Little Green Boat

Spruce left the UK in 2011, arrived in SE Asia during 2015. Finished land/air touring in Asia. Afloat again and getting ready to head east to Raja Ampat and on to Japan and Alaka in 2018.

18 February 2018 | Colonia - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
18 February 2018
18 February 2018
10 February 2018 | Carina's Typhoon Anchorage - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
09 February 2018 | Carina's Typhoon Anchorage - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
09 February 2018
09 February 2018 | Colonia - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
07 February 2018 | Colonia - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
07 February 2018
07 February 2018
29 January 2018 | Colonia - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
29 January 2018
29 January 2018
29 January 2018
29 January 2018
24 January 2018 | Arrived in Colonia-Yap-Micronesia
22 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
21 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
20 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
19 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific

Polynesian Style Canoeing in Micronesia

18 February 2018 | Colonia - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
Andy & Sue
Three evenings per week, the local Yap Paddlers meet to take two French Polynesian outrigger canoes for an outing. The traditional local canoes are made from wood, although very similar in concept. The wooden examples require more maintenance than these GRP examples brought from Tahiti. Photo shows Andy learning the knack of maintaining a stroke when the foremost paddler shouts "Hutt." and the crew behind respond with "Ho." This is to coordinate the seven person crew when the side on which the paddle is used is switched, and one's leg position is simultaneously changed. It is quite surprising how fast these slender craft can be propelled when the whole crew synchronise their efforts. There is a short video clip, see link below....

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18 February 2018
Here is a dawn view from the local hill overlooking the harbour. A ship is departing from the wharf area; to the right of the peninsula is where Spruce is anchored. On the peninsula and the immediate hinterland is the town of Colonia, the main town on the island of Yap. Elsewhere are much smaller villages.
Canoeing is an activity that supplements our frequent hikes up a local hill (from where this splendid view can be had) and along the local stone pathways. Our get-fit programme is coming along nicely. Often a tropical climate is uninspiring for physical exercise and the absence of definite trails makes it difficult to engage in meaningful hikes. Here in Yap, a regular trade wind breeze and the surrounding ocean maintains a bearable temperature. Next week we shall walk the ancient Tamilyog trail.

18 February 2018
From the same vantage point, this is a view to the northeast. The middle of the three finger-bays on the left is where we anchored for the recent tropical depression. Within Yap the waterways, the seabed and the reefs are all privately owned. The inheritance laws apparently make it difficult to know who owns where. This is not ideal for a visiting yacht that may need to shelter from bad weather at short notice. The previous photograph that pictures Colonia also shows the zone over which the Harbour Master has control. The water to the left of the Peninsula is around 30-metres deep, to the right is around 13-metres deep but contains many shallower reefs. The shallower zone is also exposed to any wind from between slightly east of south and southeast. Beyond the departing ship, the fringing reef can be seen.

Glad to See the Back of It!

10 February 2018 | Carina's Typhoon Anchorage - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
Andy & Sue
This morning the weather is grey and rainy, but smiles are abundant aboard Spruce today. The middle of the night brought gusty winds, rainsqualls but nothing beyond a typical English Channel summer-depression. Tropical-Depression-02 past to the south of us (180-miles), more than double the earlier predicted distance, and it had not intensified as much as originally thought. The picture shows this morning’s position at the start of the dark blue-line well south of our position. This line shows the latest predicted track. We are quite surprised at the wide variation in potential tracks that come from successive prediction cycles. These beasts are clearly very unpredictable.
The research done before we came here, indicates we have probably had an atypical experience. These disturbances rarely form in February, but sometimes they do. Usually they start much further east, so have intensified more by the time they reach our longitude; La Nina conditions have pushed cold water from Central America and out into the Central Pacific, causing the warmer water zone for cyclogenesis to be farther west. Although, the few out of season systems over the last 40-years were shown as passing along this southern route at up to 250-miles south of Yap, so that was typical.
This morning’s forecast has predicted intensification will now take place. The Tropical Depression has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm and is now estimated to pass just south of Pulau (200 miles to the east) at 4pm local time today; earlier predictions had it moving north of them. They are now forecast to suffer 55-knots Gusting 70-knots. The maximum winds predicted are when the system will be 90-miles from a landfall in the Southern Philippines, where the winds are forecast to be 75-knots and Gusting 90-knots. We have been pardoned, but our thoughts are with the people over to the East, some of whom will have very unpleasant weather coming their way.
Thank you to all our family, friends and readers who have provided wonderfully supportive messages during this quite worrying period, we very much appreciated reading them.

Ready and Waiting

09 February 2018 | Carina's Typhoon Anchorage - Yap - Federated States of Micronesia
Andy & Sue
Spruce is moved and now anchored in the sheltered location arranged by Glen. A tandem anchor of 20Kg is laid out ahead of the main 35Kg anchor with an additional 85m of chain veered in a water depth of 15-metres. The photo shows our tandem anchor prepared on the foredeck and connected to the main bower anchor located in the bow roller. We need more practice at using this arrangement before we arrive in northern waters later this year, the last time we used it was several years ago.
The latest tracking report is giving maximum winds of only 35kn gusting 45kn and we are tucked behind a low peninsula. All is looking good. Even if the approaching weather system does strengthen above the present forecast. This close to its arrival-time and our confidence in the predictions not changing too much is improving.

