Our Japanese Courtesy Flag is Flying!

Our Japanese Courtesy Flag is Flying!

April 7, 2010

Chichijima, Japan


8371nm traveled so far

We entered the closed port (not an entry port) of Chichijima, an island 600nm SE of Ashiya our final destination in Japan, at 1400 (Japan time, GMT +9) yesterday afternoon. We had arranged through our ship’s agent Furuno-san to enter this port as a port of refuge. Don needed to do some minor repairs and we needed to “hunker down” in expectation of 40+ knts wind last night in this area. In spite of the language barrier, the entry process was very professional (expected in Japan) and quick. We took a short walk around the tiny resort town of Futami and found a sushi restaurant to have dinner. We were surprised to find that the woman who was our waitress spoke excellent English which she learned living in Vancouver, BC and in New Zealand.

Based on the reports of our weather man, Omni Bob, we will depart today at 1200 and proceed at “our best NNW-NW speed” toward Ashiya to avoid a mess of potential nasty weather that is swirling all around us.

We are grateful for the good night’s rest, as we have 55 more hours to go and we will encounter heavy traffic lanes at 30+nm out of Ashiya where we will have to do 2 person watches and it will be a very tiring experience. We are already into dodging fishing boats and gear. Yesterday afternoon a 50′ fishing boat who was on our starboard, came right at us and “herded” us like a sheepdog, forcing to make a major coarse change and then he ran abeam to us on our port side, making it impossible to return to our original course. Eventually we could see an occasional flag marking his long line fishing gear. He let us go once we reached the end of the line, which was miles long. We thought that he just wanted to pilot us into Chichijima (we joke).

The most difficult part of our trip is still ahead of us, a combination of bad weather and very heavy commercial traffic. We will make another report when we arrive in Ashiya.
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