Moon – Koopmans 47 – 12,5t (16,5t full tanks and fully equipped)
Japan Part 1
(27 April) 2 May – 29 July 2015
Monday 27 April –
In Gan Bay, we weigh anchor shortly after eight, after a brief report to the Coast Guard as agreed yesterday when they visited Moon.
Sailed north in a light westerly breeze the remaining 20 miles to the north east cape of Luzon. Close to the cape the wind got confused because of the easterly wind blowing on the north coast of Luzon. After some time we were in the new air stream and could continue north east in a close haul. The goal was to get east of longitude 122 to be east of a low pressure building up south of Taiwan.
The sea state became completely in sane late afternoon and throughout the night. Steep and high waves from several directions made the night everything but comfortable. Both the crew and Moon was tested! The wind was luckily around 20 knots, giving us wind power enough to bring Moon forward with good speed, carrying a reefed main and Yankee as the only head sail.
The current and alternating wind directions in the area are probably the main reasons for this confused sea. Late night, early Tuesday morning the sea became more reasonable, together with a wind shift to more south east and Moon became a comfortable “racer”, bringing us towards Japan making 8 knots through the water.
We passed the Batan Islands before noon, and there the sea again became confused due to the ocean current being compressed between the islands. We have similar experiences from the current around the Faeroe Islands in north Atlantic, which at times can be really dangerous. Even the islands reminded us of the Faeroes.
The remaining part of Tuesday the sailing conditions were quite nice and very fast, bringing us way east of 122. The wind was now south east and blowing 15-18 knots giving us 8 knots through water to the north east. The current gave us an extra 1-1,5 knots, so progress was extremely good.
Before midnight the wind had decreased and the engine had to come in use. While using the engine we could of course not use the wind vane. This is normally no problem, but without the 24 volt alternator we had to run the Whispergen now and then to get electricity to run the autopilot. The time between running the Whisper became shorter and shorter, telling us that our old AGM batteries had problems, not only running out of capacity.
Wednesday 29 April – Even less wind from south, meaning more motoring…
Thursday 30 April – Early morning we were actually sailing. Steering with the wind vane we had no 24 volt consumption and could shut down the systems and disconnect the batteries to be able to measure them one by one. One battery was definitely gone. “Fully” charged it had just above 11 volt. Two had 12,8 volt and the fourth had 13,2 (the one that was in series with the 11 volt). We disconnected the 11 and 13 volt and put the two with similar voltage in series and hoped for the best…
Unfortunately that was not entirely the whole fix. The capacity was almost gone, so the time between charging still became shorter and shorter.
We “fooled” the Whisper to not shut down when the voltage rose, by using the water maker during charging. Using 15 Amp making water made the charging amp not high enough to raise the voltage and tell the Whisper that the batteries were full. This gave us more juice in the batteries and the time between charging became longer. But when we had full tanks, app. 1000 litre, we were back to short time charging again.
In the afternoon there was wind enough for sailing. Suddenly a bang! down came the running back stay. The shackle had undone itself, in spite we had used Loctite. Normally we use the red Loctite stainless to stainless, but then you have to use propane to loosen it up, so this time we had used the blue…
Without the shackle, the pin through the mast had nothing to keep it in place, outside friction, so repair had to be imminent.
Annika went up the mast using the mainsail to protect her from swinging around. The sea state was relatively calm and fifteen minutes later she was back on deck. During this time Moon was sailing a steady course, despite we had, in the stressed situation, forgotten to take out the locking pin in the wind vane! Moon is really a steady cruiser in light wind and calm sea.
Friday 1 May – Already during the calm weather during Thursday we had accepted that we would not reach Okinawa on Friday. Arriving to a foreign, unknown port at night, with the officials not on duty was probably not the best way to enter Japan. This made our sailing a bit different. Now we had to spend time, to reach port not earlier than Saturday morning. The wind shifted to north during late Thursday and again the swell became high.
Early Friday morning the sea had only a moderate long swell. We tried to “tack” towards Okinawa, but in spite we made three hours tacking, the wind seemed to come directly from Okinawa the whole time. With weak wind and strong current against we didn’t do a lot of progress! Some 160 degrees between the legs!! Late Friday evening the wind became so weak that we were almost drifting to the south and we had to engage the engine despite our 24 volt problems and the need of consuming time until daybreak. It’s actually difficult to run the engine in calm weather slower than 4,5 knots. At 1200 revs we were still doing 4 knots!
We were disappointed finding the supposedly strong north-easterly Japanese current running against us most of the trip. We should have had at least two knots to northeast most of the time. Obviously the current is quite turbulent and have a lot of counter current where we were going…
Saturday 2 May – The night was almost ghost like. Difficult to see if there was fog or not. A hazy cloud shading the full moon, no swell and no distinct horizon made our references very limited. Finally we understood that it was the light from Okinawa, reflecting in the sky that made us believe we had light fog around us.
We were still too early. We heard several vessels calling Coast Guard or Port Control without getting any answer.
We had done all formal reports via e-mail to Customs and Coast Guard during the trip. Customs had replied, but the Coast Guard had not. It appeared that they had changed their e-mail address without any automatic forwarding from the old one. They seemed a bit embarrassed looking at our e-mail in Moon, after having “accused” us for not reporting 24 hours in advance… There was also a “formal” notification that we had not gone to the “open harbour” before having allowance to enter Ginowan Marina. But obviously common practice is to advise all pleasure boats to call directly to Ginowan marina. We were certainly advised to do so by the Port Control via VHF approaching the two harbours. We assume all this was more or less to protect them from being accused for allowing us to not fully comply with the rules…
Surprisingly the guys from Customs brought copies of all the documents we had sent during our early report. We only had to sign! Never happened before, although supposedly the same procedure should had been possible both in NZ and AUS among other countries. Very impressing and efficient.
We arrived in Ginowan marina 6:45 and a local guy waved at us from a T- end of a pontoon arm. The guy turned out to be a Japanese living in a boat close to the T-berth and was very much English spoken. He had been awaked by our VHF conversation with the Port Control, got dressed to help us find our way in the marina. The first good example of the famous Japanese hospitality. Couldn’t have come much earlier…Many more examples were to follow!
He and another boat owner engaged themselves helping us to solve the AC-socket problem. New countries, new sockets! We had ourselves the right brand, but the wrong Amp. Our American 20 Amp was too small for the shore power which demanded 30 Amp. Finally after a lot of tries we found among all the equipment these Japanese guys brought out, a conversion between 30 Amp and American 16 Amp. Thanks to our wintering in Canada 2011-12 we had a 16 Amp socket, fitting very well in this 30/16 amp.
Problem solved you think… Still there was this thing with Japanese current being 100 volt!
