Thursday, June 28, 2012

31 48.66N 136 00.07E

Hello All,
We have had an interesting 2 days out here on the water. When I departed I knew there was a low coming through but after that there was suppose to be south to west winds. Well, we met the front and it offered gale force winds and what I thought was to be 12 hours turned out to be 24. It stalled right on top of us and offered lots of rain and wind. We were forced to make a southeast course. The wind finally settled this morning and we had a nice morning to afternoon sail in the right direction which is East. The wind came down a few hours ago and the sea is almost flat so I have decided to start the engine and start working our way off shore.
Weatherman predicts south to west winds in 24 hours so we will just toodle along until that happens.

All is well onboard and I am working on getting my sea legs back. Stefan is doing great and I am enjoying his company.

That's all for now, I will let you know what's going on as usual.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye Japan

Hello All,
We left Tannowa at 0500 this morning to catch the outgoing tide. A few of our friends came down to say goodbye and Kondo actually escorted us out the narrow channel to the outside bay with his sailboat. Every time I leave the places I spend a lot of time at I always feel so sad. We will be in the Pacific Ocean in a few hours and we have a little south breeze to help us along. I am motor sailing at the moment but if the wind predictions are correct we should be under sail only some time tonight.

Last night one of me friends Hirata took me out to dinner to a really nice French restaurant. He brought a friend along and we had a great time. He called it my last dinner in Japan. We were up really late getting last minute things done and put away so we are a little tired.

I had the time of my life in Japan even though I was only in a few places in Osaka Bay. The one thing that happens when you spent so much time like I did is you make really good friends and I want to thank them all for making me feel so welcome.

We are Alaska bound and I am very happy to be out sailing again.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Osaka Maritime Museum

Hello All,
I have been sitting here stewing over my decision to stick it out a few more days. A Canadian boat I have been chatting with on the email took my original plan of departure and headed out Saturday morning. They are much further north than I am so their weather is a little different than mine. They are also heading for Alaska, Dutch Harbor and Kodiak. It still leaves a feeling that maybe I should have went for it also. My gut told me to wait and now time will tell if it was the right thing to do. On a good note there are south and west winds coming the middle of the week so the old adage, stick stay and make it pay, will hopefully work out.

In the mean time Stefan and I took the train to Osaka and went to the Maritime Museum. It is a beautiful facility and heaps of Osaka Bay history and a real replica of and ancient Japanese tall ship. It is 120 feet long and actually sailed Osaka bay in the early 90's. It is the show case of the building placed right in the middle. I really have no more plans of touring around so I will just enjoy the local sailboat company that stops by from time to time and get my mind wrapped around jumping in the water to clean the bottom off. It has been 2 months since it was last done and it looks like it could use a little scrub. I really hate doing it but there is know one here you can even hire to do it so the job lands on me. I need the boat to move along as fast as possible without dragging along Japanese castaway growth.

Thats about it for now so I will talk to you soon.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aborted Passage

Hello All,
I was watching the weather till the last moment this morning. The last depression that came through changed my weather window to just a day and a half of favorable winds then it was going to start forcing us down instead of up. It was a really tough call to make but it is very important to me to leave with at least 3 to 4 days of sailing weather to get off shore.
For now we will just sit tight and keep watching for a day to leave. I will keep you posted as usual.
Bye for now.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Typhoon has passed

Hello All,
The Typhoon has passed and all is well. It started to pass over us about 1500 yesterday. Winds reached gale force but no more. Freestyle was well tied and no problems at all. A piece of the eye went over us so I could see blue sky and no rain. It gives you a false sense that it is over then you get the back side. You know this is happening because the wind changes direction. I wouldn't want to get a steady diet of these things but very interesting to observe, at least from a safe harbor.
We have one more small depression that will be here by tomorrow then it looks decent for a Saturday departure. I don't want to wait for anymore of these things and we have a decent westerly to get us off shore. I want to get East, then East North East and shape coarse for the Aleutian's.
I will keep you up to date and we will keep our fingers crossed.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Typhoon Guchol

Hello All,
Everyone here at the marina is putting extra lines on there boats and getting ready for a little wind and rain. Everyone I have talked to doesn't think it's going to be to bad because it is tracking off shore from us but is lining up to hit Tokyo pretty good. They are calling this a Super Typhoon with winds peaking at 180 knots and 60 foot seas. We should start feeling it by tomorrow night so we will see what happens. These Japanese harbors resemble bunkers so they are very safe for most all weather.
I am looking at a Saturday departure following in the heals of these lows coming. For now we are just hanging tough and see what happens.
I will keep you posted.


Busy weekend in Tannowa

Hello All,
This has been a busy weekend for us being entertained by all of our new friends. Friday we were invited to Osaka downtown to check out all of the shops and have dinner. We had a great dinner and sight seeing was awesome. We returned on the last train at 1130 pm. Good time had by all. Yesterday it poured down rain and was windy as hell. I just spent time on the Internet and was studying the weather trying to figure out when we can leave. If it was not for everyone keeping us busy I think I would be going crazy waiting. Today was a very nice day so I was invited to visit on a few boats and was taken to lunch by 2 members of the yacht club. When returning to the boat there was a few families having a BBQ right by my boat so they sat me down and we had a nice chat and had a little food and sake with them. Weekends at the marina are very busy and Japanese love a good BBQ.

