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The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on "Pied A Mer"
Lukunoch to Kosrae
Joanne
09/27/2011, 32 miles from Kosrae

From Chuuk we headed to Lukunoch Atoll - a trip of a 156 miles. We opted to aim for a 4kt per hour average so that we only had to spend 2 nights at sea instead of three. However this proved harder than we though as we had the wind on the nose and were hard on to the wind the whole way and on the morning we arrived in Lukunoch (18th Sept) we had 2 hours of storms with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 35kts which was not nice at all. We finally anchored inside Lukunoch Lagoon at 10.45am. Shortly after arriving we had the Chief's advisor, Simon come and welcome us and advise us of the protocol etc. and the anchoring fee was $20 but as we had originally only planned to stay 2 nights he made it $10. The only thing he asked if we had was some books to read. As we were tired we were left alone and so agreed to go ashore the next morning which we did and we walked around the village with him and the four of us were like the Pied Piper of Hamlin with children holding on to our hands. It was a lovely island with it all laid out beautifully and Simon gave us both gifts, papaya and a nice flax fan. It was so nice to receive as well us being able to give (rice, flour & sugar). We ended up staying four nights as our batteries are getting in need of replacing and on the second night Dave did not give them enough charging time so the next morning they were completely flat so we were relying on wind and sun to charge them up but unfortunately it decided to rain all day so we could not start the motor. A few weeks ago Dave actually discovered that our starting battery is linked to the house batteries so it is being used for the house as well and the morning we left Kosrae we had the same problem but with sun we were able to get the motor going within four hours. However we have now opted to disconnect the positive lead on the starting battery each night when at anchor. Also our drum on the genoa furler has been a problem since the Philippines and I have lost count on how many times we have had it apart. However on the last day in Lukunoch Dave and Dave did some drilling work to put in screws to stop it lifting and it appears to have done the trick so will get us home okay. So we finally left Lukunoch on 22nd September at 6am and were heading 210 miles to Ngatik Atoll but with slow going which seems to be the norm here soon realized that we were going to arrive at night which is a no-no so decided to make the decision to carry on to Kosrae which from Lukunoch is a distance of 560 odd miles. The weather has thrown us a mixture of conditions, mostly having to motor sail and we had hoped to arrive today but on Monday for nearly 24 hours we had 20kts on the nose, big seas and we could only sail north or south and we were wanting to go East. Pied A Mer was hard to steer and felt like we were driving a very old army tank without power steering. By midnight things started to change and we could start to head in the right direction. We have had lots of storms and I have been on the helm for my fair share of them. My hand steering skills have improved greatly and at least I have not done any 360 degrees which Dave has done quite a few of - maybe he is more tired than I am but I think I am better than him at steering to compass. By the time we get to Kosrae we will have hand steered for 1470 miles. That autohelm in Kosrae is looking pretty good. We have had to slow down today in order that we do not arrive in the dark so are chugging along at 3 kts so at this point we have 32 miles to go. We will probably be in Kosrae for a week.

Puluwat to Chuuk
Joanne
09/27/2011, 35 miles from Kosrae

Puluwat was a lovely lagoon surrounded by the reef with two bigger low lying islands, Puluwat and Alet and two little islands. We were advised on our arrival to wait until the next day before we went to see the Chief as his family was in mourning as there had been a death in the family and next morning were given instructions to go and see him the next afternoon at 2pm. His residence was at the other end of Puluwat Island from where we were anchored so we duly went at the right time and did our bit, giving him rice, flour and sugar and paying $30 per boat to anchor. The family members were sitting around a coffin under a marquee type construction, seemed not too dissimilar to the Maori procedure. The Chief was also the Mayor but he did not speak any English so had a niece to interpret. While there Dave did a repair job on a local's fiberglass boat with the remaining resin etc. that we had left. He had a lovely sister and she bought us out our dinner one night - cooked fish and breadfruit which was lovely of her. She (Julie) came out to the boat and gleaned through some of my recipe books and wrote down recipes as she loves cooking. When we went to say good bye she gave both Fran & I a lava-lava to remember her by. Julie also had a bother in Chuuk who was an Immigration Officer so she gave us a letter to give him as well as a box of goodies for him (I think it was dried fish). The two Daves and I did a trip to Alet Island where there are heaps of WW11 relics from the Japanese time of occupation. Also a lighthouse which is no longer operational and lots of bunkers etc. We had tow local boys come with us as there is no way we would have found all the stuff in the tropical jungle without their help. There were the relics of trucks, bulldozers, machine guns, and airstrip, you name it and it was there. Dave C is really into looking at WW11 stuff but Fran did not come as she reckons she had had her fill when they were in the Solomons and New Guinea in 2008. Think I have seen enough of it too. The Japanese had control of all of Micronesia until the end of the War. At the various atolls they had an island to themselves and put all the locals on another island within the atoll. We left Puluwat at 9.30am on 11th September and headed for Chuuk and had an uneventful trip, mainly motor sailing, at times under bare poles arriving inside Truk Lagoon on 12th and dropping anchor at a small island called Ulalu. It looked as though there was very little life there but around midnight Dave C (Melric 11) called us to say that he had locals hanging off the end of his boat; they were trying to remove his outboard which was padlocked on. Dave always puts his fishing rod away at night but didn't that night, so they had done us first while asleep and the rod was gone. Our dinghy motor wasn't locked on but guess as it is only 2hp they weren't interested - Melric has both 8HP and 2HP motors so was after the bigger one. Lesson learned. Next morning we motored around to Weno, the capital of Chuuk and were told to tie up at the wharf where we were to do Customs. Immigration, Quarantine, and Port Authority. We were there at 10.45am but it was amazing how the first two conveniently made it to come during their lunch hour so they could charge overtime - Customs (the guy felt sorry for us) $15, Immigration $35, Quarantine $25 and then when we went to leave the Port Authority was $70 - $25 to tie up at the wharf, $35 anchoring fee for 48hrs and thereafter $10 per day while in Chuuk. While tied up at the wharf the two Daves did the fuel run and we took on 200 litres and Melric 300 so that was a good job done and then we moved off the wharf and anchored; for the night further down in the lagoon and then the next morning we went further down a couple of miles and anchored off the Blue Lagoon resort which was a nice spot. Chuuk really is an awful place and would not recommend it as a destination unless on a package tour to dive the many ship wrecks in the lagoon and which has to be done with dive guides. The roads are shocking, just mud and slush, rubbish everywhere on the streets but it did have two reasonable supermarkets where we were able to replenish a few supplies. The day after we got to the resort we had one of their staff take us in a mini van back up to Weno to track down Julie's brother in Immigration as he did not come to check us in and give him the letter and parcel. It was a good contact to have for when we were checking out. Getting back to the resort was going to be a bit tricky as taxis don't go there as the road is so bad; however we managed to get a ride on a local boat for $5 per couple and took no time at all compared to going by road. The two nights we were anchored off the resort we went in for dinner and drinks and prices were not too bad. Also was able to use their Wi-Fi and get my Gmail emails - 210 in all and Skype call the family. We had organized with the various authorities to clear out at 9.30am on 16th September but Island time prevailed and Phil from Immigration was the first to arrive at 10.10am - Immigration had kept our passports (won't do that again), Port Authority did not arrive to pen until about 10.30am and Customs did not appear at all so Fran and I dinghied back to our boats and the men ended up going to Customs. We finally left Chuuk at mid day for Lukunoch which will be in the next installment. We will actually be arriving in Kosrae early tomorrow morning (29th Sept).

