Sunday, October 25, 2009

South Korea (not north) continued

Sailing is pleasant, with something of interest along the coast line..( we have seen many Nuclear power stations...). The south caost has hundreds of islands, often rugged, all interesting. We sail only in daylight because of the many fishing obstacles. Also many islands have huge bridges connecting them to the mainland, and electricity cables are strung between islands. Neither cables or bridges have air clearance posted. Power cables are suspended from pylons high on the cliffs, but in the centre the clearance is not great. So we hug the coastline watching the cables and the fishing buoys close to shore. Currents are often running which can help or hinder progress.
Marinas are rare, so it has been mostly tieing to a seawall. One port had a marina which consisted of floating plastic pontoons which looked good. Seven local yachts and several small fishing craft filled the three piers. This was a most unusual setup in that there were no poles, instead there were cables holdong everything in place.
A local yachtie had arranged to take us to a Historic National Park on a particularly windy day. His English was about 12 words, and you know our Korean is less. We were enjoying ourselves when his cell phone rang......oh no disater...."we go now" he said setting of to the car at fast trot. "Whats wrong?" we asked..but the only thing he could say was....marina broke.....hell we were not interested in the martina..what about our this the reply was ...not good!!!!!
It took us an hour to drive back and as we approached the port over the hill, we could see Charioteer at right angles to where she had been and instead of being on the outside of the pier she was in the middle. Winds were under 40 knots but our pier broke away and swung Charioteer side on into the next row of boats which were rough fishing craft.
So we could see much gouging on the side and two broken windows in the hull...(but she was upright and floating...hooray). After packing as many fenders as we could between us and the fishing boats we managed to organise for a large launch to hook a rope to our stern and haul us out. We had a local guy on board who directed us to a very strong mooring and helped us endeavour to pick up the mooring rope in 35 knot winds. We thought this guy may have been staying the night but eventually a fishing boat came and collected him. Next day a TV news film crew arrived and once again we were on Korean TV.
The broken windows were of thick toughened glass, the same as a vehicle widows, so yes there was ( and is ) glass everywhere, some of it is like grains of salt it is so small. They have now been replaced with the polycarbonate and epoxy filler to the hull bashing. We firmly believe that if our hull had been of any other material than steel, we would of been holed.
We are now back in Pusan and the very helpful and friendly Mr. Kim, of Power Marine, organised the polycarbonate for the replacement windows and the correct sealant, while Brian epoxied over the chipped fairing.
We have walked miles around the narrow streets of the fishing harbour looking for two pot primer paint and eventually finding a 4 litre pack that cost only NZ$30.00.
We also tried for a filter but the language barrier was to hard to surmount.
So now we are stocking up on food, clothing etc as here is cheaper than Japan. We are also buying two new bikes.
Photos to follow in the next blog

Korea South (not North)

Korea, south that is and not north..if it was north I would be writing this from jail.......
South Korea including the most southern island is only 500 km long. With a population of over 50 million it is one of the most densely populated countries. (actually nearly 500 people per sq metre)...So urban living is in appartments, multi storied, from 15 to 50 stories. newer appartments are much higher and have Helipads on top. the rural areas are mountainous, up to 2000m, covering 70% of the land. anywhere flat and rural is used for rice growing, vegetables, fruit.
Roading is extensive and great. All tunnels and bridges. Fast trains and and extensive city subways.Buses are very cheap and frequent. Food costs are about the same as new Zealand, although fruit is expensive.

But what about sailing Korean waters....Like Japan there are protected harbours every few miles but officials are the bane of sea travel.Permission must firstly be obtained from Coastguard.Their forms are in Korean only...great......"when will you depart? when will you arrive"..this gets me (brian) most aggitated. I point to the sails, asking what are the winds, currents the hell do I know !!!!!! but to no avail..we must have a time. yet it doesn't matter at the next port. then at ports with Customs the same again, except the questions are for first arrival from another country..To all this paperwork we smile through gritted teeth, muttering something about 'just another tree'. But rules are rules and as in Japan procedures are followed to the letter and never questioned.