There Are More Things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,

I start this long weekend with a visit to the Toya fish market, which is just down the road.


This Tuna is huge. Trust me.


Totally. amazingly, fresh octopi. I like this stuff.

I buy big Octopus in anticipation of future  social gatherings.

So, an entanglement of rope has arrived on my beach. I am much affronted.



There are at least 10 different strains of rope in the entanglement, ranging from little rope to big, big, mooring for steamer, rope. My question is, how did they all come together in the wild and wistful ocean?  Can rope communicate?  Dolphins and whales can,so perhaps rope that is lost on the briny deep,can send out messages to attract other rope. A bit like a flotsam rope dating service.


Likes gardening and outdoor activities.

Anyway, I have to cut it up into chunks and wheel barrow it back to the house. Garbage collection around here accepts; burnable, glass, cans, PET plastic bottles and jetsam. I like this. Each has a separate bag. Wrong bag = no pick up.

Isn’t it a joy to have a big slab of plywood? Some will remember the breaking of my rowing thwart in the worst of times.

Well, today I cut a new thwart from my slab.


The truck bed is such a good work surface.


I love this stuff.


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The Source of the Nile

I go to Hiroshima on Monday afternoon and come back on Tuesday afternoon.


10 minutes

This is a boarding confirmation. If you can see the small print you will see, “Please be at the gate 10 mins before departure.”  I am still amazed how the Japanese can board a hundred or so people onto a plane in 10 minutes,  but they do. One thing is that they are very responsible about carry-on bags. No one tries to bring on big bags – they check them in the knowledge that they will pick them up on the carrousel very soon after arrival. Then there is the greater happiness is more important than the individual happiness syndrome that is so prevalent in Japan. Anyway I love and respect the way Japanese get on planes.


My room in Hiroshima. Notice there is no bed.


A choice of beds


In the bathroom. I think this is shaving soap.

I have to rush back to Okinawa and having done my thing I set off on a great voyage to Fukuoka airport. Hiroshima University drive me to Higashi Hiroshima station where I get on a Shinkasen to Hiroshima  main station. As I wait for my train to arrive, Shinkasen are ripping through the station at amazing speed. It is very exciting.

I take my train to Hiroshima and then catch another Shinkasen to Hakata, which is the main station that serves Fukuoka Airport. This is not the time for paranoia. I do not know where I am, I only have a name as to where I am going, I have no geographical idea of where it is. If I make any mistake the whole trip is blown and I have major complications.


Which train should I take?


My Shinkasen arrives as another whams through the station at a trillion kpm

Anyway I make it to Hakata and emerge into an, er, bustling Japanese transport hub. There are about a million people, all blessed with an understanding of where they are going. I do not. I have to get a subway to the airport and let me tell you friends this was not easy, there is no English  signage and no one that I stoppeth in Ancient Mariner style spoke English. But hey I am in Japan and I should speak Japanese. The little I have, was sufficient to guide me to the right platform. I made it to the airport and flew back to Okinawa.

I actually like the fact that banal travel assumes the mantle of Burton and Speke.

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Rudder Part 6

Those of you who are bored with rudder stuff, please switch channels.



Mixing the epoxy is highly technical. It is a 100:1 mix, which means 100 parts epoxy to 1 part hardener. Great precision is needed to get the mix right.

Anyway, it is the most beautiful day as I mix the magic lotion and smear it over the rudder with a sashimi tray, which does the job very well.


Wet epoxy but not for long.

While the epoxy cures, I go to find the Black headed Munia again.


They are happily devastating a field of barley


Scaly breasted Munia discuss mischief


Tatler takes a bath



I go home for the best lunch I have ever had.


Insalata di Pulpo.

Spring is here and suddenly there are butterflies everywhere.


I am very happy


Me too.

Throughout the afternoon I gently work on the mast. I smell the sea. I smell the wind. Sailing season is coming in.


First major sanding and coating with good stuff.

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I Guess and Fear

I can sometimes do very irrational things.

My learned brother Ian pointed out that just varnishing my new rudder will not cut it. Sea water will inevitably sneak in and the rudder will delaminate. He advises covering the the whole thing in epoxy.

I have had several experiences of late of trying to find specific articles in Japan and failing after much wasted effort. The stuff is there, it is just a case of navigating the linguistic maze to locate it. Something as specific as marine epoxy fills me with foreboding.

My tremendous luck, a leitmotif of my life so far, steps in again. Colleague Harry has lots of it as he has been building a surfboard and he er gives me some. This made me unreasonably happy and I watched every second tick by on Friday afternoon so I could get home for a weekend of unabated epoxy joy.


Thanks Harry!