Ifalik to Paluwat
Joanne
09/22/2011, East of Mortlock Islands, Micronesia

Ifalik to Puluwat We finally left Ifalik on Sunday 4th September, having the previous morning watched all the men in the village lift the roof up of “The Men's House” to increase the height from the ground as well as put in two new beams - quite a feat when the Men's house is 12m b y 11m and the big beam to go in is in one piece and all done by manual labour. They were also lifting the height in order for a bigger boat to go in. They all seem to keep their canoes under cover when not in use. As well as repairing the village boat Both Dave's were asked to try and repair of fix anything from small DVD players, clocks, torches, MP3 players and or charge them up for them! From Ifalik we did a 106 mile trip to Toas Atoll and we had a mixture of good sailing, motor sailing and then no wind and motoring under bare poles with sails all down arriving at 10.45 the next morning. It was a pleasant stop as there were no people on this atoll, although the anchorage was a wee bit roly. We were up and away the next morning at 845 for a 195 mile trip to Puluwat Atoll which included two overnighters. We had a mixture of sailing and motor sailing mixed in with a few storms and heavy rain with 35 knot winds but fortunately they are of short duration but are not very pleasant at all. We finally dropped anchor at Puluwat on Thursday 8th September and what a beautiful anchorage it was. We had a visit from one of the canoes telling us what was expected of us and as soon as we could we all went straight to bed to catch up on some sleep. Great having Fran & Dave to buddy boat with, especially as we are hand steering. We keep pretty close to each other most of the way and do much the same speed, although on the way to Paluwat they did get 11 miles ahead of us but we eventually caught up. Will make these updates for the blog smaller as sometimes we are having great difficulty getting through on Sailmail.

Ifalik to Puluwat We finally left Ifalik on Sunday 4th September, having the previous morning watched all the men in the village lift the roof up of “The Men's House” to increase the height from the ground as well as put in two new beams - quite a feat when the Men's house is 12m b y 11m and the big beam to go in is in one piece and all done by manual labour. They were also lifting the height in order for a bigger boat to go in. They all seem to keep their canoes under cover when not in use. As well as repairing the village boat Both Dave's were asked to try and repair of fix anything from small DVD players, clocks, torches, MP3 players and or charge them up for them! From Ifalik we did a 106 mile trip to Toas Atoll and we had a mixture of good sailing, motor sailing and then no wind and motoring under bare poles with sails all down arriving at 10.45 the next morning. It was a pleasant stop as there were no people on this atoll, although the anchorage was a wee bit roly. We were up and away the next morning at 845 for a 195 mile trip to Puluwat Atoll which included two overnighters. We had a mixture of sailing and motor sailing mixed in with a few storms and heavy rain with 35 knot winds but fortunately they are of short duration but are not very pleasant at all. We finally dropped anchor at Puluwat on Thursday 8th September and what a beautiful anchorage it was. We had a visit from one of the canoes telling us what was expected of us and as soon as we could we all went straight to bed to catch up on some sleep. Great having Fran & Dave to buddy boat with, especially as we are hand steering. We keep pretty close to each other most of the way and do much the same speed, although on the way to Paluwat they did get 11 miles ahead of us but we eventually caught up. Will make these updates for the blog smaller as sometimes we are having great difficulty getting through on Sailmail.

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