Lorelei’s decks stripped and grey rust paint applied

The boys enjoying a well deserved afternoon tea break
Paul also did some sewing modifications to our canopy at the same time.

It was so hot during the day that at 5pm knock-off, many of the yachties went for a swim to cool off and relax. Paul and David from Sidewinder took their paddleboards for everyone to try. The most enthusiastic were the local girls who had a blast paddling around the marina on the boards.

Joy and Lovely having a paddle around the marina

Lisa in Brisbane, QLD

For her last scheduled week in Australia, Lisa flew to Brisbane to visit family and friends but it certainly didn’t go according to plan.
Her first stop was to Paul’s parents Diann and Ron’s small farm near Kingaroy, 3 hours NW of Brisbane. It was suppose to be a 4 day visit but unfortunately Pauls mum was very sick when Lisa arrived and mum spent 5 days at the hospital in Brisbane while Lisa and Ron stayed at hospital accommodation close-by.
Lisa delayed her return for a week so she still had time to help out and visit her brother Lenny on the Sunshine Coast along with friends yachtie friends Danny and Carol off Sentinel, Rowan and Kirsty (who visited us in the Solomons in 2013) and the Di Betta family – Muddy, Helen, Sophie and Alice.

Alice pleaded with Lisa to have this nerd photo of her added to the blog
Alley - its done.....and you're famous!!

On Wednesday 13th August Lisa finally left Australia (happy but totally exhausted) and made her way back to The Philippines via Singapore.
With a 10 hour lay-over in Singapore, she went to see one of the free movies in the cinema at the airport and fell asleep - for hours, only waking up 90 minutes before boarding – Whoooops….

29th Annual Kadayawan Festival
10-17 August, Davao City

One of the main reasons we wanted to come to Davao was the annual Kadayawan Festival which is the largest social event of the year in Mindanao.
It is a week long festival with many different activities on the program.
The festival is a celebration of life, culture, local wildlife and a thanksgiving to the gods for the bounties of the local harvests.

To say it was a huge event is a massive understatement as over 165 000 people from outside the Davao area attended the festival.
In our 3 years of cruising, it is definitely one of the best things we have done!
Amazingly there were only a few westerners that we saw during the entire week – and this is how it went down………

Monday Night – The Formal Opening
Freedom Park

Lisa was still not due to fly in until Thursday arvo and no one else at the marina was going so Paul packed a bag and his cameras and took himself off into the city to go to the Formal Opening and the open air food fiesta which was at the well cordoned off Freedom Park.
He was a little early so he decided to head into the City Centre/Town Hall to have a look around and take some photos.

Not the prettiest church we have seen - but a holy place none the less.

The flag lowering at the Town Hall which takes place at 5pm each day

Building the Stage for Tuesday Nights Opening Ceremony

Just on dusk off to the side of city hall there were hundreds of people lining up. Paul asked around and discovered the City Mayor comes there at 6pm each Monday to personally hand out free rice to the poor.

People waiting for the Mayor to arrive to distribute the rice to the needy.

This is a photo Paul took just after dark.

After dark Paul walked to Freedom Park. Coca Cola had sponsored the event and the whole area was lined in Red and White and Coke logos.
The food stalls went as far as the eye could see.

The stage at one end had a band and traditional dancers.

After walking around, Paul was shocked to find he was the only westerner there. Being a westerner, well dressed with 2 cameras certainly had its benefits though. Many of the officials came to have a chat and the 2 smoking hot coke promo girls brought drinks and food to him all night.
He even got invited to an after-party and politely declined
– but was tempted….

Tuesday Night  - Celebration Opening Ceremony for the People
Rizal & Quezon Parks – Town Hall

After having a blast on the first night, Paul backed it up on the second night and went in again. This time Selina from Westward 2 decided to come at the last minute and we both made our way into town.
Security was like nothing we have seen before.
The Army had arrived, the Police were in force, Task Force Davao, Sniffer Dogs, Bomb Squads, etc.etc… you name it – they were there.

We hung around the two parks until dark taking photos and watching the traditional dancing taking place in many locations.

