The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on "Pied A Mer"

04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
25 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
11 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
11 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
27 September 2011 | 32 miles from Kosrae
27 September 2011 | 35 miles from Kosrae
22 September 2011 | East of Mortlock Islands, Micronesia
02 September 2011 | Ifalik
22 August 2011 | Ifalik
13 August 2011 | Woleai
07 July 2011 | Palau
07 July 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
20 May 2011 | Sagay, C amiguin Island
16 May 2011 | Siquijor Island

Camiguin Island to Palau.

03 June 2011 | Palau
Joanne Booker
In my last blog we were anchored at Sagay, on Camiguin Island and within an hour of Almathea arriving the wind direction had changed and we ended up with a side on slop and had rather a roly night so the next morning we moved another 8 miles around to the other side of the island to a place called Bonini seeking a calmer anchorage, which there was behind a reef and spent two nights there. We had a nice lunch time meal ashore the first day at a seafood restaurant and explored the very small town, if you could call it that but there were ferries coming and going all day so was quite a busy little port. The morning after we arrived just as we got up we saw Jim re anchoring and thought they must have dragged but instead the shackle attaching the anchor to the chain had broken and when they discovered it were not far off colliding into us. Shortly afterwards there was a wee bit of a blow and next thing we were dragging - when we pulled the anchor up we had a great big plastic bag on the end of it! A regular problem in SE Asia. As we had a 63 mile trip to get to Suriago on Mindanao Almathea and us had agreed to set the alarms for 12.30 am on Monday, 23rd May and head off. Our alarm did not go off and when we woke up at 1am found that Almathea had already gone. We tried calling them up on VHF radio but got no reply but we had an agreed sched each morning on HF radio at 8am. As there was so much noise from night clubs etc. in Bonini they could not sleep so they had left at 10pm. We motor sailed all the way, but the big excitement was that we caught our first fish in over a year and what a beauty - a 20kg mahimahi! We arrived in Suriago mid afternoon and had Jen and Jim for a lovely fish dinner that night. We did venture ashore late afternoon as we needed to get some fresh vegetables and fruit from the market as we had run out of them and could not get any in Bonini, other than a very green bunch of bananas which have only just ripened in the last couple of days. Almathea tied up to the wharf and they had a few hassles with officialdom but even though they went to the right authorities they were just given 3 days pratique (in other words, safe anchorage because of the typhoon going through the Philippines from Palau. We did not want any hassles so we just anchored out and there was no problem. We did drag one day and found a huge plastic bag on the anchor, but then anchored closer in and we were fine, but did put down our anchor buddy as added protection. Jim and Jenny shouted us out for a nice dinner on the Tuesday night (24th) in Suriago and Suriago was a typical small SE Asian city with not a lot really going for it. Dave spent the Tuesday doing fuel and gas runs and we also did a bigger fruit and vege shop at the markets. We had to use tricycles to go anywhere but they were cheap enough. Jim and Jenny decided to move on, on Wednesday and left at 5.45am but we weren't quite ready and we also felt we would be better staying an extra day with the effects of the winds from the typhoon which was north of us. However that night we had some pretty strong winds and not a lot of sleep so decided to stay another night and while reasonably calm on the Thursday morning the wind did get up in the afternoon and early evening with wind gusts of 40 kts, although the anchorage was calm. However by Friday morning everything was nice and calm and quiet so headed off at 5.15am. We had very little wind and what there was was on the nose but we had the current going with us so managed to maintain a speed of 5.5 -6 knots right through the Hinatuin Passage and it really was lovely going through there and all the islands. For a short while out in the Philippine Sea we had the wind on the nose and then gradually it came around to the SE and from then on we were able to lay our course for Palau, motor sailing for the first 10 hours and then at 3.30pm we were able to turn the motor off. As the afternoon wore on we needed to put a reef in the main sail and by 8pm Friday night we were pelting along at 7 - 7.5kts which we held all night with 30kt winds and quite a big sea. Once the wind got up to 30kts the wheel steering auto pilot had trouble handling the conditions, but Pied A Mer was fine, so Dave sat behind it all night. However by morning the wind had died down a bit and we motor sailed in order to charge up the batteries. We did 144 miles in 24hrs so averaged 6 knots so we were pretty pleased with that.

