21 August 2019 | Sidney, Vancouver Island
06 August 2019 | Powell River
26 July 2019 | Campbell River
17 July 2019 | Port McNeil, Vancouver Island
05 July 2019 | Ketchikan
28 June 2019 | Petersburg, Alaska
17 June 2019 | Seward
04 June 2019 | Seward, Alaska
13 August 2018 | Kodiak town
16 July 2018 | Alaska
17 June 2018 | North Pacific
01 June 2018 | Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
06 May 2018 | Mihonoseki
22 April 2018 | Marin Pia Marina, Kunasaki
30 March 2018 | Marin Pia Marina, Musashi, Oita
25 February 2015 | Puerta Galera, Mindoro island
07 February 2015 | Pinoy Boatyard Port Carmen

Finally on the move!

06 May 2018 | Mihonoseki
Jo
There we were suspended in the travel lift ready to drop in the water and set off, when Giles turned the prop and out came a white slither of the rope cutter bearing.
Our hearts sank, but we consoled ourselves that it was only a small part and should be easy to fly out from the UK in a couple of days. As our frustrations with the postal service mounted, we at least got away for a couple of days exploring inland Kyushu, the dramatic volcanic area around Aso, where we wound for miles along beautiful mountain roads, and admired the high plains of the smouldering volcano, and to Kumamoto, where I wanted to visit the garden of Suizenji-jojuen.
Two frustrating weeks later after much agitation and shenanigans finally the small envelope arrived! Marin Pia marina hoisted us out of the water immediately, and an hour later we were good to go!
Because of the delays we were seriously behind schedule to meet Gus and Julia Stafford Allen, who had a carefully planned holiday all reserved in every direction, and our delay had totally mucked up the plan of when and where to meet up!
So we had a rushed agenda to get ourselves somewhere nice before they joined us. The main obstacle was the Kanmon Strait which separates Japan’s main island of Honshu from Kyushu island. The water roars through the Kanmon at 6 knots and more, making it imperative to get the tides absolutely spot on! A bit of a tall order, as our jumping off point was the island of Hime Shima, some 40 miles from the strait, and we needed to be there at 10 am.
We left at 3.30 am, worrying for most of the way that we should have left sooner, but luckily all went according to plan, and not only did we shoot through the strait, but made it all the way to Tsunoshima right in the NW tip of Honshu.
Leaving from there next day was lumpy and rough, and soon anything that we had not stowed properly was flying around the cabin, probably a tidal effect caused by currents converging to the Kanmon. Grim thoughts that this might be the permanent state of the Sea of Japan for our next 600 miles were allayed as we moved onward, and the sea took on a more even motion.
Hagi on the NW Honshu coast had had a good press, and was the nicest place for the Staffies to join us, but unfortunately for us it is an ‘Open Port’, which means that you have to clear in with Customs. We were out of luck, instead of a nice relaxing afternoon in sunny Hagi, we spent four hours dealing with the authorities, who also told us to move position several times. Form after form was filled in then the same again and finally, when all seemed in order one of them scurried back to bring yet another form, then announced he would come back again, at which point I said NO we’ll come with you, we have to go out!
The so called marina was a long walk from anywhere, but luckily with the help of friendly Policemen we managed to find a car hire place, and organise a car for the next day, when we duly drove over to Yamaguchi on the south side of Honshu to collect the Staffies, taking them to a garden and a beautiful pagoda on the way back. The drive through mountains and valleys of paddy fields and traditional houses was beautiful.
Hagi provided us with an interesting morning of old samurai streets and houses and it was particularly lovely to see a garden on a more domestic scale at the merchant house of Kikuya-ke Jutaku.
A whizz round a supermarket while we still had the hire car, and then we were off, with a lovely calm afternoon to cross the few mile to the off lying island of O Shima. It was a few miles too many for Julia who got off the boat very fast when we arrived, sitting in splendour on the quay in our only deck chair, while we had a cup of tea! We had a delightful circular evening walk up behind the small village into the countryside, where it would seem farmers don’t live, buildings are purely for machines and farming paraphernalia, presumably they live in the village. Small rice paddies, rows of neat potatoes, sweet corn, lots of flowers, and other unidentifiable veggies are all grown on a very small scale.
Next day after an early start, which is our normal routine, and Julia told to stay in bed dosed up with Stugeron, we covered 40 miles on to Hamada, going through a pink sea, the unhappy phenomena known as red tide, caused by toxic algal blooms and environmentally bad news, particularly to shell fish, and those who eat them!
Hamada is another ‘Open Port’, so tied up with some trepidation in front of the Customs and Coastguard. We lay low and quickly had some lunch, just as well, as soon we were boarded by five officials, three Customs and two Coastguards, soon to be made seven when the Port authority arrived. An hour later, and endless forms filled, mostly identical, we managed to get off Brother Wind and scurry away in case any more forms might be forthcoming!
The onward next leg was to Taisha, a small port close to Izumo Taisha, Japan’s second most important shrine. We emerged to be greeted at 6 am by the young Coastguard, waiting for us, who kindly gave us plans of the next two harbours, ironically incorrect - -what are they for one wonders!
Half way to Taisha in a grey drizzly morning a little wind suddenly appeared, so we excitedly got sail out only to find it was gusting 35 knots, so pretty good chaos ensued, reefing and furling until we sorted ourselves out , and then enjoyed a lively sail for the rest of the way.
We tied up alongside the harbour wall in Taisha, just before an afternoon and night of torrential rain, and there we remained for four days of storms, winds of 45 knots and spray coming up and over the high protective sea wall covering Brother Wind with salt and sand! Getting on and off Brother Wind was a challenge, heaving at lines to bring us within safe leaping distance.
However, the rain at least let up even if the wind did not, and we were able to organise train tickets for the Staffies onward journey, as well as enjoying a great day out with them, visiting the Adachi Museum of Art. Large glazed windows and open unglazed ones incorporate the external and internal space hugely successfully, and the immaculate garden is seen as living art to be viewed only from inside the building. It is a very different Japanese garden experience.
When the Staffies left the next day, we took a pink electric train to the city of Matsue to visit the castle there, and replenish some ships stores!
Finally after four nights, escape came this morning after a 5 am start. A calm night and the sea had miraculously subsided, so we have moved on another 40 miles to the small town of Mihoneski, arriving just ahead of another squall, and now cowering below while the rain does its best to wash some of the salt and sand off us! We listen with envy to the projected heatwave about to sweep through England, we could do with some of that weather here!


