Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy Passage to Yap

The wind died off about 10pm, so we had to motor the rest of the night. But by morning we could see Yap in the distance. We finally anchored in the inner harbor about 10am. Yap has a pretty well-marked channel coming in--with a few of the markers with proper red and green lights on them. And our CM93 chart, and the Google Earth charts we made, are pretty accurate.

We called the Port Captain on VHF on our way in, and made arrangements to meet the officials on shore at 11am. When we got there a few minutes late, John, the Port Captain representative was the only one there. He put us in his air conditioned pickup and drove us 100 yards to the air conditioned Immigration office (across from the Marina Restaurant). There we were waved into a chair and proceeded to meet 6 different officials to complete our check-in (Port, Immigration, Customs, Quarantine, Health, EPA). Quite a lot of paperwork for such a small island, and especially considering we've been in their country for almost 3 months already.

There was a question about our holding tank capacity--as usual, everyone wants you to have a holding tank, but nobody has the facilities to pump it out. We told them we'd be using the facilities ashore. Which, I am absolutely positive, DON'T go to a sewage treatment plant, but probably just a septic tank and then into the water (if it is a recently-built modern structure).

Also the quarantine guy wanted us to keep all our "garbage" (wet trash) aboard. But literally EVERYTHING (fruits and vegs) we have onboard were purchased in the FSM. They just don't get the difference between a cruising yacht and a big ship.

The EPA guy had a form for us to fill out about what fuel and other possible contaminants we had on board--in case we went aground or sunk, so they knew how to clean up our spill site. Methinks they've been training too much in the U.S. In contrast, I've seen guys in the islands just toss an outboard motor oil plastic container over the side when they were finished topping off their tank.

Anyway, everyone was friendly and fairly efficient. We hadn't brought enough copies of our crew list, but the Immigration lady kindly made a couple of copies for us. By 11:45 we were finished, and Dave and I went to lunch at the Marina Restaurant (no Marina to go with the Restaurant, but a nice view of our boat on anchor).

Backbeat Hauled Out in Yap

After lunch, we stopped in to say hello to Backbeat, a catamaran on the haulout ramp. We had heard of Backbeat when they went aground in Woleai last December when Typhoon Haiyan passed over... a huge saga.

They were fine, and the boat MOSTLY intact... except the keel running along one hull snapped sideways and made a major hole the length of the keel. They are designed as breakaway keels, but I guess it didn't break away cleanly.

After a couple of months making temporary repairs in Woleai, they were towed to Yap. But during the 2-3 day trip from Woleai, the leaks increased to the point where the boat was basically being towed underwater. So the entire interior, including engines and generator, is a total loss. By the end of it all, they have their bare hull (with some signficant issues), and a pretty good rig, and their lives.

Stripped Out Inside, Repairing the Keel

They are stuck here is sleepy Yap until they can get their boat sound enough (and at least one engine working) to move to someplace else--probably the Philippines, which are only about 5-7 days downwind--to complete their re-fit.

Marie from Backbeat was kind enough to load us up in her air conditioned car and give us the nickel tour of Yap, with quick stops in all 3 primary grocery stores to pick up what veggies we could find.

We'll be here for a week or two, experiencing Yap, and then on to Palau if the wind ever comes back.
At 04/28/2014 7:00 AM (utc) our position was 09°30.86'N 138°07.35'E

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