In contrast to Romblon Town, San Jacinto on Ticao Island acts like we are blessing them with a royal visitation. The San Jacinto Bay is ringed on one side by a little seaside village and the other by sand beaches, banka boats, and coconut plantations. A multitude of banka paddlers coast by all waving and sporting gigantic smiles. Brian ventures into town first by hitching a ride with two little boys paddling a delicate looking banka. The 15 pesos must have been a good bargain, because the boys look very happy. Next John and I dinghy in to trade spots with Brian. We land in a small fish market and fishermen stop what they were doing to come over to offer help and advice as to how to climb the slippery steps up from the dinghy. We wave Brian off, turn around, and realize we are the center of attention of about 60 people. They all want to say hello, have their pictures taken, ask what town we are from, where are we going, do we need a ride into town. We tell them we just want to look around and start our walk
The town looks like something from a movie set featuring a poor but earnest third world village. There are no cars, just bicycles, motorized trikes, and small motorcycles. We are followed along the road by various kids who just want to watch what we are doing. We find several shops with interesting hand woven baskets, purses, and hats and select a few for our “Christmas purchases”. All the items are marked, so we get the “local rate”. As we walked into a shop,the owners call on their cell phones and say with much excitement, “the foreigners are in our shop”. We walk down to the main ferry wharf and chat with various folks along the way. Really a lovely town.
In the evening, we study the material we have on crossing the San Bernadino Strait. One writer describes the Strait as the place where the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea; tidal currents, eddies, and rip currents are a hazard throughout the passage. Taking our best guess, we decide to enter the Strait at around 10:00 am. All goes very well through the three hour passage. However, as we exit, proud that we have timed it so well, the waves increase in size, “confused” waves coming from all sides cause the boat to roll and pitch. Brian notes that we are on a shallow shelf, only 130 feet deep and extending about five miles into the Pacific Ocean, and suggests that the waves are rolling in and hitting this shelf. We alter course and head for the nearest deep ocean. The hour and a half is tortuous and one by one the crew becomes seasick. I am the lucky one who does not become ill. The night is long and by morning we are all happy to see the sunrise.
12 31.48 N 12541.36 E
Philippine Time 10:30 am
UTC Time 2:30
October 27, 2011