Posted by: catamarantwooceans | January 29, 2012

Back in Palau

25.1.12 – Wednesday – I flew back to Palau via Hong Kong and Manila.

THE PLAN: prepare the boat for the voyage, dive and sail in Palau’s Rock Islands, all this will take about two weeks after which we will set sail to the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand reaching Phuket in the beginning of April.

THE CREW: Dany Lanis, a guy I met in the Air-Force many years ago; he graduated from fight school about 3 years after I did. I remember him as a young man with a lot of red hair as well as a Sergeant Major’s moustache. That was more than forty years ago…

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A mutual friend told me about him, saying that he was a very enthusiastic sailor and that he had just retired. Contact was made, we met and a decision was taken promptly.

Dany will come with me to Palau, we’ll sail together to the Philippines. where he will take a "vacation" and go on a two weeks land tour with his partner to Cambodia and Vietnam. During those two weeks Gili and two couples of friends will join. Dany will return to sail on to Thailand. My brother in law, Yaron, will join for two weeks in the Philippines.

I arrived at Fish N’ Fins at 0400; Dany was already on board and left the dinghy for me tied to the club’s dock. I slept for two hours after which we started doing maintenance stuff. First item was the fridge. A man named Oscar came to take a look but did not convince us that he was proficient in refrigeration. We took him back to shore.

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The biggest problem was our house batteries. I hoped they will hold until the Philippines, where I could get good quality replacement for reasonable price but it quickly became clear that they were at the absolute end of their life.

So we took a taxi to Mason’s hardware where we found 12V, 115 Amps marine batteries by Exide. Unfortunately they were not deep cycle, but I really had no choice. Fortunately they were the same size as my old ones and fit the compartment perfectly. We had, however, to re-wire the set to Parallel connection (the old batts were 6V). I asked at the club for an electrician and they told me: "Oscar is your man".

We called him back and agreed that he will do the job tomorrow.

We shopped for food, buying most of the stuff needed for the next three weeks.

For dinner we drove to the Drop Off bar and restaurant where they have Sea-bass fish caught 500-600 meters deep; they are called "Sebus", pronounced se-boose. We had them grilled and the chef used some basting with his secret spices that made the dish delightful. Two Red Rooster beers paved the way for a good night sleep.

26.1.12 – Thursday – Our original plan was to go diving but I wanted to be with Oscar when he connects the batteries so Dany went by himself.

Oscar was clearly more comfortable in electrics than in refrigeration and at 1100 we had a functioning electrical system. I later did some more shopping, went into the water to take off a rope that somehow got entangled in the starboard prop and cleaned the hulls from some marine growth that decided to take a ride on "Two Oceans".

27.1.12 – Friday – This was a day for diving. At 0815 we showed up at the club, boarded a dive-boat and motored at great speed to the dive site, passing those fantastic rocky pinnacles that Palau is so famous for.

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Our dive master was Hiro, formerly an owner of a jewelry store, who got bitten by the Scuba bug and became a certified instructor and dive guide.

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                                      HIRO

Palau is also famous for the many sharks you see during dives, and we were not disappointed in that respect, but for me the most beautiful sighting was that of a small, greenish Leaf Scorpion fish, perching on a rock in less than 10 meters of water, unmoving and oblivious to the many divers coming so close to gape and take pictures.

During a break after the second dive we went ashore in Uulong island, with the white, powdery sand, the tropical trees and the eroded rocks on the water edge. A commemorative plaque was erected on the beach in memory of H.M.S The Antelope, which under the command of Captain Wilson, broke on a nearby reef; her crew building a vessel, presumably from the remain of their ship, to sail away to safety. Just great!

We were invited to Navot’s house for dinner with his family; that was great too!

28.1.12 – Saturday – Another diving day. This time with Clint, a local guy and Clara, originally from the Czech republic,  as dive masters.

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                                 DANY and CLARA

First dive was in a site called "Blue Corner" and it was a WOW dive. We were given hooks to connect ourselves to the bottom, inflated our BCD’s and floated effortlessly in the current, watching the multitude of sharks, barracudas, jacks and a whole lot of other fish. Amazing!

Second dive was a wee bit less awesome but still impressive. After lunch, some of the guys went to the jellyfish lake while we were left on a beach in one of the island where the dry, white sand invited me for a total relaxation.

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In the evening we went again to the "Drop Off" restaurant, where a young rock group, with Navot’s 16 years old son on the guitar, gave a concert. They were pretty good, playing hits by the Beatles, Elvis and Bob Marley among others.

29.1.12 – Sunday – Not all Palawans observe the Christian  Sabbath. Raj, whose origin is India, has an upholstery business, does canvas work and is open on Sunday. Our jib had a tear in the pocket holding the foam piece in the leading edge that gives the sail a better shape when furled. We took it to Raj who repaired it in a very professional way.

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We then motored to the Fish N’ Fins dock and filled up our water tanks.Tomorrow we hope to go for a few days into the Rock Islands.

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