I have not gone on a long sail in the Scaffie since the epic Keramas adventures with Ben in November 2015. https://quietripple.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/saving-sergeant-scaffie/
This weekend the weather is announced fair so I determine to take off to Minna Jima.
The Scaffie loves a long sail and so do I. Minna Jima is about 30 kms from my house. With a fine breeze on the starboard beam we go along very nicely at around 4 knots.
The course takes us far out on the ocean, in fact right into the main shipping lane up the west of Okinawa.
The weather is fabulous, the flying fish are inexplicable, I mean what are they doing? Black Naped Terns and Roseate Terns come over to check me out and screech. I love this stuff. It only takes 4 hours to get there.
I initially plan to camp on a length of beach where I know there is a Tern rookery just off shore.
However I am not happy with the Scaffie’s anchorage.
So I up sticks an head down to the harbor.
A guy who runs a business dragging people around behind his jetski is very interested in the Scaffie and is I think surprised that I have just sailed over from Maeda. With authentic Okinawa gentility he insists that I tie up beside his jet ski. He demonstrates a very cool knot that allows the mooring rope run up and down a fixed line such that the boat never grounds at low tide but follows the water out.
I wander off to the next beach from the harbor to set up camp. I snorkel and see a huge octopus.
I am exhausted and sunburnt and I think I fall asleep before it is dark.
So off we go on the return journey. I worry about how long it will take and so we are out of the harbor by 6:00. It is a beautiful morning. The wind is coming straight offshore that allows me to whizz down the the length of the island towards home. There is something wonderful about being 10 miles out at sea at 7:00 am. The light is, er you know what I mean, and it is not yet hot.
I get back to Maeda by 10:00 but I am 4 or 5 miles out to sea and now have to beat against the wind to get home. This takes another 4 hours! I have a motor but it seems cowardly to use it. The Coastguards actually pass by to see if I am all right. They have clearly seen me tacking back and forth without making any progress. They hail me with “Good morning, Captain.” This makes me feel good.
Any way I finally make it home, very fatigued and horrendously sun damaged. I sit down to watch the All Blacks play the Lions and fall asleep in the second half. This a good metric of my exhaustion.
But what a great adventure!
If you fell asleep in the second half, you must have been near death. I wore my magnificent Okinawan street sweeper’s hat at sea recently, a great investment.
Remind me what it is like. Must get one as my mesh crowned one is useless. The trouble is that my vanity has swollen my head beyond usual Okinawan hat sizes.
Yes, a great adventure indeed, and it serves as an inspiration. I was pleased to see that you took to wearing a hat, but I’m sorry that the mesh crown model did not work out. 10 miles out to sea! What kind of flotation does you Scaffie have?
The Scaffie is a very seaworthy boat. I have never felt that she could get into trouble at sea unless a really big wave reared up beside her and unloaded into the boat. My Scaffie seems packed with flotation material and doubt that she would ever sink. Check out :
Oh yes, no singing? Your followers want some more ballads!
Problems with the mesh crown? Needle and thread plus a little piece of cotton should sort the proble – are there no seamstresses in Okinawa?
Great trip – good to see the Scaffie getting out there again.
I am too rich! I will buy another hat. Come over for a sail before it is too late!