Yap

Yap is a South Pacific Paradise (ok really above the equator) with friendly happy people.  It was rather
refreshing to leave issues of safety and night boardings behind as well as the constant parade of canoes
wanting to sell or trade.

Fayu atoll:

This was supposed to be uninhabited, but there were two sailing canoes with maybe 20 guys fishing the
lagoon to death.  We would see them snorkeling and taking 50+ octopi a day and any fish they could
catch.  I guess their home islands are barren so they take trips up to 50 or more miles to fish.  It was a
great place to rest up after the passage from PNG and most of all back to clear water and no crocs!  It is
a bouncy anchorage and we only stayed 2 nights.

Olimarao:

Nice uninhabited atoll that turned out to have 4 sailing canoes full of men fishing and gathering.  Lucky
for us they never bothered us and left the next day.  Unfortunately they also took turtles, turtle eggs,
baby boobie birds, octopi, etc.  Literally they decimated the lagoon.  It was nice to be alone at least for a
few days and relax after the passage from PNG and also it gave us time for the usual after passage
repairs.  The diving outside the pass was pretty much a waste of time.

Woleai:

This is an island with a very unique history.  It was taken by the Japanese in WWII and the people were  
banned to another island in the lagoon.  There are many tanks, guns, bunkers, planes, and other
equipment around the island and even a 4 engine float plane to dive on in the lagoon.

It is also an island trying hard to retain some of its past and folks dress in traditional clothing not western
style.  This means thus for the guys, which is basically a sarong.  The women wore sarongs (some hand
made and some bought) and went topless!  This took a bit of getting used to for both of us.

The people are friendly and fun to be around.  We often spent evenings at the tuba circle drinking
fermented coconut juice (basically a 5% alcohol natural sap that literally grows on trees for free).  This is
only for the men and visiting yachties.  Often the women keep weaving sarongs to sell to tourists or
prepare the meals, while the men drink.

We spent a week here enjoying the walks to find war relics and avoiding the cyclones passing just north
of us even in Feb!

Sorol:

This is yet another uninhabited atoll, but a boat comes every week or so from Yap to fish and they are
trying to rebuild the village that was abandoned years ago.

The atoll was recently hit by a typhoon and the damage on the exposed side was impressive.  A big
power boat that used to be in the shallows on the reef was now easily a couple hundred feet inside the
tree line.  Trees were tossed about like match sticks and piled in heaps.  I sure hope to never experience
this in person!

We had great walks, found a glass fishing float, explored all the small islands, took great bird shots
(nesting habitats), enjoyed the yellow fin tuna given to us by the fishing boat, and had a great week
here.  We tried a few dives, but really it was not worth the effort.

Yap:

We spent a month here waiting for Yap days, which is their yearly festival of dancing, crafts, food, etc.  
The people of course were friendly and finally there were stores and places to eat out!

Ok don't get too excited.  The stores often ran out of stuff quickly after the ship arrives and much of the
stuff on the shelves was out of date.  During our stay they ran out of flour, milk, bread, etc...  We pretty
much tried all the places to eat and the food was pretty boring and a bit expensive.

We hooked up with a local dive shop getting a great deal on diving if we provide our equipment.  We did
maybe 10 dives with them and really it was more of something to do than for enjoyment.  Of course you
have to do the manta dive and it is nice, but the water is not very clear and we have seen better.  They
have some nice reefs, but there is almost no fish at all!  Even less when the divemaster would take his
spear gun and hunt on the dive!  They would give us plastic wrapped snacks between dives then toss
the plastic over the side!  Ack this was more torture than enjoyment so we stopped going.

Yap days was a two day festival with traditional dress and many dances.  Basically it turned out to be
similar to what we saw on Woleai and another performance we saw soon after getting to Yap.  There was
food and lots of scenery to keep us entertained the day we went.  Unfortunately when you have seen a
couple of the women dances they are all pretty much minor variations of the same style and we both had
seen enough by mid afternoon.  Still if you are there in late Feb or early March stay for Yap days.