A long night. Sections of the passage through the Philippine islands are narrow and invariably busy with ferries and cargo vessels, basically they are ‘choke’ points. In such circumstances, we increase the manning on the Bridge and Engine Control Room; I supplemented the Bridge team.
It was not only the ferries and cargo ships, but a mass of small fishing boats, some not much larger than a rowing boat, many of them not having lights, instead they would point a torch, (flashlight) at you if they thought that we hadn’t seen them. Weaving through literally hundreds of them and their nets, lit by a dim glow, kept us busy and we were out of the worst of it by 12:30 a.m. at which point I tried to grab some sleep.
Manila lies on a large bay, entered by coming in through a relatively narrow ‘neck’, in which Corregidor lies. Another choke point and more increased manning, however Gerd, my Staff Captain got up for this one and I was up an hour before our arrival. More weaving through fishing boats, exacerbated by the fact that we have that ‘magnet’ effect, people want to see us, so the boats often deliberately came in close.
Manila appears through the haze, a mix of humidity and some smog, which clears later in the day. The pilot boards and we exchange details about the ‘Amsterdam’ and our docking plan; (fortunately he leaves it up to the Bridge team and he spends time consulting his mobile phone, on which he has a chart programme). Through the breakwaters and into the harbour itself and then a ‘wheelie’; a turn through 180º and backing in towards the berth.
There is a large crowd to greet us, Manila and its environs provide much of our Filipino crew and there is a close affinity with the port. There are dancers, musicians and groups in national costume with much waving and dancing. We also have almost 1,000 wives, children, grandmothers, granddads, aunts, uncles, visiting us. Many have travelled hundreds of miles just to get here and see their family members, it’s a happy and joyous occasion; heaven knows how many photos I posed for, it must be near 100, however it was fun to see them all so happy.
I have a relatively ‘quiet’ day, I have been to Manila before and if one is not doing a tour, there is not much to do, other than shop, this isn’t on my agenda, so some paperwork and this, so you have something to read while you eat your ‘wheatibangs’ or toast 😕
We are here overnight of course, so I can catch up on my rest and have a quiet evening, all being well.
Enjoy the photos and have a great day!