Passage Port Bonbonon to Kota Kinabalu (15-19 Jan 04)                      Back to Valhalla's Adventures

15 Jan 04

We dropped the lines to our mooring at Port Bonbonon, Negros, Philippines at 0905 and cleared the pass at 0915.  The winds were blowing well in the anchorage and the skies were partly cloudy ... portends for a good sail. Outside we found the conditions were boisterous but manageable.  The winds were at 18-22Kts from the east, putting us on a broad reach using just the 130% genoa to make a 'rock and roll' ride ... 6 to 6.5Kts speed over the ground (SOG) in the gusts.  As we left Negros behind the winds abated and were from the unusual (for this time of year) direction of southeast!  Even better for us as we were now on a more stable beam reach. 

Is that a look of relief on Rose's face?

Here's our plot at 1600.  In the photo above you can see our track (red line ending in small circle, the boat position) as displayed on the computer. The green line is the planned route. I used the Sea Clear II navigation program for this passage.

The winds died at 1830 and it was necessary to motor-sail.  During the night we saw lots of shipping ... once had six targets on the radar at the same time.

16 Jan 04

Early the next morning (0130) the winds began to blow at 12 Kts from the north.  PERFECT!  We sailed through the night and day ... motor-sailing when the winds became fickle.  The big AW SHIT was at 1305 when the NEW autopilot quit.  The drive motor would not respond.  So it was retired and the old Tillerpilot/wind vane system pressed into service which lasted nicely through the passage.

17 Jan 04

Sailing conditions were a repeat of the previous day ... good sailing most of the time and motor-sailing in the long lulls.

This plot at 1600 shows our dodging of shallows in the San Miguel Islands.

We enjoyed this sunset that evening.

With a pass into the Balabac Strait to be negotiated for the first time I chose to slow the boat at 2145 for a dawn arrival at the Main Channel.  Reduced sail gave us 3.6Kts until 0600.  Having now seen the pass I would not slow down again.

18 Jan 04

 We had an opportunity to check the accuracy of the sonar (Interphase PROBE) while going through the Mangsee Islands. I purposely steered high to pass over the 17 fathom point shown on the chart.  As shown, the sonar registered that depth quite nicely.

Our negotiation of the Channel is shown on this 0940 plot ... including our dodge around a 6 fathom mound.  At this point the winds were light and variable.

Departing the channel the wind began blowing from the northeast putting us on a run ... wing and wing at around 5 Kts.  This evening plot at 2000 shows the variable wind direction as we stayed directly in front of the wind.

19 Jan 04

Conditions remained constant through the night until just before dawn when the wind again took a holiday (Chinese wind? Chinese New Year is in a few days!).  At dawn we were abeam Mount Kinabalu, shown here with the sun rising from behind.  I had memories of climbing to the top and freezing until sunrise just four years ago  ... much different seeing it this time from 4,100 meters lower elevation.

At 1230 we entered the Sutera Harbour Marina.  I had contacted the marina earlier in the day (using the satellite telephone) then had a contact on VHF Ch 71 when 30 minutes away.  There were heaps of people awaiting our arrival ... marina workerbees and friends from the past:  Tom and Jean on REPOSE and Myung and Hwang Lee on ISAAC.

Here's the entrance photo ... right click and select 'Save .... as' to download.

The marina is part of a five star resort complex.  Amenities are mind boggling.  The slip fees ($220 per month for 32' boat) include use of the resort facilities: swimming pools, gymnasiums, sauna, jacuzzi, showers, towels (can be checked out one day and returned the next) and shuttle bus to the shopping centers in town.  Water is free and electricity is metered but almost free.  The email address is:

I'm sure the luxury life here will wear thin .. just when is a matter of debate!