Jump to content

Our (not so boring) Simple Life on a Tiny Private Island in Mindanao

Recommended Posts

37 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Trust me you have succeeded.  Honestly what is your point as  really no one cares as much as you?  Why dont you go ahead and start your own site which you said you were working on as this is not what we want here. We want covid conspiracy and crap like that. Not some fish name. :smile:

   Well I actually only started this last thread because some of your members actually asked me to start this one. But as you request, I will gladly comply, honor your wishes, and simply discontinue posting anything relating to nets or fish. No biggie dah, chief. I will stick to covid conspiracies and crap from here on out. :hystery:

  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Forum Support

James, my wife is enjoying all the fish pictures makes her homesick for seafood. It makes me wish I could still SCUBA dive. 

Edited by Old55
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  •    There is plenty of time to cover more on the fish species, what was covered so far has been a fair generalization as to specie types. Presently most of our projects involve other business interests, topic best left taboo. But between those we also have small personal projects and tasks as well. Example: we are getting ready to start restoration work on the old 'Arthur 1' boat. The boat is a thread topic posted on this forum years ago. It at the time, was my project to totally rebuild a traditional (34 foot length) Visayan pumpboat. The wooden hull had been previously a small 'calamari boat' design, which had simply sit for years on 'saw-horses. Since this video, this boat proved to be a very dependable workhouse.

   So years later 'Arthur 1' will be going through it's 3rd major upgrade. I hope sometime in or around the same time I am building the new floating 'grow-out' platform. This video was taken of the boat presently sitting here at the island, one can us it to see what work ahead will be needed during that project.

   When you live on a tiny island, then small boats tend to be a thing. This one I call the 'blue roadster' and is great for squeezing into those really tight-spots among the mangroves. Very light and quick to maneuver around the boulders close to the shoreline, this tends to be my 'go to' around the island, when all I need is a life jacket, cycle-helmet and water-proofed GoPro. I can simply pull out the kayak out a few inches into the water, squat legs spread, and flop my huge-butt down and scoot-off to wherever I'm heading. Sadly the two aluminum paddles we purchased several years back, were both damaged or rusted. So now we must resort to using a single wooden paddle which doesn't work at all.

   So I need to printout the design of a kayak paddle and find a decent woodsmen to mill and carve me three sound wooden kayak paddles. My wife a while back went night-scrounging with some locals, but got caught in a bad situation (due to the cheaply China-made) aluminum paddles. The currents and winds was pushing her against large shallow boulders, as she fought the plastic paddle end she was using to push against a boulder, simply snapped off as the boat slammed into the rock. Fortunately one of her company saw flip and yelled for one of the group to get the big boat, as the Surigao currents was wanting to take her on a seaward tour to Taiwan. She lost the paddle-half, boot and some gear; but earned a few bruises, scrapes and some newfound wisdom from that rack. So I have to have to get three wooden kayak paddles made from a light-weight durably-strong buoyant wood, preferably milled and carved from a single piece of hardwood. Just one of the many items on my 'To Do' list.

My smaller kayak on the beachB.jpg

sometimes it is just me and the wife wanting or needing to boat together, which means that the small single-seat 'blue roadster' kayak simply just will not do.

The two KayaksB.jpg

This is when we instead, choose to switchover to our larger kayak. This is a double-seat kayak we lovingly refer to as the 'Blue-Rolls'. This also allows us utility options such as moving light-cargo, extra coolers or even a third person. With actual kayak paddles we can quicker and more easily move around the island's shorelines. This why I need to have three new wooden paddles made by this Summer.

Two of our log boatsB.jpg

   We also have several traditional solid-hull boats, which are actually carved from a tree trunk. They are narrow, low-profile, wingless boats quite common in the fishing-culture among the island's mangroves. They are excellent workhorses for us, we have two (14 foot 'trunk-boats') which we keep here on the island. One which my wife's helper uses to commune back and forth. We have two slightly larger 'trunk-boats' over at our 'pole-hut' facility on Dinagat Island. And I believe two more my wife lends to a couple of fishermen who uses them to catch fish and shrimp for us. The two we have here are used to haul sand, stone, rock and building materials around the island on projects here. We call them our little 'pickups' which is actually their function.

   But as you can easily see the hull of both boats have damage in meed of repair. First we need to chisel,patch and fill the sea-worm damage; fill the cracks, and then add a few thick layers of a quality grade epoxy paint, and then finish with two thick top-layers of clear epoxy.

