We are doing it!

It takes some guts to say that you are going to sail from the Philippines to the Solomon Islands in a Polynesian sailing canoe, but actually doing it requires something completely different.. It requires faith! Faith and confirmation often goes hand in hand if you are walking in the right direction, and I have seen Gods faithfulness so many times in this journey. I will admit that I have had my doubts many times, but every time the challenges are blessings in disguise. Now we have officially set sail from the Philippines and are on our way to the Solomon Islands. The first major hurdle has been passed, and we are officially checked in to Indonesia, ready to continue the journey.

Leaving Philippines

Getting away from Philippines wasn’t easy. We had many major roadblocks that hindered us in launching and going. First a rotten and termite-eaten bulkhead that had to be rebuilt, then an engine that wouldn’t start. After launching, thinking we had fixed the engine, it decided to die completely, and we got going by sail only. I troubleshooted the engine myself and found that the CDI wasn’t working. I ordered a new part, and after a week of waiting we had the part and tested it. Incredibly it worked!! I have written a bit more of these accounts in my posts: Soon ready for launch! and Ready for departure! (They should automatically translate from Norwegian, but if they don’t click the English flag top right).

Speedy departure

We received the engine part on a Saturday. Sunday, we drove the boat two hours closer to town, and Monday I went to enquire about the check out process. Before I knew it, I had officially checked us out of the Philippines and we were out of there! We had another two hour motor to a nearby island, and from there we started our sail towards Indonesia for real the next day.

We had spent one month on land, getting the boat ready. During this time we had a lot of rain and windy conditions on the way south, and leaving during this time would not be ideal. We launched the boat exactly one month after arriving Philippines. It basically stopped raining when we launched the boat, and we have barely seen any rain since. We spent two weeks on the water before the motor as finally fixed. Once the motor was running, we spent 2 days to check out of the Philippines.

One week to Indo

We had favorable conditions for our sail south to Indonesia, but man am I glad we had the motor! Even in the middle of Sarangani Strait, where wind and currents should be plentiful, we had to use our motor. Also, when passing behind islands, we lost the wind completely, and without the motor we could have spent hours, if not a whole day floating around , waiting for the wind to return. Instead, we could turn on the engine and run past the island for an hour or two and then resume our sail.

We had some amazing days of sailing in beautiful conditions and wonderful places. Most places we go to are «uncharted», in terms of finding anchorages at least. But thanks to the sailor community online, I have offline satellite images of the entire route we will be following, and from the images we are able to deduce where to anchor. The deepest spot ended up being in 26 meters in Biaro Island (new record for me), but we had calm conditions and I slept well. The most creative anchoring was in a tiny sandpatch on a reef outside Sarangani Island. You can see our route and follow our progress on our satellite tracker page here: share.garmin.com/G4A29

Officially in Indonesia

Checking into Indonesia was the big hurdle of this whole project. Getting all the right documents and equipment for this took a lot of work in the background over the past two years. Thankfully we had everything in order, and after a long process of 24 hours, we were finally checked into Indonesia! The process included a trip to the quarantine office to get a ship health book, to immigration to process our passports and get a departure clearance, then to customs to finalize the vessel declaration and have an inspection of the boat, then finally to the harbourmaster to get our vessel departure clearance. I knew that Indonesia is very bureaucratic, and that they love paperwork, but it still was a lot of waiting. Thankfully we had so much favor in the whole process, from meeting a honest local «fixer» within the first hour of arriving, to very helpful and kind officials in every office.

Keep moving!

By checking in to Indonesia, we also had to check out of this port, unless we wanted to do all the paperwork one more time. We decided to check out right away, giving ourselves 24 hours to leave. We are currently only 3 hours away from departure and I am sitting in a local Starbucks writing this update. We have been unsuccessful in getting an Indonesian SIM card, so I don’t know when the next update will be. Keep following us on the satellite tracker and we will keep you posted on instagram when we can. Follow me @e.andaas, Naomi @naomijgk and Vaka Hop’e @vaka_hope on instagram for the most up to date updates!

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