Being the only westerners (aside from ex Gold Coast pro Photographer, Barry who has lived in Davao for 30 years) we were interviewed so many times by TV, professional film crews and local kids for school projects.
So many people wanted their photo taken with us.

As the sun set the crowds grew and peaked when Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
arrived. Unlike politicians back at home, This guy is amazing and the locals just love him as he has cleaned up the city big time in many aspects.
We were fortunate to be seated only a few feet from him and his councilors.

The opening ceremony was fantastic with prayers in both Christian and Muslim and some great, comparing, dancing and singing.

Left - The evening’s compares.  Right - Miss Kadayawan 2013

We then walked over to the city town hall to get away from the masses and take some time exposure shots of the building lit up in lights

Paul with a no-arm, 10 second self portrait

About 30 seconds after the photo above was taken, the street was flooded to capacity as the mayor came over and the Miss Kadayawan Beauty Pagent contestants emerged from the Town Hall Foyer. Paul did not have a photographers press pass but the guards kindly let him up into the main staging area to take some photos and get closer to the girls. Stoked!!!

Pauls favourite as he thought she deserved the title “Miss Photogenic”

Much like the Olympics, The Mayor lit the Kadayawan Cauldron and announced the Festival opened and gave a very down to earth speech – apparently (we only understood a few words…)
He was totally mobbed by smiling happy well-wishers with hundreds of camera flashes going off at once. Amazing!

So popular.... providing you are not a criminal
Google up his name  or “Davao Death Squad “and prepare to be shocked...

After the ceremony we hung around and took photos of the dancers in their traditional outfits.

By the time it started winding down we were stuffed so we walked out of town to get a feed and stopped to take some time exposure photos of a place Paul had found the night before. We sat the tripod on the side of the road and took some fun shots of us, the bunting and the traffic.

We caught the ferry to Samal and a Trike from the ferry to the Marina with a stop at the 24 hour bakery on the way for a snack.
Talk about a mission of a night. We both arrived home absolutely buzzing from the experience.
We had to keep it pretty low key the next day as one of the “more knowledgeable yachtsmen” had told all the rest of the marina patrons that it was not worth going to any of the Kadayawan festivities until the final weekend.
A big thanks goes to Selina for going with Paul to make for an awesome night and for someone to share it with.
Its a pity Selena’s husband Stephen was sick and couldn’t come.

We were so stuffed that Wednesday we had a Kadayawan lay-day.

Thursday – Tribal Games
Peoples Park.

Thursday – Hooray!!!
Lisa was due to fly in at 2pm and both Paul and Lisa were very excited. In 19 years of marriage, it was the longest time we have ever been apart.

The Tribal Games was a new activity for the Kadayawan Festival and it was the first time it had been attempted and from what we saw it appeared to be a raging success.
Selena and Paul were up early and into the city by 9am for the start of the games.
The games are for the highland tribes from the outer areas of Mindanao and feature traditional games for both men, women and mixed teams. The participants all wear traditional attire and the individual points go towards the tribes total team score.

For the men we saw top spinning first. They spin the top and then dance around it willing it to continue spinning. It was fun to watch – more the dancing and the antics than the top…

Next was spear throwing. The spears were home made and they had to spear a rolling ball coated in a husk style layer.
The spears ranged from bamboo through to some serious customs with steel breakaway heads that would stop a whale!

For the women there were many events too but Paul missed them.
The teams events were great with grain pounding and sieving races to get it all completed.

Thanks to Selena for this photo

The 2 female compares pictured below embarrassed Paul big time by trying to chat him up over the loudspeaker in between competitions.
He thought it was a joke until one of them came up at the lunch break and gave him her phone number….

After lunch Paul went to the Airport to pick up Lisa.
It was a crazy experience as security was so tight that nobody was allowed anywhere near the terminal unless they had a flight booked.  As the numbers of the people waiting for the flight grew, the security herded them all together (armed with automatic weapons and waving them about…) and escorted them across the road and made Paul and the others sit on a grass embankment 150m from the terminal. When Lisa arrived she had to carry all her gear unassisted across the road and to Paul as he could not come any closer. Talk about stupid!
Paul had his cameras in his bag but dared not risk pulling them out to snap a few shots of the mayhem.
Catching a cab was also impossible as the cab rank was inside the exclusion zone. In the end we managed to flag one down after it dropped someone off.