Ok Moon is prepared for this situation. Unscrew the lid to the Isolation transformer changing the input from 220 to 110 volt. Victron, the maker of the transformer, assume marinas have long cabling and low voltage, and that was true even here. The 100 volt was in fact around 90! But thanks to Victron engineers, the trafo added 10% when transforming, giving us 208 volt in Moon. Using only the 24 volt charger which is made to run at full capacity if the current is between 185 and 265 volt we had no problem. The inverters in Moon gave us a perfect 220 volt AC current as usually, whatever voltage is offered on the pontoon.
Our “interpreter” took us to the marina office and we were allowed to keep our very nice berth. Later, after we had had our visitors from Health, Coast Guard and Customs in Moon, he drove us to Immigration office, some 20 km to the next town.
We got some hiccups when we saw the sign “Closed” on the door to the office. But in fine prints beneath it stated that crew from arriving boats was allowed to enter. Soon we were checked in with a 90 days visa. On the way back to the marina we visited a shop selling imported goodies…
Unfortunately for us Japan is almost closed for a week. Golden Week is vacation for most Japanese employees, making it very difficult to get the alternator and battery problem up to speed. 7 of May they start working again, giving us some time to rest and do some further investigations/testing/thinking about different solutions.
But the “normal” problem for foreigners in Japan, the language barrier, is thanks to our Japanese English spoken neighbour not a big issue!
Sunday May 3 – Started early with a car trip to town, this time together with an English/Japanese spoken Swiss guy that lives in the marina. A tool shop and then a big shop for electronics and sim cards. The latter is a night mare for foreigners. The prepaid card are very expensive and the once on a contract are paid monthly connected to your credit card. Yes it’s almost hopeless to stop them charging you during years after you stopped using it and left the country. Very odd in an educated country with such a high standard on most things! All information is in Japanese and even your name must be translated to Japanese. We came out empty handed…
Back in Moon we disassembled the alternator and our Japanese neighbour is by chance an electrical engineer! and wanted immediately start to try to find what was wrong.
The batteries have to wait until the shops open after Golden Week on Thursday.
We almost forgot to tell you how pleased we are with our new climate. We need a sheet to keep warm at night and no fans to get ventilation. Water temperature is down to amazing 23 degrees and the floor is almost cold… Soon we will probably start complaining about the cold!
4 – 11 May Ginowan Marina, Okinawa, Japan
After one week we are starting to get used to all new things in Japan. The currency, the language, the people and the climate. It’s a bit confusing to change currency several times during a short time, but to our big surprise we find prices acceptable. Some items a bit more expensive compared to Europe, but some much cheaper. The language is of course a barrier, completely impossible to understand. To read is even more difficult… No signs or other text in e.g. shops are in any other language, so a lot of guessing and surprises when shopping.
Some Japanese understand English, but are most times reluctant to speak English. Everybody is very helpful and polite, which of course helps a lot. So far we have managed to get along, using some local boaters as interpreters.
The climate is very nice, sometimes cool and sometimes very warm. This early in summer the water is 23 degrees C and we need a sheet at night time. Very refreshing in contrast to our previous three years in the tropics.
We are still in Okinawa due to our damaged alternator and battery bank. In retro perspective we should of course have bought a spare alternator and new batteries earlier. But we thought it would be easier to get the right stuff in a more developed country like Japan. But local web sites are only in Japanese…
The more time we spend on searching for the items, the more we think about not rushing out of the area now when we are delayed. We do have a habit of travelling to fast, missing a lot of interesting places. This thing with the alternator is perhaps a sign…
The alternator and the batteries are now (Monday) ordered and will hopefully arrive from mainland Japan before the weekend.
A very early Typhoon, “Noul” is predicted to hit Okinawa Tuesday morning so today everybody is occupied with putting more rope to their boats. The marina is looking more and more like a spider net.
There is a second typhoon “Dolphin”, which will arrive next week. Unfortunately that one will be more severe. We’ll see how our preparation for Noul comes out, and perhaps we need some improvements before Dolphin arrives. In the meantime we hope to fix the alternator and battery problems.
Web-site we use to look at http://www.wunderground.com/weather-forecast/JP/Ginowan.html
Check under – Severe Weather – Hurricane and Tropical Cyclones – Western Pacific
Another beautiful presentation of current wind situation all over the world – http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=135.64,18.92,2048
Zoom in or out to move the globe – double click to see current wind strength and direction.
11 – 18 May Ginowan Marina, Okinawa, Japan
Typhoons and more troubles.
Last week’s Typhoon, Noul, lost its strength before it hit Okinawa. Left was something like a gale. Next one, Dolphin, will run a more north easterly route and will miss all Japanese islands.
Our weeks have been somewhat up and down. The new batteries arrived Sunday and are now installed. We could not get the AGM batteries we wanted. This one’s seems to be the best compromise, so called Start/Stop AGM batteries made for cars with an automatic stop and start function, made for reducing the emission and save energy.
The problem with the alternator is still not solved. It has been something of a nightmare to try to understand the Japanese websites… As a last recourse we have contacted Mastervolt in Sweden. Hopefully they can help us to find our alternator. In the mean time Annika and our Japanese friend here in the marina are repairing the old one! But even if that works ok we have decided to by a spare one. The parts for the repair came today.
A new problem.
When we moved Moon to be more protected during the typhoon we suddenly had no forward gear! Very funny to experience that for the first time when you are reversing and need to stop the boat, not to hit another one… It was quite a stressed situation. Moon is 15+ ton, almost double compared with our old boat and that asks for a lot more power and a reliable gearbox…
We have now one more reason to move through Japan with slow speed…
When we paid the batteries we used the bank system. Here you can use machines even to pay with cash.
In the bank we met a Japanese lady who spoke excellent English (or American…) and she got our web site. Later we got an e-mail and this weekend she and her sister visited Moon, which obviously was their first experience of a sail boat. Next week we will visit them.
We have picked up a cold. Annika is almost done, but Björn has only started. Not fun when we need energy to fix our different problems.
18 – 24 May Ginowan Marina
The south east monsoon has started to affect the weather. Last week has been quite wet and cloudy. When the wind comes from north it’s quite comfortable and cold, but from south and west it’s terrible humid and hot! We are longing to get further north.
The new batteries seem to do a good job. The new Mastervolt alternator arrived on Saturday and will be installed today. The problem with the gearbox will have to continue until we are further north. Delivery time from Europe is at least two weeks. The plan is to order it before we leave Ginowan and have it delivered to Fukuoka, 400 nm to the north, on the north tip of Kyushu with a bridge to mainland Honshu.
Our long list of closed ports and anchorages that we want to visit will be issued on Wednesday, and after that we are ready to leave.
The two Japanese sisters we met last week invited us to visit their respective home. Sunday we paid them a visit, first at the younger sister’s home and later in the afternoon at her sister’s house. Very interesting and a nice experience.