The Typhoon should pass by off shore in 2 days so I will be looking at a weekend departure. I will keep you updated and let you know what's happening.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Koyosan Tour

Hello All,
We had a great time yesterday with our host Kondo. We met him with the group of people that payed us a visit last weekend. He picked us up in his car at 0900 and we headed to the mountain town of Koyasan. It took about 2 hours to get there through many country towns and a switch back ridden road that rises to 2000 feet. This is the first time I have actually been in the true country side of Japan. It was a beautiful drive with big Cedar trees and a very narrow road. Koyasan is the home for Monks that practice Buddhism. They have a University there that teaches the religion to young people that want to join the faith. Koyasan also houses many of Japans national treasures with buildings dating back to 816.

Our host Kondo gave us a very good tour of an ancient cemetery and many of the temples. It is a very small town and it was a Friday so not to many tourists around. I could not imagine renting a car and trying to find this place. Kondo brought us back before dark and dropped us back at the harbor. We had a great day with him and we were very grateful.

Tonight we are invited to Osaka to hang out with another yacht club member that will give us a tour of the downtown area. Busy, busy , busy. We are having a great time here and all of this adventure helps to keep me sane for not being able to cast off yet.

It looks like the Typhoon will make land fall on the South Island of Kyushu on the 19th so we may get to leave on the heals of it. Weather permitting as usual.

I added more pictures so take a look and I should have a few videos ready to post by this weekend.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Castle and Temple tours

Hello All,
We made the the trip to Osaka by train on Monday and visited the Osaka castle and the surrounding park. It was very beautiful and hard to believe that such a thing exists in the middle of a city of 9 million people. The castle it self has a museum inside which has many of Japans national treasures. On our return of an hour and a half by train we were invited for dinner aboard Kakiharas boat. One of his friends Mr. Morishita joined us for the feast of BBQ chicken, noodles and many other things. The dinner was out standing and had a great visit also. Yesterday morning we were invited for breakfast aboard Mr Morishita's boat not far from where I have my boat. He offered to take us by his car to Nara which is just north of Osaka to visit an ancient temple. An hour drive into Osaka we stopped by his home to pick up his wife and we set off for Nara. The temple and the grounds surrounding were fabulous and has one of the oldest buildings in Japan. When we arrived there we saw many deer roaming the park areas. They were very tame and we bought some cookies to feed them. That was so amazing, they would swarm you looking for food. You could just walk up to them and pet them also. Without food in hand they wouldn't give you much attention. The weather was not that great raining off and on but we still had a great time.
After the temple tour they took us to downtown where there is a huge market and a big tower like the space needle. We also had a wonderful dinner at a Ramen noodle shop not far from there home. They dropped us at the train station last night where we caught the 8 pm train home.
They were wonderful hosts and I hope to see them here next weekend.

We are invited on another tour of this area tomorrow by a boat owner we met the other day. I forgot his name but we will get reintroduced in the morning.

The weather looks like it could give us a window to leave by Monday, the only thing is there is another Typhoon developing to the South of us. The next few days will show which way it is going to track so we will hope for the best.

I added pictures of the last few days on the photo album so take a look.

Thats all for now.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tannowa bike ride

Hello All,
Yesterday Stefan asked the Harbor Master if he could borrow one of the many bikes here. He said no problem so I got my bike out and we went on a 4 hour bike tour of the area. There is a very nice coastal road to the south right along the beach. We took that trail 5 miles to the next town where we explored all over then returned along the main road inland. When we returned a few of the local boat owners came by to visit. I think about 20 people came aboard to take a look inside. One of the yacht club members named Kakihara invited us on his boat where he showed us a chart of his circumnavigation of Japan 6 years ago. He also keeps a Yacht book of passing foreign yachts and asked me to sign it. I will put together a picture to put inside and my travels. He also gave us some information about the area and places to see. Tannowa sees a few more foreign boats than Suma because it is a little cheaper and is closer to the Pacific Ocean for departure.

Today we have been invited up to the Yacht club for a late afternoon beer. Allot of the boats went out today across the bay for a picnic. They should be returning this afternoon.

The weather is not looking promising for a next weekend departure so we are in hurry up and wait mode. Tomorrow we will take the train into Osaka to see an ancient park and a castle.

It has been very nice here the last 2 days and is suppose to hold till Tuesday, then we are going to get some rain.

