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 - Dominica - A Green and Pleasant Land.
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Heliconia - Lobster Claw
Flower in the rain forest - Sue can
White Begonia
Pipeline taking water from the reservoir. Like at St Lucia this one is made of barrel like staves of wood, coated in bitumen and held together with rings of bolted studding... just like a very long barrel.
Alex & Daria (Alerians) enter the Titou Gorge to swim through.
Trafalgar falls after a small rainfall.
The two waterfalls at Trafalgar falls in panoramic view.
Rocks in the plunge pool below Trafalgar Fall.
Look closely at the name of the vessel. An oxymoronic expression for this part of the world:-)
A water wheel and press for extracting the syrup from the sugar cane. The name cast into the equipment indicated it was manufactured in Britain by a company based in both London and Derby. Vestiges of a bygone empire.
Close up of the disused waterwheel and sugar factory beyond.
A view of the upper parts of Roseau, capital of Dominica, as we ascended into the rain forest.
A poster at a Heritage Centre showing the resident birds. Some were so shy we saw nothing of them.
The shape of Dominica - The Sandemans Port Man from Oporto leaning forwards to insist we don
Lush foliage in the rain forest. We think this is a type of Aechmea which grows on the trees rather like Air-Plants.
Orchid in the forest
Iguana perched on a tree while visiting the Indian River near Portsmouth.
Covered market in Portsmouth on one of the two market days each week. If you don
Preparing sugar cane for sale in the market. People seem to take this to suck on for breakfast.
Not much of this Blue Marlin left for sale. Large hunks were chopped off with the ubiquitous machete and sold for £EC 8 per pound weight. We managed to get one of the last pieces and it was only 07:30 am. The market starts before light at 05:30!
Andy and Daria, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Alex, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Martin, boat boy and guide en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
The settlement of Tanetane in Douglas Bay, Dominica..
Alexis, boat boy and guide, taking us to Indian River near Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Iguana lounging on a tree in the Indian River.
Blood Root trees alongside a river. The Carib Indians used the sap, red in colour, to paint their bodies.
Market day at Portsmouth, Dominica.
The photo shows sugar cane being prepared for vending. In the foreground are Carrots and Breadfruit. Beside the table in the distance are coconut "Water-nuts" these are sold as a substitute for canned drinks. Again the machete comes in to play to hack the top off ready to drink:-)
Blue Marlin being "cut" with the ubiquitous machete. We got in just before the last of the large fish was all sold.
Farmers from the countryside bring their produce to market in pick-up trucks - some are very battered but still going.
In the margins of the covered market hall. Really just a roof rather than a whole hall.
Inside the covered market. Most of the action is in the back of cars and pick-up trucks outside this building.
Another view of the market hall.
Shoreline at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Make do signage - the most simple of shop fronts:-)
A traditional carib dwelling. Palm leaves for the roof with poles to secure against the wind.
Two Caribs. Dennis on the left and Clem. Dennis
A stream lined with fantastic shaped trees.
A close up of the tortured roots.
Entrance to the Indian River at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
A local boat, dug out canoe made from a Gommier Tree with extra planks to increase the freeboard (distance from the water to the top of the gunwhale).
Climbers heading for light at the top of the tree canopy.
An impressive tree in the rainforest.
They claimed they are Danish and can
Melta Skywalker challenges his father to a light sabre duel! ... must mean Michael is really Darth Boe.
Our lunch stop. Coye with her husband holding grandchild number five.
A nutmeg still encased in its shell.
A view from Spruce looking towards the town of Portsmouth. Dominica has a total population of 72,000 people and Portsmouth is the second largest town with only a few thousand souls resident.