The final installment of the great adventure starts on Shell Beach. Shell Beach not because of the shells but because of the artillery ammunition Ben found there. It is of course a beautiful beach and Dileas is well moored fore and aft just offshore. There is a strange cave that has been colored red and green by the minerals that have been flushed out by the constant water drips from above. Ben calls me over and there in the sand is a heavily rusted shell er artillery sort. A couple of feet away there is another. A couple of feet further on he finds a row of seven, carefully placed side by side. In the end we find as many as we want and lose interest. There are also lumps of badly made concrete strewn around the place. We can only imagine that the beach was used as a gun emplacement during the war and at some point the soldier boys got up and left and er left everything behind. Surely someone has been here since 1945? Would n’t they have removed the shells?
We sleep well with our tummies if not full, then certainly lined with Spam. At 3:00 we are woken by immense flashes of lightning, not fork lightning but the sort that lights up the whole sky. We expect a rainstorm and so scuttle off to the cave and try to get shelter. I sleep but Ben has been traumatized by snakes and decides we must be on the main travel route of lots of them and sleeps outside the cave.
At 6:00 we are in the boat and heading home. There is no wind. We flap around in the channel between Tokashiki and Zamami going nowhere for an hour or so. I fire up the mighty Tophatsu. She starts at the first pull. I love her. We head home driven by the gently droning motor.
The problem is that I have no idea how much fuel she consumes. We have 50 kilometers to go and 10 liters of gas. I decide to motor until a tankful of fuel is used and then I will have an idea of how far we can expect to get. It is very, very hot. We are far out at sea as we take the shortest course back to Cape Zampa.
After 3 hours Tophatsu falters and stops. We are well advanced and I realize that if the worst comes to the worst we will probably have enough fuel to motor all the way home. We try to sail but there is absolutely no wind and we sit on the deep guiltily realizing that we will have to start Tophatsu again.
In the end we motor all the way back. I am ashamed by this as I am a sailor but there was absolutely no wind the whole day.
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin’ on.
Hey now get back truckin’ home.
Thanks Ben, thanks, Dileas, thanks Tophatsu.