Micronesia, Palau

Revisited Dec 2015 -

 

(Updated July 22, 2016)

 

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Our Passage

from Sorong to Palau was slow and Jake was often in the cockpit, particularly at night when it was very cool. We had some lovely sailing and some not so great motoring. But we eventually arrived, though not before...

A Few

encounters with deep draft vessels. (Our AIS was not functioning at the time.) This vessel answered our call on VHF and said they'd seen us at 10 nm which does not explain why they passed so closely behind us...

Safely at Palau

we settled into the beautiful yacht basin on a Royal Belau Yacht Club mooring.

And Promptly

bought bicycles so we'd have transportation - and exercise.

Being Christmas

we asked Sam (of Sams Tours and commodore of the RBYC) if the YC could have a potluck for the holiday. They did and donated a truly spectacular turkey to the feast.

On Christmas

day we followed a tradition we established last year of baking Hungarian beigli - not quite like grandma made but close - and distributing it around the anchorage.

Philip's Birthday

followed Christmas at the New Year, coinciding with the arrival of old friends aboard Backbeat. They gave him some very thoughtful gifts...a fishing set up and a lovely knife.

With Backbeat

came the amazing kitty Tommy (a.k.a Tommy Typhoon). He actually swims without being distressed about it.

The Birthday

boy had been craving lasagna, so lasagna he got, in a brand-new (proper) baking pan. Leslie had to bike back to town in a hurry - it was New Year's eve - to exchange the pan for one that fit in our oven!

Koror's

yacht basin is protected by ancient karst islands populated by exotic-sounding birds. Unfortunately it is home to...

A Few Derelict

boats, the Fana One being the most obtrusive with its bulk and scores of mooring lines. Theoretically this boat is still functioning...but it does not move.

Now THAT's

a shackle. This anchor is ashore at a park frequented by families on weekends. We discovered it on one of our bike tours.

Peleliu Island

sits at the south end of the Palau lagoon. It is about 2 hours by fast ferry that travels only a couple of days per week. Peleliu is still littered with mines and unexploded ordnance from WWII.

Abu

works for Sam's Tours and is from Bangladesh. While on a bike ride in town one day we saw him riding his motorbike easy-rider style with a plastic helmet and his beard flowing with the wind. We had to see the bike close hand.

Local Veggies

were a wonderful treat in Palau. All three grocers carried them.

Some Foods

were interesting. Pork ears??? BTW, the price per pound was higher than for pork chops. A local delicacy perhaps? Pound for pound of fat?

Being an Favorite

Asian vacation spot, many selections reflected this audience. We loved the packaging but were not tempted to buy "crispy" seaweed.

We WERE

tempted by these gorgeous looking teas though their prices were too "designer" for our iced tea budget.

Dawnbreaker

was one of the boats that visited Palau this season. A lovely 20 meter aluminum monohull, she was taking Lars (captain), Darryl, Jonathan, Charlotta and Kenneth on an adventure onto to Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Russia and Alaska!

Charlotta & Jonathan

were long time companions but recently married. They made a handsome couple indeed.

Kenneth

carried a Finnish passport but was of divergent ethnic origins that did not include Finnish. He was the cook aboard....owing perhaps to his "Italian grandmother".

John Ranahan

an old friend from Pohnpei arrived by airplane in Palau when we were there. He was joining Yi Sun (also pictured) aboard Aurora on passage to the Philippines and China.

Aurora

departed Palau one fine day with the tradewinds blowing briskly.

Jointed Razorfish

that were mesmerizing. These fish can easily be mistaken for leaves floating through the water. It wasn't until one spun and move back towards its mate that I realized they were actually fish.

Another Trip

to town brought us to the upstairs of WCTC - Western Caroline Trading Company - where we met Cesia...or Cecilia...a lovely Philipina who helped us. We giggled at the huge pots and spoons for sale and Cesia assured us that they were used strictly for ceremonies...Philip decided to try sampling the ceremonial brew...Cesia was shy but we insisted she pose...

Yanos

is a small local grocer & lunch counter. It's offerings reflect local fare...the fifth one down the line might very well be fruit bat.

Mareva

an old woodie from Australia with Mick and his crew Trina aboard, departed Palau for the Philippines on Feb 16. Trina hails from greater LA in the US of A and this will be her first ocean passage.

Jake

continued to enjoy Palau where he was confined aboard but in proximity to amazing birdlife that kept him entertained. Still painfully thin and battling hairballs, we hoped that a treatment for parasites might allow him to be once again a "fat" cat. Time will tell.

Nikko Bay

in the distance is accessed only through two narrow channels, one of which is blocked by this bridge. This is the bridge that connects Malakal and Long Island with Koror Island where the main downtown is. To reach the spot where we took this photo, we biked across a causeway to Ngerekebesang Island and up the road that goes over the top.

A Health Scare

behind us, we continued to ride our bikes for exercise.

