FCD in the Philippines: Squalls and Smiles

     Photos: All drone shots by Reo Stevens, all others by Scott Soens

   Photos: All drone shots by Reo Stevens, all others by Scott Soens

 

Philippines Trip Update #1

 

We are back on the SV Discovery! Our voyages on this vessel have taken us to some of the most remote setups in the world, but this trip is different.  For one, this is our last trip on the boat.  Boats have multiple lives and this one is moving onto its next adventure, but we are fortunate enough to have snagged her for one final odyssey!

Second, we brought a grom.  Not just any grom, though.  We brought the multi-talented, under-the-radar, surf and kite frother Quinten Rubalcava.  He gets along fine with the rest of the crew, though (Reo Stevens, Jason Slezak, photographer Scott Soens, and surf task-master Jason McCaffrey), since he's stoked on pulling into shallow pits, busting strapless kite airs, or surfing 1ft onshore slop.  

 Island laps before a squall (not pictured) hits.

Island laps before a squall (not pictured) hits.

Third, this place.  We are in the Philippines, just east of the Visayan islands, and slightly west of one of the deepest trenches on the planet (34,000 ft+ deep!).  Since we're here during the rainy season and squalls are the norm, we have to adapt to changing conditions throughout the day. 

Jump off the boat with your surfboard when it's glassy and breaking, and catch a few until the tide fills in.  Run and grab your foil (thank you Cloud IX Surf Foils) when water inundates the reef but the swell is still pulsing and take extra precautions to not hit the shallow reef with your wing.  When the pre-squall frontal wind arrives, blow up a kite and chuck it into the air for a few island laps before the rain shuts down the wind.  When the squall arrives, hunker down with a beer or three. (Except for Quinten, we promise).

Fourth, the people.  They don't have much and what they do have is handmade, repurposed, and recycled.  In spite of this (or because of it?), they are the most generous, hospitable, friendly, welcoming people we have ever met. Everywhere we go, we are met with smiles and genuine kindheartedness. At one of our stops, upon watching Reo foil, a local excitedly exclaimed, "He's flying! He's flying!! First time here!" 

 Local diving with homemade fins and goggles.

Local diving with homemade fins and goggles.

 The reward: dinner!

The reward: dinner!

Now, if only we could score some legitimate swell..... In the meantime, we'll scout this area for surf, kite, and foil potential and see what happens over the next few days.  Either way, this trip is one for the books.

FCD Surfboards_Soens_Philippines_View from the boat.jpeg
Jessica Salcido