Hakodate and Kushiro

Hakodate turned out to be one of our favorite stops in Japan. A big part of that was our moorage, which was right in town. It wasn’t at a marina–there was no power, no floating dock, no amenities at all, really. But it was in a charming neighborhood, touristy in a good way. The formerly-industrial area where we moored was full of historic brick buildings that had been carefully restored. Restaurants were just steps away….

Takaya, Sado Island, Awashima, Toga, and an Earthquake!

After a week in Tokyo, I returned to Starr via train–four trains, to be exact. As I got further from Tokyo and transferred to progressively slower, smaller trains, the other foreigners disappeared. By the time I got to Mikuni, only the conductor and I were aboard. The transition from bustling city to nearly-silent fishing village couldn’t have been starker. The next morning we departed Mikuni at first light, not entirely sure where we were going….

Passagemaking with Dementia

Four years ago, Sharry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. Still holding hands after 60 years She is now in mid-stage. That means she might not know where she, except she knows she is on Starr. She often won’t know what happened 10 minutes earlier.  She does funny and sometimes frustrating things, like taking other people’s stuff and hiding it in our stateroom. We know most of the usual places to look but sometimes it might…

Sakaiminato, Ine, and Mikuni

On Saturday the 29th Captain Sam departed for his vacation in Tokyo meeting his wife Anna there.  The same day, Don and Sharry’s “hanai” granddaughter, Azusa Maruyama, joined us on Starr in Sakai-Minato. The friendship with Azusa‘s family started many years ago and included Sharry and her friend Shari Walker helping Azusa move into the dorm for her study abroad semester at the University of Portland. Azusa is now a successful business strategy consultant, working…

Tsunoshima, Hagi, and Izumo

Our first stop after leaving the Inland Sea was an island named Tsunoshima. We arrived late in the afternoon after a long day underway. Eager to see what was around and stretch our legs, we set out for a walk. We stumbled upon a lighthouse with a small museum. Ready for some extra exercise, I paid the 300 yen entrance fee and bounded to the top. The Tsunoshima Lighthouse was built in 1876 and is…

Onomichi, Su-Oshima, and Exiting the Inland Sea

After a wonderful four day stay at Suma Yacht Club, we began our westbound trip out of the Seto Inland Sea. We left at the crack-of-dawn to take advantage of favorable current through Akashi Strait. Starr reached nearly 12 knots as we passed through the narrows and under the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge. Until 2022, Akashi Kaikyō Bridge’s 6500-foot central span was the longest of any suspension bridge in the world. We followed our track 100nm…

Suma Yacht Club

Suma Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club have a long-standing friendship. Every three years, members from one club fly to the other, alternating who hosts and who travels. This year, 31 Suma Yacht Club members are traveling to Seattle, where they’ll be hosted at the homes of Seattle Yacht Club members, compete in sailboat races, and to enjoy Opening Day festivities. We visited Suma Yacht Club just a few weeks before the members departed for…

Miyajima to Suma Yacht Club

On our last morning in Miyajima, Brooke, Shannon, and Kat departed Starr. We’d had a great visit, but they needed to return to their real lives in Seattle. After sending them off, we got underway for Onimichi, about 50nm away. Cruising on the Inland Sea has a lot of parallels with cruising the Pacific Northwest. Many of the passages are narrow and winding. Currents are strong, often a few knots and occasionally five or six,…

Family Time

The hardest part of going long distance cruising is missing our family and friends back home. Sharry and I have spent most of the COVID years in Hawaii, which has made visiting our two sons, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter particularly difficult. When our son Brooke, his wife Shannon, and our granddaughter Kat expressed interest in joining us in Japan for spring break, we were thrilled! They arrived in Fukuoka after a long travel day from Seattle….


Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is a small island in the Seto Inland Sea, just a few miles from Hiroshima. It is most famous for its iconic Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s most photographed landmarks. The shrine is built over the water and is known for its beautiful torii gate, which appears to float on the sea during high tide. The torii gate as seen from Starr. Don, Brooke,…

Don & Sharry Stabbert

Sharry and I have been humbled by being awarded the CCA Far Horizons Award for 2021/22

To celebrate we’ve republished one of our favorite adventures and the changes it brought to the islands. We hope to visit this paradise again now COVID finally appears to be coming to an end.

For more info on Don and Sharry, read their Bio here.

Where we’ve been so far …

Pacific Crossings 2000-2020

Atlantic Crossing 2003-2005

Other places we’ve been…