Thats all I know for now.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Tannowa Harbor, Osaka Bay

Hello All,
We made it across Osaka Bay to the south this morning. It was overcast but was not raining. The wind was light so I got to see how the new transmission worked by motor sailing. Not a great day for a crossing but we had to get out of Suma. It was also a little foggy which made it fun dodging all of the shipping and fishing boats. This place makes Long Beach California look deserted. We found the Harbor with no problems and tied up. The staff here are very nice and I get to stay here one week for free. I hope that's all I need to stay is one week. I have been watching the weather and there maybe some wind in our favor in 4 days or so, we will see. I also contacted another boat that I have never met. They are a Canadian couple that toured the Solomon's and Guam last year and are now in Japan looking to cross to Alaska this year. They wrote some very good cruising notes for both, Solomon's and Japan and I found them searching the Internet. They are a few hundred miles North of me but we will need the same weather to move East then North. We will keep in touch with each other and study the weather to figure out the best time to leave. I was hopping I would meet this couple here in Japan as they stayed a whole year but I have been a months behind there movements. Nice to know there is a few boats heading my way.

In the mean time I will try to be patient and enjoy my stay here. The harbor is and hour South of Osaka by train and is very rural for Japanese standards. I even heard birds chirping while we were looking around the very small town. There is a Post Office and grocery store pretty close by and just past that is the train station. As usual everyone is as nice as they can be.

Its late and pouring down rain so I will go now.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Awaji Shima bridge tour

Hello All,
I had a visit with the harbor master this morning and after the Typhoon had passed last night he asked me when I was going to leave and came with the bill. I looked at the numbers and thought, wow this is allot and I kind of said so, but I said ok and got on the internet for the exchange. As I was looking it up he came out and said I messed up and here is what it is going to cost. It was much cheaper and I was very relieved.

The weather still isn't really in our favor yet but I don't want to wear out my welcome here so we will move on to a marina across Osaka bay. It will get us closer to the Pacific and will give a chance to see more of Japan. I hope something is in our favor by next week. We plan to leave out of here on Friday morning and make the 21 mile crossing to the other harbor.

After all of the business was settled this morning we took a train to the big bridge that crosses over to Awaji Shima Island, It has the longest single span in the world and was amazing to see up close. It looks similar to the Bay bridge in San Francisco Bay but much bigger. We were just doing the tourist thing looking around and finding little shops to go through.

Tomorrow we will get the boat all ready to move on to the next place and my friend Toshi will come down in the afternoon to help us get a little more fuel for the trip. This place has been so amazing and the people are the best you could find anywhere. Since the news paper article came out I have had so many people come down and give me the news paper and also translate it for me. One of the boat owners that I have been visiting with actually laminated the article and had it translated it for me too.

Japan is an amazing place and if you don't speak the language I would recommend a trip here anyway. Of coarse coming by boat gives you a few extra cutos.

That's all for now , talk to you soon.

P.S. Stefan got some good pictures, I will post when I get them from him.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

News paper article

Hello All,
Kinny, the guy from the paper that interviewed me a few days ago came to the boat tonight with the news paper. It will be circulated tomorrow so I have the first one. I will give the address but you will have to copy paste it or you can google it by writing Rick Morris Kobe. You will also have to translate it with bing or something of the like but its pretty cool.

Here is the web site.

The battery is almost dead so must go.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Sailing day

Hello All,
Yesterday we got the boat out sailing. The wind was pretty light at first so we practiced reefing the main sail and tacked the boat a few times to miss all of the ships coming and going. We spent about 4 hours out on the water in total. On our return the wind had picked up and had a great sail back to the harbor. After we got the boat tied up two gentlemen came over to say hello. One of the guys has a boat in the harbor and after visiting for a few minutes he invited us both to join him for dinner at the yacht club restaurant. I have never had dinner there before because it is very expensive but he insisted to pay for our dinners and we had a very nice visit. They both spoke pretty good English so it made it much nicer for conversation.

It looks like the Typhoon will be passing off shore by tomorrow night so I will get back to figuring out the best time to leave. For now we will do more exploring and show Stefan around town.

That's all we are doing for now so I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Typhoon tracking

Hello All,
I thought I would add a link of the Typhoon tracking center web site. It should reach full strenth by tomorrow and they are predicting it to to start tracking away from the Island. Mind you that is only a prediction. The Harbor where I am is Typhoon proof or at least very protected so this is a good place to be. We will not see any of the wind for 3 days or so and I hope it tracks away from the Island as predicted.

Ok here is the web site but as usual I never did figure out how to link so you will have to copy paste it.

Talk to you soon.


Crew Arrived

Hello All,
Yesterday my new crew arrived here, Stefan from Germany. we have been visiting and getting him familiar with the boat. We met in New Zealand last year right before I left. He was crew on a boat heading for Australia. We have kept in touch since then and he wanted to make this crossing with me. He is a very experienced sailor and I am really glad to have his knowledge on the boat for this crossing.

We have a Typhoon that will be passing here in the next few days so we are just waiting for the right time to leave. It looks like Thursday but I will keep you posted. We will just sight see for the time being and hope to do a sea trial when the Typhoon passes.

Today my friend Toshi gave us a ride to the gas station to get the jerry cans full of diesel for the boat. He has been a great help and really appreciate his help.

For now we are waiting for a weather window then we will head out. I will let you know what's happening in the mean time.

Talk to you soon.