Poor Lisa then went home to Lorelei, unpacked, checked out the completed work, washed, repacked and at 8am the next morning we headed into Davao City to the Uno Hotel where we had a hotel room booked for 4 nights for the Kadayawan Festival.

A few weeks prior Paul had gone in with Steve and Selena in search of rooms for the festival. We were thinking of 2 major ones but found the Uno ½ way between the 2 and it was right on the street the parades were on.
We managed to get Luxury Suites on the top floor with balconies overlooking the road for only Aus $27.50 per night. Perfect!

Friday – Tribal Dancing Afternoon

After lunch we headed to Rizal Park for an afternoon of tribal dancing.
The 11 tribes from the outer Davao area all competed in front of the huge audience and the judges. We had front row seats and a fantastic afternoon.
Paul took nearly 1000 photos in the session, making it difficult to narrow it down to just 25 for the blog.

Waiting for their turn to perform

Each set of performers had their own musicians

That night we met up with many of the other yachties and headed out for a Chinese meal.
After the meal we headed to Quezon park for the big dance party only to find 10’s of 1000’s of people in the closed off streets surrounding the park.
Being tall westerners we could see quite clearly over all the short Filipinos heads.
It was all going well until a young guy got up on stage and the crowd (particularly the young girls) went berserk.  It turned out to be the countries most popular teen idol and it seemed everyone knew the words to all his songs.  We split soon after feeling a little too old and mainstream teen pop music is certainly not our taste.

As we walked home at 11pm we went past many cordoned off streets with hundreds of young kids rehearsing their routines for the following 2 days parades.
It was a wild, fun night that topped off a jam packed day.

Paul, Lisa, Selena & Stephen

Saturday – Street Parade

Saturday we were up early and had a walk around the streets looking for a great vantage point to photograph the parades. With many of the surrounding areas under construction, masses of tangled powerlines and poor sun angles, we found the best spot right in front of the hotel and a little further down at the starting/marshalling area.
After talking to one of the judges, we found out that her booth was located out the front of the hotel and most of the performers would stop there and do their routine.
We also had our own friendly Task Force Team looking out for us.

The street festival came in waves for most of the day with a break in the middle of the day for lunch.
Paul did another 1000+ photo day.

All the action right in front of our Hotel - perfect 


One of the biggest icons for the Kadayawan Festival (and Davao in general) is the Durian fruit.
As we walked around town we were amazed at the number of people on corners and in small stalls selling the Durian.

A huge amount is grown in the areas surrounding Davao.
They certainly have an unusual reputation as they have a very pungent smell and an unusual taste. You either love or hate the taste but no-one loves the smell!
The smell is all through the city and very easy to recognise.
There are also many grades or durian and at one large restaurant in Davao they are cut and displayed with a a graded number attached to each fruit.

In the stores there are scores of different products made from the Durian - Chocolate, Candy, Snacks, Shakes, Dried, Ice cream, etc, etc...
Even Macca’s have one!
However not everyone likes the durian and they are banned in some public places, public transport, restaurants, etc...

Halo Halo

That night we also finally tried Halo Halo for the first time.
Halo Halo is the most popular dessert in The Philippines and it seems nearly every restaurant (single or chain) has Halo Halo or some version of on their menu. In many places it is the only dessert option offered.

We found the Halo Halo a strange combination of ingredients that takes a bit of getting used to.  It’s not in our top 10 dessert options but certainly is palatable and like most local cuisine - cheap.

That evening we tried to go to the final of the Miss Kadayawan Pageant which was held in a large gymnasium but it was packed out the door when we got there and it was only then we discovered it was ticket holders entry only.
Lisa and the girls didn’t care so much but Paul and the boys weren’t happy!

Sunday – Float Parade

If Saturday was big then Sunday was gigantic! The streets were filling up fast with 1000’s of people, families, food and balloon sellers, beggars and a massive amount of security. Fortunately we had a local security team hanging around the front of the hotel as many of the yachties had booked rooms for the previous night and there were a lot of us present. They seemed to keep a lot of the beggars away but it was still pretty annoying and once again we were interviewed many times. Paul was interviewed by a very well known TV personality who has her own long standing travel and lifestyle show. Little did Paul know but it was broadcast live on her Sunday program.