25 May – 1 June Ginowan Marina, Okinawa, Japan
We are still in Ginowan Marina…
Wednesday evening Annika had some pain in a tooth. Thursday evening a dentist found a crack (after some encouragement from the patient!) and did a pre-treatment that is supposed to be completed on Tuesday before noon.
The plan is to leave the Marina on Wednesday, sailing north.
Our long list of ”closed harbours” was accepted, meaning we are allowed to enter these harbours and bays. The list is only in Japanese… and covers Japan from Okinawa to Fukuoka.
The repaired alternator is in place working as there never had been any issues! Surprised? Yes and no.
Having seen all damaged parts and the difficulties rewinding the stator it seemed impossible that this would work. But then again, there are a lot of impossible items we have successfully repaired by our own during this “Moon Project”. The new Mastervolt alternator is now a spare part, after having mounted and successfully tested it.
We will not wait for a new gearbox in Ginowan. We will order it and have it shipped to Fukuoka, northern Kyushu which is our last port in Japan, part 1.
After having mounted the new gearbox we will have a look at the calendar and probably recognize that we are too late to be able to spend more than a few weeks in western Alaska.
We have to leave Japan to renew our visa and visit South Korea in late July is the obvious solution for that. Coming back to Japan we will get another three months visa and can apply for a new list of closed harbours to visit.
Aside those matters, our week have been geological active. One volcano erupted/exploded on a small island 300 nm north of Okinawa, on our route to Fukuoka, and south of Tokyo had an earthquake.
None of those had any effect in Okinawa.
The weather has been very warm and humid so we look forward to get a bit north. In Fukuoka area 20-25 Celsius, in Ginowan 26-32.
2 – 8 June Ie Shima, Japan
After a month in Ginowan Marina it was time to get Moon ship shape again. After Annikas second visit to the dentist on Tuesday morning we used most of the day making Moon not only our home.
Wednesday – we checked out and at 9.30 with set course almost due north. A light breeze from behind gave us an effortless sailing, using only the Yankee. Anchored behind a reef after 30 nm. For some reason the port there did not accept night visitors. But we were fine on anchor.
Stayed four nights due to lots of rain and unfavourable wind directions. We were fine, but the locals obviously got worried/interested. Three boats, one each day, came and “asked” if we were ok. Asking was not by word… although two of them were young, educated people.
Sunday – At last clear sky but almost no wind. We motored to the nearby island, Ie Island 5 nm to northwest.
We made a mistake when we got our “closed port list”. The date for entering Fukuoka area was set to 12 of June. That means that we are not supposed to show up on the islands further to the north until then. No big deal, our new gearbox has not yet left Europe.
At noon we arrived into the harbour of Ie Island and are now moored with the stern to the wharf, using our own bow anchor. We did a long walk along the shore and visited a big cave used as a shelter during WWII for more than 1000 people at the same time. On the way back to Moon we walked through the countryside into the village and the port.
We were very disappointed to discover the way they housed the life stock. Protected from the sun and rain, but tied with a rope, standing on a concrete slab in 5 – 10 cm of their own droppings. Their whole body was covered with “shit”.
We are very sad to learn the way this nice people treat their life stock. We will certainly think twice before ordering beef.
Monday – morning came with reasonable clear sky for a visit to Mount Gusuko, 172 m above the sea level, overlooking the whole island. We left Moon shortly around 8 and were back just before noon, having had a quick stop at the supermarket on the way down through the village. The mountain looks like a volcano left over, but it is made of limestone with fossils.
The climate is hot and humid. We are longing for more northerly winds, although that’s not good for sailing north…
We have by now almost 100% decided to stay in Japan/Korea until next May/June, as we are to late for Alaska and we don’t want to rush through these islands to fast.
9 – 14 June Takara Shima
First part of the week was used for walks and some minor boat works on Ie Shima, waiting for our allowed time to reach next Prefecture to the north.
We should have left Wednesday, but almost no wind made us postpone departure to Thursday morning when 15 kn from south west was predicted.
We weigh anchor around seven, and motored for an hour around the reef before we set sails. We experimented with different downwind sail configurations, trying to achieve stabilizing and prevent Moon from rolling using the cutter behind the main, together with an out poled Yankee. The swell was quite high and on our quarter which together with too little wind made Moon roll in spite our efforts. The cutter is probably to far away from the Yankee to block the wind enough to heel the boat to leeward. On Lindisfarne we had a self tacker just behind the genoa making the gap between the sails very small, hence the better result in aspect of speed and heeling.
There are pros and cons with everything. Moons cutter is a good strong wind sail and together with the Yankee a good light wind sail combination, whereas the self tacker was perfect downwind together with an out pooled Genoa, but to big to be a good hard wind sail and could not be used together with the Genoa going up wind in any wind.
Our goal was Kakeroma Shima 120 nm to north east. Some islands along the route made us tack our way downwind, which made our angle to the wind a bit more favourable in the heavy confused swell. In the afternoon passing Okinawa north tip, we got an additional direction among the swells! Very uncomfortable, especially when the wind is to light to fill the sails when the mast swings to and from due to the swell. Then it’s easy to remember and long for the conditions on the nice passage through South Pacific with swell in the same direction as the wind, day after day…
The lower shackle on the boom vang suddenly broke with a big bang. A heavy Lewmar block, with what we think an “outsourced” shackle. Luckily our preventer is lead through a block on the cap rail at the shrouds and further to the bow, which prevented the boom from lifting more than centimetres. Temporally we have tensioned the vang using a block at the mast foot and a halyard winch. A new block will probably be the only permanent solution, but that will probably have to wait until our next visit to Europe.
Friday at noon we reach the protected archipelago at Kakeroma Shima and anchored in a completely land locked bay. Not the best holding, but good enough after a second attempt.
Now we discovered that we had no coverage for the internet. It’s obviously not good with too good protection in the anchorage… Weigh anchor after lunch and motored to a bay with typhoon safe buoys in front of a little village. Even here no connection. Let of the buoy and made a ten minutes trip out of the bay and then back after sending and receiving e-mails and weather information.
We had an absolutely quite night after the cicadas had stopped their alarming concert just after dark and were at sleep already at sailors midnight nine o’clock.
Saturday morning we were up before the roosters to be able to reach Takara Shima 60 nm to the north before sunset.
This time we had a dead downwind with stronger wind and a more favourable direction of the swell. This made Moon more stable and her sails where filled all the time, doing more than seven knots boat speed in apparent wind 150-160 degrees. That is quite ok in true wind less than 15 knots.
These good conditions kept on until late afternoon, when dark clouds with thunder and heavy rain came up from west. Reefed the main one reef, preparing for a squall. Just before the rain the wind died out! making the conditions quite uncomfortable for the crew and Moon. High confused swell and almost no wind is a very bad combination. Together with the rain we got new wind, this time from northwest and more than 20 knots. Now our reefed main was more than adequate…
The rain stopped after some time and during the last two hours to Takara Shima we had very little wind. Even with full main we got no speed because the sails were only filling part of the time due to the swinging of the mast.
