Friday, February 22, 2013

Carmen, Philippines - Feb 2013 Launch

Carmen, Philippines - Boat Launch 2/11/13

It was a drizzly Monday morning when we launched Silver Tern from the Mumby Boatyard. We had tropical rains the night before which made for wet ground, but the yard’s crushed coral fill drains quickly. To begin with, they wheel the launching trailer under the boat and jack the supports in place so that the trailer is holding the boat up off the ground. Then they place 4ft long flat metal plates in front of the trailer tires. With the boys in position around the trailer, they push it forward a few feet. Then they move one of the flat metal sheets from behind to in front and continue a series of forward leapfrogging moves and stops. There was just one soft spot that the trailer sank into which required that the trailer be jacked up and the hole fixed.

The boat inched forward, about 200 yards, toward the beach where it sloped down, requiring a metal chain to be attached from the trailer to a strong point in the yard as well as a rope to our 4wd vehicle on shore as back up. After a lunch break, the final pushes forward moved the boat onto the beach. However, the port propeller started to get buried in the soft sand, so they stopped, shoveled a hole behind the prop and moved the boat to the right position on the beach where it can float off at high tide. Finally, the boys loaded rice bags with sand and put the sand bags under the boat to protect the props and the bottom paint from sand abrasion. The only discomfort to us was that high tide was not until midnight, making for a dark trip out to anchor in Carmen Bay. Luckily, the night was clear, and we had a friend lead us in his dingy to our pre-planned anchor spot.

We gave all the boys ball caps that have s/v Silver Tern engraved on them and took a group photo. They work hard for minimal wage but seem happy doing repetitive yard work as long as they can listen to their favorite music station, often singing along, as they work.

While we mostly worked the two months we’ve been here, we did attend a few parties, including a
birthday party for Steve at the local Rumy Picnic Restaurant, and a couple of hash runs.

 Our Port Carmen Hash club had its 2nd anniversary weekend run at the Camotes Islands this year. We took our boat the 15 miles across and anchored in front of the Santiago Resort next to a beautiful coral reef preserve. After taking our inflatable boat to shore, we joined the group for an island tour aboard a jeepney and an afternoon hash run through taro fields on rough volcanic soil. One of the places we stopped on the tour was at a cave made in the limestone that had a fw pool inside.

On our return to the dingy, we noticed it was losing air in the tubes. It is a cheap Chinese built pvc dingy that replaced our original which was damaged beyond repair during shipping. The glue used on the boat has not held up, and the boat is falling apart. After giving up on re-gluing, we looked for a used dingy and were able to find a smaller, older West Marine inflatable that we hope will last until we can get a decent replacement sent to us in Malaysia.

Our plan is to depart on Monday, Feb 25, and tour the Philippines on our way to Malaysian Borneo. We had originally planned on sailing all the way to Thailand this cruising season, but we may stop in Malaysia instead. We are leaving later that we though and still have systems work to do and catamaran sailing techniques to learn. After all, cruising should not be rushed, and cruisers plans are always written in sand. In May we will find a boatyard where we can put the boat on a hard stand, secure on land, while we return to Canada for the summer.

We are excited to finally go sailing on the boat. The weather is nice this time of year with gentle NE monsoon winds blowing. There are lots of new island anchorages to explore and coral reefs to snorkel. The boat is stocked with food and supplies and we are ready to go.

Finished Salon with cushions


  1. Congratulations!!! Must be quite a feeling to have finally launched her. I look forward to hearing about all the adventures you're about to have. Safe Travels

  2. Congratulations on the launch of Silver Tern. We hope this is the beginning of many wonderful cruising adventures in the months and years ahead. We send our very best wishes.
    Harris and Linda