Philippines - New Years at Sangat Island Resort

On New Years Eve with picked up our friends John and Christine in Coron and then sailed to Sangat island with a brief snorkeling stop at East Tangat Gunboat, a Japanese Gunboat that sank during the war.  Evidently there 14 Japanese boats that all sank in and around Coron during WWII.  These are now some of the top wreck diving sites in the world. 

We then arrived at Sangat Island Resort  just in time for New Years Eve celebrations.
Sangat Island is a tiny island with only resort on the entire island it is about 2 km off the coast of Busuanga and close to Coron in the northern of Palawan.

At the resort they spent the day grilling a large boar on a spit and had prepared lots of other amazing local dishes for the special New Years Eve dinner.  They were also kind enough to allow us join the dinner and evening festivities though we were not guests at the resort. They also allowed us to shower in the staff shower to clean up a bit before dinner.  I am guessing after a day of sailing and snorkeling we looked pretty rough when we first arrived at the resort but we cleaned up ok.

I am pretty sure this pig was larger than me. 

After dinner we played lots of games, my favorite being the rice sack relay race we almost won! There was also a ballon popping relay and musical chairs but using newspaper instead of chairs.  It was a lively evening culminating with fireworks at midnight. 

At about 10pm the jet lag kicked in for John and Christine and they crashed for a few hours but managed to wake up and rally right before midnight.  It was a memorable New Years to be sure and we had fun ringing in the New Year together!

Philippines - Palawan island sailing VIDEO

2014 Philippines - Palawan Island Sailing from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Philippines - RYA Day Skipper

Kingsley and I have wanted to learn how to sail for a long time and especially wanted to receive some kind of formal sailing certification in the process.  The Royal Yacht Association is one of the most well known and respected international sailing accreditations. Of course the US has their own certification process so we will likely need to re-certify back in the States.  But while we are still in Asia with our RYA Day skipper license we are now fully qualified to charter boats. 

We spent two weeks in the Philippines going from virtual novices to receiving our Day Skipper certification. 

Some of the skills we were required to master were:
- Sail Handeling
- Ropework
- Man overboard 
- Passage Planning
- Navigation
- Helmsmanship 

I was a little nervous to see how Kingsley and I would handle sailing as a team but we ended up having very different areas of strength.  We now know in any future boating adventures Kingsley will be the anchorman, sail hoister, wind watcher, knot specialist (clove hitch, bowline, reef knot), dinghy operator and chief worrier.  I will be the passage planner, navigator, helms(wo)man, expert look-out and hopefully a calming presence on the boat. 

A perfect little team!! 

Philippines - Christmas Sailing around Palawan

It isn't always easy to make it "feel like Christmas" when you are in the tropics on a boat.  But when you have a few Christmas lovers on board its amazing what you can accomplish. Jacqui and I did a bit of Christmas decorating on Christmas Eve with Bob Dylans Christmas album playing in the background.  

On Christmas day Santa somehow even managed to find our boat and delivered our Christmas stockings!

For Christmas breakfast Romy made everyone her famous (Gluten Free) Apple Bacon Pancake Stack.  It was so delicious! We spent most of Christmas sailing from Iloch island to Linapacan island about (40 nautical miles) once we anchored we had Champagne and a Christmas Ham for dinner.  It was a low key but very memorable Christmas. 

Philippines - Palawan Island

For the last few years Kingsley and I have being hearing such amazing things about Palawan island in the Philippines so it has been on our bucket list to visit for a while. We took advantage of the Christmas and New Years holiday to spend 2 weeks exploring and sailing around Palawan island and up to Coron.

Palawan island consists of over 1,700 islands that stretch over 1200 miles and was voted the World's # 1 Island in Travel + Leisure 2013 worlds best awards. Maui came in at # 3! Palawan is considered the "last ecological frontier" due to its vast unexplored jungles and coastlines. For those longing to scuba dive or snorkel off the edge of the map and explore a remote but pristine tropical paradise with Indiana Jones hat in hand, Palawan is just the place. I even bought Kingsley an Indiana Jones hat just for the occasion! 

Just a few of my favorite pictures from the trip. The sunsets were some of the best we had ever seen!  We sailed over 250 nautical miles during our two week trip so had a chance to see quite a bit of the untouched beauty in the islands.

