Monday, May 2, 2011

Heading south

Island hopping was mostly good sailing and uneventful. Cows dining on bamboo, smoking, belching volcanoes,
To meet our friend who were flying in to Taiwan..meant we had to keep moving and we were slightly ahead of our cruising schedule.
Arriving at AWASE on the south west coast of OKINAWA was another one of the Japan Coastguard Keystone Cop routines.....offer to help and then not know what to do...we watch, trying not to laugh as they try to decide where we should go, why we should go here and not there.....much arm waving and discussion...eventually we go to the spot we had marked on our chart at the time of applying for our cruising permit.!!!!!
The next evening we had a call from the walkway..and a friendly American came to visit. his wife had watched us sail in......and so began another of those special encounters. In fact it was so special that instead of leaving Japan from further south (Ishigaki) we spent time with David, Annie and there army (actually only four) of neat kids........
Eventually we set sail for ITOMAN...only to find the Marina and fishing harbour we in league......first we couldn't stay in the Marina ....then we couldn't stay in the fishing harbour.....then www could stay on the marina...they only wanted two arms and one now we had spent three hours motoring from point A to point B...and were getting really pissed off.....
The very efficient and friendly Customs officers were able to arrange a berth for us in NAHA port so we t sail again and eventually ain darkness we tied to the wharf.
Departure day arrived...we were able to get duty free diesel, our forms were stamped and at 0600hours we left Japan for the last time.
Good sailing conditions for twelve hours was all we were to get. The wind did silly things and made life difficult but not uncomfortable.
Look out TAIWAN here we come

Still in Japan

We had a good sail to Kagashima Sendai. Our ropes were taken and we were tied to a small tug. One of The workmen was all excited as he remembered us from two years before. And they had a rule tied to the barge...they were expecting a tsunami...and this was the first we heard of the major earthquake that had hit Japan and was going to cause all the problems.
Our friend Gorgie was getting used to the fact that he was getting married in the next 48hours ( Internet dating is alive and well in Japan) and we enjoyed a lovely evening with him and his bride to be.
With gennaker up we left didn't last though. By the time we reached Kagoshima we had head winds, rain and very low visibility. Unable to find the customs office we asked for directions at a service thing we know we are in a car, being driven to the customs office. No one in the office had any English...but e entually we had our Customs document stamped, we were assigned a berth and before we knew it we were tied..stern to....amongst fishing boats.......
Kagoshima is a TUNA town...everyone is busy chasing, processing or cooking tuna......the smell from the fishing boats was disgusting.....and the town wasn't much better. But it was blowing a gale and we were stuck here so we just breathed shallowly........
We were being inundated with emails from worried family and friends...the tsunami and it's after effects were the main a global news story...radiation fallout.......
Once we were able to move on we were able to reassure everyone we were completely safe....I mean by now we were tied to a wharf just below an erupting volcano !!!!!!

Korea to Nagasaki

Korea to Nagasaki was a little under 200nm. We had completed our Customs and Immigration on board after a lovely dinner with Stephen.
Blowing a gale all night made for rough seas. We sat waiting for things to calm down but after a while we said "what the hell".. and set off..... wasn't he'll, but winds up to 43 knots made going uncomfortable, so we anchored up behind an island for the next thirty six hours. Finally the wishes were in the low 20 to 30' it was a case of "let's go"........we used our staysail and a wee piece of headsail. The seas were about 4mtr, so we rolled a lot as we were running with the sea........Carol did very well..until evening when the handy bucket came into use.
Prudently skirting a group of islands during the night we made good time . Even with our small sail we made Nagasaki by 1500hrs..averaging 6knots. One quarantine and two Customs officers completed their part of the entry procedures painlessly...then came COASTGUARD.......six men, no English= Keystone cops officers. They had to call the Customs officers back to help ....and the 'big' man was convinced we had not done the correct entry procedure they require.......but after waiting while one of them went back to their office to get the email we had sent we were given entry clearance........writing it down sound s like it was a minor event...but it wasn't. On one hand it was hilarious watching these supposedly intelligent, well educated men posturing, arm waving, on the other hand it was frustrating.....we we're only doing what they wanted us to do..but they just were unable to accept the use of email rather than snail mail.......(uniform on...brain out)
But eventually they were satisfied and the patiently waiting Immigration official drove us to their office, eye photos, finger print, passport stamped and we were once again officially in Japan.
The small Marina at Nagasaki was lovely and free for seven nights? We arranged our cruising permit and while waiting for it to arrive we did the tourist thing and viewed the Nagasaki A BOMB memorial. The city has a tram system for getting around easily and we made good use of it......