The Philippines are a Cruiser's Paradise

The Philippines are a Cruiser's Paradise

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Brian Calvert shoved off in 2009 from Friday Harbor, Washington, headed south and then west into the Pacific on his Selene 48, Further. He documented his travels on a website and blog so others could follow along. Along the way he found crew to join him from 26 countries, using the crew finder website, findacrew.net. 

An avid diver, Brian explores under all of the waters during his travels, and now that he is based in the Philippines, finds it the ideal place to cruise and dive. He recently came up with a charter and diving operation for those interested in exploring a different part of the world seldom visited, as it is off the traditional cruising routes. He explains why this is such a fabulous place to cruise, dive, and live.—BillP

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The Philippines are one of the last great undiscovered cruising grounds on earth, so often passed by (or even avoided) by cruisers, and as a result, they miss the real pearl of the Pacific.  We cruised from Seattle, leaving a lifetime of exploring the great Pacific Northwest, to cross the Pacific and wind up in the islands of the Pinoy.  

So, what makes this often skipped over area so wonderful one might ask?  Start with geography, over 7000 islands many formed by dramatic volcanic eruptions causing hardened rock to jet out of the sea.  Others are the palm tree covered surfacing tips of massive coral reefs, abundant with life, forming iconic white sandy beaches the stretch for miles. The array of islands forms countless spellbinding anchorages, where you often are the only boat.

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Add to the natural beauty, the almost perfect weather from December to June each year.  Short burst of rain die off by January and the real “summer” is February to June. It took me a while to get used to never having the think about being cold!

Ask anyone who visits here often and they will tell you why it is such a magical place. It is the people. The Filipinos are simply a life changing experience. The openness, generosity, and frank friendliness is often alarming at first, but soon you learn it is genuine. They laugh constantly, always, and I mean always smile and are so eager to become friends. Celebrations are every present, each village has a Fiesta, there is a long list of holidays, events, and just about any excuse for a party...all enjoyed with vigor.

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The Filipinos love their children and have lots of them, families of 6 are average.  Even the poorest parents send their kids to school in crisp clean uniforms, smiling and ready to learn. I have often said, if they could bottle a Filipino kid’s smile it would put Prozac out of business.

For many it is what lies beneath the sea that attracts us here, some of the best diving on the planet. From expansive coral reefs, unique wildlife experiences and historic ship wrecks, diving in the Philippines is incredible.

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We have explored almost all of the Philippines and now center much of our time in our favorite area, Coron, Palawan. It is the archipelago that is named in most diving lists as “the world’s most beautiful, world’s best island, world’s best diving.”    

The terrain, hidden lakes, endless anchorages, and, of course, the diving draws us back for the past four years. The geothermal gods smiled here leaving several natural hot springs and a “wonder of the world” lake where the temperature rises to 40C (105F) at 10-meter depth. Other areas benefit with more moderately warm water.  Geography gave us another wonder, Apo Reef. Only surpassed by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, it is the second largest coral reef in the world.  Steep dropoffs attract an array of sea life along its walls.

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 History laid a golden egg in Coron, on one morning during WWII, when U.S. planes sank seven large Japanese supply ships in a small shallow bay.  Today they form some of the best and easiest wreck diving one can find.  And like most things here, there are no crowds. We might find one or two boats on a wreck or often by ourselves, which is such a relief after diving in other SE Asian hot spots.

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For less “deepening” experiences the kayaking, hiking, snorkeling and exploring is endless, the terrain and remoteness combine to make a great deal of choices

Brian and Donna celebrate the kindergarden graduation of her son, Piam.

Brian and Donna celebrate the kindergarden graduation of her son, Piam.

Nothing makes me more excited about a place I love than sharing it with others. This year we are offering limited adventure experiences. Also we can provide a Trawler School type experience for those considering this lifestyle with hands-on learning.  

For more information, see www.furthuradventures.com/charter

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