03/18/2009, Philippine Sea
It was a wonderful morning today. Time to sail. We had a wonderful time on Guam and met many fantastic folks. We discovered more on the war path of WWII than we expected once again. It was a great stay on a lovely island. I must say my preconception of Guam was greatly exceeded.
In the morning we dinghied about to say goodbyes. We gave Fuji San a copy of our Kapingamarangi Cruising Guide since he indicated he might go that way. We said goodbye to Tamio San who is a single handed icon in our books. We also stopped by to say goodbye to Arni, Cam, Molly and Nancy on Jade. As always we were sad to leave all of our new friends on the boats and at the yacht club.
We are also greatly saddened to leave Roq in his final resting place. He was the most loyal and loving family member on four legs you could ever have. It was hard to motor out of the harbor without his cheerful face looking up at me from his little corner of the cockpit.
I had to dive on the safety line we tied to the mooring chain to loose it and then put the dinghy away. We also spent some time briefing Miki on the safety procedures onboard. Miki has sailed with us on a charter cat in the British Virgin Islands so she is not totally new, though this will be her first ocean passage. He sister Emi has a good 1,000 mile on her so Miki is eager to catch up.
After prepping the boat and checking the rig and all of the hardware we dropped the mooring bridle. We called the harbor master on 16 and got permission to depart. It was the last American voice we would hear in an official capacity for perhaps some time.
We waited until we were out of the harbor to raise sail. This gave the batteries a chance to come up and the seas were mellow behind the island anyway. We set out on starboard tack in a deep reach for Ulithi atoll. Unfortunately we were 10 - 20 degrees high. As we cleared Guam the wind veered and we jibbed into a nice deep port tack.
It was a lovely, slightly cloudy, but lovely day of sailing. The seas are following and the wind is light in the sails but keeping us at 6-7 knots. As sunset we put in the night reef and slowed to closer to 6 knots. We are looking at an ETA of late night two days from now on March 20th (51 hours from now). We hope to shore that up with a bit more speed tomorrow for a late afternoon landfall on the 20th. If not we'll bypass Ulithy and head for Yap, arriving on the 21st.
Hideko Says: "I can't believe we finally left Guam, we loved it. Rest in peace Roq, we love you." Miki Says: "Roq is still with us, we feel his happy spirit."
313 nm to Ulithy
03/17/2009, Outrigger Hotel
Arni and Cam invited us to join them at the Iwo Jima Symposium taking place at the Outrigger Hotel today. What a great experience. It was the anniversary of the Iwo Jima Battle and vets from both Japan and the USA were in attendance. There was a detailed presentation of the Iwo Jima action, a panel with vets including a variety of men in different roles, speeches from two Japanese vets, and a lot of time to mix over lunch.
The vets and others fly to Iwo tomorrow for tours and other ceremonies. It was a great experience meeting these guys, most of whom wont be around much longer. WWII realy had a profound impact on the shape of things in this part of the world.
Hideko and I put in some of the final bits of work on the boat today to get ready for our travels on the road to Singapore. We are presently planning to sail from Guam to Ulithi atoll and then on to Yap. From Yap we will stop in Ngulu and then on to Palau. From Palau we will sail to Leyte in the Philippines and then head through the central Philippines to Palawan. We will then sail the west coast of Palawan and Borneo prior to landing in Singapore. We hope to haul out in Singapore and get our annual done there before cruising Thailand.
While we were changing oil and what not Miki accompanied some of our friends to the lovely Inarajan pools on the east coast of Guam. Miki and her sister Emi are loved instantly by all children and the kids were very happy to have Miki with them. We only saw the pictures but it looked like a lot of fun swimming and diving in the beautiful pools.
It has been blowing a good 20-25 knots most days in the anchorage mid day here at the MYC. Mornings and nights benefit from the island breeze shutting the trades down. So around 7AM Hideko sent me up the mast today. Make sure that your wife hasn't taken out any large insurance policies before you attempt this.
We had lost our radar reflector in a nasty squall in the Solomons a few months back and our mast head light went out shortly thereafter. We ordered replacements from Defender.com and received them via our Saint Brendan's Isle mail box in Florida and then via US Post (reliable and cheap to Guam) via the MYC.
After giving the rig a good once over we headed ashore to look for distilled water to top up the batteries. Our new Trojans are doing well but I'm not liking the maintenance part. We have been going through about 1.5 liters of water a month (our batteries cycle every night due to the fridge and freezer). We searched all five Napas, Diamond Auto, all of the Shell stations, Mobil and other, as well as KMart. No luck. The island was dry as far as our batteries were concerned.
Hideko stopped at the Payless to get some last minute provisions on the way back to the yacht club and as she walked back to the car I saw she had 3 gallons of distilled water in her hands. Who knew. We could have spent 30 minutes instead of 3 hours getting water.
With batteries topped up and rig checked out we're one step closer to Yap.
We woke up this morning to rain. One thing lead to another and we decided to stay in port another day or two.
Masa San motored by on Nuk at around 8AM and we all shouted Bon Voyage to him. We wish Masa San a safe passage to Japan at the end of his long voyage.
In the afternoon as we worked on a few more projects we heard another Japanese yacht requesting entry to the port. Fuji San on Seagull was having a little language trouble with the harbor master on the VHF. Hideko jumped on to help out and we ended up guiding Fuji San to a mooring and taking him ashore for clearance at the Yacht Club. We ended up at a great Korean BBQ place in the Royal Orchid Hotel with Tamio San and Fuji San.
The BBQ place doesn't have much in the way of desert so we went down stairs to Tony Roma's for desert. You can sit in the big comfy chairs out front if you are just doing desert. Internet in the hotel is good but $15 for 24 hours.
03/13/2009, D and D Rentals
We rented a car when we arrived in Guam at D&D Rentals. The firm is run by a great guy named Dan. Dan is also the regional distributor for Segway personal transports. We rented an SUV for two weeks for $550 with full insurance. A pretty good deal. We also were very interested in taking a tour on the Segways.
Dan has been battling to get the Segways approved by the legislature in Guam for various areas downtown and finally won the politicians over a few months back. This was good news for us because it enabled tours in the Tumon area, where all the night life is.
Arni from Jade was having a birthday today and like us wanted to give the Segways a spin. So we had a Segway night on the town for Arni's birthday. We all had to do a Segway break in course in the parking lot but no one crashed even given all of the natural hazards along the busy sidewalks of town. This was followed by dinner at Capricciosa, an Italian restaurant chain based in Japan (!?). It was a great night out with wonderful company, fun gizmos and great food.
In the course of exploring Guam we have found two possible marinas for yachts.
There are four but one is the commercial marina on the way to town which is yacht hostile from what I hear. Not a perfect setup for a yacht either. It is really a working marina for all of the tourist para gliding boats and what not.
The marina in the harbor of refuge has no wind and is more of a parking spot for off duty work boats. It would be very buggy and I doubt you could arrange a long term stay if anything.
Agat Marina (pictured) is a real marina and the only problem with it is that it is pretty full from the looks of it. There is a wonderful marina in side the harbor at the Navy base but you have to have a base pass to reside there. It is a nice spot though and could cause you to consider joining the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Tamio San on Dharma arrived at MYC today. Tamio San is Japanese and is just wrapping up a circumnavigation with huge ocean passages at every leg. It is interesting to note that Masa San on Nuk, Tomio San on Dharma and Fuji San, still inbound on Seagull, are all single handers.