Little Green Boat

Spruce left the UK in 2011, arrived in SE Asia during 2015. Finished land/air touring in Asia. Afloat again and getting ready to head east to Raja Ampat and on to Japan and Alaka in 2018.

21 May 2018 | Hakodate - Hokkaido - Japan
21 May 2018
18 May 2018 | Saigo, Noroshi, Sado Jima and on to Hokkaido
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
18 May 2018
04 May 2018 | Oki Islands - Shimane - Japan
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
04 May 2018
01 May 2018 | Hagi - Shimane - Japan

The Northern Island - Hokkaido

21 May 2018 | Hakodate - Hokkaido - Japan
Andy & Sue
In January, the typical daytime temperature in Hakodate barely climbs above freezing. Fortunately, in May, things are warmer, but inclement weather still makes frequent appearances. On one of the nicer days, we joined John & Kathy from Mystic Moon to head off to see the sights in one of the older parts of town, including a ride on the cable car to Mount Hakodate where magnificent views of the surroundings lie resplendent. The water off to the right of photo is the way we shall go when we depart for Kushiro in the east: around a headland just off to the right and then off leftwards behind the high ground in the background. The water on the left is the relatively sheltered port area, protected by substantial breakwaters.

21 May 2018
The history of Hakodate is varied. Japan’s 250-year closed period, during which Nagasaki was the only port allowed entry by foreigners, ended with the arrival of Commodore Perry under orders from the US President, Millard Fillmore. Perry’s ships were armed with the terrifying new “shell” projectile, which exploded upon impact. The method of gunboat diplomacy, so perfected by the Royal Navy before, brought a treaty that opened Hakodate and four other ports to foreign vessels. Russia’s eastern extremities being close by, their ships frequented Hakodate. The beautiful spires of the Japanese Orthodox Church are a vestige of that era.

More Islands in Sea of Japan & Heading North

18 May 2018 | Saigo, Noroshi, Sado Jima and on to Hokkaido
Andy & Sue
Our passage away from the Oki Islands began fast and rolling. A poled headsail and the mainsail boomed out on the opposite side harnessed winds from astern at near 30-knots. The strong blow of the previous day (see photo) had left three different wave trains, which combined to produce steep and confused seas at up to 3-metres height. The waves were so lumpy that Sue’s drawing in her diary is distinctly wobbly. The winds generously eased during the day, but then dropped too light for sailing. We pressed the “Iron Topsail” into service to avoid a second night at sea. All worked to our favour and we nosed our way into Noroshi before dusk, another small fishing harbour, forlornly fighting the throes of decline: some 215-sea-miles from our starting point of 36-hours earlier.
The last couple of days in Saigo were great fun. We enjoyed a bus ride out to a hiking trail along the windward coast; the glorious sunny sea views in strong westerly winds were invigorating. Good trails have been laid out, but appear little used; we wonder whether the obvious investment by island communities to reinvent themselves as tourist destinations is as successful as was anticipated. On our route, we spotted a large restaurant, obviously out of business; fridges, freezers and other discarded paraphernalia forlornly stacked outside. A new restaurant/bistro has been erected across the road. A modern building, it looked more economical to operate. However, they had no patrons at lunchtime peak hours. Seven staff eagerly gathered as we checked on the menu. They only offered full meals, no snacks or drinks. The meals were traditional local shellfish fare, cooked over a centre table barbecue. This hostelry in an out of the way location seemed to cater for a far too specialised-niche to be guaranteed a prosperous future.

18 May 2018
Meeting new people is always interesting. An English speaker, Yoshimi, at the local tourist office had a thought-provoking tale. She visited the UK on working visas a number of times to improve her language skills. On the first trip, she went to London. The ethnic diversity of the inner city meant she was hard pressed to practice listening to "correctly" spoken English. Even the Cockney accent was difficult to decipher from her UK based English lessons. Her next trip took her to the Northeast of England where the Geordies gave her a different smattering of an alternative to "Queen's English". A final visit gave her a year working in Shrewsbury where the typical accent is more neutral, this gave her English the boost to its present high standard. We had not perceived these difficulties for a foreign language student working at reaching a basic standard in the early stages of learning English. Japanese is so different from a European tongue; it is probably harder than for a native speaker of another European language.

18 May 2018
In Sado Jima, “Tub Boats” used to be a mode of transport for shell fishing and close inshore waterborne activities. Nowadays their usage is limited to tourist rides in local bays. The mode of propulsion is an oar through a webbing strap. Handles atop are used to pivot the oar clockwise and anti-clockwise as it is moved from left to right in an oscillatory fashion. This moves the strange looking craft most efficiently through the water.
Venturing onto the water is not something many Japanese appear to do for recreation. The trepidation at setting off in a wobbling sawn off barrel end is clearly visible on the passenger’s face. Loud exclamations of “Woooahhh” accompany each additional passenger boarding.

18 May 2018
Automation is now applied to planting rice seedlings. We have seen many methods while travelling in Asian countries. People bent double, water up to their calves has been a common sight. In parts of Vietnam, a novel method of throwing the seedlings and relying on gravity and air resistance to deposit them in the correct orientation was in favour. Here in Japan, trays of seedlings are loaded into racks behind the driver; an ingenious mechanism plucks seedlings into the muddy paddy at the correct spacing. This fellow was working on another field as we walked outbound, upon our return a couple hours later he was almost finished in this different paddy. Meanwhile, a colleague ferried trays of seedlings from a nearby greenhouse nursery. The rains will come in the next few weeks and the rice-growing season will be in full swing with the arrival of the southwest monsoon and warmer weather.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-16 brought us north into Asia. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/littlegreenboat
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Spruce's Photos - Grenada Work-Boat Sailing Regatta
Photos 1 to 22 of 22 | Main
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Oh Dear! No inbuilt buoyancy so a tow to the beach follows a capsize.
A smile as waterlogged boat ends the race for these guys
The one boat that reefed but what a lot of sail.
Class starts their race
Idyllic view from under our tree vantage point
Sue enjoying a mid race swim
Organised chaos
Sue (left) and Chris (Toots) in the oggin, warm oggin.
Steep beach and finishes on te beach
Approaching their finish
Run for the rum punch and the finish
Boats in a larger class piling ashore
Zoom, zoom towards the beach
About to finish
The local police officers look on
...and they are off!
Racing seawards
...and further away still
This one never made the start line
 
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