Schooner Seawanhaka

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Date and Time:

December, 2011


Philippine Sea - Palau to Philippine Islands

View Photos - Philippine Sea Passage :


17 December, 2011 - Ngeremeduu Harbor, Palau

SEAWANHAKA is anchored just inside West Passage this morning, preparing to depart the pass through the western reef of Palau into the Philippine Sea bound for the Philippine Islands. It has been a rather eventful few days. We had to cancel our clearance appointment with customs and immigration on the 14th and sit out a tropical storm warning in a typhoon hole in the Rock Islands. Turned out that the storm did not blow up much. The highlight of the afternoon in the cove was the sighting of a 2 meter crocodile swimming around the boat, just after we had all been in for an hour snorkel/swim! Back in Malakal Harbor yesterday we cleared Palau customs and immigration, and had a nice sail north between the western reef and shore of Babeldaob, the big island of Palau. An encounter last night with a spear tossing native, but this morning the crew are all in good spirits, SEAWANHAKA is in good order for sea, and we have a very favorable forecast for easterly trade winds for the next week. This crew is a captain's dream. They have all sailed on SEAWANHAKA in the past. Between them Jen and Miles have 20,000 miles on board, and Ashley did some sailing with us in Australia. All's well as we furl the Palau and Royal Belau Yacht Club flags and head to sea.

SEAWANHAKA has had a wonderful 9 months in the beautiful little island nation of Palau. I logged 21 dives at some of the best dive sites in the world, sailed the remote Rock Islands with their tremendous anchorages, snorkeled with the unique jellyfish at Jellyfish lake, and experienced the endearing culture of the very proud and independent Palaun people.

22 December, 2011 - Siargao Island, Philippine Islands

SEAWANHAKA has had a very smooth, quick passage of the Philippine Sea, making landfall off of Siargao Island just 4 days after setting sail in Palau. After the tropical storm passed to the west of Palau it was followed by good weather and fair winds. We made good progress in fairly calm seas. We were in the latter part of the lunar cycle, the diminishing moon coming up later every night, so we experienced a sky blanketed with a full aray of stars, with the moon coming up on the 0200-0400 watch before sunrise. We had one good day of fishing. Hooked into several nice fish and managed to land one mid-size mahi that made for great sashimi in the cockpit and a good grill for dinner. We had another big one close to the boat before it broke free, that's why they call it fishing instead of catching! 575 nautical miles from last anchorage in Palau finds us in a sweet little cove off the island of Siargao, a beach/surf/resort island off of the NW coast of Mindanao. We arrived to reports that the tropical storm that passed us in Palau had strengthened to typhoon status by the time it reached the Philippines, resulting in widespread flooding and claiming some 1000 lives on the island of Mindanao.

December 30, 2011 - Posted by Miles King, aka "marinero muy contento"

Sometimes we are fortunate enough in life to re-live our most memorable experiences. And even more so if it's with the same people under similar circumstances, but in different locations. Such was the case on board Seawanhaka in Palau from December 4th to Dec. 23rd, 2011.

In June of 1998 I met Bill Hanlon, through a family friend by the name of Jen Kroner on Seawanhaka in the Keehi Lagoon of Oahu, HI. By then Jen had sailed with Bill from Mexico to the South Pacific and back. She now has logged over 15,000 sea miles on Seawanhaka. Along with Jenna Malone, we crewed on Seawanhaka for the nearly 3,000 mile trip to Victoria, Canada. Outside of precious family events, this trip was the most memorable experience of my life!

Some 13 years later Bill wrote to say that after 9 months he was about to leave this true island paradise known as Palau, and that my wife, Carol, and I should come visit him there before he departed and headed West for the Philippine Islands. After all of the Pacific Islands Bill and Seawanhaka have encountered from Alaska to Tasmania, one really has to listen up when Bill describes a group of some 300 hundred islands as "the perfect island paradise". Apparently Jen Kroner felt the same way because she too quickly (since Bill doesn't always allow for a lot of lead time) made plans to come to Palau as well. It didn't hurt that it was December in Hood River, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado, and Dublin, Ireland, as well as everywhere else in the world, and that Palau is truly tropical at only 7 degrees and 21 minutes north of the equator. Ashley Dowling, an accomplished photographer and diver, and also a past sailing crew member on Seawanhaka, joined us on her way home from Australia to her native Ireland.

Bill proudly showed us the "new" 86 year old Seawanhaka after all the enhancing new improvements he had accomplished in Australia, including the beautiful wood finishes in the classy, comfortable, expanded cockpit, the new hatches, companionway, and exterior mahogany wood trim, the redesigned interior head and berth spaces, new bulkheads,cabin soles, and rich custom built-in wood cabinetry. Another upgrade, the new solar collectors, provided the coldest beers of anywhere on the island chain.

After experiencing the best diving and snorkeling one could possibly imagine, we enjoyed sails throughout the Rock Islands to the south, Bill's cockpit BBQs, dinners ashore at places like the Drop Off and Kramer's, and refreshing morning swims from the boat in Seawanhaka's secluded anchorage known as "Pincher's Backside".

On Saturday, Dec 17th (though he's not superstitious, Bill would never embark on a voyage on a Friday) we weighed anchor and set sail from the big island of Babeldaob for Siargo Island in the Philippines, some 600 miles to the west. Although I'm not superstitious as some sailors tend to be, I do believe one should never begin a long sail without an accomplished cook on board. And as we began our trip I realized what a lucky guy I was, to once again be sailing with not one, but 3 great galley masters for captain and crew. For the next 5 days we crossed the Philippine Sea in what could only be described as a most peaceful, relaxing sail in beautiful azure seas with light trade winds, gentle swells and glorious star filled night skies. Occasional tropical rains provided cooling fresh water showers. Truly, this was the best reunion I've ever enjoyed.

One very notable event did occur at the end of this trip. Arriving in the Philippines meant that Seawanhaka and her Captain had just completed crossing the Pacific Ocean both North and South as well as East and West. And one final hope remains: That we all might someday have yet another reunion on Seawanhaka.

View Previous Postings:

October, 2010 - March, 2011 - Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, Palau
April -October 2007 - Coral Sea
January - February 2007 - Antarctica
August - October 2006 - Papua New Guinea
November, 2005 - August 2006 -Australia
October - November, 2005 -Fiji to Australia
May - October, 2005 -Fiji Islands 2005
April - May, 2005 -Voyage from New Zealand to Fiji
December, 2004 - April, 2005 -New Zealand
November - December, 2004 - Voyage from Fiji to New Zealand
September 15 - November 14, 2004 - Fiji Islands 2004
July 26 - September 14, 2004 - Kingdom of Tonga
July 5 - 24, 2004 - Apia, Samoa
May 31 - July 3, 2004 - Pago Pago, American Samoa
April-May, 2004 - Pacific Ocean Crossing
May 17 - 21, 2004 - Fanning Island, Kiribati
April, 2004 - San Diego Bay, California

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