Comments
Vessel Name: Brother Wind
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 45
Hailing Port: Blakeney, Norfolk UK
Crew: Jo and Giles Winter
About: Rolling selection of friends and family
Extra: Check my Instagram for pictures jogi_winter
Brother Wind's Photos - Jo and Giles round the world on Brother Wind (Main)
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IMG_0754: Brother Wind in Sydney Harbour
 
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From Taisha we moved northwards to Hakodate in Hokkaido, where we left the sea of Japan behind
17 Photos
Created 1 June 2018
12 Photos
Created 1 June 2018
Land travels in Japan
18 Photos
Created 22 April 2018
Sailing again
31 Photos
Created 25 February 2015
10 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 5 March 2014
A trip up the Kinabatangan River in Brother Wind, with brother Jamie, wife Mel, and daughter Izzy
40 Photos
Created 23 August 2012
Jamie,Mel and Issy Cooper joined us in K-K, Sabah, for a dramatic trip north and then stunning islands followed by a trip up the Kinabatangan river
27 Photos
Created 12 August 2012
40 Photos
Created 22 July 2012
28 Photos
Created 21 June 2012
our trip back to Langkawi from the Andamans, with Mike and Laurian Cooper on board
15 Photos
Created 28 March 2011
7 Photos
Created 28 March 2011
10 Photos
Created 7 April 2009
12 Photos
Created 2 March 2009
16 Photos
Created 28 February 2008
10 Photos
Created 25 July 2007
16 Photos
Created 25 July 2007
Passage Brisbane north to Whitsundays
23 Photos
Created 8 June 2007
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Created 24 May 2007
16 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 May 2007
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Created 2 May 2007
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Created 2 May 2007
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Created 10 March 2007
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20 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
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Created 1 December 2006