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Date Posted: 11/18/10

November 16, 2010 - Heading towards home waters

By: Arturo Valdez

7:09 AM - Skies cloudy and drizzling and winds NE, waves N plus against currents. We hope that the channel is negotiable today.

7:22 AM - Flotilla left Pulau Banggi, our last international stop, and now heading towards home waters in Balabac. We're up against wind, wave and current but we are pushing forward. We'll be back in Philippine territory today.

7:55 AM - Our pails (balde) are full of fish caught by some sturdy crew who spent the whole night with their lines to take our full day meals. We are all up and excited to leave today,
preparing to lift anchor before 6am to make the most important water crossing in our voyage - entering Philippine territorial waters in Balabac Strait and the sweet sound of HOME in
Philippine waters at last!

Skies cloudy but we hope that the channel is not as rough as usual.Weather and God permitting, we will set foot our weary feet at hallowed Philippine soil before nightfall.

12:02 PM - Balangay flotilla entered Philippine waters at 10:15 this morning and simultaneously raised the Philippine colors at the main mast of each vessel. Finally, the balangays are back in familiar home waters since August 15. Seas still a bit rough but we're all just excited to be back home. Balabac town is 2 hours away.

5:00 PM - Balangay flotilla arrived at Balabac Cove at 3:00PM. The local Coast Guard Station's Dodong Comedia assisted us to find a suitable place to anchor. Weather and seas improved by noontime that we crossed the channel in 6 hours' time. We'll celebrate tonight our first day in the Philippines although we have not yet set foot on land since no port to dock. We'll do that tomorrow.

Thursday onward to Rio Tuba and November 19 Puerto Princesa.
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