Paul on National Television - thanks to Selena and Stephen for the photo

The parade was different to Saturday as there were no judges and it started early and was a consistent stream of performers and floats.
It was just an awesome morning and a 1200+ photo session.

Shhh - Dont tell the yanks they have one of these....

This poor water buffulo was doing it tough
They had a guy  with a bucket pouring water over him regularly
And someone following with a shovel....

Pimp my pushy!!!!

That afternoon we walked to the Peoples Park and on the way found many of the floats park in a side street which gave us a great opportunity to stop and have a closer look.

The Peoples Park is a great place for a picnic or family outing and it has some great statues and stonework.

That night we just managed to get off our bums and drag ourselves to the closing ceremony in the city centre.
Once again it was packed! It was supposed to start at 6pm but by 7pm they were still setting up the stage. By 7:45pm still no officials or Mayor had arrived and finally at 8pm the sponsor put on some pathetic show with “Miss Ditzy Kadayawan” as the host.

In the end we overheated, gave up and left.
We walked until we found a great Vietnamese Restaurant and stopped for dinner. We certainly had made the right decision because 10 minutes after we sat down it poured with rain and flooded most of the streets.
Those we know that did stay got soaked – and the flu….
All in all what an incredible week it had been. What was more amazing was the huge number of people attending and yet only a handful of westerners.  We felt very privileged to have been able to attend and all the more special that the event is not staged for the tourists but is by the local people, for the local people and any tourists that attend is just a bonus.
Paul certainly experienced more in the week than any other westerner.
Culturally, It is right up there alongside Yap day as our trip highlights.

With over 5500 photos taken by Paul over the week, it was a mission to sort through them!
It’s no wonder this Episode was posted a little late....

One thing we noticed which we have not really seen before are the "selfie" photo poles which connect to your phone to photograph yourself.  I seemed every second person had one and they would run up next to a float and snap away. It made shooting the floats and performers a real challenge without having a few "selfie shooters" in the picture.

The photos below are a series of 180 degree morning, noon and night panoramas Paul did from our Hotel balcony.

The Refit - The Episode 3

Upon returning to Lorelei we got stuck back into the work to get Lorelei finished.
We employed Donald and Carol to do some upholstery (and give us a break from it) . One of their employers, Jok Jok, re-did all the interior seats and Carol made new curtains.

We had Alfredo and Gilbert back for a third time and they made a new computer shelf in our bedroom and a shelf for our washing machine water re-cycle system.

The Shower/Laundry with the new shelf and finished floor

The finished result on Lorelei’s interior is fantastic and we are very pleased.
Here are some photos to compare during the refit and after completion.
Interestingly the refit photos are taken with Lisa’s underwater wide angle lens - a 12-24mm Nikon F1.8 while the completed shots are Pauls UW wide angle Tokina 10-17mm fish eye. Very different results.

The V-Berth/Toyroom

Internal Helm Area

Saloon/Dining Table

Looking aft to the galley & engine room/workshop and the entry stairs

The aft deck painted, polished and put back together

With Ecoy not having much fibreglass work, Paul asked if he was interested in overhauling Paul’s SUP as it had had a hard life in the past few years both in Kosrae, Micronesia and onboard Lorelei. Ecoy fixed all the blemishes on the bottom and the rails and did a full respray of undercoat/primer, gloss white topcoat and clear coats.
The final result is amazing and it looks like a new board.
Then to top it off, Jok Jok made a great new SUP board cover with some better materials than when Paul made one 12 months ago from a tarp.

Ecoy with our SUP in green hi-build primer

Ready for the clear coat

Ecoy had done such a fantastic job of the SUP so we took all our surfboards up that needed ding repairs. Additionally he had a look at some of Pauls older boards he had purchased in Micronesia and decided he could do a major fix up and respray with gloss white and clear over. Once again they turned out amazing and look like new boards.

Re sprayed gloss white and ready for the clear coats.

Lisa’s parts delivery from Australia

When Lisa returned from Australia she had 45 kg of gear packed into 2 large bags. Many of the items were bits and pieces we needed for Lorelei that we could not source from here. Additionally there was camera equipment and chocolate!

Pauls brother Rod owns a steel fabrication firm and was able to make a series of parts for Lorelei. Included was new  boom bales, a strengthening system for our main boom universal and  a new support bracket  to go on the davits for our RIB.

The camera equipment was mainly underwater gear and it was like Christmas morning when we opened it all. Included are new strobes and  strobes arms for both cameras, arm floats, sync cords, macro ports and lenses, modeling light and arm,optical converter and spares.
Pauls dad George also kindly donated his powerful 500mm lens for wildlife and surf photography.  

Lisa now has 2 macro options and we feel we are now really prepared to tackle The Lembeh Straights in Indonesia (regarded as the worlds best underwater macro photography location) and hopefully get some great shots.

This should be enough underwater photo gear for Lembah and Raja Ampat......

Sail Indonesia Yacht Rally

With 10 days to go before the start of the Sail Indonesia Rally (hosted by Oceanview Marina, Samal) many of the yachts were frantically trying to get organised. Many boats that had been on the slip for months (and some even years...) were being returned to the water and final preps and checks were underway.
The marina was getting a dress-up with new flags and sail Indonesia signage.

Reprovisioning turned into a bit of a headache, even with the added shuttle bus runs into Davao to help. Gas bottle filling was also an issue.

Over the final10 days there were many activities organised for the yachts including rally planning meetings and briefings, games days, yachting hardware garage sales, parties and lots more.

One of the Rally briefings that we attended.

The organised reprovisioning, games, second hand sales and cruising association meetings are just not our thing so we politely stayed away, kept low key and did our own thing.

One night though we did have Suzie and David from Sidewinder over for a Sushi night. Suzie had never made it before so Paul gave her some lessons.
It turned into a great night.

We must have taken 20 photos and Suzie had her eyes closed in every photo. We hassled her about it for days.

Our MTB overhauls

Finally we were able to get back into Davao and get our bikes sorted out.
We went into TYK Bike Hub Inc the week before we picked them up and spoke to Laurence and worked out want needed to be serviced, replaced, repaired, etc...
When the work was done, we were able to pick them up. The main upgrade was a complete new set of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for both bikes. Additionally we had purchased new chains, tyres, tubes, hand grips, pedals, hydration systems, pumps, tools, gloves and a lots of spares that should last us a few years.  

And the cost for all that and servicing - less than $450 aus. At home we would have paid 5 times that for what we got.
They have some serious name brands in the shop like Specialized, Norco, Cervelo, Santa Cruz, etc. If you were looking at a new hi-quality bike, it would be way cheaper to jump on a plane, buy the bike over here, have a holiday and take it back home with you.
We cannot speak highly enough about Laurence, his family and his staff.

Well our clean bikes didn’t stay clean for too long as we did some pretty muddy rides around Samal.  Sometimes the mud was so thick the wheels would not even spin.

Lisa in the corn fields with a muddy bike

Stopping for brunch

The view over the marina from the lookout


One of the flash new housing estates on Samal Island.
Each house has nearly 180  degree water views.

During one of our rides we decided to visit Donald and Carols Quail Farm.
They have around 4000 quails that produce approx. 6000 eggs every 48 hours. They are delicious and much healthier than chicken eggs.
The road to the farm is very step and while Paul rode it, Lisa decided on hitching a lift on the trike.

The Quail House

Carol with around 5000 Quail eggs

We also went and visited a new beach house/resort that D&C oversaw as project managers. The location is stunning and the quality of workmanship is excellent considering the location and style of building.
The land was around $50K and about the same for the building of the house. At just $100K Aus it is certainly food for thought......

With Lisa back, Paul now had the opportunity to go up the masts and do a rig inspection, some cleaning and electrical maintenance.
The view from the top is always great but it is certainly not Paul’s favourite thing to do.

Two-thirds of the way up

Pot Luck Friday nights (where everyone gets together and brings something to BBQ and something to share) became huge with so many boats now in the marina for the Rally. We had so much food to choose from and some awesome desserts.

Abeth cooking up a storm

With just 5 days to go to the Rally start we had still not  been able to slip Lorelei. We had tried at the marina but Lorelei was too big so our only option was to use the massive ferry slipway on the other side of the island. Being owned by the same person as the marina made life a little easier but the issue was the large party barge that was on the slip and due to go back in many weeks ago was still up with hull problems.

Finally after weeks of waiting we get the news that it would be off the slip by the 28th of August - just 4 days before the rally start.
We had to make a decision what to do and with Lorelei’s size, slipping in SE Asia is limited so we decided to slip on the 1st September and miss the rally start.

For the last 4 days prior to the rally we still attended the briefings, had our CAIT and visas organised and joined the official farewell party.

On the Saturday afternoon Dr Aji, an Indonesian official flew in to address the group on many of the Indonesian formalities, cultures, diving locations, etc...
It proved to be a very helpful presentation.

Paul took this photo of the group for all to share before we boarded the bus to go to the party.

To be honest, we had no idea what to expect but when we arrived at The Holiday Resort we were amazed at what we saw.
The place was well decorated and there was a band, dancers, amazing amount of food, sushi bar, fruit displays and lots of smiling happy people.
This was going to be a great night!!!

They welcomed each of the boats and the crews individually.

We partied, drank, ate, watched the performances (and even did a little ourselves...) and danced the night away.

Mmmmmm - Sushi - Yummmmm

Of all the yachties we met in Davao, this crazy couple, David and Suzie we got on the best with. They are from California and are old school skateboarders and surfers - just like us....

Some of the ladies learning to Bamboo Dance.

More Durian....

These ones tasted great and we ate a lot of it that night

Paul and Suzie taking over the entertaining for a while

And we wonder why Lisa does not wear heels often.....

Funnily enough the compare for the evening was the Lady TV Celeb who did the live interview with Paul at the Kadayawan Float Parade and they remembered each other and had a talk and a laugh about it later.

We were all given packs including scarves, shirts, info packs and a fantastic custom brass plaque with each boats own name on it.

Lisa with Sheela Mae, the lady who manufactured them

On the Monday morning as the boats had just 24 hours prior to leaving, we left the marina and motored the 7nm around to the ferry slipway to haul out.
It proved to be a straight-forward exercise and within 2 hours we were up and work had commenced.

Kjarten assigned 5 guys to work on Lorelei’s hull. They spent 2 days washing and hand sanding all the old antifoul off.
Needless to say - labour is cheap...

They then spent 3 days priming, bond coating and applying 4 coats of new antifoul paint. We decided on the popular Japanese Chugoku brand of paint which is unheard of in Australia but very popular in the Asian equatorial regions. Unfortunately it comes only in one colour - PINK!!

Lorelei normally looks big on the slip
- that is until she is hauled out on a 1000 tonne car ferry slipway.

One day we had to go into Davao to get some parts and a new drill. We took this photo of Lorelei from the ferry.

We had lunch in the city and when we walked out of the restaurant the sky looked black. We then looked down the long busy city street and were horrified to see this intense twister style dust storm with about 80klm/hr winds coming straight up the street towards us. Paul had a camera in his bag but had no time to react and get it out.
It was just like out of a movie scene with people running to escape it with shirts pulled up over their faces and trees threatening to break.
It was a totally crazy experience and we slipped into the nearest shop to ride it out. Fortunately it only lasted about 5 - 10 minutes.

Paul doing some engine maintenance
- replacing the impeller on the raw water pump.

By the weekend we were ready to go back in and Kjarten came with us on the return trip to the marina at 4pm on the Saturday arvo.

It was the first time ever on both Lorelei or Purranha that we have not completed all the work ourselves and with such cheap labour costs we would have no hesitation in coming here again to slip or recommending it to any other larger monos or cats over 30 ton, 60ft length or 30ft beam.
Anything smaller should be able to be hauled out at the marina.

More MTBing

The next day we were pretty stuffed and should have relaxed and maybe given Lorelei a good clean after being covered in dirty footprints from the slipway.
But it was Sunday and that’s Mountain Biking day! Kjarten and partner Abeth wanted to take us and show us their favourite MTB spots on Samal Island.

