That was a quick but boring passage, that’s for sure. The winds were light and we spent two days trying to balance the desire for a short trip with the hope to sail when we could. The wind was behind us and varied between 4 and 14 knots. Sometimes we motored, sometimes we sailed, but mostly we motor-sailed. We arrived at the island early Monday morning as planned and found a barrier reef with no marked passage across, and a 2.5 knot outgoing current in the 3 mile channel around the inside reef. It was a bit of a white-knuckler for me, but we arrived safe and sound at the dock where we found all the officials waiting for us. So far it’s cost us $100 to check in, which is $200 less than we expected, so we’re happy with that.
We’re tucked into a little bay where a very large dive organization also hosts the yachtie community. One of the other cruisers came by while we got lunch yesterday and gave us lots of info about Palau. One of the things I kept hearing from her was about this boat that came for 3 months and has been here for 12 years, or that other boat that came 4 years ago for two weeks and is still here. We are definitely pondering the notion of staying here and skipping Hong Kong. As much as we love a big city and were excited about eating dim sum until we fell over (ok, maybe that was me and not Rob), the 1,500 miles to get there from here just might not be worth it. Plus we’re still a little east of Japan, so the trip directly up from here shouldn’t be too bad, and we’ll avoid the nightly convection along the Chinese coastline.
Watching and listening to all the divers come in yesterday afternoon certainly convinces us of the validity of Palau’s reputation as the dive capital of the Pacific. One of the cruising yachts here knows all about diving independent of the expensive dive companies, so we’re hoping to meet up with them soon and get the scoop. We’ll likely head out to the Rock Island cruising ground next week to spend time with our friends on Irish Melody before they set sail for the Philippines, where they’re putting their boat up to travel home.
One other interesting thing here is that they have a vet ashore. The quarantine official told us yesterday that they would assist getting Maya ashore to the vet if she got sick while we were here. That’s the first time we’ve heard that offer, and thought it very kind of them to mention. It also makes us think we can find a kitten here to keep her company. The only challenge is that we have to figure out if we’ll have issues bringing a kitten back into the US who is too young to have been inoculated with a rabies vaccine. Internet is very expensive here, but hopefully we’ll get that research done soon and get Maya some company.
Today on Yohelah we’re happy to be settling in at Palau and hope to linger for a while…..