I go for a glorious morning walk along a beach close to the apartment.  The beach is strewn with big shards of pottery.


A shard




They are all over the place.

Okinawa is covered in family shrines where ancestors’ bones are placed.  Early shrines were in caves and holes in the rock.


I find a collection of burial urns that I have never spotted before.

I think the recent  mega typhoon destroyed some very old caves containing burial urns and some of these broken urns are now strewn all over the beach.


A tree has been blown onto the roof of a cave, which has collapsed. You can spot the urns nestling in the center of the photo.



My favorite shrine has also suffered.


In February


Walls completely washed away.


I wonder if it will be repaired?

Yup, that was a big typhoon. Shrines that had been there for decades and maybe hundreds of years, suffered badly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What a Fluke

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I went to the Campbeltown Folk Festival. The lead bands were Shooglenifty and Flook. I had the opportunity to talk a lot to Brian Finnegan, one of Flook’s flute folk. During the concert he had been playing a bamboo flute in F. I asked where he got it from and he kindly went to find the address of Patrick Olwell.   

I wrote to Patrick Olwell and a few months later I got a bamboo flute in F.

Patrick is now recognized as the leading flute maker in the world. You wait a minimum of 6 years to get a new flute.


Here it is today. 20 years later. Incredible flute!

What I like about this flute is that it is just a bit of bamboo with some holes in it. It can nevertheless pump out wonderful music, er, in the right hands.

To my amazement, Flook come to Okinawa. Not just Okinawa but to Ginoza, a tiny coastal town on the East.coast.,+Kunigami+District,+Okinawa+Prefecture/@26.4970997,127.9296808,20856m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x34e50089239b23db:0x88c347e6bf8c8722!8m2!3d26.4816587!4d127.9755894

Hard to define the strangeness of this. Ginoza is nowhere but some far-sighted folk have started to invite amazing acts to the newly created Farm Club. Thank you.


What a great place to play. All Flook photos thanks to Ginoza Farm Club.


What do you call two flutes playing A? ………. A chord.


Will Cipriani play for England?

So,  Flook: 

were incredible and of course the Okinawans danced throughout the concert.



We talk, they remember me, we cry on each others’ shoulders.


John Joe Kelly




Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


I am feeling very proud of myself as I succeeded in getting stuff from Japanese Amazon.



This what I got.


Solar panel to top up the bilge pump, Gulper, battery. Battery powered LED lights that might work as emergency navigation lights. Pretty pink camo life jacket.

I am nearing completion on my new crown. Today was fitting. It took 90 mins of exquisite adjustment to get it just right.


Akiko san places the crown and then slides red  paper between my teeth. She then says, ” Tap,tap tap ,tap or bite hardu, or grindu.” Analysing the runic traces left on the crown she then adjusts it minutely with an ancestral file. She does this a least 10 times.


The dentist is such good fun

Mori sensei has to check everything is OK and we swap boat typhoon stories. His boat is OK. The crown is finally stuck in place but this is only temporary as I have to come back in a week to make sure everything is OK before they take it off again and apply the permanent glue.  Such care, such precision, such ridiculously low price!


In the boat I find a Sabani boat race T-shirt. You remember that we came last!

The weather has changed. It is grey and blusterly, rain is forecast. I rig the tarpaulin.


It is only 27 degrees

I buy the best Sashimi in the world from my local corner shop.


Parrot fish, 2 different kinds of Tuna, sauce. 500 yen that is $4.45. Today’s catch.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


The last 10 days or so have been dominated by typhoon stuff. The first, Trami, was  a mega, ultra typhoon. The second, whose name I have already forgotten, was less kapow but it did rain like crazy.



I was so prepared.

I set up the boat for the typhoons with a focus on her not blowing away into the East China Sea, trailing multi-million yen lawsuits for damage to other boats. I succeeded.

I forgot completely to rig the tarpaulin to fend off heavy rainfall. I failed.

As soon as I can, I scurry down to the boat yard, to find a syphon set-up in the cockpit and suspicious scum lines around the cockpit walls.


See what I mean. Check out the dirty bath lines.