Motoring with “out poled” main was our only solution not to tear the sail apart or break travellers and tracks.
With an hour to go we made Takara harbour before sunset and found a nice spot in the bottom of the harbour, absolutely protected from the ocean swell. A short walk through the village before dark. Back in Moon the thunder and heavy rain came back.
Sunday we stayed foot. We did some hiking and some shopping on the island. Before dark the heavy rain came back and we used that to fill our big water tank.
We hope to get another 50-60 nm to the north tomorrow before the wind turns to north.
15- 22 June Haku-Ura, Kyushu
Left Takara Shima early Monday morning to be able to reach Kuchino Shima before sunset. Very confused sea close to the island the first miles due to strong tidal current.
After a while we got more stable conditions and could sail downwind with Yankee and main “out poled”. At noon rain clouds started to build up to the west. We continued downwind, keeping an outlook for the progress of the clouds. Suddenly we saw a water spout under the thunder clouds and it was obvious that it was coming our way and hit us if we kept our course. We furled the Yankee and luffed to windward to “stop” and let the water spout pass in front of us. At least that was the plan. We had some nervous minutes until we decided that we had estimated the course of the water spout good enough and could relax and enjoy the scenery. The uplifting wind took water more than thirty meters up in a fifty meter wide small tornado.
The water spout passed our original course some three hundred meter north of us, thanks to our luffing to windward.
After the rain and thunder that followed, the wind almost died and on top of that we got two knots of current against.
We were slowed down to a speed that made us start thinking about alternative anchorage, but luckily the current disappeared and the wind came back after an hour and we kept on sailing towards Kuchino Shima where we moored just before dark. Some surge in the harbour made us leave the wharf and anchor in the middle of the harbour. There was a fishing boat at anchor further in and we used that as an “allowance”.
Except for our arrival to Japan in Okinawa, we have not met any officials or other persons showing us any interest, which is very far from what we were told to expect.
Tuesday early morning after a rainy but quiet night, we weigh anchor at six o’clock to be able to make 60 nm to Yako Shima in daylight.
Again motor the first hour to get out of the katabatic winds close to the island. Further out we got good conditions and could sail down wind with out poled sails. At noon the wind eased and didn’t fill the sails enough when Moon rolled. The solution was to take the pole down and tack downwind with the wind 120 degrees from behind.
The last two hours the wind direction changed in our favour and we could sail 120 degrees towards Anbo harbour on the east coast of Yaku Shima where we moored before four o’clock, again in rain. We have already got used to a more cloudy and rainy weather that started some days ago. Very relaxing to be able to not hide from the burning sun in the small shade of the bimini!
The wind was predicted to be weak and northerly so we spent Wednesday in port, hiked and did some shopping.
Before that, after breakfast, we had to move the boat because we had moored on the wharf where the fishermen unloaded their catch. Across the little basin we moored onto a high concrete wall. Unfortunately there was protruding edge of concrete below the waterline at low tide. Our big inflatable fenders, a fender board and two “normal” fenders outside of that made it still possible to use the wall without damage to the hull at low tide.
Thursday – In almost no wind and bad visibility, almost like fog, we left Anbo and motored north along east coast of Yako Shima on very disturbed water due to more than two knots of northerly current. Closer to the north cape we got a westerly swell in the confused sea. Further to the north we could see “calm” conditions, and were surprised to find the current still strong when we reach that area. We there mistook the disturbed water to the north for again current effect, but it was the front of the low pressure with its strong westerly. We got three hours of strong westerly, thunder and heavy rain, before it eased and we could resume our course to Kyushu in the now south easterly wind.
We had become late due to the wrong direction we had sailed during the front passage, so we had to change our planned harbour to Makurazaki a few miles east of our original planned harbour. We moored jut before dark and had a well earned hot shower in the cockpit. 10 hours at the helm in partially rough conditions takes its toll and for the first time in three years the helmsman was a bit cold!
Next morning we were again asked to move, this time only along the wharf. We decided, due to heavy smell in the harbour, instead to leave and motor the eight miles to our yesterday planned harbour “around the corner”.
Along the west coast of Kyushu there are many protected bays and small harbours. After trying some of the closest we finally anchored in Haku-Ura Bay around nine o’clock.
There are three important conditions that have to be for filled in an optimal anchorage. Protection from swell and weather, access to shore, and good connection to internet. All these where acceptable for filled, so when the weather prediction showed light and northerly winds for the next days, we decided to stay for some days of cleaning the boat inside, and do some more extensive hikes ashore.
We had planned to continue to Kami Koshiki Island on Monday, but no wind and “continues” rain made us stay another day.
22-29 June Azuchi Shima
We used Monday to clean up the sea water we discovered inside because of our deep heeling during the front passage last week. Luckily the amount of water was not very great, only less than two litres, but the surface that had effected was large. The forward bilge pump hose has a breather, obviously to low to coop with such a heeling. Have to change that position.
Tuesday – morning we weigh anchor after breakfast and started our 30 nm trip to Kami Koshiki Shima. The forecast predicted a beam reach with a nice breeze. In reality there were almost no breeze and the visibility was very limited. Boring motoring the whole day. Arrived the village Nakakoshiki just before six and did a walk to find something to eat. Two closed shops and one open restaurant. Unfortunately, according to what we could understand… the food was already sold out. Back in Moon, before we had decided what to cook, one of the guests in the restaurant came to the wharf and asked if we had any food. He wanted to give us some fish. Five minutes later he was back with a nice fresh fish, so fresh that we had to kill it in the sink!
Fifteen minutes later he was back again, this time with the lady from the restaurant, bringing rise, shrimps and vegetables. We were not allowed to pay anything. Being told before that it’s not polite to pay for a gift, we sure did not insist.
The night was quiet in the very well protected harbour.
Wednesday – north easterly wind with dense fog made us stay in harbour. After breakfast we had our first visit from the officials since Okinawa. Two representatives from the customs, touring the islands paid us a visit. Surprisingly they did not want to see our closed port list! They only filled in the forms as for entering Japan… We sure told them that we had entered Japan and cleared customs in Ginowan marina, Okinawa, but still they wanted to perform their own form of the same paper we showed them from Okinawa. They spoke good English, so it was not a matter of misunderstanding. We are not sure why, and we did not ask why…
Afternoon offered more visibility and we used that for a long walk to the bridges and across to the next island. Drizzling rain most of the time.
During the night the whole sky came down with heavy rain. Sometime it’s nice to know that you are in a floating home!
