Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 8, 2011

Sailing Micronesia–Yap–continued

1.11.11 – Tuesday – My last post was finished with:"Motoringx3", this night was not different. The monotony was broken by a visitor, a red foot booby alighting on our port pulpit. At least we had no squalls.

booby

When I came on watch at 0600, Yap island was very visible ahead. We entered the channel leading to Tamil harbor, in the town of Colonia, the state’s capital. (Pohnpei has a Kolonia too, but with a "K") I spoke with port control and followed their instruction to tie at the stern of a Taiwanese fishing vessel in the small boat harbor. Very quickly the various authorities were on the boat, all pushing their forms at me and asking questions simultaneously. Everybody was very nice and the procedure did not take a lot of time.

harbor

We felt we were back in civilization, with internet, restaurants and shops. We didn’t have those for a long time! Internet was frustrating in the beginning but later I succeeded updating the blog which gave me a lot of pleasure. We rented a car with the intention of doing a land tour of the island, actually Yap is a few islands connected by bridges. We’ll see tomorrow.

2.11.11 – Wednesday – Jeff, who runs the Yap fisheries authority, promised to call a refrigeration technician for my unserviceable freezer.

Then it was tour time. Israel bought a topographic map, 1:25000 which was not a real road map and had me confused at times because the distances were so much shorter than I anticipated. Anyway, according to the recommendation we got from Jan, a Belgian who runs the dive club of Manta Ray hotel, we headed to Kadday village, which we were led to believe, was very different than Colonia.

Yap is famous for its "Stone Money", small and big round slabs of stone that used to be the local currency. Today the greenback is the one they use, but still, so I understand, stone money has value in ceremonial and traditional matters including land deals. Kadday had this big meeting house with the money spread all around it. Some of the "coins" or  "bills" were quite big. Look at the one Israel, who is a tall fellow, is standing by.

bigmoney

Another interesting feature was the figures of dolphins, mantas, birds, fish and even a turtle ornaments inside a meeting house.

figures

We drove on to the south and found nothing interesting, so with lunchtime approaching we returned to the boat. We were met by Jeff, who said:"I just spoke to the refrigeration man, he is on his way to your boat". Good news! Now let’s see whether the man knows his job.

Arbin, who is a young man, took a look at the Adler – Barbour freezer machine. Immediately I could see that he was a professional. It took him less than an hour to remove the faulty and redundant control box and rewire the machine. We put the switch on – bingo! It works! He was also wise enough to ask me for the same amount I paid in NZ for the same operation on the fridge.

arbin

Good show, Arbin. If you are in Yap and you need a REF tech – Arbin is your man – tel. 9508600. 

3.11.11 – Thursday – A diving day. Yap is renowned for the abundance of Manta rays you can see up close and I was determined not to miss it. There are quite a lot of dive-clubs on the island and the one I chose was "Beyond the reef", which is near the harbor and is the least expensive.

The way to the diving site was very exciting in itself. Charles, the boat driver was slaloming through narrow channels at great speed, low tide revealing rocks on both sides.

2dive

I did both dives with a dive-master named Ferl. First one was a wall dive. The reef was a disturbing sad sight. Where have all the lively corals gone? Although there were lots of fish, I saw no soft corals at all and the reef was colorless. We did see some sharks, a Manta, few Napoleon wrasse, barracudas and a really huge grouper.

Second dive was at the Manta site, which is actually a cleaning station, where the Mantas come to have parasites removed off them by small cleaner fish. The place is only 5 meters deep and the visibility poor, not more than 10 meters. We took position near the "Clinic" and very soon a big Manta came by, did two circuits and disappeared. We waited 20 minutes(!) and no action. I was beginning to feel restless, but Ferl stayed patiently on and then we were rewarded by a parade of three giant Mantas, one of them with wing-span of at least 10 feet.

We were underwater for over an hour and I started to feel tired and felt leg muscle cramps coming, so I signaled that I wished to ascend and we finished the dive. Exhilarating show!

4.11.11 – Friday – In normal circumstances we would have left for Palau today. But this would have meant getting there on the Sunday which is inadvisable because of exorbitant overtime rates they apply. Also, we discovered that here, in Yap, they celebrate "Veterans day" and all officialdom is not working. So, we’ll have to leave Saturday morning, pay the local overtime and reach Palau a day late.

It’s about 260 miles away and the forecast is for light winds from the SE. We will be motoring again, Yuk.

The fishing authority is selling fish. They have a huge variety kept on ice. There is one price for most fish:1.5$ per pound. That is ridiculously low! I bought an 8 lbs. tuna, had it filleted for an additional 80 cents and got a separate bag with the head and bones out of which I made fish-soup.

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