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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 after 42 hours of travel via Taipei, Manila and Kalibo. This morning I was up early to walk the beach and gauge reactions to our plan. There are lots of sailors here giving short one hour rides to tourists, but when I ask if they will take us to Palawan, they just laugh politely.

No-one I’ve yet met has done something like this before.

I tell a lie; 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 a couple 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. But. 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.

It helps to throw out numbers

By the next day, the plan was getting bounced around a bit more seriously, once I started throwing around figures. Jeepy came back to me with a serious offer – P160,000 ($4k) to rent two boats & crew to go one way to El-Nido. The only problem with Jeepy’s offer is that he insists that two boats should go along a big crew of additional balancers and so on, which I think might significantly change the nature of the trip. Also, Jeepy himself can’t go, so he’s talking about crew and boats I haven’t yet met yet. I’m going to try to dig more into that today.

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.

It takes time

By the third day I am on first name terms with everyone as I walked down the beach. I now qualify for free sunset sailboat rides, and a couple guys have my number in case they need extra balancers. Today, I need to make it happen.

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