Thursday – we left very early to be able to make the fifty miles to next harbour. Again nice conditions predicted, and again almost no wind and poor viability. OK we had no rain, but we managed only one hour under sail, the rest of the day was under engine. Just after four we came around the last cape south of Nagasaki and an odd island came in sight. There was something familiar, but we could not understand why. Before we could decide why, we turned right into a very specific natural harbour at Nomozaki and moored to one of the wharfs inside.
Again almost no visibility when we woke up Friday morning. Stayed in the harbour and made walks in the surroundings. Two supermarkets had plenty of supplies so we could stock up.
Saturday – we left after breakfast, raised the main in the harbour to avoid doing that out in the big swell. The little wind was due north, so it was easy to motor with the swell on our quarter.
The first mission was to investigate the island we saw when we arrived. During our stay we had consulted internet and discovered why it felt “familiar”. The island was used in the James Bond film “Skyfall”. The island and all the buildings were used to work the mine under it, between 1887-1974. Five thousand people lived on the island, less than 500 m long and 160 m wide!
All people left “over night” when the mine was closed and all the buildings are abandoned and left to deteriorate.
After some photos, similar to the one in the film… we headed north in almost no existing wind. After noon started a drizzling rain, and everything was back to normal. Because the limited visibility we chose a route inside some islands which was interesting because of bridges, power lines, lots of rocks and current, the latter most of the time in our direction.
We anchored outside the little fishing village Kusudomari, where we manage to find a bay without fish farms.
Sunday – we finally got sunshine. We stayed at anchor doing the laundry. After lunch, when the laundry had dried in the fresh northerly breeze, we weigh anchor and tacked our way to the north. Thanks to the current we managed to tack the strait between Kyushu and Hirado Shima in “no time”. 16 nm became 25 because of the wind right in our nose.
The narrow part in the north had a lot of big standing waves due to the strong current against the big northerly swell from the open sea. Very exciting…
After passing the rapids we could sail open reach in the high swell one hour to Azuchi Shima where we moored just before the sun disappeared.
Our gear box has cleared customs in Tokyo and is by post on its way to Fukuoka, which is one long leg from where we are moored right now.
29 June – 6 July Fukuoka
Monday – and the weak wind from north east kept on and that together with high swell made us stay in harbour and hike as exercise on Azuchi Shima. Unusually we had sunshine the whole day and we didn’t feel that we lost time because we know that our gearbox wouldn’t arrive in Fukuoka until earliest Tuesday. Almost unbelievable that our ordered gearbox, while we were in Okinawa almost a month ago, would arrive at the same day as we arrive! The gearbox from Italy/Germany and we sailing 400 nm to the north in the rainy season.
Tuesday – Back to rain and fog. The swell almost gone, but unfortunately also the wind. First time we didn’t even unfold the stack pack. Motoring the whole day with no sails on flat water.
When we left the wharf we found that it took 10 seconds for the propeller to engage after the gearbox was put in forward gear. It has become worse since we discovered the problem in Okinawa. Really scary and we are happy to have only 40 nm to Fukuoka and the new gearbox…
Motoring the whole day meant a lot of “surplus” energy. We used some of that to produce a lot of water, convenient as we knew that Fukuoka Marina don’t have free water or any electricity on the pontoons. Still they charge double compared with Ginowan in Okinawa who offered both water and electricity included in the price.
We arrived in the marina in rain shortly before the office closed and discovered that they had the gearbox behind the desk and had paid the sales tax. So instead of using part of
Wednesday hassling with finding the post office and the gearbox and bring it to Moon, it was already on the floor in the saloon on Tuesday evening.
We could now start early on Wednesday to remove the Aqua drive and the old gearbox, which took most of the day.
Thursday – Late in the afternoon we had the new gearbox in place and could test it, still without the aqua drive.
A long walk and dinner on the waterfront to celebrate our achievements so far.
Friday – we did a full day tour in Fukuoka town with our own guide.
Mena, a very well English spoken Japanese lady came by Moon on Thursday and introduced herself as volunteer for helping foreign cruisers. Being unable to read and understand the Japanese language, we happily accepted her offer. So ten o’clock Mena came to Moon and together we departed for the subway some twenty minutes away. A great tour among Fukuoka/Hakata Shrines and Fortress, ended with a great lunch in traditional Japanese restaurant sitting on the floor.
Back in the boat for coffee, Mena helped us starting to investigate for a Marina in the Osaka area for wintering Moon. The plan is to write an e-mail to each of the possible marinas and ask for conditions, leaving Moon for three months, starting early November. Very nice to meet people with whom you have a lot in common and have a lot of experiences to share.
Saturday – the last part of the drive link came in place. It may sound easy, but the play for the aqua drive between the gearbox and the thrust bearing does not make room for a straight forward assembly. On top of that the space under the floor and through a bulkhead just behind the gear box completes the difficulties. Although, after some hours with “sweat and blood” the aqua drive was in place with all bolts tensioned and locked to the right measures.
We had planned to leave the marina for one of the close by islands after some shopping. But when we walked by the office, going shopping, we discovered that according to their notation we had paid until Sunday, so why hurry. We shopped and did a long walk, coming back to Moon just as our Belgium friends we met in Ginowan entered between the piers into the marina. We had a nice catch up in Moon eating sushi and drinking Sake.
Sunday we left Fukuoka for Iki Shima some 30 miles to the west.
Almost no wind and poor visibility. We hoisted the main that had been partially reefed last time in heavy rain. A lot of water had been caught and it was good to finally get rid of that. After two hours of motoring we got a nice breeze from north east and could shut down the engine and start sailing with an open reach making well above seven knots the rest of the way to Iki Shima where we anchored three o’clock in a big bay facing east. The island has several bays with protected harbours and anchorage and we will probably stay here waiting for the Typhoons coming next weekend. It’s odd that we haven’t had any since Okinawa almost two months ago, and now comes three at the same time. It will be exciting following the tracks, hoping they will not come this far north.
Getting the gearbox in place we again looked into possibility of getting to Alaska this year, and yes it was. But the Typhoons, giving north easterly winds for the whole of next week, took that possibility away. Hokkaido and Alaska is due north east from where we are!
The plan is to spend two weeks going west and clear custom on Tsushima before leaving for South Korea, coming back to Tsushima in mid August.
7-13 July Katsumoto, Iki Shima -A week full of rain and waiting.
Monday to Thursday we where at anchor in a big bay on the east coast of Iki Shima. The bay had six harbours, but after almost a week in Fukuoka marina we enjoyed staying at anchor. Good internet reception made it possible to follow the progress of the three typhoons we were waiting for.
Because of the rain and the stubborn wind it took until Thursday before we weigh anchor and sailed the short trip to Gonoura, Iki’s biggest harbour on the south coast. We got a nice spot on a floating pontoon made for fishing boats. Much higher and stronger compared to the low ones common in marinas. The rub rail on the pontoon had the same height as Moons, couldn’t been more perfect!