09 February 2018
It is interesting to look at our plot of weather updates. Forecasting weather is clearly a more sophisticated science than in the pre-satellite era. In spite of refined models, there are still many uncertainties. The four coloured plot lines show the predicted tracks over the past 24 hours. Our location is shown by the red blob. Yesterday morning the green line was the expectation. At six-hour intervals, the updates showed the yellow line, followed by the grey-line and this morning’s update gave us the red line: a closest point of approach of 60-miles. Once the disturbance moves beyond Palau (the island shown bottom left) it is forecast to intensify further to 50kn gusting 65kn as it approaches the Southern Philippines. Not so good for them but we are relieved it is not now expected to become more intense until it is past Yap.
For now, we just wait until the peak winds, whatever they may be. They are due to arrive at approximately 1am local time on Sunday morning. These things always seem to happen in the middle of the night, why is that?
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-16 brought us north into Asia. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
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Spruce's Photos - Dominica - A Green and Pleasant Land.
Photos 1 to 51 of 51 | Main
Heliconia - Lobster Claw
Flower in the rain forest - Sue can
White Begonia
Pipeline taking water from the reservoir. Like at St Lucia this one is made of barrel like staves of wood, coated in bitumen and held together with rings of bolted studding... just like a very long barrel.
Alex & Daria (Alerians) enter the Titou Gorge to swim through.
Trafalgar falls after a small rainfall.
The two waterfalls at Trafalgar falls in panoramic view.
Rocks in the plunge pool below Trafalgar Fall.
Look closely at the name of the vessel. An oxymoronic expression for this part of the world:-)
A water wheel and press for extracting the syrup from the sugar cane. The name cast into the equipment indicated it was manufactured in Britain by a company based in both London and Derby. Vestiges of a bygone empire.
Close up of the disused waterwheel and sugar factory beyond.
A view of the upper parts of Roseau, capital of Dominica, as we ascended into the rain forest.
A poster at a Heritage Centre showing the resident birds. Some were so shy we saw nothing of them.
The shape of Dominica - The Sandemans Port Man from Oporto leaning forwards to insist we don
Lush foliage in the rain forest. We think this is a type of Aechmea which grows on the trees rather like Air-Plants.
Orchid in the forest
Iguana perched on a tree while visiting the Indian River near Portsmouth.
Covered market in Portsmouth on one of the two market days each week. If you don
Preparing sugar cane for sale in the market. People seem to take this to suck on for breakfast.
Not much of this Blue Marlin left for sale. Large hunks were chopped off with the ubiquitous machete and sold for £EC 8 per pound weight. We managed to get one of the last pieces and it was only 07:30 am. The market starts before light at 05:30!
Andy and Daria, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Alex, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Martin, boat boy and guide en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
The settlement of Tanetane in Douglas Bay, Dominica..
Alexis, boat boy and guide, taking us to Indian River near Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Iguana lounging on a tree in the Indian River.
Blood Root trees alongside a river. The Carib Indians used the sap, red in colour, to paint their bodies.
Market day at Portsmouth, Dominica.
The photo shows sugar cane being prepared for vending. In the foreground are Carrots and Breadfruit. Beside the table in the distance are coconut "Water-nuts" these are sold as a substitute for canned drinks. Again the machete comes in to play to hack the top off ready to drink:-)
Blue Marlin being "cut" with the ubiquitous machete. We got in just before the last of the large fish was all sold.
Farmers from the countryside bring their produce to market in pick-up trucks - some are very battered but still going.
In the margins of the covered market hall. Really just a roof rather than a whole hall.
Inside the covered market. Most of the action is in the back of cars and pick-up trucks outside this building.
Another view of the market hall.
Shoreline at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Make do signage - the most simple of shop fronts:-)
A traditional carib dwelling. Palm leaves for the roof with poles to secure against the wind.
Two Caribs. Dennis on the left and Clem. Dennis
A stream lined with fantastic shaped trees.
A close up of the tortured roots.
Entrance to the Indian River at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
A local boat, dug out canoe made from a Gommier Tree with extra planks to increase the freeboard (distance from the water to the top of the gunwhale).
Climbers heading for light at the top of the tree canopy.
An impressive tree in the rainforest.
They claimed they are Danish and can
Melta Skywalker challenges his father to a light sabre duel! ... must mean Michael is really Darth Boe.
Our lunch stop. Coye with her husband holding grandchild number five.
A nutmeg still encased in its shell.
A view from Spruce looking towards the town of Portsmouth. Dominica has a total population of 72,000 people and Portsmouth is the second largest town with only a few thousand souls resident.