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.
The Chamorro culture is alive and well in Guam. The Chamorro folks on the island are proud of their heritage. The Chamorro culture is an interesting blend. The Spanish ran things for 333 years prior to the fricas in Cuba. This has given the island some of the flavor found in the western Caribbean. The American influence is obvious but considered modern and not part of the traditional culture.
The Chamorro village is in the capital, Hagatna, and fires up every Wednesday for a big party. You can find traditional arts and crafts, lots of food and music, clothes and other traditional and not so traditional items. One guy is very traditional, he is a black smith and he makes all manner of traditional objects including Chamorrro swords.
We are getting ready to depart Guam. We came with hope of finding a little more in the way of support infrastructure for sailboats. Having been here for a couple weeks now we have found Guam to be great and flush with the normal US style hardware stores and the like. You can get most anything for a power boat as well. Sailboat specific stuff and services in particular are a little more organic.
If you are a do it yourselfer and don't need to haul out you can probably get anything done here. The crane rates have been getting expensive for haul outs and some of the local boaters have indicated that it may not be reasonable to expect to get a crane haul out arranged unless you have a lot of time.
On the up side you can get anything from the states fast and with cheap US post shipping and no customs or duty of course. We have taken the opportunity to do services on all of the diesels, the battery bank, and a bunch of other things. As always we want to enjoy the place we're at, not just work on the boat there, so we are looking at another week before we're really ready to head on.
One of the great attractions of the place is the Marianas Yacht Club and all of the great people it attracts. One of them is Masa San on the sailboat Nuk. Nuk is a Yamaha cruiser, I didn't even know they made cruising yachts. Masa has sailed Nuk all over the South Pacific. Masa San runs a Japanese weather net on the HF radio and tells us that two more Japanese yachts are due this week.
03/09/2009, Navy Base Guam
After a very fun Bubble Maker class with 5 wonderful kids I discovered that one of the Dads was a Navy doctor running the base recompression chamber! After only a little pleading Dr. Rob agreed to take me on base for a visit.
We met Dr. Rob outside the base near the Navy's museum around noon. Hideko has not received her new Green Card yet and they would not let her in on the expired one (getting her finger prints done was a major reason to come to Guam). Miki, Hideko's cousin, has a US passport so they let the two of us in. We sadly left Hideko at the museum.
The chamber on the base is a RCF6500, one of seven in the Navy, and the most busy of them. The Master Diver was in his office when we arrived and he added a lot to the tour. For a mere recreational dive instructor, it was a great experience, being able to spend an hour with a diver who has 28 years of experience and a MD focusing on dive medicine.
I was particularly interested to find that the Navy is now using pure O2 for decompression at 30 feet. They have a surface supply setup that they use. This means that the divers are dealing with O2 partial pressures of almost 2.0! They have had zero problems. the new Navy tables have some interesting updates as well. The dive industry is still learning, I certainly learned a lot today.
The chamber is pretty big and has room for a patient or two and several attendants. There's a small pass through in the front of the chamber for passing food and what not in and out and there's an auxiliary chamber on the left to bring attendants up and down without surfacing the main chamber.