We had the Coast Guard visiting us and they were pleased to find Iki on our list of closed ports. We even had, for the first time, to pay for the berth in a fishing harbour. They almost excused themselves that they had to charge us 20 Yen/m boat, ending up to the fabulous sum of 5% of what we paid in Fukuoka Marina with very much poorer pontoons, no water and no electricity. The sailor next to us had a car and he offered us a ride to the centre of the island where a big supermarket had much more to less cost, compared with the one in the harbour village.
Saturday we moved to Katsumoto on Iki northwest coast, to take care of the strong southwest and be in a better position for the trip to Tsushima.
The plan is to sail for Tsushima on Tuesday when the strong south west wind have eased a bit, waiting on Tsushima for the third Typhoon, before sailing to South Korea.
13-20 July Sasuna, Tsushima
All three typhoons are gone and we didn’t experience more than 20 kn where we were. They went either east or west of us.
Monday 13th – Arrived with sunshine and a brisk northerly wind, not as strong as predicted. But definitely uncomfortable for sailing in the steep and high waves we could see offshore. We used the day for doing the laundry. The rain the night before had given us full tanks so water was not an issue. The sun and the wind made the rest a fast experience.
Tuesday – In the morning we left Katsumoto on Iki Shima and sailed 30 nm to northwest and Tsushima. At first we had to use the engine. The predicted 20 knots was more like 5, and with the swell slightly from behind, the sails would not fill as Moon was rolling in the swell. An hour out at sea, the wind increased to 10 knots and the swell became more evenly. The sails filled nicely and we could shut down the engine, doing just under seven knots under sail. No rain but haze made it difficult to see Tsushima until we only had 5 miles left, despite the high mountains. Tsushima has a great archipelago in the middle, almost looking like its two islands with deep fjords facing the two. To get there from east we had to pass through a narrow canal, only 8 m deep on the chart, with a bridge 20m above. We had timed the slack water, but even so we had three knots of following current. Very scary to see the depth sounder show less than 5 m while we were running 8 knots speed over ground to be able to steer Moon through several whirlpools.
All well and out on the absolutely flat water on the other side we started to look for the perfect anchorage. Most bays were occupied with fish farms, but finally we found one that looked perfect, protected from wind in all directions. Far in it was too deep, but further out we found less than ten meter and tried the anchor. The sound when the anchor hit the bottom was not promising, and sure enough when we tried the holding, the chain and anchor came rattling along the bottom with a “clinking” sound. There was obviously no soil on the rocky bottom. After another try we had a rest and a quick lunch, before we weigh anchor (very easy due to no soil) and accepted that we had to stay in a harbour for the night.
The closest one was not on our accepted list and although we haven’t been asked to show the list in any places so far, sure if we cheat we probably will be asked. So one hour away, still in archipelago, we had Mizusaki and that one we had on our approved port list.
We got a nice spot with the bow facing the predicted wind for the next days when the typhoon was predicted to come close to Japan east coast.
At six o’clock came a kind police and wanted to see our passports and the famous list! We looked at each other and thanked our lucky star that we didn’t go for that other port…
When he was pleased with everything he still didn’t seem to want to leave the boat, said something that we understood as “wait a minute”. In his almost not existing English he asked about “everything”, “how much”, pointing at Moon. We told him “too much” and he probably understood because he laughed.
Finally, after 20 minutes, five men in uniform from the coast guard arrived and we then understood what we were waiting for. The whole procedure was repeated, and on top of that they wanted to know what type of sea charts we had and our license of education for sailing Moon. These licenses we haven’t been asked to show since Zeebrugge in Belgium 2002!!
They were pleased with everything and officially told us that the inspection was done. Now even they started a more private conversation, asking us about the trip and so on. Annika showed them our itinerary on the tablet and being the coast guard they were reasonably impressed by Antarctica and Cape Horn.
Finally they also asked “how much”, and again we replied “too much”, and got the same polite laugh.
We have been warned about all the copies we had to forward during these inspections, in worse case six in very harbour, so of course we have some. But so far, the few inspectors have used their mobile phone camera to take photos of our documents, and when we ask them to take a copy, they are surprisingly thankful and obviously not used to be treated with those.
Wednesday – we were awaked by a fishing boat coming alongside asking us to give room. Very polite and offered us to raft on their side, because there were no more space along the wharf.
No wind made the manoeuvre very easy, and 30 minutes later we could start making breakfast. Our regular breakfast with oat porridge, apple and yoghurt has unfortunately come to an end after almost three month in Japan. It seems to be impossible to find oat flakes in Japan. We were not prepared for that, coming from two “rice countries” were we could find oats in almost every shop.
The day became sunny, hot with no wind. We had to use our fans again to keep the climate in Moon reasonable. In the afternoon when the temperature was closer to our wishes, we made a long walk before dinner. No restaurants and only a small shop forced us to use the supply in Moon. We bought a head of cabbage and it was as expensive as the one we bought on Pribilof, far north in Alaska some years ago!
Thursday – became less hot thanks to a nice breeze over the bow.
We studied the progress of the typhoon. It didn’t really follow the predictions, but still it was aiming for east of Kyushu, over Shikoku and into Inland Sea. The strength was now 100 knots and the waves above 10 m.
Tsushima west coast was predicted to have less than 40 knots from north east, making us feeling comfortable so far. As our route to South Korea is very much to the north we have to wait and monitor the progress.
A long walk to the west coast to see the condition of the Japan Sea. Fascinating to walk less than two miles uphill in absolute calm condition and only some hundred meter after passing the highest point of the road, we experienced wind from north east that gradually increased as we came closer to the coast. In the little harbour there was a full gale with salt spray and the waves were not to play with. No question about the wisdom in waiting where we were.
During our days waiting for the weather in harbour and at anchor we have made two Swedish and two English Albums with photos from Okinawa and from Okinawa to Fukuoka.
Friday – The typhoon seems to at last keep the predicted track and has started to become weaker. We are now predicted to have north east – east on Saturday.
We did a great walk along the shoreline using the ebb tide. The protected water outside the harbour was still almost without waves, in spite offshore it was quite rough.
The formations of the rock always fill us with wonder. Lava and ashes have formed layer by layer, some thick and some very thin. Earthquakes have later moved everything “around”, making enormous pattern were the sea cut into the rock. The camera was used intensively…
Saturday – our fishermen between us and the wharf were heading out to sea and we followed. We left Mizusaki around seven o’clock and had breakfast on calm water before we came out to open sea. The swell was high but very long so in spite the modest wind, only 5-6 knots (predicted 20!) from east, the sails filled thanks to no rolling and we did very acceptable 5-6 knots boat speed. With another knot from the current we did great progress.
The plan was to sail to the ferry terminal just around the north cape to clear custom and immigration for South Korea, weather permitting.
After some hours the wind shifted to north and we furled our head sails, took one reef in the main and started the engine.
