Sup Filippine, Linacapan

Chapter 4.3 – Day 12 – The Linacapan strait

Today is definitely a day to be remembered and not because it was particularly beautiful. It’s rather worth to be remembered for the emotions I felt, mostly bad emotions but also good ones. It is on days like this that you feel alive, reminding that life is so fragile and beautiful, although we often take it for granted.

The morning has started ‘great’: my sleeping bad and mat are completely soaked by the downpour; furthermore I have to carry the equipment to the other side of the island, because the low tide doesn’t allow to get to the water here where I am. The departure is quiet, just some annoying wind but no big deal. After one hour I get to San Jose, where I have to paddle between two islands through a narrow strait, whose bottom is covered by corals scaring my inflatable board to death. So I put my coral reef shoes on and start pulling and pushing the board in this labyrinth of corals, while San Jose’s inhabitants look at me amused. Once I get out from that strait, the waves and the wind begin pushing me favourably. As a matter of fact, I reach ahead the Straits of Linapacan, 17 km, before the expected time. Supported by the strong wind and by the little waves accompanying me in the right direction, I leave resolute and during the first two hours everything runs smoothly. During the 3rd hour the wind rises, I try to maintain my route but the waves become bigger and bigger. By now, I should have a little more than one hour paddling left to the arrival point.

Sup Adventure in coron

The waves are growing in quantity and frequency and for the first time I tip over with my board. As the wind rises, also the waves are getting bigger too. Now they are over 2 meters high and start breaking frequently, dragging me and my board off course. My experience of 4 months spent surfing in Lanzarote helps me to understand which waves are going to break and which are not, but here it comes the first of three giant waves: it’s breaking and make me tip over again. I try to get on the board again but the second wave arrives and I tip over once again. It is so strong that it tears away the cork from the water tank.

I get back on the board, swearing for the loss of my water supply loss and for the situation which is degenerating. The waves are drifting me away from the island, they are now splashing nearly perpendicular to the board. Due to a too strong wind I can’t stand anymore on the board, I have to sit on my knees. The waves look like mountains to me and they make me feel so tiny on my board! I try to keep calm and paddle resolute towards the island, praying that the waves won’t carry me too far. I don’t see any beach where I could head to: there are only reefs and the island is still too far away. In the meantime one more series of giant waves arrives, I tip over the table again and I keep losing meters but I can’t give up. I have no choice, or maybe I could have one if I try to reach the next island but I don’t know if I will find a beach there or even if the rough sea will allow me to reach the next island, so I keep going on towards the designated island until I see a beach, yes! I’m exulting and I feel how my paddling magically becomes more powerful, the land is near. I’m overwhelmed by the waves again but I don’t care anymore because now I see a possibility of getting out from this situation and I’m pumped. I’m approaching a beautiful beach with palm trees and a place where I can camp. There is only one problem: the waves are entering into the bay and in the end I will have to surf them, trying not to fall disastrously on the corals…

A Philippine family is coming towards me on the beach and they offer me the dinner and some coconuts, not believing that I arrived there on such a windy day on board of that strange little boat, still not convinced that it has no engine…

In the end I made it: the sea was getting worse and worse and now the wind has reached 30 knots. It would have been really dangerous to go on and I was exhausted of fighting with the waves. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have made it or that the waves would have ripped out the equipment from my board. But now, thank heaven, it is just one of the best memories of this trip.

Somewhere close to Iloc Island SUP