On Feb 18

while eating breakfast, the still water around Carina began to erupt with fish feeding. Tiny sardines in large schools were desperately trying to avoid these "mackerel" tuna. The massacre went on all around for perhaps an hour. The noddies took the opportunity to attack the poor sardines from above.

These Tuna

are fast and aggressive and even look like "bad boys".

Taro Ice Cream?

We are NEVER bored by our trips to the local grocery stores in Palau.

Speaking of Food

One cannot visit Palau - providing you are a consumer of beef - and not visit Bem Ermii, the "famous" burger joint. Philip approves, though his cardiologist would not.

Peace Corps

One of the wonderful things about travel is meeting other interesting travelers. These good people; Tim, Henry and Kate, are part of the Peace Corps "response" team. They are retired professionals donating a year of their lives to help Palau's Ministry of Education. They visited Carina one fine Sunday afternoon.

While Out and

about on Babeldaob island, we stumbled upon a neglected but impressive monument to Koreans enslaved and tortured during WWII.

It Would be Wonderful

to understand the significance of the symbols.

Airai

doesn't seem to really want us to visit their "tourist" sites. This sign suggests that we should be willing to pay $25 each to see a "bai" or men's house. A duplicate of this sign sits in front of a bombed out WWII Japanese communications center a mile or so further west.

An Eclipse

of the sun - nearly complete in Palau - occurred March 9, 2016. Marcel, an employee of Sam's, brought out his lovely, though tiny, sextant. It was perfect for viewing the eclipse and we all took turns viewing the phenomenon.

Climate change? El Niņo? Gross mismanagement?

Or maybe a combination (sorry)...The drought not good news for Palau. The reservoir is dry, the river is low and tourists need water. Rainy season is still two months off.

Tender!

This beauty belongs to the mega-mega ketch, Vertigo.

Eco Glass

A program at the Koror State dump teaches glass blowing that turns waste into beautiful useful objects.

Glen & Marie of Backbeat

ventured to the dump with Leslie one fine afternoon. Waylon first taught us to use a few tools of the art.

Glen

takes his turn at blowing a drinking glass.

Leslie's

turn learn to blow a drinking glass from recycled glass didn't come until the following Monday.

Boat Work

in exotic places keeps us out of trouble. Thankfully this failed backstay tang - 10 months old - happened while we were moored and not under sail. Chainplates made in the same shop are now to be replaced....grrrr.

Kids!

Glen of Backbeat tries out "Franklin"...

JAKE

left us on May 5, 2016. He died in Leslie's arms. It was a very sad day. A day we did not want to ever happen. We truly hope he's out of pain and grinning down at us from a tuna-filled heaven. His mortal body rests beneath the sea in Jake's cove.

Cinco de Mayo

held on "seis de mayo" brought a RBYC Mexican food contest. Our entry of jalapeno corn bread with tropical salsa and fresh handmade cheese did not win. But it did disappear.

Joy

Torsten and Marine helped with the festivities.

Q

as always, was on the go, making things happen.

Rigel - Doug & Elena

finally got their batteries - on a pallet with our own - and soon took off for points west.

Segue

also departed Palau, heading south towards lovely Raja Ampat.

2XS

with Pete and Margeurite arrived from the Philippines bearing medicinal rum for Philip just before Ariel 4 - with Eric and Birgitta - left to follow the same route west.

So here

we are.

Another Visit to the

exquisite Carp Restaurant was made due to the visit by Mick and Lynn Thompkins who were interested in Backbeat. Ryan McConchie, Glen and Marie's son who had helped with Backbeat's restoration, was also off the next day to Yap to make his way as a fisherman so it was a festive evening.

Mick and Lynn

agreed to buy Backbeat the following day. She will likely be renamed to her former name: Blessing

Before They Left

to go back - to not return for three months - we all gathered again for the last time aboard Backbeat.

A Leaf?

Nope

A Fish!

Yep

A Juvenile

Circular Spadefish...magnificent!

We Had

the usual string of projects including those helping our friends, such as Chuck and Ivy on Mowe who had a problem with their roller furling system. (Photo from Marie McConchie)

We Also

took a few trips out...this one to Risong (or Mandarinfish) Lake area, only a few miles from our mooring at Sam's. (Photo courtesy of Glen and Marie of Backbeat)

Then There

were the usual social events - like the Cinco de Mayo and the Fourth of July potlucks. This happy affair was to celebrate the marriage of Bob and Cherry (center and right) and was held at Sam's. With Sam himself of course.

The Monsoon

arrived almost on time and suddenly we had lots of water.

It Was

good to have lots of water because monsoon rains tended to generate even more laundry. This was the result of being caught out on the bikes.

But Then

the time for our departure began to creep up and we redoubled our maintenance. Philip is armed with his socket wrench and is just about to dive and remove the screws on the hull zincs.

After Zincs

came scrubbing the hull. We had hundreds of minute shrimp clining to Carina. They soon clung to us.

Flag?

When our PNG courtesy flag was LOB (lost on board), we literally pasted one together from materials we had aboard. Check, check...the departure list is getting shorter.