Passing the cape west of Sasuna, the sea was more than confused. Heavy breaking waves of shore due to two knots against the swell, combined with the bottom structure outside the cape. Sure enough, the chart showed “ripples”. We motor sailed close to shore to avoid the worst breakers and came through with almost no water on deck.
Under these conditions it was wiser to go into Sasuna and wait for better conditions, as we are not in a hurry to check out from Japan.
All the way into the far end of the harbour we found an empty wharf with 2-2,5 m water at low tide. Lucky we have a centreboard boat… More than half of our anchoring or harbours so far have had shallow water where we hadn’t been able to moor with the draft of a normal 47 foot keel boat.
Out of the wind in the harbour, the temperature rose very quickly. We were lucky to get the bow to the little wind that was flowing through the harbour, thus keeping the climate ok down blow.
Stayed inside Moon until afternoon when the sun was low and we could do our exercise walk. Dinner out on a small Chinese restaurant. Not very cheap and not up to what we are used to come from the galley in Moon.
Sunday – In the morning we were happy to not have the predicted “warmer than today” weather. Cloudy and perfect for a morning walk. We hiked a long track (old road not in use) up in the mountains and where back in Moon at noon, just as the rain started. The rest of the day we spent working inside Moon.
The plan is to continue around the north tip to the ferry harbour, clear out and sail to South Korea when the weather allow for a comfortable sail. We have still ten days to go before our three months visa runs out
20 to 27 July Sasuna, Tsushima
The week that got lost – or the typhoon that woke up again.
Monday – In the morning it was still northerly winds so any departure to the ferry port on the north east side was not an option. The forecast for Tuesday was now uncertain. The south winds the grib file described earlier was now more from the north.
In the morning came the Japanese guy, who had shown us the way to the restaurants that were in the village, to Moon. He was the local Yamaha dealer/repairer and spoke some words in English. He brought his 10 year old daughter and after some English / Japanese words added with much body language, we understood that he wanted to show us the Tsushima Leopard Cat, an endemic wild cat, now found only on the northern part of Tsushima. Now we suddenly understood all cat symbols we’ve seen in the village. The wild cat is obviously what Tsushima and Sasuna are known for!
After lunch Akira and daughter Nanako came and picked us up by car for twenty minutes drive to the visitor centre. The drive itself was interesting. We are used to Norway’s problems with road construction in mountainous coastal areas, thus being a bit prepared. Japan’s islands entail big challenges for road communication. Steep mountains that plunge more or less straight down into the sea means that there is not even a coastal strip to build on. The road meandered around, up and down hills consisting of extremely loose rock, which of course does not diminish the difficulties of building resistant structures. Mist and fog made our stop at the viewpoint building towards South Korea not very successful. But we had seen South Korea on our Sunday walk when the weather was almost crystal clear.
The information Centre for the Tsushima Leopard Cat was in the same class as the same kind of buildings we’ve seen in New Zealand. Here they even had a live cat. It was not just for information, this was part of the efforts to save the species from extinction. In collaboration with some zoos on the mainland (Honshu and Kyushu) they conducted restoration of cats bred in these parks.
The cat is considered to have migrated here from Asia 100,000 years ago when the Tsushima was linked to Asia. Something that we have not been able to confirm with searches through Google. We found that Tsushimas Leopard Cat belongs to a group of Leopard Cat that is spread over virtually the entire South-East Asia, China and some other countries.
In the evening we were invited to a yakitori restaurant to enjoy “Japanese barbecue” by Akira, Nanako and wife/mother Mika. With the help of our tablet we could show our trip and Akira used his tablet to form sentences with the help of a translation program. This, plus a lot of body language meant that despite difficulties, we were able to communicate and complete the evening with good experiences on both sides. The Yakitori restaurant was classes better than Saturday’s China ditto. About the price level we do not know because we were invited, which itself is absolutely amazing!
By now, we had begun to think of plan B, stay in Sasuna with Moon, and take the bus to the ferry port to check out, then sail directly to Busan/Pusan in South Korea from Sasuna. One major reason is that Tsushimas north cape is full of shallows and the chart shows ripples, strong currents and adjacent breakers. After seeing how that turned out when we from the south rounded the cape in to Sasuna, we have no desire to repeat this, especially as it then becomes two unnecessarily times. To the ferry terminal and then back around the cape again to South Korea.
Tuesday – In the afternoon, the family Nagasaki, yes that was Akira’s family name, came to Moon to get a “tour of the house.” They brought fruit and vegetables. It is still hard to get used to all these gifts and the enormous hospitality.
With Akira’s help and his cell phone, we managed to get clearance from the immigration office in the ferry port that it was ok to come by car to check out, and the next day sail out from Sasuna. They did of course want know when we will come. It took some explanation to have them understand that we have to wait out the weather.
Typhoon No. 12 that was kind of “dead” in the middle of last week had now woken up and it was expected to take a path south of Kyushu and up between Japan and South Korea, straight across Tsushima … and was expected to hit on Sunday evening.
Jumping over to South Korea in the winds that now was on the forecast felt completely wrong. Here in Sasuna we knew how to protect us, but in Pusan and its marina we only had information that it was full, and possibly the only place was for a quarantine berth while checking in… Our negative experiences of holding from the last anchorages made also anchoring an unsafe option.
After the decision to stay we were offered to accompany and watch Nanakos kendo exercise in the neighbouring village on Tuesday – evening. Again twenty minutes by car to reach the gymnastic hall to a small school. The road meandered north, and went now and then straight through tunnels.
Ten boys and two girls practised for nearly two hours under experienced leadership. A lot of rituals, but also a lot of shouting, stomping and striking with Kendo sword, or shinai. Protective equipment and the procedures reminiscent of fencing we do back home.
On the way home we stopped at a bigger food market where we rapidly stocked up for our “extra week” in port.
Wednesday – In the afternoon, Akira came with the recent typhoon report and announced that his fishing buddy thought we would better move further out in the harbour where there was a new concrete wharf behind another concrete wharf and two big protective piers. Where we were, apparently, the fetch from the harbour entrance was enough to build a choppy sea by strong winds from the south and west. As we where moored directly against the quay with nothing that kept us out, it seemed obvious to listen to local expertise, even if the information was brought to us with a great help of body language. However, Akira had since Tuesday started to print the questions and statements in Japanese / English by translation software. Yes – you who tried it knows that you still have to use a lot of imagination to understand … But even so it was very helpful to be a little surer that we understood each other. We have finally got some use of Google Translator! and to avoid too many mistakes we make the translation from Swedish to Japanese and then back to English before we show Akira. Usually we have to adjust when we see what it became in English the first time…
We moved Moon directly on Wednesday evening to avoid being surprised by the wind during the night. With the new concrete wharf came round stainless chafe protection on the concrete edge, which solved our problems with rope wear on the last old wharf. The wind was already during the first night very “katabatic” with gusts of 20 knots between long lull periods despite the average wind out at sea was just a few knots. Obviously the harbour was calmer in north to east winds.