My rudder has been lying in a nice sheltered spot all week but I decide it would look much nicer on the flat bed of my truck. I move it. It does look very nice and I thrill with anticipation of tomorrow’s careful mixing and application of epoxy.

Of course it pours all night. I am asleep but on waking in the grey dawn I rush out to find my rudder drenched and having absorbed more drink than is good for her. I can now not apply acrylic until the wood has dried out. Too much romance, not enough common sense, another leitmotif.


Drying on the ironing board.

I cast around to think of things that will cheer me up. Octopus, of course!

I go down to the Chelsea Octopus Store to get my prescription filled.


A mess of octopi.

There is no guarantee that any have been caught and I frequently trail home empty handed. Today, clearly to compensate for my earlier disappointment, there is a crateful.

I choose a beauty, which was clearly caught minutes or even seconds ago. I love Okinawa.


Freshly pulled from the deep. You will of course know that the Octopus genome was first decoded at OIST.

The guy, who is my brother, asks if I would like him to clean it. This is new, normally I do it at home. I say, “Onegaishimasu.”  It is very interesting to watch. He gives it a very thorough scrub, extracts the beak, cuts off bits that offend him and then gets handfuls of rough salt and gives the octopus a real going over with said salt.  I anticipate that this removes the mucus that normally covers the octopus and turns a slightly slimy purple on cooking. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. I am astounded how diligent and methodical he is. There is no rush, no atmosphere of I want to get this finished as soon as possible, just methodical attention to production of a quality product. We worship the octopus. While I on my knees, I await the best fast food in the world, 2 fish and 2 squid tempura that are delivered piping hot in a paper bag. I am feeling much better.

On the way home I take a little birdwatching diversion around Nagahama.


Poor photo but rare bird around here. Eastern Great Tit. Much less yellow than its European relative.


Grey Tailed Tatlers. Click on these photos to absorb the beauty.


This is truly meaningful. A mixed flock of Black headed and Scaly breasted Munia. First time I have seen Black headed version.


Japanese White Eye.


Blue Rock Thrush. Very common around these parts but a beautiful bird whatever.

I return home elated.

Swings and roundabouts.




When you dip the tentacles into boiling water, they go all curly and thus more enticing to eat.

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Thanks Bob

Some of you will remember the great wreck tragedy of last September. In this debacle, I lost my rudder.

I have been rudderless ever since and this has brought down misery and pain in my professional and private lives. No direction. Wherefore art thou rudder?

Anyway, to sail a boat you need a rudder.  I have to build a new one.

Today I get a wonderful set of packages from Bob, the heroic boss of: . Buy boats here people.

DSC_2322 (1).jpg

I am saved!

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Yay! Template.


I make hundred of holes through the template to guide my cut.

I have a saw thing which a bought to dismember the late lamented Dileas. I cut.


The battery runs down very quickly.

I love this kind of stuff, cutting a new rudder from a big plank of plywood on a glorious  day in Okinawa.


She is born


I drench her in good stuff.


The bed of the truckette  is the best work surface.

A lot of sanding and gentle adjustment ahead but the Scaffie lives. Thanks Bob!


As I work, a Great White Egret fishes.

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Lunch with Peter

These have been very good days. I have been at a meeting where people come and talk about science stuff.  I have met many old friends and it is reassuring that some of them still recognize me.

Tomomi and I go and have lunch with the estimable Peter Fisher. Peter is the best lunch companion being erudite, boyish, enthused and very, very funny. We eat in a classic Boston restaurant where the food is excellent, however I am such a Philistine that I cannot get further down the menu than B for Burger.


A good burger is a joy forever.

Tomomi and Peter eat oysters, tartare and such.


Peter is passionate.

He gives us boxes of Dark Matter that he captures with a fly rod.


Invest now

Anyway it was a wonderful time and demonstrates that there is no greater pleasure than good friends folded into good food.


Thanks Peter

I have now hitched up the wagon and am on my way back to Okinawa. Thank you Boston.


Logan 6:30 Sunday 19 Feb 2017

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So I go to a far off land with great dread. My last long distance excursions have resulted in illness and I am very twitchy that the same thing is going to happen again.


Not very antique land but very for around here.

I make it through the first day of my thing but I am conscious of mucus in the sinuses. I have been recommended to wash them out with saline so I head to Walgreens.I wander up to an assistant and guilty admit the problem. She gives a big grin , “Just come with me sir and I will talk you through our selection of sinus wash systems.” She is tremendously cheery and helpful as she goes through almost a shelf of fantastic devices. I so love being back in the USA!


You have to get one of these!

The warm saline solution is forced up one nostril and miraculously comes skooshing out of the other. It is a blast.


Wide awake at 4:00 am. What better to do than clean out the sinuses?

I am very happy – I have a new hobby.

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