The computer drafting table.jpg

   This is a new ongoing project I was finally able to start. I have wanted this build ever since we moved here back in 2008. A decent size mahogany-frame 'drafting top' which will allow me to actual draw architectural size drawings and diagrams. Drafting has been a passion since my first class in Junior High, then combines with High School geometry cemented the foundation of my future career choices. I had strong pencil and pen & ink skills as a preteen, so drafting came naturally to me. My obsession with horticulture, botany and biology moved seamlessly alongside master gardening and contracting; each easily expressed through a draftsman's vellums. The expression of one's 3-D concepts of the mind, through a technical language of linear algebra and geometry, explained on two independent vectors of a 2-D plane.

   After this table is completed I will then be focused on two other accompanying toys. One being a smaller 'light-table' about half the size of this table; and an adjustable horizontal-vertical 'artograph', commonly referred to as an image 'tracer'. Having a decent 'light table' and 'artograph' setup, will greatly increase both the speed and general quality of drawings and diagrams. I have built both devices in the past, and they are really not difficult to construct.

more to come...

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

   I admit I probably watch way too much YouTube, but as I have no television or cable to help occupy me or serve as a distraction. YouTube is quite useful at keeping me both connected with the outside world, and as a sufficient stimulus for a plethora of personal hobbies and ventures. Recently I stumbled onto a video that I just I have to try building myself. If it works only half as it appears, it will be a jewel of a toy for many many coastal-expat regardless what country you reside. Especially if you love shrimp and crabs as I do. It looks simple to make, cheap to build and easy to transport. 

   I want to first build four trap units and drop them right out front of our front gate. Then I can work on tweaking out all the roughs. Have to figure out how to best weight them down, bull them in and out of the water, and each unit needs night-lighting and a floater ball. All those are quite simple and easy to get around here in Surigao, as it has a decent size fishing community. 

   If they work well I might then build another 10 trap units, which can all be harvested several times each evening and late-night. It would finally give me that excuse needed to finally build that small plywood flat-bottom 'Jon boat' I have wanted to build. Then I can set-out a dozen shrimp traps and a dozen craps when the weather a moon-cycles are right. We can harvest them throughout the night and simply transfer them over to the 'grow-out' nets. And as they say in bayou-country, 'Littlens feed da critters, and biguns feed yoself'. But if these traps work well, then I can house them in the 'grow-out' nets. And can hold some (shrimp and crabs) back, until they get decent 'pit-grilling' size.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are still of course working on our lobster 'grow-out' aquaculture, but a few weeks ago we started assembling the fine-netting, needed to construct a large net enclosure. This new enclosure will primary focusing on fish and bivalve mollusk production. In the image below shows my wife kayaking out to the are where we have a small crew setting the needed poles and assembling the netting. 

The Aquaculture Growout Net Zone b.jpg

   The first if this project is locates a few meters directly behind the pole-hut (presently use for house early developing lobster pueruli), but eventually this whole area will be literally consumed by various types and styles of 'grow-out' nets.  

The Aquaculture Growout Net Zone c.jpg

   As I am really interested in both multi-cropping specie types, and 'grow-out' aquaculture and mariculture; means I will be required to use a multitude of different configurations and setups, and a wide range of net-types. This new net we are currently building on this post, is basically the 'center-core' and is intended to function as a nursery net. This center-core net uses a fine-netting embedded directly into the seafloor, with a thick natural seaweed flooring and sandy bottom. Making this center-net an ideal secure garden marine sanctuary enclosure, capable of housing a diverse selection of bivalve mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters, scallops etc.).

This center-net will also serve as temporary housing for early-stage fish (fry, fingerlings) until obtaining sizes to be relocated to larger netting enclosures. As this facility expands additional net enclosures will be added.

The Aquaculture Growout Net Zone a.jpg

   The center-net will also serve as temporary housing for early-stage fish (fry, fingerlings) until obtaining sizes to be relocated to larger netting enclosures. As this facility expands additional net enclosures will be added. This fish 'grow-out' net structure is the core, of what will soon be a much larger outer-net configuration, designed to house a wide variety and diverse selection of specie-types. This center core net uses a fine-netting embedded directly into the seafloor, with a thick natural seaweed flooring and sandy bottom. Making this center-net an ideal secure garden marine sanctuary enclosure, capable of housing a diverse selection of bivalve mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters, scallops etc.).

Open Space Behind the Net.jpg

These nets will later extend all the way back to the very outer-edge of island's mangrove, and will also extend into the 1-hector saltwater pond as the volume of nets increase. This photo shows the the size of the area behind this new net, so it can give one an idea of the size of net area still to cover.

.Mix Assorted Netting a.jpg

   We are also presently working on those used nets we got from a neighbor last month. So once we finish with this new center-core net, we can start working on some of the outer nets. fun, fun, fun...