I meet with faithful Kiyuna san who explains that he came down twice  in one day during the rainy typhoon to empty the cockpit.   Thank you.

The risk is that the water level rises to the engine compartment hatch and floods the newly refurbished engine.

I will have to work out some way to drain the cockpit. I will be away from Okinawa for periods of several months and even with covers, there is a high risk that rain will fill up the cockpit. Hmmmm.

Anyway, the typhoons go to Spain and I start re-rigging the boat with the new rope that Sato san has furnished.

I, with help, take down the mast and position it in front of the boat. I have learnt that getting every stay, halyard, topping lift exactly in place prior to raising the mast is essential. I get it wrong in a remarkable variety of ways, very many times.


Is this right?


My left foot as I re-rig the boat

It turns out that two of the halyards are too short. “Pshaw” says Sato san, “No problem, I will extend them when I get back from delivering Lady Luck to  Yonabaru Marina.”

Splicing ropes to me is a magical skill but it is bread and butter to Sato san.

The weather is incredible!  Slightly less hot and blue.


Picnic time!


Back to normal

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Always Have a Bucket

I was hopelessly unprepared for the reality of no power. I had no water, little food, no lamp nor candles. Of course all the shops were shut as they were in the same boat with no power.


Okinawan post typhoon roadside garbage.

I lived a very primitive life for 2 days. Water is pumped around the building  and with no electricity the pump stops. This mean the toilet does not flush, the shower does not work, you cannot wash up. Wise maidens have filled their bathtubs with water prior to the typhoon. I am not  a wise maiden but definitely will be in the future. You also need a bucket.

As soon as the wind allows, I go down to see if the boat is OK.


The next day

Lots of birds sheltering from the wind.


Black Backed Stilt.


Grey Tailed Tattler


Lots of this.


An inappropriate name.

A few boats blown off their cradles, some masts broken but not too bad considering the strength of the wind. The Norfolk Gypsy is fine – hooray!

Guess what? Another typhoon is coming on Friday. I have  a bucket.


Pretty bucket.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Election Weather

The importance of last Saturday’s election for the Governor of Okinawa was underlined by God sending a mega typhoon.


The election is fought essentially on, do the Okinawans want another US base? Denny Tamaki, bottom right, won, with the help of Nature demonstrating that she was fed up with environmental damage in Okinawa by doing quite a lot of environmental damage!

Typhoon Trami went right over us on Saturday, which was polling day. It was the real thing! Go out and vote!



How low will she go?

Power goes off at 11:30 am – no electricity, no AC, no water, no internet. The wind is crazy, howling and roaring with very heavy rain until about 2:00 when everything goes quiet as the eye of the storm passes over.

It goes crazy again about 6:00 and it also gets dark. I have no light to read by so I just sit there listening to the wind and hoping to sleep eventually.


Totally off scale.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Trami Time

Looks like a Category 4 typhoon, named  Trami, will, to use the verb much favored by journalists, slam into Okinawa tomorrow. This is always exciting, but not much good for the advancement of the project.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 3.08.22 PM.png

Hail Trami! Actually probably more like Rain Trami!

Trami means tram in Japanese.


Kiyuna san prepares for the typhoon.

I have mentioned Sato san before. He is renowned throughout Japan for setting up rigging and sails on racing yachts to squeeze out maximum speed. His advice is much sought after. He is a really good bloke and remarkably he has offered to rig my Norfolk Gypsy. He wants to make her sail er, um, really fast. This is a wonderful thing as he is a true expert.

He was very clear on the uselessness of the rope I had bought and insists on a complete change to much higher quality rope.


Sato san with replacement halyards.

This morning we were intending to start the rigging but it is no good as the wind is already high. I have to lash everything down and generally prepare for wind so strong that it moves cars from one side of a parking lot to the other. No problem says Sato san, we will set up the boat when the typhoon has strutted and fretted its hour upon the stage. Or something like that.

Before I went down to the yard, I had my usual Thursday morning dentist hour.


Who is the fairest of them all?

Going to the dentist is such fun.


Mori sensei and Yoko san. Mori sensei has been on holiday.


Bring it on Trami!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments