Showing posts from April, 2020

Romblon, Philippines

Old World Charm It had said in the guidebook that Romblon was rich with historical charm, but our first quick jaunt into town to grab dinner left us wondering if we landed in the right place.  Certainly, the homemade pizza, pasta, and 6 delicious desserts we feasted on in a treasure of an Italian restaurant satisfied our taste buds, but the rest of our senses were left feeling a bit underwhelmed by the town.  It wasn’t much different from any other we’d visited so far in the Philippines.  And did I mention it was raining?? The next day, though, we set out on an early morning hike to the San Andres Fort.  I was feeling like I needed a bit of exercise, and the 200+ steps would definitely be a great start.  Along the way, mosaic images decorated the platforms and provided wonderful opportunities to stop, take in the view, and catch our breath as we ascended.   At the top we met Johnny, the caretaker of the fort who’d been living on the grounds and maintaining it for the pas

Calm in the Midst of Chaos

    Sonok Pintuyan, Philippines January 2020         In Sonok Pintuyan, a village in the Philippine Islands, we had the opportunity to swim alongside the biggest fish in the sea - the whale shark.  On average, they can grow to a whopping 18 meters in length, equal to ten grown men laid head to foot!  Even though they are enormous creatures, whale sharks are not easy to locate in the wild.  In some places, the local fisherman have capitalized on the appetites of these filter-feeding beasts and continuously feed them in order to keep them around. Here, however, the local people do not feed the whale sharks, but simply bring tourists to see them when the whale sharks happen to be in the area during their migration.  We asked a local guide and his three canoe-rowing spotters to come along with us in our search.  Would we be lucky enough to see one? Suddenly, a shout came from one of the spotters! We rushed over in our dinghy, frantically pulling on our masks and fins.  Large boat

Surigao - Don't Judge a Town by its Smells, but its Smiles

Zooming along in7 knots of positive current on our way to Surigao!  January 2020 Checking into the Philippines required us to stop in Surigao, a shipping port and crowded city in the eastern islands.  Our prior stop in Sairgao, the eco-conscious surf destination, made Surigao look like an absolute pit.  As we dinghied into the man-made channel where the small fishing boats docked, the water beneath us turned a putrid shade of brownish yellow and the smell in emitted was even more disgusting.  I did not want to fall in here. As we debated about tide levels and the best way to tie up the dinghy (stern line?), some friendly men offered to take our bow line and helped us get situated.  What this place lacked in asthetics, it would prove to make up for in kindness.  During our quick 5-hour schlep to Immigration, Customs, Port Authority, and the fresh produce market, the people of Surigao we encountered along the way would insulate us from the abrupt shock of the big city. Just

Surfin' in Siargao by Michael

January 25, 2020 at 8:44:17 AM GMT+8 Surfin’ It, Shreddin’ It! I was so nervous! I was about to go surfing for the first time in my life! My instructor walked around a corner holding the longboard I would be using. He was young, and had a bit of dyed blonde hair on top of his curls. He set the board down on the beach and showed me how to stand up on it from laying down. Once I did it two or three times, we started out on the water. “Okay this one!” he said and turned my board around (with me on it) and faced me towards the beach. Suddenly he gave me a shove and I felt myself speed up as the wave pushed me forward. “Up! Up!” I heard him call out. I pushed myself up with my hands and stepped forward with my left foot and then with my right. I was surfing! I heard my instructor whooping and clapping far behind me. I laughed and exited the wave by sitting down on my board. I glanced over and saw Dad plummet into the water and his board fly out of the wave behind him. HA!

Guam: A Photo Journal

Guam Memories Field Trip's home for just over a month,    Hagåtña  harbor.  Guam is a U.S. island territory located in Micronesia.  "Where America's Day Begins!" Also the home of a U.S. Naval Base, Andersen Airforce Base, U.S. Coastguard Sector, and National Guard.  Every morning at 8:00 a.m. we would hear the national anthem being played over the loudspeakers.   Food First. Guam was not in our original cruising plan, but when the kids found out they had a Taco Bell there, the 4,000 miles we had to sail to get there didn't seem so far! Taco Bell was literally our first meal in Guam.  Tostadas, burritos, and tacos - oh my! Mark and I enjoyed a dinner out alone at Lone Star Steakhouse!  MMMmmmm - meat and potatoes!  It felt a bit odd to be surrounded by Asian tourists in such a hometown American establishment, but the steaks were fantastic and there was even country music on the radio! The other 'must have' meal out was strawberry cr