2degree IceArt in Singapore

Filled with sculptures carved out of more than 450 tons of crystal-clear and colored ice blocks, this exhibition occupies more than 50,000 square feet of space next to Marina Bay Sands.

25 top ice carvers from Harbin, China came to Singapore to create the ice sculptures.  The sculptures  feature famous landmarks from across the globe and are kept at a frigid zero to minus 15 degrees - which is not a small undertaking on this sunny island.

Kingsley caused quite a commotion at the entrance when he specifically requested a pink coat.  The coat ladies didn't know what to think!!  They actually didn't have any pink coats in his size so he had to wear one with sleeves that came halfway up his arm!  But oh was he proud of that coat!

We had a great time looking at all the ice sculptures and especially enjoyed feeling cold for a few moments, seeing our breath in the air, and bundling up in our matching warm pink coats.

Raffles Hotel ice sculpture


Nativity scene

Santa and his reindeers

Kingsley on the kiddy ice slide from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Orchard Road Christmas 2013

Every year for the last 30 years, Orchard Road has transformed itself into a winter wonderland in the lead up to Christmas. This year’s light-up, which features the silver tinged twinkling stars and the sparkle of diamonds against the cool of blue and white Christmas lights is themed "Christmas on a Great Street".

Takashimaya's gorgeous Tiffany Tree

A quick video from my taxi ride home from work the other evening.  Even though it's 85 degrees outside the Christmas lights always put me in a festive mood!

Orchard Road Christmas 2013 from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Singapore Indian Wedding

Kingsley and I went to our second Indian wedding last weekend.  Melissa is Singaporean and Kay is from India so they are having two weddings in Singapore. The first was the Indian wedding and the Chinese wedding will take place in a few weeks.

Melissa and Kay's Singapore Indian Wedding from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Thanksgiving in the Tropics

About a month before Thanksgiving I started to get really homesick. We had such a wonderful time with family back in Seattle for Thanksgiving last year.  But this year we had no plans to celebrate and I just don't think I could have handled Kingsley and I just sitting in Singapore on Thanksgiving with nothing planned. 

So, I decided to ask a few of our American friends what they had planned and it turned out that many of our friends had nothing scheduled. That of course somehow snowballed into inviting everyone to our place for Thanksgiving.  A total of 16 of our friends said yes to the invitation which lead to a minor panic because there is no way we could fit 18 people in our condo and certainly no way I could prepare a meal for a group that large with my tiny (temperamental) oven. 

We decided we had to take the dinner outside to the BBQ pits by the Koi Pond and by combining two BBQ areas together I was just able to make a table long enough for 18 guests. The only issue would be if it rained...and it is currently rainy season in Singapore... so I knew the likelihood of rain was high.  I was just hoping to somehow beat the odds...this did not happen but more on that later. 

Everyone graciously signed up to bring different food items and my friend Bonnie agreed to come over Thanksgiving day to help me cook. I don't know what I would have done without her! 

Bonnie and I had such a fun time preparing the food all afternoon and the kitchen smelled amazing.  There was not a cloud in the sky outside and we had the Macy's day parade playing on the TV.  Everything was perfect.

Of course a massive storm rolled through and the torrential rain began at about 4pm and continued till around 6:30pm. Everyone was suppose to arrive at 6pm so Kingsley, Bonnie and I got ourselves completely drenched running back and forth carrying items for the dinner down to the Koi Pond.  It is understatement to say it was a stressful afternoon but we somehow managed to set the table just in time before everyone started arriving with their umbrellas and hot dishes. 

Despite the early rain, the entire evening turned out perfect.  The food was amazing, seriously.  I know everyone always says that Thanksgiving meals are great but having everyone bring their special family Thanksgiving recipe meant that every dish was incredible.  Kingsley and I ate so much we could hardly move after the dinner. 

Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and Kingsley and I felt so Thankful for the special friendships that we have made in Singapore. It meant a lot to have everyone together to celebrate.  Thanksgiving dinner is not a task I am planning to sign up for every year but I am so happy we were able to host this year.

Parking a Lamborghini in a Sky Garage in Singapore

The Hamilton condo is located on Scotts Road (Orchard area).  This is the same area where I work each day, the extreme wealth I witness is truly mind boggling!