And Do You Now Cull Out a Holiday?

So, thank you once again Japan for your public holidays. After a troubled week, the great Shinto Gods reward us with Ocean Day. This means that we got Saturday, Sunday and Monday to splash around in the paddling pool or the East China Sea depending on predilection. The weather is incredible apart from one small yet gigantic factor. No wind.

I had dreamt of serious sea stuff but was denied by the merest zephyr that wafted offshore throughout the 3 days.  No wind = no power= no progress.  However I did splash around in the paddling pool.


An anchor with little fish


My favorite Clown Fish. We are on first name terms.

One day, I sail out very slowly over the brilliant turquoise lagoon. I groan and moan with pleasure. I then turn around to sail home straight into the wind, which I remind you is the merest zephyr. This means I go nowhere very slowly as I have to tack against a non existent wind for a very long time. Should not complain really as the surroundings are unbeatable but sailing is linked to wind and without it there is always frustration.


The sunsets in July are un-adjectiveable. 7:10.


7:20  They also serve who only stand and wait.


7:30 I have done nothing to this photo. It really is like this.


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Still a great poem.
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Dies Irae

Things have been tough at OIST this week.

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One, two, buckle my shoe.

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Five, six pick up sticks.

But I can watch sunsets.


Tintern Abbey


My way out.


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I have mentioned that the Octopus store has been made over. It is now gleaming and just a touch soulless.  Still great fun,  however they clearly cater for the tourist trade which makes we Okinawans look down our noses a tad.


I am very pleased that Sashimi is still cut by hand.

I buy a big octopus that I will cook and eat.


Fush – fresh and cheap


Notice English sign. There has been a major increase in tourists from Korea, Taiwan and China

You choose a fish that they either cook for you or slice into sashimi in front of you.

I like Okinawa.


It is Summer. 31 degrees. From my terrace.

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Boat Porn

I cannot stop thinking about Norfolk Gypsies. These are boats made in England, one of which has turned up on the dockside of Miyako Jima, an island a couple of hundred kilometers from here. I yearn for her tragically.

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The narrative goes like this. If I get permanent residence in Japan, then in my dotage I can spend long periods in Okinawa. The idea of sailing around the Ryukyu Islands in a Norfolk Gypsy stops my breath. Therefore I should do something about it.

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My Darling asleep

I need to buy the boat and have her transported to Okinawa at great expense. Once here she needs to be placed on a trailer and pulled up to my house to undergo months of massage with perfumed oils. I do not have a trailer.

Once restored to her full beauty, I have to trailer the boat to a slipway and launch her. After dirty fun times at sea I have to get her back onto the trailer and pull her up the slipway.

My much beloved Hi Jet truck, despite her mighty 600cc motor, does not have the grunt to achieve the above. So clearly I have to get a bigger, more powerful boat puller.

This leads me to purchasing a Nissan Xtrail that has 4 wd and a big motor, er like, by Japanese standards.


My future


Click to see the hook


It little profits that an idle king, 
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole 
Unequal laws unto a savage race, 
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

So do you get it? I have neither permanent residence, nor a boat, nor a trailer but I have a truck.

Living the dream.





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Out on the Ocean

I have not gone on a long sail in the Scaffie since the epic Keramas adventures with Ben in November 2015.

This weekend the weather is announced fair so I determine to take off to Minna Jima.

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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.

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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.

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Agony and pain.

So I up sticks an head down to the harbor.


Worse places

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!

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Good Deed for the Day

Naoko found me a Japanese rugby streaming channel. This is probably bad news as I can now vegetate in front of the screen and watch rugby all the time. It has already had an influence on my social life as the graceful Arisa was singing last night but her performance clashed with All Blacks / Lions. Er, sorry Arisa.


I don’t like sponge cake!

Anyway, I swim out to the field of antler coral as what lies close to my house. I have sailed over this wonderful place a few times recently and have noticed a big sheet of plastic that had snared on the coral.

I swim out to remove the plastic from the coral.


The offending article.

The sun is hot, the sea is warm, the fish are amazing.




Sunday afternoon


This is Okinawa

I used to be a scout.

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It is Summer in Okinawa. It is hot, the sea is warm and so all things look seaward. About 20 meters from the shore in front of my house there is a family of Clown Fish.


When did you last see your father?

I amazed that they survive. At very low tide they are in scarcely 20 cm of water. Typhoons crash on them but there they are every year. They are my friends.


I know how you feel.

So, to photograph them, I wait for very low tide and then lie in front of their home for hours. It is very pleasant. I have a mask and snorkel. The sun beats on my back as I lie in 50 cms of water.


I love you

Their behavior is indeed clownish. They come out from cover and cavort and pose. Any  suspicions of danger sends them scurrying to safety with shrieks and cries.


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