  • Like 3
  • Love it 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

   The 'center core' net is progressing nicely. Our local internet is returning to a resemblance of normal, enough that I can again begin to post video clips onto YouTube, as we were all but down for the last two months. I use a rather cheap 'Go Pro' knockoff to shoot all my wet and underwater camera work, certainly inferior to that of an actual 'Go Pro' but sufficient to allow me to still take a decent enough image or vid. Maybe next year I can actually upgrade to a real 'Go Pro' unit, as the resolution quality of a $40 knockoff is lacking at best, compared to that of a $500 'Go Pro' unit. But being able to not having to worry about losing my cell phone to an accidental blunder, still makes it quite a useful tool. I have several image and video editing programs which I have accumulated over the years, which has allowed me to make the best from what I have so far, but I will have to upgrade my equipment if I am going to be able to be able to improve the quality of my imagery. Inferior digital imagery can only be manipulated so far, and only an increase in pixelation and resolution can resolve that conundrum. I can easily show you a prime example.


   This video is of the same net project, which I was finally able to upload early this morning. The video was taken with my handy little SportsCam 1080p Pro-30 which is rated at 45(meter) depth, with the pixelation and resolution being quite limited it has still has been sufficient enough to allow me to document my projects well enough. But it is a mere children's toy compared to that of an actual 'Go Pro' unit having much higher pixelation and resolution capability. With actual builtin image-stability which I could never achieve with a $50 SportsCam 1080p Pro-30 'Go Pro knockoff'. Without this builtin 'image-stability' capability means I am solely dependent on outside software, which will always be a degrading factor to both my images and videos.  Builtin 'image-stability' capability helps minimize shaky videos, and if a little instability, then one can still resort to using a de-shaking software (such as VirtualDub) with higher success.

   So for the time-being, my little trusty knockoff will just have to do. And now that our internet service has finally beginning to return. Means I have quite a few images and videos clips requiring editing and uploading, so I have a sizable backlog of new content to add to this forum thread.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

   Sorry guys, I know that I have not posted on this thread during the last four months. Frankly I have simply been too preoccupied on other projects. Some due to various issues encountered while transitioning data between both my older laptop and this newer unit. I use quite a bit of editing software needed for my various written works, photo and video projects. Unforgivably I encountered unexpected glitches and incompatibility issues between the older 'Windows 8' and this 'Windows 10', but I'm muddling my way through the murk well enough.

   I also was down several weeks due to COVID, hampering both the ability an desire to be posting much over this last five weeks. Then last week the mind-numbing boredom of this imposed home-quarantine, led me to what best could be described as a sense of 'island cabin-fever'. I was feeling cocky and decided it would be an outstanding idea to jump onto one if our kayaks, to paddle out to our lobster hut. My wife was there with the helpers to inspect and count the lobster stock. I decided it would be a great opportunity to take some photos and underwater video. Once there I realized the water conditions where actually a bit too murky, to actually shoot decent video within the inside the nets, due to recent rains and tide conditions. I was able to video the inspection and counting when housed stock, once they where all housed in the holding tubs.

   Then I made a complete spectacle of myself, while trying to step-down back onto the kayak. I did not realize the kayak was moored 'high' (tied top of the ladder). Being now both half-off and now still half-on, I quickly found myself pivoting wayward on an ultra-lite plastic flat-top kayak. My big lumbering butt chose to zig rather than zag, causing a reaction probably best described as a disastrous flapping spread-eagle movement. Resulting in a rather tortuous failing attempt at avoiding a ugly belly-flop. My knee is still swollen, so is the ankle, and my wife giggles at me daily, but I got those damn videos. I guess that makes me the WINNER!



  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Forum Support
7 hours ago, jamesmusslewhite said:

My wife and I are still alive. Today ways the first time we were able to have access to electric and internet.


Welcome back to civilization James.  We were without power and internet for about five weeks so I can sympathize.  Here in Moalboal only about 60 percent of the homes have had power restored.  Still a two hour drive to the closest working ATM to get cash, but at least our toilets now fill and flush. :tongue:

Edited by Mike J
Because I can't spell
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

   The typhoon  hit us both hard, both here on this tiny island and our farm. The term 'utterly demolished' probably best sums up the island, as all we we built is gone. Our farm fared better but was still hammered pretty hard. We managed to make our way down here to Davao two days ago so we can get sound internet, to allow us to contact family to inform them of both the strife and blessings. What was lost was merely material things.


   I will now go to immigration on Monday and try to sort out the real mess. The virus two months ago left us just short of penniless after the hospital ripped through our meager savings. I am required to have to leave the country by March 4th, but being non-vaccinated I am now literally blocked by Filipino air-carriers. So my wife and I are here to see if immigration can assist, or give the information as to date, time and location to insure I legally report to them. I am not going to take submit to COVID-19 shots. I would rather sit in a cell until deported and travel back to Texas and work off that debt then later get a Mexico VISA for my wife and myself. Then when the madness ends return back to our Dinagat farm again.  

  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...