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
21 May 2018
21 May 2018
21 May 2018
21 May 2018
21 May 2018
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

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.

21 May 2018
On some days, the mountaintop is obscured by cloud, squalls rattle downhill into the harbour whipping the surface into choppy wavelets, their tops blown off. The rubber buffers lining the dock wall are rather too deep for sailing boats with smaller diameter fenders. In this photo, Sue is hastily clipping down the cockpit canopy just ahead of rain bringing up the rear after the squall.

21 May 2018
Our primary focus is getting the boat ready for the passage across to the Aleutian Islands. We had expected to see several more yachts hereabouts by now. We know of four but they are still farther to the south. Perhaps the weather has been windier for coming north than in previous years, we have certainly been dodging a few gales.
One of the jobs is to check the bottom, we had intended to do it farther south where waters are warmer, but circumstances did not oblige. Twenty miles from Hakodate, we picked up more of that vexatious weed. Performance of a folding propeller is impacted markedly and little stopping power evident when using astern gear. Once in Hakodate, water temperature 11C, two wetsuits, hood, gloves and a tank of air enabled a brief 40-minutes underwater: cleaning the propeller, brushing off minor growth, making sure transducers are clean, checking the rudder bearings, cleaning fridge keel-cooler, cleaning anodes and HF Radio ground plates. It is surprising how much faster one works in cold water compared with warm limpid tropical seas. The coldest parts of anatomy were lower lip and feet.
We have a problem with our genset seawater pump seals leaking again; they seem to need changing every hundred hours of operation. Spares we bought in Australia have proved to be slightly the wrong size. Thankfully, a friend from Seattle joining Mystic Moon in Kushiro is bringing us a complete replacement pump and a number of spare seals. Without the genset operational for charging and running heating, supplementary to our diesel heater, our time in Alaska might be less fun than we are anticipating.
Today we filled with diesel fuel, we shall top off in Kushiro before our final departure from Japan. The 9Kg Japanese LPG-Propane bottle we bought in Okinawa has been re-filled (Local rules prevent filling of non-Japanese bottles). We have managed to keep our normal LPG bottles full en-route through Japan so we have plenty of propane stored in ventilated deck lockers. When we leave Japan, we may not be able to refill for some time. A different mind-set must be engaged once more, before heading out into the Bundu; this time a rather cold wilderness where we must plan to be independent from shore services and supplies.

21 May 2018
Another nice spell between wet and windy conditions, we issued ourselves a day –pass for an outing. A few cherry blossom trees are still in bloom, most went over two weeks earlier than usual. Here two flowers, Sue & Kathy, among blossom.

21 May 2018
Our visit happened to coincide with an annual festival that re-enacts the events that thrust Hakodate into the Meiji (Modern) Era following the termination of the Shogun era. A parade complete with mocked up ships on trailers, people in uniform from foreign navies and a local acting the part of Commodore Perry…
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 - Embera Drua River Trip
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Andy tucks into breakfast provided on the trip.
Martin, the trip organiser gives us some history.
Our helm, sporting the traditional decorated clothing and tattoos.
Our transport awaits.
The group dons life jackets and piles into the canoes.
One of the 3 canoes catches us up.
Such good balance!
Cara, her parents posing in the background, from the boat Serendipity.
An Embera village
Andy holds on to the seat in between bailing out!
Connie and Wolfgang who we last met in Curacao.
We are put ashore so that the villagers can  check to see if it is safe to continue up the river.
At this point it is touch and go as to if we can visit the village as the waters are so high and fast flowing.
A pit stop is made to check the engine.
The first view of the village.
The bow man gives directions, plenty of logs flying down the  river.
Sue still smiling, or is it just fear?
Two beautifully decorated Embera women come to welcome the group to the village.
The tame otter gets in the way!
The Medicine man awaits the safe arrival of the last canoe.
The women prepare the lunch.
The so.und of traditional music greets us
The group is led up to the village.
Picking leaves to keep the food fresh.
The Medicine man gets a tattoo.
Fish and chips Embera style.
One of the women tells us in detail how the palm material is dyed using a range of different methods, including burying it in mud for 3 days.
Ivan shows the group the traditional cloth worn by the Embera, it is made out of tree bark and is very scratchy.
Painting a tattoo.
A Toucan Mask
A monkey mask.
The cooking fire in the main meeting hut.
The Tattoos are only temporary, the dye is made from a plant and has the added side effect that it keeps away the mosquitos!
The Flautist of the village plays us a tune on his bamboo flute, he lets Sue have a go too.
Some of the beautiful baskets for sale made by the women of the village.
Andy chats with one of the villagers, his son who is five finds a comfortable seat.
The children play with anything.
An array of animal mask all woven.
The house in the village are all built on stilts.
Martin tries on a Tucan mask.
Traditional dancing led by a drum to keep the beat.
Colourful washing.
One of the beautiful baskets being woven.
Andy makes his way down to the beach for yet an other exciting Canoe trip in the fast flowing waters of the Chagres.
Traditional Embera music.
One of the villagers leads the otter away from the propellers of the canoes.
A tame Otter that lives with the villagers.
A long canoe beaches ready to take on passengers. In the dry season the river is a beautiful blue.