Whoa, this season has been rainy! I am dying to get out on the boat but opportunities have been few, as the weather has been awful. There have been a series of major thunderstorms, heavy rain and a lot of high wind. I do not remember it being like this in previous years. I suppose I was nicely tucked up inside the university and did not notice so much.
So, there has been very little boat stuff since I got back from the States. I think I will have to reconsider which months I spend In Okinawa. Maybe come back in June.
However the lack of boating has given me plenty of time for my other hobby – going to the dentist.
I have bone disease in the jaw which has loosened one of my crowns. Yuck!
Major work that costs almost nothing. I love the Japanese health service.
We also play music for the children at the OIST Child Development Centre.
Looks like it is going to rain all this week. Oh dear. I should mention that it is also 28 degrees.
Today was the second Graduation Ceremony at OIST. Such fun! This blog is archival so do not feel obliged to read it. I wish I had taken more photos.
The students spent 5 years with us. They got married, they had babies, they had failure, they had success, their experiments failed, they had doubt, they had vulnerability. But they did it! Congratulations to you all!
The event was called “Graduation Ceremony 2018.” I cannot remember why. I mean it is 2019.
I had a get together with old friends in San Francisco earlier this week and now a wonderful get together with old friends in Okinawa. I wish I had taken more photos.
I set off in the truck with two goals, visit Lassen Volcanic Park and fight my way along the Ponderosa Way, renowned 4 wheel drive trail. I achieve neither.
These places are in Northern California.
The weather turns bad with rain and snow as I get higher into the hills. I finally get to Lassen Volcanic State park to find that the parking lot is the only place that is not under 15 foot of snow.
I head down the mountain to find a campsite. California does not disappoint as I find the most beautiful place right on a river.
I pours with rain all night but there is a great feeling of snugness and comfort inside the camper. Next morning the fill the river with trout man comes by.
I set off for the Ponderosa Way. It is steep and very muddy but worst of all there are multiple possible tracks all of which could be the one I should be on. After a while I realize I am lost. It is chucking it down and I dread getting stuck in the mud high in the mountains, miles from anywhere. So I turn around and head back to a real road.
I spend the rest of the day researching camp sites as I now dream of coming back in better weather and spending a couple of weeks fishing for trout. The scenery is so beautiful and there is nobody here.
I end up in a site called Cherry Hills. Again I camp right by the river. Again it pours with rain.
Lassen National Forest is the place to go camping. I will be back with a fly rod.
This is initially a serious race that slowly degenerates into a procession of colorful folks prancing around having drink taken. It goes from the Ferry Building – Bay- to Ocean Beach – Breakers. The race passes right in front of our house and I spend a remarkable morning just watching from the steps.
Suddenly two motorbikes with flashing lights appear closely followed by the leading athletes who are burning it up!
Real athletes go through, followed bunches of serious runners wearing costume.
The pace slows and Bay to Breakers becomes a gleeful procession of inanity .
A few details that have been overlooked due to the blazing light of the first sail.
The water pump in the galley had died after years of rubber withering heat and humility. It is a Whale pump, made in Northern Ireland. After much detective work I track one down to a boat shop on the mainland called Yuukomarine.
I send an email and get a reply in English from Colin. Hooray a boat chandler where they speak English. This will make my life much easier! It turns out that Colin knows Nick and Rika.
Anyway the new pump is hand delivered to my place at 9:30 on Sunday morning. No comment.
Harry gives me a small Indian made pressure cooker. I find this very exciting, as I dream of stews and stuff in exotic locations.
So, I started to restore a Norfolk Gypsy, which was more or less a wreck, just over a year ago. It has been a wonderful project during which I have been much helped by many kind and skilled people. Today was historic. I sailed her for the first time.
I have gone in baby steps since putting her in the water. First it was chugging around using the engine, then bits of sailing only with the jib. Today with Nick and Rika we raised all sail and had a glorious afternoon in brilliant sunshine.
The wind was blowing more or less straight offshore and we ran out to sea with the main and jib gull-winged.
Nick is a professional boat racer and it was great to have him tell me what to do!
We ran quite along way out, went on a broad reach up the coast for a bit and then beat our way back into the harbor.
Beating back to Okinawa has always been a lengthy business in my previous boats. This time it is completely different as the boat points much better into the wind but also because Nick really knows what is doing! He uses terminology that I have never heard before, “bump, lift, being in the channel” these all refer to how the boat is responding to the wind.
We come back in with 4 taught tacks, the last taking us straight through the harbor entrance, where we elegantly take down the sails and chug onto the mooring.
Hooray! I am so pleased! Everything worked and although I might make some tiny adjustments, the boat is ready to go. I look forward to a Summer of intense happiness and joy.
The day after tomorrow I go to San Francisco. I worry about the cockpit filling up with water and so flooding the engine compartment if there is intense rain while I am away. I have been fabricating a cockpit tent that should keep out the worst of the rain.