moby-duck-blog-July-6th

Besides trying to figure out how to get 4 8D batteries shipped to the middle of nowhere, we are relaxing and exploring the island.  Pohnpei is the capital of Micronesia.  They bring fairly large ships into the commercial dock here.  That is amazing because the passage through the surrounding reef is hair-raising.  The first marker is actually in the passage, not marking the entrance.  The reef edges on both sides are marked with poles.  Some are missing.  I am pretty sure that a pilot is required for the large ships.  From the commercial dock to the small boat anchorage is a 1 mile path strewn with unmarked coral heads.  There are some poles but as we quickly found out with the forward scanning sonar, the poles mark the middle of the coral head which extends many feet on all sides. Or, in many cases where the pole is supposed to mark the reef edge, it actually is set many feet back.  You have no idea how far out into the small channel the reef extends.  You inch forward at 1/2 knot with the sonar on and someone on the bow.  I am on the flybridge trying to listen to my crew on the bow, monitor the depth sounder, forward scanning sonar and chart plotter at the same time.  The cruising guide says to "get local knowledge" to go this anchorage.  After waiting hours and it starting to get dark we just decided to go for it with some instructions from the Port Control people.  

Once we arrived in the anchorage we decided to visit the Mangrove Bay Bar and restaurant located at the head of the anchorage.  This was a typical third world restaurant experience.  First, I stuck my head behind the bar to see what brand of wine they were serving.  As I expected I saw bottle after bottle of Charles Shaw wine.  For those of you who do not know this wine it also known as "2 buck Chuck".  It is the house wine of the Trader Joe’s market chain in the USA and is sold at $2.99 a bottle.  The bottle looks fancy so if you are not familiar with it you do not know what you are drinking.  To be fair, some varieties of 2 buck Chuck are really not that bad and actually taste pretty good to me.  But then again, I don’t know wine.  I wonder if the executives at Trader Joes know that it has become the official wine of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands?  I then looked at the menu for dinner.  It was an extensive menu and after 12 days at sea we were really looking forward to a good meal.  My cooking is terrible.  Again, typical third world restaurant experience. Out of chicken, out of beef, out of dessert.  Only things that were available were fresh grilled fish with rice and lots of varieties of alchol.  We had the fish which was really good, got drunk and headed back to the boat to watch the Game of Thrones DVD.  Overall, an enjoyable cruising evening.