Firstly we went to the local Dairy. Wow fresh milk was such a treat.
When we went to buy some they asked what flavour - Plain, Chocolate or Durian.....

Waiting for a Water Buffalo pulling a sled to come past

Around mid morning Kjarten and Abeth headed back and we elected to visit Peneplata (Samal Island’s largest town) on the other side of the island before riding right around the top past a squillion resorts before coming home via Babak and back to the Marina.
We got home at 2pm, muddy, tired and barely able to walk having ridden nearly 60klm.

 Out on one of the sea walls looking back to the homes of Peneplata.

Fresh F&V shopping in Peneplata.

Riding along a typical street in Peneplata

So that’s it for this Episode of the Blog.

What’s in store for the next few months....

We have a week of tiding up, refueling, reprovisioning and waiting for our chain to come back from galvanizing.
(Our anchors have already been returned along with everyone else’s.
They arrived the arvo before the rally left. We could write a whole blog episode on that saga.)
We might do another sortie or two into Davao and hopefully a dive or two to test the new gear along with a trip to the Eagle Sanctuary and Wakeboard Park.

We hope to leave here for Indonesia around the 20th of Sept.

Heres a little map for our future plans and we are still not sure which way to go after our first 3 months in Indo (marked in Red).
Its nice to have options though and we hope to hang out with Pete and Deb off Downtime for some or most of it.
Either way we still want to return to The Philippines via Palawan for a 6-9 month stint around all the fun dive/surf/kite/mtb spots (marked in green).

We are a little dubious about Internet availability in Northern Indonesia so we are really unsure when or where Episode 30 will be posted from.
Rest assured though it will have lots of underwater photos of some pretty unusual critters from Lembah - soooo looking forward to that part of the trip before heading over to Raja Ampat.

From both of us we send out a massive thankyou to everyone that made Lisa feel so welcome back at home in Australia during her 6 week stay. The list is huge and its nice to know that our family & friends made time to be with, house and feed her.
Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou.....

To all the Aussies - enjoy Springtime Australia. Bring on Summer....

Paul and Lisa.

Yachties - Thinking of coming here??

For yacht owners reading this we have no hesitation in recommending Ocean View Marina for berthing or getting work done.
The place is modern, security is excellent and Kjarten the manager is fantastic.
We just cannot speak highly enough about the work that was completed by his staff and the cost. The daily rate at the time we were there was 500 peso per person per day which at the time was $12.50 Aus per day.
With all the work that was completed on Lorelei both inside and out by the staff at Oceanview over 8 weeks and including the berthing fees was well under A$3000. At home we estimated the same exercise would have been around $20-25k.
That did not include the slipping, as at the time of posting this, we have not yet got the bill.

HOWEVER - There are a series of other people that also supply services  at and around the marina. These people are not employees of Kjarten or Oceanview. In all our experiences with them, we found them much more difficult to work with than the marina staff. They would fail to turn up at arranged times, not follow instructions, fail to complete the work on time,difficult to organise quotes and final pricing issues.

In one case the person came and looked at the job, ordered the materials, THEN gave a quote which was super expensive (more than having it done in Australia) and said he was starting it “soon” - all before even getting the go-ahead from us.  Crazy!!!  And “soon” turned into over 6 weeks.....
6 weeks turned into 10 weeks and eventually we left without it. Thank goodness we didn't pay for it up-front.

In another instance, we thought we would have a lot of left over material that we paid for and supplied for a particular job but when we inquired we were told there was none left and they had used it all. When we went to the manufacturing place a week later we found loads of the material all piled up on a bench. They tried to throw a tarp over it to hide it when we walked in but we saw it anyway and got it back. We were not impressed by their dishonesty.

We will only speak about our experiences but delve a little deeper and you will find some wild stories about dodgy workmanship on other boats.

So our advice - stick with the marina staff if they have the ability to do the job. At the end of the day Kjarten was the one overseeing our projects and if there was a small problem then he was able to sort it out, not us.
Hire staff or organise projects independently of him and its you that has to oversee the project and sort out any language barriers and other issues that will surely arise.

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