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 March 2018 | Ie Jima
21 March 2018
21 March 2018
21 March 2018
21 March 2018
21 March 2018
15 March 2018 | Ginowan Marina - Oknawa - Japan
15 March 2018
15 March 2018
13 March 2018 | Ginowan Marina - Okinawa
12 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
10 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
09 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
08 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
07 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
06 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
05 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
04 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
03 March 2018 | On Passage Yap towards Okinawa
02 March 2018 | Yap - Micronesia

Modest First Step Northwards

21 March 2018 | Ie Jima
Andy & Sue
Yesterday we departed from Ginowan Marina after staying a week. This photo taken by a new friend, Rex Tan, (see next entry/photo in blog), as we motored seawards. Following our nine-day passage from the tropics we were both tired and in need of some rest and recuperation, this stopover was just the ticket. Nearby shops enabled us to stock up with provisions for the next couple of weeks, until we determine what supplies are available in the smaller fishing ports ahead.

21 March 2018
In 2012, when we were in Panama, we met a lovely couple at the Shelter Bay Marina bar, where Sue was playing flute as part of the "Shelter Belters". Ron and Nancy hailed from the USA and were about to set out to pass through the canal and into the Pacific to cross to French Polynesia. Their boat was named "Always Saturday" and Ron's distinctive slow style of speech easily recognisable on HF Radio networks. We last saw them in Malaysia where they had decided to give up the cruising lifestyle and move to Colorado.
When we arrived in Ginowan, we were astonished to see "Always Saturday" hauled out for new antifoul paint. We met the new owner, Rex Tan, a Singaporean chap who recently retired after two decades working in Hong Kong. He had sailed her from Langkawi (West Malaysia) via Hong Kong and Taiwan last year. He plans to sail to one of the Japanese Islands north of the Marianas islands, Chi-Chi Jima, then on another 3,700 miles to San Francisco. He wants to sail the South Pacific, from SF he will be positioned to sail south to Mexico and then on to the Marquises. He joined us aboard and we showed him a few slides from French Polynesia and chatted over places to visit. Upon our departure, Sue gave him one of her wood block prints from Fatu Hiva's Baie de Vierges, just to help him stay positive and focused when the weather is less than wonderful during his long passage to the USA.

21 March 2018
Our 28-mile, short passage, to Ie Jima was uneventful and delightful sailing. Mostly around 16-knots from astern enabled us to set a full mainsail (we have not seen that much sail up for a while) and poled out genoa. In the distance is Ie Jima and the distinctive ancient volcanic plug that dominates the landscape behind the main town. Our fender board is ready for mooring alongside a wall in a tidal fishing harbour. Long ropes have been unearthed from lockers.
Upon arrival, we tried one of the harbour basins but it was too shallow at the extremities, the main part was clearly intended for commercial cargo vessels and ferries. Our movement to the next basin, it was a low spring tide, necessitated us leaving the harbour and coming in via a different entrance. The internal route would have seen us aground. The shallowest depth seen upon entry was around 4 metres; it reduced to 3.5m as we entered the outer basin. We need 2.2m to remain afloat.

21 March 2018
Our initial berth, on the outside of an internal breakwater was not ideal. The bollards were clearly intended for vessels to tied-up in the inner harbour, which looked very shallow. This panoramic shot shows (distorted) the wall alongside Spruce. The inner harbour is over the wall.
A very helpful fisherman came across from his boat, we used sign language plus a phone-translator to communicate. He indicated an inner harbour berth where it was deeper and we should not be bothered by any fishing boats for a few days. Another older fellow, who spoke some English, joined him and assisted with our lines. Kinjo San is retired, Sakihm San operates a Cuttlefish boat. We had some trouble with the translation. We think this region of Japan, Ryuku, once an independent Kingdom, might have its own dialect or language. When Sakihm San showed a photo of what he catches, a Cuttlefish, it translated to a Japanese word, which produced a definite "Hai" and thumbs up. However, it was a different word than he was using for the same creature. He also seemed to be using "Ika" for fish, the Indonesian/Malaysian is "Ikan", whereas our dictionary gives a different Japanese word altogether. Perhaps the Ryuku language has common roots with those other languages: something to read up.

21 March 2018
The spring tide range (change in depth between low and high tide) here is only 1.7m. Even so, this requires long lines for the bow and stern ropes and the springs (ropes to stop the boat moving backwards and forwards). The wall is covered with barnacles and limpets below an average high water level. Hence, the fender board, this grinds away on the abrasive wall and the fenders are placed between it and the hull. Here we have 0.7m under the keel at low tide.

21 March 2018
Here a broader view of the fishing harbour at Ie Jima. Spruce is located just above the bow of the larger fishing boat left of centre. In the distance is the larger island of Okinawa Jima.
Weather will likely keep us here for two or three days, the island is only 4-miles long and 2-miles wide. There will be time to explore and improve our fitness by hiking around.
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.
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Spruce's Photos - Panama Canal Transit
Photos 1 to 70 of 70 | Main
Our first sunset on the Pacific.
One of our resident Geckos.
The friendly launch driver from the Balboa Yacht Club.
Spruce on a Blaboa mooring boy.
Time for a rest in the shade.
A canal transit, champagne and a sunny afternoon wipes out Paul.... who sleeps like a baby!
Paul and Kate leave for a night out in Panama city.
Milaflores lock Panama Canal
Going into the last set of locks
Champagne and cake to celebrate a safe passage through the canal.
Marian on board Pitufa, does her bit line handling the bow line.
Mark on Pitifa.
Spruce just about to enter the Milflores locks.
Bill tends the bow line.
Spruce is walked through the lock by the line throwers.
The old lock gates.
Paul enjoys the sunshine.
Winston keeps an eye on our transit.
Are we nearly there yet?
Winston takes the helm
Winston meets Larry our Canal transit Advisor.
Caroline dries out on the fore deck after loads of rain.
Sue points out the old machinery used to keep the canal clean.
Canal dredging.
Not crocodiles just rusty pipes!
Paul has to stoop to take the helm. there were lots of trees floating by after all the rain.
Kate takes in the view
Bill on the bow.
Gatun lock all lit up
All rafted up, there is not a lot of room!
Goodbye Altlantic!
Andy ready at the helm.
Notice the helpful arrow! Its this way folks.
Bill tends the line in the rain.
Sue and Paul watch the lock gates closing on the Atlantic.
A cheerful smile from Paul in the rain.
Birgit and Christian on the other side of the Catamaran Leo.
Andy leaps into action on board Leo to make sure the spring line is nice and secure.
Gatun locks all lit up.
The center boat in the raft for the transit
The Canal Transit Advisor arrives.
The shoreline  of Gatun lake..... no crocodiles to be seen?
Pitufa in Gatun Lake.
Our farewell committee at Shelter Bay Marina, braving the rain to give us a send off. Reta, Robin, Susie, Andy ( Who should have been on the boat!) and Gert.
Paul flakes the lines so that nothing gets caught up.
All the waiting is enough to send Paul to sleep.
The Canal Transit Advisor, gets ready to jump on board Leo, the Cat we tied up to in the canal.