08 January 2009 | Fauro Island
07 January 2009 | Vella Lavella
06 January 2009 | Vella Lavella
05 January 2009 | Mbambanga Island
28 December 2008 | Gizo Airport
27 December 2008 | Gizo Harbor
26 December 2008 | Airport Island
25 December 2008 | Fatboys
23 December 2008 | Swingin' on a Star
22 December 2008 | Equatorial Pacific
21 December 2008 | The Pacific
20 December 2008 | Gizo Anchorage
The Palau Guide
01 April 2010 | Palau
Randy & Hideko
Whew! Available at Amazon.com & Sam's Tours, Palau
Leaving Swingin' on a Star
13 July 2009 | Palau
Wow are we behind on the blog. Once everything is updated this post will seem a bit out of place. That said it seemed like the right place to start given the gap.
On July 13th we left Swingin' on a Star floating quietly on her mooring and headed for the airport. We have never left our boat alone before, not in the three years we have owned her. We did take a little trip to Japan for a wedding but my parents were aboard the entire week we were away. This is a very different experience, we miss our boat and being in the islands.
We have worked hard over the past four months to put together a cruising guide for Palau. The focus on getting the guide done and spending every spare minute trying to capture all of our meaningful experiences and discoveries in the book put a rather serious kibosh on our blogging, not to mention the gruelingly slow internet performance on Palau.
The book is now almost complete in so far as the research phase is concerned. We are now on our way to San Francisco to get the publishing process completed. With luck we will be back by early October with some proofs to test out on the critical eyes around the harbor. Finishing that process will put us in a one month lead window to release.
Sam's Tours has kindly offered to host a release party for the book so we hope to have The Palau Guide formally introduced to the world in early December.
The blog will slow down drastically while we are in San Francisco (not likely island cruising blog readers will be interested in exploits in a big city). We will be back posting the entries from the ships log in the days ahead however, and have many lovely pictures and experiences to share associated with the development of the cruising guide.
Thanks for all of the kind emails in the interim. We miss all of our cruising friends and hope everyone has found some blue sky in the rainy season (or moved to the southern hemisphere).
Solenoids and loose Wires
05 July 2009 | Yacht Harbor
The genset has been acting up lately. The symptoms are difficultly starting. The generator run fine once started but it either does nothing when I press the start switch or it turns slowly and takes a bit to get going. Sometimes I have to turn it over for a bit and then give it a sec and then try again.
Upon inspection I noticed that the fuel shutoff solenoid was cracked. I messed with it a bit and it broke in half. Well, whether it was a problem before (which I doubt) it was now... Fortunately Napa had a replacement (with a metal case).
The next step was to have a mechanic friend, Chris, take a look at things. Chris suspected the starter external or internal wiring, which made good sense. Sure enough the starter hot was loose. A few turns of the wrench and the genset was back in good standing.
Yacht Hostile Peleliu
03 July 2009 | Peleliu
We visited the Peleliu state office in Koror last week to arrange for a visit and were given the green light. We arrived last night and called in this morning to setup a quick meet with the officials and then head out to take photos and capture the highlights for the guide.
Long story short, we were told yachts are not allowed to anchor in South Dock (the only place to anchor) and that we would have to pay $3 per day each every day we were on land. I explained that we were writing a cruising guide and that we were hoping to bolster tourism revenues for the people of Peleliu. It seemed not to matter. The governor pushed off our meetings twice and we finally gave up. We of course paid $6 for the privilege of riding all the way into town to be told to get out.
02 July 2009 | Palau
We got up early today (7:30) and talked to the governor of Angaur, Mr. Salii. He is a great guy and welcomed us to visit Angaur. His office is in Koror, like most government, but the cell coverage in Omekang was just good enough to connect us.
It took us a little over four hours to motor along our test track lines out the Denges pass, southeast of Mecherechar and around Peleliu to Angaur. We arrived in the Angaur dock at 13:00. It is a small place but as long as the state boat isn't in port, which it isn't very often (mostly on pay days as it turns out), you can just tie up to the wall. They get one or two yachts a year at present, so you won't have competition. We'd like to change that by getting the word out on Angaur. It is fantastically beautiful.
Angaur is not a big place, but you can easily spend a day biking around the island. The old WWII era roads are beautiful and the entire trek is under the cover of a lush canopy. Monkeys play in the upper branches and alert their clan members as you approach, two foot long monitor lizards slither across the limestone rocks, and brilliant red dragon flies flit about the verdant foliage hanging from the huge banyan trees and covering the ground.
Somehow the road stays clear. While you could arrange a place to stay in Angaur I would recommend a day trip, tie up at the dock, rent bikes or bust out those folders you bought but haven't used in six months and enjoy. There are blow holes, pill boxes, was memorials, a statue of the Virgin Mary looking out over the sea to protect all of the wayward fishermen, and pretty beaches.
The folks are very laid back and quiet in Angaur and there are only 80 of them. Outside of the small town we saw no one all day. Angaur is another secret treasure of Palau and we are so glad we visited. It is certainly the most lovely bike ride we have done in our recollection.
We raced the sunset at the end of the day and made it back to Peleliu South Dock. We are anchored inside and deciding whether to take another look around Peleliu (we've done one tour already) it to make for German channel early AM and keep capturing track data.
01 July 2009 | Two Dog Beach
We finished the Rock Islands section research! Today we wrapped up Mecherechar and moved to Omekang and finished the soundings we needed there for the cruising guide. It was a lovely day. It rained a bit after sunset but we were already inside sifting through the days information. We have a visit to Anguar the southernmost island in the main group planned for tomorrow and then back to town.
Palau is an amazing place. It keeps surprising us every day we go look around. Today we found a low water snorkel tunnel that lead to an otherwise land locked marine lake. There was a WWII bomb on the bottom along the back edge, not to mention an amazing selection of different coral species and lots of good sized fish. A huge cloud of squid greeted us at the entrance. It was a great snorkel.
A Wrap on Mecharchar
30 June 2009 | Mecharchar
We put the polish on Mecharchar today. Mecharchar is a surprising area. The inside, which looks safe and cozy on a chart or sat image, is treacherous, with coral bars everywhere, isolated rocks, deep anchorages where you find any, and a rare plot of sand without some hard stuff on the bottom.
When you look at the outside on a chart it looks, well, like the outside. Exposed. However if you look around you will find some of the most beautiful anchorages in Palau on Mecharchar's southwest and south coasts. There is even a lake accessible by dinghy with hundreds of Jellyfish swimming about, much like the official Jellyfish lake in Mecharchar's interior.
We had a great day exploring and running routes. We left around 9AM and got home around 7PM. It was nice in the morning and then rained on us at lunch time. We found a great limestone arch on the south coast and ducked in to eat while the rain came down. The afternoon was another blue sky stretch allowing us to work late to finish up. I don't think we've ever come so close to filling the Garmin's track memory.