15
Jun
13

We couldn’t resist going to El Nido.

It seemed to take forever to pass from North tip of East Malaysia to west coast Palawan. The nasty Balabac straits was as rolly as we remembered heading into Kudat. Right after that we got into unbelievable calm waters and light winds off the beautiful west coast beaches off Palawan. We motor-sailed close to shore to stay out of the South flowing current, and we did pretty good time averaging 4 kns. We kept the engine rpm at 1600… because there are some strange sounds above that… something about that plastic bag, probably damaged cutlass bearing…  trying to make it to port without further damage to the hull. Anyway, it was nice weather and the scenery was great, so we enjoyed the trip up.

Entering Biscuit Bay at sunrise.

Entering Biscuit Bay at sunrise.

We are rock gawkers, and we seen pictures and heard much about the spectacular rock islands at El Nido. We have to see this for ourselves and especially since its on our way, plus a chance to get some fuel and fresh food… and internet… 🙂

Spectacular rocks and sunrise at Biscuit Bay

Spectacular rocks and sunrise at Biscuit Bay

We were at the pass into El Nido at the best time of the day. It was a beautiful day and sunrise was spectacular. We motored slowly and watched the mountainous island turn from dark shadow to green and grey. We gawked! This is, IMO, more beautiful than Phang Na bay or Pulau Aur. If we were cruisers with plenty of time, we could spend months kayaking and rock gawking… but we need to get to Japan before the typhoon season…

Final approach to El Nido

Final approach to El Nido

Lucky us, someone in the Navionics app community shared a note to give direction to a good anchoring spot off the El Nido village at 5m. It was a small sandy patch surrounded by corals that was a easy 5 minute paddle to the village, and holding was good. Paddled over to the large cat that was to be our neighbour. Tim was most helpful, gave me much info on the village, getting internet and where to buy stuff, got me started before I even touch down.

Didn’t have any trouble landing on the beach and parking the kayak in front of a dive shop/lounge. Family that ran the dive shop was most friendly and helpful too.

Sketchy map of El Nido

Sketchy map of El Nido

Following Tim’s recommendation, I changed USD to Pesos at Palawan Pawnshop. Decent business and rates were okay. Sure, maybe rates are much better in Singapore… but hey, its alright. Went around town trying to get SIM card for internet, but go nowhere until I found Art Café. The sold gift and arrange tours… and had Globe SIM cards and prepaid top up cards available… This is the better service to buy than the cheaper alternatives. I got Globe and something else that was impossible to read and understand how it works. Setting up for Globe was difficult too… needed help from gal at Art Café and she had to dial Globe support centre … long story, finally got it working tho.

Going to town with extras.

Going to town with extras.

We decided to refuel the small amount that we used since leaving Kudat. Only 80L, ie 4 jugs. This is me ferrying our empty jugs to shore. Then I hired a motor-sidecar taxi to ferry me and jugs to the Fuel station, turn out it really wasnt far at all. So I decided to also go to the market…. maybe that was not such a good idea… the 125cc “taxi” struggled up the hill with 80L of diesel and me.

Some of the things we do as cruisers in places with no walk on pontoons.

Some of the things we do as cruisers in places with no walk on pontoons.

I was happy to get quite a few veg from the market. Avocados, relatively ok tomatoes, watermelon, bananas, apples. The greenies didnt look good… sigh…

For all that moving around, Nandos ask only 100 pesos (US$2.75), and he looked a little sheepish to ask for that much (going rate was 30 pesos), but I was happy to give. .. would happily give 100 pesos if someone would bring the jugs from shore to Calliste, but no takers… well, so I load kayak with 2 jugs, leaving 2 on shore (hopefully nobody needs diesel or jugs), paddle out to Calliste, unloaded them, and Doug paddle out to get the other 2. …

They will never understand how irritated we are with them coming close to check us out.

They will never understand how irritated we are with them coming close to check us out.

We rested for 2 nights at anchor, it was hot in the day but cools down nicely at night. Had alot of touristy boats passing close to us… like we were some “by the way”, “happen to be there” attraction. We have had many pictures taken, and we take pictures of them in return… 🙂

Our main complain about being at such a touristy place is…. it is horribly noisy at night. Phillipinos are great live band performers and it seems every beach bar had a band going till 2am. Was loud! and just our luck, had a election rally speaker shouting above that din. I guess most tourist like that nightlife thingy, but we are just too old for that.

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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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