Flying to a new seaplane location is always exciting. No seaplane has landed at Tugawe Cove before and although it is on a distant south eastern peninsula of Luzon Island (the island Manila is on) there are no roads to this area. You get there by boat after a long road trip to the nearest port. On Google Earth Tugawe Cove, named after a native hardwood tree, appeared to be a difficult place to get into. The resort entrance is located in a tiny cove exposed to the open Philippine Sea. The beach looked promising but there wasn’t much in the way of protection if the winds or swells come in strong from the East.
The winds, however, were forecast to be light and from the west so the probability of making a successful landing and beaching were pretty high. We started off from Manila and flew down the East side of Luzon Island past San Miguel Bay, across the Camarines Sur down past the Caramoan National Park to the Caramoan Coast Islands.
I did an orbit around GoTa Resort to get a few pictures. I had been there before and might have a chance to go back there someday. I use the pictures to write up Route Guides for future reference. I shot these pictures through the Cessna window so the color is a bit off. The white balance could not properly compensate for the aircraft’s green tinted windows.
On arrival overhead Tugawe Cove I could see large low swells coming in from the East – most likely from a distant typhoon heading toward Japan. The period was long making it easy to either parallel or land on the backside if necessary.
But the water in front of the cove, the landing area, was slightly protected by a large island. I did one orbit and set up for the water landing. The touch down area was smooth.
I taxied into the cove staying clear of the reefs I had seen from the air, feathered the prop and ghosted up to the beach. There was a slight swell and associated surge.
I swung the plane around tail in to prevent the surge from lifting and grounding the floats nose in. Getting it off the beach backwards would be much tougher than forward. Backwards the keel would get caught and dig in. Forward it could slide off. The beach was rough with broken coral embedded in the soft sand so I did not want to sit there long.
Even tail in and with the plane getting lighter with the disembarking passengers the surge was pushing the plane higher onto the beach with a receding tide. I couldn’t stay there without getting grounded so I fired up and moved her to the boat mooring where she would be safe for the day. The resort’s boat came to pick us up.
At the resort Mike and I had omelette, bacon and mango juice for breakfast. The resort has an infinity pool looking out over the cove.
I climbed to the top of the lighthouse hill to get a vista over the surrounding islands.
I watched a thunderstorm build over the island to the south. It spread its arms outwardly like the pincers of a coconut crap and scuttled sideways across the landscape.
The thunderhead was impressive and scary at the same time. It built up, matured and dissipated in about one hour.
Tugawe Cove Resort is just 1:15 hours from Manila by seaplane. We departed Manila at 6:45 am and arrived for breakfast by 8:00 am. As we were leaving at 3:30 pm, having spent a full day hiking and island hopping, a family from Manila was just arriving by boat. They had left Manila at midnight to avoid the traffic and spent 15:30 hours on the road to get here. By taking our flight they would have added 2 extra days to their holiday.