Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 8, 2011

Sailing to Palau

5.11.11 – Saturday – The night was stormy, thunder and lightning made sleep difficult. Harbor master, customs and immigrations, all masticating the betelnut, came to check us out of the country. At 0830 we departed, surprised by a fresh SE wind, 13-18 knots. Track to Palau being 239 degrees, we had the wind slightly from behind the port beam and were making 7-8 knots.

Israel noticed a rip in the jib. It is in the cloth that covers the padding of the leading edge of the sail. I add a new item to the maintenance list for Palau.

The wind held up to 1500 and then reverted to the forecasted less than 10 knots. Remember my complaining about a strange whine from the starboard engine? We thought the source was one of the belts. I now find that this happens only when the engine is in gear. Oh, Oh! I check gear oil, which is, frankly, not done very frequently, and find that I need to add quite a bit. The whine is still there, no mechanical noise or vibration but still, very worrying. I need professional help! Another item for Palau.

6.11.11 – Sunday – Some mild squalls during the night gave way to very light wind. I will admit that both of us are eagerly waiting for the time to pass and the arrival to Palau.

7.11.11 – Monday – Motoring, motoring, motoring, and finally we arrive at the Malakal pass, leading to the harbor with the same name. I was so excited by the view, taking pictures of the typical rocks, that I let my guard weaken and almost hit a reef.

rocks

The skipper of a strange looking tourist craft, probably glass-bottom one, started waving frantically to get my attention and our boat back on the right track.

saveyor

We tied to the commercial dock and had the authorities with us very quickly. After they went away, the port security man told me I had to go to the port office for some formality. A lady clerk directed me to an office in town where I had to pay for dockage at the harbor. “And then come back to pay here for line handling”. A lady in the town office took one of my documents that showed our tonnage, copied it and worked a few minutes on her computer to reach the sum I would have to pay.

At the end of that arduous process she said:”Thirty six” “What, 36 dollars for half an hour of dock time for a 6 ton yacht?” “No” she said calmly “36 cents”. No comment.

Back at the port, the other lady was sweating on her computer for the line handling thing. She looks me in the eye and says:”85 dollars and 14 cents”. What’s happening in this place? Have they all gone crazy? I said I thought it was outrageously high and demanded to speak to the manager. “She’ll be back from lunch at 1230”.

At 1230 sharp I was back, had to wait 25 minutes and then was ushered into the manager’s office. A lady of Japanese origin greeted me, explaining that they have one fee for all vessels, be it my 6 tons cat or a 6000 ship. A little discussion followed after which she asked whether cutting the fee by half would be acceptable. I countered by suggesting that 20$ were more than enough and the matter was thus settled.

Out of the harbor, we went looking for the Royal Belau Yacht Club, where a mooring might be available. The whereabouts of this YC are kept as a state secret and none of the available sources reveal its location. I will break this wall of silence and tell all that it is hiding in a bay north-west of the commercial harbor. Just keep following the coast and it’ll come into view. Coordinates: 07 20.329 N 134 27.139 E.

rbyc

We found a mooring, secured our boat and went ashore. The RBYC is actually a dive-club plus bar, restaurant and travel service. They help yachties in their contacts with the authorities gratis. I spoke to Dermot, the manager, and he told me that the moorings belonged to different people who consented to letting foreign yachts use them for free.

We were going to another dive-club – the Fish N’ Fins – owned and run by an Israeli couple, Tova and Navot Bornovsky. I was in contact with Navot at the planning stage of the trip and he promised to help me find a place to keep the boat for two months.

Fish N’ Fins is a successful and busy business. Navot received us in the most friendly way.

navot

Tomorrow he will set-up a mooring for “Two Oceans” near his club. He also recommended one of his men, Nick, to look after my boat when I’m away.

Hopefully I’ll be able to fly out tomorrow!

8.11.11 – Tuesday – A hectic day. Israel, who decided to rent a car and tour the island, took me to Fish N’ Fins. Navot brought Faustino, his number one mechanic to plan the laying of a special mooring for me in their lagoon.

faustino

                                                   Faustino

Faustino, with a helper, drove me with a club work-boat to “Two Oceans” and then led me through a narrow canal, jungle clad all around, to a temporary mooring.

into

Then we took diving gear and went looking, underwater, for a mooring base whose location was not absolutely clear. Guess who found it?

Faustino and myself passed a double chain through the base and his helper tied a mooring ball to the thick rope, did a quick splice to make a loop and the mooring was ready for me. Faustino will also check my lately temperamental Yamaha outboard.

I then met Nick, the guy who will take care of “Two Oceans” while I’m away. I was happy to employ somebody who will come from time to time, air, clean and check that all is well with the boat.

nick

                                                               Nick

I finished working on the boat at 1805, the taxi came at 1900 to take us to the airport. I write this in my hotel room in Manila and tomorrow will fly to Hong Kong on my way back home, hoping to return to Palau on the second week of January 2012.

I did a lot of mileage in 2011, close to 4500 n.m, starting in NZ. Visited amazing places and had my share of strange adventures (Nauru, just to mention one…)

Next year will see us going from Palau to the Philippines and Thailand.

So, until January 2012 – Adios from Miki and “Two Oceans”!

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Responses

  1. Just happened upon your blog. I love Palau. Crazy cool diving. So where is Two Oceans now? (Sept 2012)


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