During the little more than a year that I ran Sweetie around the bay I made over 300 trips here and there.
In addition to just hauling people back and forth, Sweetie participated in a project where divers from all over the Philippines spent a day collecting Crown of Thorn starfish from the reef that ran across the entrance of the bay. These starfish eat coral. Many hundreds of them were removed during the day and were buried in large holes on the beach.
Cute little buggers, aren't they? They're not as nice as they look, and they aren't called Crown of Thorns for nothing. Each thorn, on top of being sharp, is poisonous. Getting stuck by one leaves your skin burning and swollen. Learned all about that a couple of times.
Two emergency trips were made during the year -- which is what the boat was there for.
I was awakened at about 2:00am one morning. A local girl had gone into labor across the bay. She worked at the Kookoo's Nest resort which was just outside the entrance of the bay. They didn't want to risk taking her over the many kilometers of bad roads that it would have taken to get her to the hospital in Siaton, which was about 15 kilometers from Tambobo, but about 25 kilometers from the resort. A small banca brought her to Tambobo. Several of us jumped into Sweetie and took the girl a few kilometers down the coast towards Siaton to the barrio of Albiga. Meanwhile, the jeep from the resort made its way up the far side of the bay, around the back, and down the road to Albiga. The resort owner met us at a bridge where a river flowed into the Mindinao Sea. From there on the roads were in much better shape and the girl was transferred to the jeep. The girl and her girl are, to this day, doing fine.
The other emergency occurred at about 3:00am one day. There are long, silver fish with very long, sharp snouts. They are called Stick Fish. When frightened they jump out of the water and skip along the surface with only their tail fins actually in the water. They can cover a large distance very quickly traveling this way. It's good for the fish, but not too good for a fisherman sitting in a small banca just a few inches above the surface of the water. One of these Stick Fish speared a local area fisherman in the abdomen. The fish itself was about 3 feet long, and the snout was about 8 inches long. It was just like as if he'd been stabbed with a knife. The head had been cut off the fish, but the teeth of the fish prevented it from just being pulled out. Again, everyone thought the trip over the roads would do more harm than good, and besides, there wasn't any land transportation on this side of the bay. Two of his friends and I got him into the boat and off we went. There was no moon, and just enough clouds to make it REALLY dark. We had a gas lantern, but there wasn't much to see -- above the water. Once we made it over the reef we again turned west and headed down the coast a few kilometers. This time we took the fisherman to the barrio of Malabuhan which was just past Albiga. The fisherman was from there. Once there they were able to wake up a tricycle driver and get him to the hospital. After surgery, and a couple of weeks in the hospital, he was fine.
When I left I traded the boat to the owner of the Kookoo's Nest resort. He was going to make some modifications and use the boat for tours and diving. The stability of the boat made it perfect for that. Last I heard he renamed Sweetie "La Cucaracha". He was Australian. You have to expect things like that from them.
Below is a final photograph of Sweetie tied up in front of the house that I was living in in Tambobo, on a quiet, tropical afternoon.
DIRECT LINKS TO PAGES:
HOW BUILD A BIG BOAT
JUST A COUPLE MORE THINGS
A GOOD DAY
THE NOT SO POINTY END
THE INSIDE AND THE TOPSIDE
I THOUGHT I WAS FINISHED?
WHAT IT WAS BUILT FOR