Thursday – A day full of work. Completing mooring lines before the typhoon and a lot of other small bits and pieces done. The difficulty is to determine the wind direction when the typhoon is expected to come right across. If west of us, we will get southerly wind and if it goes to the east of us means northerly wind. We would prefer to remain with the bow to the wind, so we’ll maybe turn Moon on Sunday morning when we should have a clear idea of the typhoon passage on the night between Sunday and Monday.
It’s very hot so with the help of some fans, jobs inside the boat are the only thing that can be done. Annika working with the website to gain better functionality when used on tablets and mobile phones and Björn is sorting photos.
Friday – Akira came early with his small truck and a few jerry cans to help us to obtain diesel from the road petrol station in the village. We also took the opportunity to pump up the fenders that had been pressurized for the tropics and is now looking a little tired, especially in the evening coolness. We have the same problem with the dinghy, during the midday sun’s heat it has good pressure, but in the evening and night temperature makes it look very tired. Bit problematic to tie it down onto the deck with these pressure differences.
When the diesel filling was done, Akira’s fishing buddy came and asked where we did our laundry. We pointed to the aft deck where two buckets, just loaded, was waiting for manual squeezing. The result was that the buckets went into the friend’s car and a few hundred meters to his house where the washing machine was empty and just waited for our laundry …
Clear weather and very warm all day. We begin to forget that we only a few weeks ago could have long pants on …
Today’s walk in the woods had to wait until after six o’clock, when we also did some shopping.
Saturday – Today the forecast show the typhoon crossing just west of Kyushu and just east of Tsushima late at night to Monday. The wind becomes northerly in the harbour with strength at sea no more than 20 m/s. The typhoon which by then has downgraded to “tropical storm” can still be gusting 50% more … But it’s far from the 40 m/s Okinawa had during typhoon No. 11 that went east of Kyushu last week and we barely noticed.
This is a bit like the tale of the wolf, but now it will apparently hit us…
At the evening walk we went to Akira’s workshop where he and his daughter kept inside in the air-conditioned office. This time he had a proposal that we would go on a Sunday car trip with him and his daughter. Mrs. Mika was visiting her parents. As the weather reports indicate more and more that the typhoon will miss us completely and probably die before it might reach us – we happily accepted the proposed trip.
Sunday – Minimal risk of strong winds reported from all weather information sites. We started the morning with moving to a quay where the fishermen fill fresh water as our big tank was getting empty. Then back to the quay again to get ready for the car trip at 10.
Again a trip where the road bend on itself. The journeys first stop was at a camping site at the village of Mine, where also the temple Kaijin was located on a hill, lot of steps up in the heat … which was luckily well in protective lush forest.
Excavations in the area were reported in the local museum. Many findings were from the period 700-300 B.C.
After lunch, which we managed to pay for, and another temple, we continued to Eboshi, a nearly 200 meter high mountain with amazing views. At its foot lies Watatsumi temple which has five temples portals (tori) in a row, two of which seem to float on the water (in high tide) in the shallow bay where the temple is located.
At both these places we met for the first time tourists, mainly Koreans according to Akira.
The trip home went via the east coast where we could establish that the typhoon became nothing, at least for Tsushima.
We passed through several small villages with impressive port facilities and plenty of squid fishing boats prepared for the typhoon, moored with lines crossing the harbour basins. Better prepared than surprised.
At home in Moon after six hours excursion we washed another load of laundry at the friend to Akira. When we collected the laundry his wife offered tea and pickles until the machine was done. The fisherman phoned to somebody and we thought that he was talking about us. When we then would go back to the Moon (100m) we understood that we ought to follow him in the car up the hill to, probably, the family the fisherman talked to on the phone.
A very nice newly built house, just like a big Swedish luxury mountain cottage, steeply up the hillside above Moon. A recently retired couple had moved here and built their dream home. Beer and food in a little over an hour with choppy conversation. The man could probably some English, but mostly it was sign language and guesses …
Back at Moon just after eight, we neither needed sundowner or dinner! Just hang up laundry so it got a bit dry before the night. Felt a bit “disconcerted” to hang laundry over flat calm water when according to forecast 24 hours earlier we should have had 20 m/s. The tale about the boy who cried wolf is becoming very real.
Checking on the weather, it was quite clear that the tropical cyclone had taking a closer path to the north east onto Kyushu and thus run “dead”, the land and its already weakened state made it simply die out.
We who have not experienced a “real” typhoon begin to wonder. The locals, fishermen and others who experienced several typhoons take the warnings really seriously, so it is probably safest to keep in line. If it strikes, there is no time to try to protect the boat.
Better safe than sorry!
27 – 29 July – Leaving Japan for South Korea
Monday – Spend most of the day indoors, working with the web and some boat stuff. In the evening we invited Akira and his family to the Yakitori restaurant. Akira brought two fishes that the restaurant served as sashimi, delightfully displayed.
Because it was our last night out the restaurant made some dishes, on the house, so in the end there was not much for us to pay… Again, the hospitality from these nice people in Japan has been unbelievable.
Tuesday – Cleaning of the bottom and propeller. Annika was under Moon several hours using the little compressor and a long hose for breathing. The anti fouling had some weed and some worm tracks of limestone which both came of quite easy. The propeller was tougher to clean. Barnacles made it time consuming.
In the afternoon Akira took us to Hitakatsu across the island to clear customs and immigration. They were only in Hitakatsu when the ferry to South Korea was in, two times a day during arrival and departure, so it was really a matter of timing to meet them on either of those two occasions. Everything was done efficiently and smoothly, mostly thanks to Akira’s prearrangement by several phone-calls. We are not sure that we actually was supposed to leave from Sasuna, because only Hitakatsu was noted on the documents we received, in spite we told them where Moon was moored and that we were to leave from Sasuna for Busan, South Korea, next morning. Everybody seemed ok with that…
Wednesday – After “dismantling” all our typhoon lines we moved to the fishing dock to top up water. Akira and Nanako came to wish us a safe trip together with some others of the nice people in the village we met during our ten days in Sasuna.
This was really a heart warming goodbye. These people will forever stay in our memory.
As we understand there are “never” foreign yachts in Sasuna because it’s a closed port making it illegal to enter from a foreign port, and also illegal to enter from a Japanese port if it’s not on “your allowed close port list”. Sasuna being far away from the mainland Japan is easy forgotten when you apply for closed ports. We, who most of the time loves to bee “the only yacht”, thinks the system is quite all right, even if it means a lot of bureaucracy.
Leaving the harbour in full sails and an open reach at 09.30. The wind was fresh, actually a little too fresh for full sails.
Next logbook – South Korea
Annika & Björn