10/11/2011, Pacific Ocean
We did all our clearances on the afternoon of Friday 7th October and left Kosrae the next day (Saturday) at 9am. We had a distance of 342 miles to go to Ebon Atoll and had hoped it would take about 3 ½ days but Murphy's Law we had wind on the nose just about the whole way. The odd day we had some nice sailing, all be it with the motor going. Every day we had several storms and on the Monday night we had a really nasty one and our main sail blew. Lovely, didn't need that so we managed to get it down and furl part of it in the boom and the rest we had to wrap up around the boom. Next morning discovered that it was a join that had come unstitched and unglued with a rip on the leach, so that was a bit of good news.
Just as we were arriving at Ebon we had a really nasty storm with 30kt winds and heavy rain and could not see a thing in front, however it finally cleared and we negotiated the pass through the reefs okay and anchored five miles across to the other side of the lagoon, dropping the pick at 11.15am. We then got cracking at having a good look at the main and ascertaining what we needed to do to fix it. Then that afternoon Fran & Dave came over to help us and we glued the seam together and left it until Thursday morning to dry and then with all their help I was able to sew it on my little trusty Bernina sewing machine - bit of a mission but all things considered think we have done a good job under the circumstances as it is a big sail.
Yesterday we dinghied 4 miles over to the main village in the lagoon and had a good walk around with one of the locals who had also paid us a visit on the day we arrived to collect an anchoring fee! It certainly was a nice island and they all seemed to live in normal type housing, although a very basic inside. All the houses seem to have solar panels with batteries for power, made in Taiwan, donated by the Republic of China (Taiwan). No doubt the Chinese are wanting fishing rights!! While ashore we met an American lady from Michigan who is doing a 6 month teaching stint there and loving it.
We finally left the anchorage at 7.45am this morning and have a 320 mile trip to Tarawa in the Kiribati Islands. We are hoping that while we are there we are able to watch the World Cup final next weekend as it is under Australia and not the US like Micronesia.
10/11/2011, Pacific Ocean
Kosrae We finally dropped anchor in Lelu Harbour, Kosrae at 6.45am on 29th September. We were all so glad to get there as it was a long, difficult passage from Lukunoch with winds in all directions. We had to wait on board for instructions from Quarantine, Immigration & Customs with Quarantine wanting to come on board an hour or so later so Dave went ashore in the dinghy to pick him up. Quarantine fee was $US25 with .20c per pound to take our rubbish away. Shortly afterwards we met Immigration and Customs ashore with a Customs Officer requesting to be taken out to our yacht for inspection.
Everyone so friendly and the Immigration lady asked how long we were in Chuuk and when I said three days she said "2 days too long" and was horrified at the charges we had to pay. That afternoon we went for a walk as we needed the exercise after a week at sea then had an easy dinner and were in bed at 7.15pm!!
The next morning we walked the 5kms into the main part of town, ostensibly to go to the Post Office to pick up the linear drive for the autohelm and it was there waiting for us. Customs were going to try and charge duty of $71 but Dave managed to talk sweetly to them so they waved it. Locals picked us up on the way back, first one to a restaurant where we had a pizza lunch and then another guy picked us up and took us to where we were anchored. The locals are really friendly and all talk to us and when we say we have sailed from Chuuk they all say how ghastly the place is and we all agree whole heartedly.
We found a cafe which had cable TV and has ESPN so was hoping that we may have been able to see the AB's game against Canada but when the time came, after a long walk into the main town found the café closed, being a Sunday, although the staff there told us they were going to be open on the Sunday!! While there that morning having a coffee we did see a bit on CNN news about the World Cup. Also that morning Fran and I went to the local Protestant church for their Sunday service, not that we understood a word of it, other than when we plus another three white people were welcomed in English by the Minister.
We had a few meals at the Pacific Tree Resort which was a half hour dinghy ride from our anchorage and the owner, Mark was very helpful and organized our fuel for us which he bought down to the disused wharf in 200 litre drums which were then hand pumped into our tanks. We both took 400 litres each and we were full. The fuel cost $US300 per drum.
While in Kosrae a catamaran (Two Oceans) arrived in with three Israeli men on board and we had drinks with them a couple of nights and also learned a lot of Israeli history, after me asking a few curly questions? They were the first yacht we had seen since leaving Palau. They were only in Kosrae for a few days as they had to get to Pohnpei as one of the crew were flying home.
Our power supplies seemed to get worse while in Kosrae so to start with we bought a new starting battery but after a couple of days decided that our three big 240amp hour deep cycle house batteries were had it so ended up buying five 120amp hour cold cranking batteries and what a difference. We could not keep the fridge/freezer going at night with the old batteries so it is great to have everything all working again. Was quite a mission getting the old ones out as they were so heavy and it took the two Dave's a full day putting the new ones in, especially as we now had five batteries instead of three. Right by the anchorage was a great Hardware store, Ace and we got the batteries from Napa auto parts. Other than those two outfits there was not a lot in Kosrae. Supermarkets were pretty bare really and the resorts get all their supplies shipped in from either the US or Guam.
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.