I have not gone on a long sail in the Scaffie since the epic Keramas adventures with Ben in November 2015. https://quietripple.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/saving-sergeant-scaffie/
This weekend the weather is announced fair so I determine to take off to Minna Jima.
Where the umbrella is on the beach to the right is my initial mooring. The red pin marks where I finally moored.
The Scaffie loves a long sail and so do I. Minna Jima is about 30 kms from my house. With a fine breeze on the starboard beam we go along very nicely at around 4 knots.
IPhones can do anything
I wear a new hat as I have been admonished by many for not doing so. Can you see the mesh in crown of hat? This actually allows the sun through and my pate was horribly burned.
The course takes us far out on the ocean, in fact right into the main shipping lane up the west of Okinawa.
The boats were all much closer than the photos make them appear.
Collision is inevitable.
This one was definitely going to hit me so I closed my eyes.
Minna Jima comes into view. It is the low lying one in the foreground. You have to click on these photos.
The weather is fabulous, the flying fish are inexplicable, I mean what are they doing? Black Naped Terns and Roseate Terns come over to check me out and screech. I love this stuff. It only takes 4 hours to get there.
I initially plan to camp on a length of beach where I know there is a Tern rookery just off shore.
Get off my beach!
Black Naped and Roseate Terns hang out on the beach with me. Roseate have more black on head.
However I am not happy with the Scaffie’s anchorage.
Agony and pain.
So I up sticks an head down to the harbor.
A guy who runs a business dragging people around behind his jetski is very interested in the Scaffie and is I think surprised that I have just sailed over from Maeda. With authentic Okinawa gentility he insists that I tie up beside his jet ski. He demonstrates a very cool knot that allows the mooring rope run up and down a fixed line such that the boat never grounds at low tide but follows the water out.
I wander off to the next beach from the harbor to set up camp. I snorkel and see a huge octopus.
Loads of big hermit crabs appear to make sure no food is wasted
Sun goes down.
I am exhausted and sunburnt and I think I fall asleep before it is dark.
Dawn in russet mantle clad
My beach at 5:45 am
So off we go on the return journey. I worry about how long it will take and so we are out of the harbor by 6:00. It is a beautiful morning. The wind is coming straight offshore that allows me to whizz down the the length of the island towards home. There is something wonderful about being 10 miles out at sea at 7:00 am. The light is, er you know what I mean, and it is not yet hot.
I get back to Maeda by 10:00 but I am 4 or 5 miles out to sea and now have to beat against the wind to get home. This takes another 4 hours! I have a motor but it seems cowardly to use it. The Coastguards actually pass by to see if I am all right. They have clearly seen me tacking back and forth without making any progress. They hail me with “Good morning, Captain.” This makes me feel good.
Any way I finally make it home, very fatigued and horrendously sun damaged. I sit down to watch the All Blacks play the Lions and fall asleep in the second half. This a good metric of my exhaustion.
But what a great adventure!