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June 11, 2006

Idlewild Log Entries

August 12, 2006
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June 11, 2006

May 24 was one year since we released our mooring from the Peace River

Bridge at Dunvegan and started our long journey. A truly incredible year

for us. So many places we could have seen no other way and fantastic people

wherever we stopped. Sometimes we think longingly of home and the next

minute we hate to see this journey end. Maybe we'll just fuel up when we

get to Vancouver and continue on forever.

 

Chichi Jima, population 2,000, clean, small and beautiful. These Bonin

Islands were given back to Japan in 1968 when Japan was getting prosperous

and they have spent big time on infrastructure including roads and harbor.

No airport but tourism and fishing.

 

We were scrutinized by Harbor Control, Coast Guard, Quarantine, Immigration,

Customs and Police for 3 hours, then 2 hours the next day. The Coast Guard

in particular was against us going into Tokyo Harbor because it is very busy

and there are many potential problems. I was just as determined to go

there. If being difficult was reason to stay away we would never have left

home. As a matter of fact, the difficulty added to the allure of the place.

 

We met some wonderful people in Chichi Jima, rented a car and quickly went

around the small Island. A lovely interesting place. Interestingly the

first settlers were Americans in 1830. We went by ferry (because too

complicated to take our boat) to Haha Jima about 40 miles away which was

originally settled by a German and a British couple about the same time.

Haha Jima population is 420 and an incredibly lovely place. Some tourism

here but the only access is Ferry from Chichi Jima. Back at Chichi Jima

Brad & Kevin enjoyed snorkeling before we headed for the Yankee Bar to visit

with Rans for the evening. May 14 we got a good weather report from

Commanders and headed for Tokyo.

 

Tokyo Bay is as busy and interesting as we expected. We were on collision

course with ships many times but everyone is watching closely so no

problems. Visibility was poor so we didn't see the many surrounding cities,

but we did see 1 airport and Disneyland. I have been around the world 3

times by air before, and Tokyo is the only city common to all trips. The

first time was 45 years ago in 1961 and the city has changed some.

 

We have visited Edo-Tokyo history Museum, a Police Museum, Maritime Museum,

Museum of Emerging Science, A long Canal Tour throughout Tokyo by Terry

Suzuki of Ocean Life Magazine, a Motorcycle Expo, Sumo Wrestling, Senso-Ji

Temple, Tokyo Tower, Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza Shopping Area, Ropongi

Restaraunts, Shinjuku Station and the night spots.

 

We are at Yumenoshima Marina where we are being spoiled. Yanagida the

manager and the staff were always very helpful. They are treating us very

special and offering to help us in any way they can. Michihiko Sasaki of

the Tokyo Yacht Club (TYC) met us early and was extremely helpful. He

talked to the Commodore, Minoru Wada and said we would be their guest and

our stay would be without charge at the Marina. They presented us with a

club Burgee. Tsutomu Takayama arranged a fuel coupon to help with the fuel.

Sasaki drove us several places including Customs and to the Russian Embassy

and was continually bringing us a supply of food and information about our

stop in Kushiro. We sincerely thank all the people we met in Tokyo who made

our stay very happy and memorable.

 

Yumenoshima Marina is a highly convenient Marina, just only 15 minutes by

car from center of Tokyo. It is clean, quiet and secure so it is an ideal

place to stay.

 

To our joy, Kurt Fink a family friend from home joined us on May 25 in

Tokyo. We had been scheduled to leave Tokyo May 27 but storms delayed our

departure and allowed us to explore more to Kurt's delight. Kurt has been

an excellent seaman, he can cook and do dishes like a pro, as well as the

less demanding tasks like the graveyard watch. He caught a 42" fish, but

after landing it, the fish jumped off the gaff, broke the line and bounced

down the steps to freedom. Do we count that?

 

A lovely calm trip to Kushiro, into the quiet Bay and up the Kushiro River

to the center of town. Everything available close, and no need for

security, it is fabulous. Our friend Shigemi Seki met us and helped with

Customs, finding our way and generously lent us his car. He heard we had

interest in Russia and urged the Russian Embassy to call Moscow to get us

permission to enter Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (PK). They have no provisions

to enter except by air or cruise ship. Moscow said OK for a 3 day only

transit visa. We would have to be there on the exact date we said and could

not stay any longer so I went to Sapporo by train and met Seki's lovely

daughter, Ayako. She had recently gotten married in Vancouver and was over

for a vacation and spoke excellent English. She took me to the Embassy and

gave a walking tour of Sapporo while I waited for my trip back and helped me

catch the right train. Thank you Ayako.

 

Kevin drove Seki's car up to Mashu Lake through the beautiful farm and

forest land. Thank you Seki.

 

Kitano invited us for a lovely Japanese supper which we greatly enjoyed and

his friend, Shizuo Tsukada was there as well for a nice visit. Tsukada is a

pain specialist who works on baseball players etc. Kitano has fished the

North Pacific for 40 years and had 2 factory fishing boats with numerous

fishing boats for many years and was familiar with the coastline from Japan

through Russia and Alaska to Vancouver. He knows far more about North

Pacific weather than anyone we have met. I had been a little worried about

being early by going in June but he said this is the best time. He said by

August it is more foggy and stormy.

 

We even got invited to a funeral and paid our respects after a full

explanation. They are so friendly you don't feel uncomfortable, even though

3 cowboys with their hats (Kevin was back at the boat) going to a funeral

where we didn't even know the name of the guy who invited us or the

deceased. It was truly great. I want to come back again.

 

Tokyo May 17 to 31, Kushiro June 3 to 8 - good weather so off to PK.