Would you like to go island hopping sir, or massage?

It turns out there’s only one reason that single guys come to Boracay, and apparently it isn’t to rent a sailing boat to Palawan. I’ve given up trying to explain it to everyone, and if I don’t come back to my hotel tonight, I doubt the hotel staff will really believe the story I just gave them about leaving at 3am to sail to Iloilo.

I made it to Boracay late last night after 42 hours of travel via Taipei, Manila and Kalibo, and this morning I was up early to walk the beach and gauge reactions to the plan. There are lots of sailors out giving short one hour rides to tourists, but no-one I’ve met yet has done something like this before. One guy was proudly brought before me who had been to Palawan, but he’d gone to Puerto Prinessa by ferry. Coron, Busuanga and El Nido are as far away for them as China.

With two guys I dived into the logistics of chartering a couple boats. We discussed the complexities of bringing the boats back. A one-way trip for us is great. The return trip for them is much more difficult… upwind, and who to use as crew after we leave? As they started to budget for bringing extra crew along, and taking the time to get home, their enthusiasm seemed to wane. “I think it will take a month at least”.

“Well, twenty days there and back,” I countered hopefully, but if you count rest days for the wind, maybe it might take them a month. Either way, it’s a lot to ask of a bunch of guys with families.

So then the next question is whether it’s better to just buy a boat? It might come out at the same cost or less. We’d get independence, but we’d be responsible for more.

Still, the plan is getting bounced around, and we’re beginning to throw around figures. Maybe P$80,000k per boat for the rental and crew. Maybe P$150-200k to buy a good boat outright. However, it seems that all the boat owners are away. There’s a big sailboat race in Iloilo this weekend, and it’s the place to be for the local sailors. All the new and fast boats have gone there, and the reserve crew are the ones left at home giving rides to tourists.

I talked by phone with a German guy called Peter who owns a nice boat here. He may be able to help us. He sailed down to Iloilo this last weekend. I met another guy called Joseph who’s cousin is going sail down in a flotilla of four to Iloilo tomorrow morning. They’ve offered me a ride. A couple days out at sea would be good training, but more importantly it’ll be easier to get what we need if I can make some strong relationships rather than just being the tourist on the beach with the crazy idea.

So if I’m not posting tomorrow, it might be because I am sailing south! – EPIRB and swim hat will be with me.

New phone number – +63 929 478 3134

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