Day 2 - Saturday 28th was pretty quiet with not much wind and a lumpy sea flattened out overnight so motor sailing was the order of the day from mid afternoon. We had one big squall but only lasted a few minutes. Only managed 111 miles in 24 hours. Almathea had spent the Wednesday night at Dapa on Sariago Island so were just over 100 miles ahead of us and we have a regular sched at 8am each morning on HF radio.

Day 3, Sunday ended up being very pleasant with just a gentle breeze, a flat sea and motor sailing the whole day. For several hours while I was on watch we had the current with us so was able to get along at 5 to 5.5kts, although the wind had changed from the SE to the NE. Over the 24hr period we did 117 miles and still had 195 to go until the passage entrance to Palau.

Day 4, Monday 30th was very slow, motor sailing and late in the afternoon finally managed to get all the emails down through the HF radio (sailmail)to find a message from Palau saying that Wednesday (1st June) is a public holiday and we would be liable for overtime charges which are $US175 on top of the normal fees of $US150, so we immediately turned off the motor and I sent an email back and said that we would slow down and not come in until Thursday. At that point we still had 146 miles to go and there was no way we were going to make it by Tuesday afternoon. So we spent the last 2 ½ days doing anything between 1.5 - 3kts either with just the genoa or just the motor idling when there has been no wind. We had dropped the main sail on Monday night. Jim and Jenny arrived in on Monday and were there just after 5pm so ended up paying overtime charges and all up amounted to over $US300.

On Wednesday night we needed to drift for 3 hrs so that we would not arrive at the pass to come into Palau before daylight and at that point we only had 15 miles to go to the pass so at 1am motored slowly at 3 kts arriving at the pass entry at 5.30am. We then had 17 miles to motor down to Koror and we tied up at the customs wharf and Immigration, Customs and Quarantine came to us before we could move around to the anchorage outside Sam's Tours and the Yacht Club. Customs & Immigration were $US50 each but then there was a line handling and dockage fee of $85.89 which the latter we supposedly had to pay right away - we had no USD and trying to use the credit cards came up on both cards - please try again!! In the end a guy drove me into town to an ATM. First machine, card came back unable to read card, second card said I could only have $200 and then said unable to process!! Lovely!! Went to another ATM and the machine was down, however who should come out of the bank but friend Pauline from Sari Timur and while we were talking the machine became operational and I was able to get some funds. Once paid we were able to go and we have since paid Customs & Immigration.

The only way we have internet here is to go ashore to an internet cafe so is going to be a bit of a pain but fortunately Sam's Tours have internet so at times I may be able to skype (if there connection is fast enough) but otherwise will have to rely on emails. It is lovely here but it is backward when it comes to communication as there are only 20,000 people living here and one telephone company!

The water pumps were here when we arrived and also Dave's hearing aid so all good there. But Spectra sent the wrong barbs for the water pumps so have had to try and buy fittings here which has been a bit difficult.

Will up date further when there is more to relate. Did go into town to buy groceries etc. yesterday and certainly more expensive than Malaysia and the Philippines.
Vessel Name: Pied A Mer
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First 456
Hailing Port: Tauranga, New Zealand
Crew: Dave Booker
About: Joanne Booker, wife, first mate and hand brake!!
Our first venture into sailing was in December 1980 when we purchased a 10'6" sailing dinghy and launched on Lake Waikere at the back of our farm at Ohinewai. Cameron (6) & Rachel (4) were forward hands and Joanne, 7.5 mths pregnant with Leith was used as ballast against a stiff breeze. Then [...]

The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on

Who: Dave Booker
Port: Tauranga, New Zealand