April 8th 2011

Strangely enough we managed to escape Chuuk with no further overtime payments to either Customs or Immigration, a small wait of course, for the pleasure of their company but at least no additional donations to the education funds of their children. Unfortunately we were not so fortunate with the Port Authority. We were charged a $25 dollar fee to moor alongside in the harbour (Customs requirement), a $25.00 entry fee and a whopping $135.00 for anchorage, a grand total of $185.00 for our entire stay in Chuuk! All of which coming as a complete surprise as no-one had advised us of this on our arrival.

It may be a slight exaggeration to say we were livid! But I can tell you we were sure as hell pissed off! Ralph had sought clarification on the legality of these charges and was shown a document indicating a range of fees applicable to visiting fishing commercial fishing vessels, but no amount of reasoning could convince the Harbour Master that Hafskip was not secretly holding 10 tonne of tuna. To be honest I'm sure the argument was both heard and understood but apparently, it is 'simply the same fees charged to all visiting yachts'.... ahh well....live and learn eh. So we paid and left.

The situation left quite a bitter taste in our mouths and as we slowly raised the main we felt somewhat cursed as the weather began to turn steely grey in a wide band behind us. As the seas began to build a passing banana boat turned towards us gesturing to us to slow.... 'what now?' was our first thought.....

We were told the island of Tol in Chuuk Lagoon houses a race of violent and somewhat unfriendly people. Our chosen passage from Chuuk took us right past here and our passing banana boat was from this direction.

As the banana boat came closer arms waving and voices piercing the engine noise.... all we could do was smile... A small boy was holding up a beautiful grouper and wanted to give it to us. The fish we gratefully accepted and we said a quick goodbye in the face of the weather. Amazing eh... just when you're ready to dismiss an entire population you are reminded of the beauty and generosity of individuals.... Me thinks Chuuk government and bureaucracy are not necessarily representative of the Chuukese.