Saving Sergeant Scaffie

In Okinawa you cannot buy gasoline in a plastic container. You have to have an expensive metal tank. This used to annoy me but what can you do?  As this narrative continues the logic for this will be revealed.

The Scaffie has been abandoned in Seisyun san’s dock in Zamami. The year wears on. The weather can only get worse. I have an exceptionally busy week but Saturday promises to be a good day to get the Scaffie back to the happy mooring in front of my house.  This is problematic as it means getting to Zamami on Friday evening to allow for the early start on Saturday that needs must light on getting back to the happy mooring in front of my house before it gets dark.  There are no boats to Zamami that remotely fit my schedule.

This is what we do. I sprint from last meeting on Friday into a cab that takes Ben and me to Tomari harbor from whence a ferry goes to Tokashiki, an island adjacent to Zamami. We catch the ferry with minutes to spare but I leave my IPhone and house keys in the cab amid the  general fluster.

We thunder across to the island on the most beautiful evening. Once in Tokashiki, we take a bus across the island to another little town on the west coast, Aharen. There Seisyun san is waiting in his fishing boat and takes us over to Zamami as the sun sets. Wonderful trip. Thanks Naoko.

The last leg to Zamami

The last leg to Zamami

I was in a suit and meeting only a couple of hours ago!

I was in a suit and meeting only a couple of hours ago!

We stay with a wonderful lady who is the quintessence of wonderfulness.

Tatami mats and futons

Tatami mats and futons

We then go to Seisyun san’s house for an unforgettable evening. There are two young women working at the guest house, Emi and Sakura, who both speak good English and are the best fun.  We sit around the kitchen table, which is covered in fish hooks, spanners, beer cans and the like. We drink beer until I present Seisyun san with a bottle of Islay Mist, which incidentally I can buy in my local corner shop for about $20. The girls produce a series of dishes that they place amid the hooks and spanners. Wonderful food. We drink Islay Mist and swear everlasting friendship. We slash our wrists and mix our blood. I promise that Seisyun san can moor his boat in my bedroom. He swears that my mother, brothers, sister and ancestors can use his berth whenever they want. Whisky is amazing stuff.

Next morning we are in the Scaffie at 6:30, just as it gets light. The engine starts! We motor out into the November sunrise.

In russet mantle clad.

In russet mantle clad.

So we start the epic voyage home. Coming out from the Keramas the sea is very agitated and the Scaffie demonstrates all her viking heritage. I cannot see how she would ever be in trouble at, like, sea unless a huge wave curls over very high and unloads into the boat.

Leaving Port Askaig

Leaving Port Askaig

Yay! Sun, wind, blue

Yay! Sun, wind, blue

So off we go on a reach home to Zampa. The wind is coming in from the North East and we hurtle of on a very productive beam reach.

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Time when sailing is strange. In the Scaffie, you can’t really do very much or move around very much due to her diminutiveness. You sit there with the sun blasting against one side of your face dreamily watching a far beacon draw closer.  Suddenly six hours have passed.

Our only technology

Our only technology

We become aware that there is a strong smell of gasoline and indeed everything is coated with a layer of 2 stroke mix. Lo, the plastic gas tank has split due to too much exposure to sun and wind and has emptied most of its contents into the boat.

Go metal

Go metal

Eventually we draw level with Cape Zanpa. There is a big hotel on the cape, which we first see as a white blob. It then focuses into a rectangle and then the shape of a hotel. Soon we can see windows and balconies. Now we can read the sign. Unfortunately we are 5 miles out at sea and we will will have to beat into the wind, which is coming directly off the land, for hours to reach home.

We install mighty Tophatsu and after many prayers try to start her up. She goes!

We motor in and tie up at 3:00, eight and a half hours after our departure. This period of time in wild elements, in blazing sun, in an open boat, takes its toll.

Check the video of the early part of the voyage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HexGJkI2t3Y

A huge moth is there to welcome us.

This 3/4 ins across

This 3 or 4 ins across

Next day I am up early to do this.

http://www.oist.jp/news-center/news/2015/11/10/more-5000-people-oist-open-campus

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3 Responses to Saving Sergeant Scaffie

  1. Alan says:

    Good to know you survived but how did you get into your house?

  2. Naoko arranged for the taxi driver to give the keys and phone to a neighbor who in turn gave them to me! I did not know I had lost them until Naoko phoned Seisyun san’s guest house and they told me. Okinawa.

  3. Pingback: Out on the Ocean | The Quiet Ripple Defines The Pond

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