Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Sometimes even the laid back Okinawa lifestyle can be too hectic. But if you need to escape, the Kerama islands are just out on the horizon. Heading out west from the southern half of Okinawa honto, the first inhabited island you will reach is Tokashiki island. The biggest of the islands of Kerama Shoto, the island is home to a few thousand residents who traditionally are self sufficient farmers and fishermen. Tourism is the island's main economic driver now, with visitors coming to enjoy some of Okinawa's most beautiful beaches and best diving. Visitors are welcome at numerous small hotels and guest houses, while other visitors choose to camp by the beach.
The crew discusses the situation as the rocks south of Tokashiki port get closer. Or I should say, all but one crew member who has been pretty silent for the last hour or so. Uh oh... Just keep your eye on the horizon and keep busy. Keep your face in the fresh air but know the quickest way to get to the leeward rail! We're almost to Aharen...
We've made it to our destination. The small village of Aharen is just a dinghy ride to shore now. The crew relaxes a bit, cleans up the boat and then inflates the raft and gets ready to row ashore. We don't have a motor for the dinghy so it will be a good upper body workout rowing back and forth. No problem. We throw our gear in the dinghy and fit three people at a time in the raft. If you row straight, it only takes about 10 minutes.
It's a little bit easier rowing to the boat with the wind, rather than back to the beach, but luckily that's when the raft is unloaded with people and supplies. Once back on the boat, the crew decides to jump in the water one more time while we're here. There's nothing like a swim in the ocean in the morning to wake you up, and having slept on the beach, this is my morning shower. Ahh, so refreshing... a few of the crew venture further away with snorkeling gear and check out the beautiful reef near the shore. Our departure is delayed a little while we enjoy this beautiful anchorage.
Passing Chi bishi from the south and sailing just outside the breakwaters of Naha port, the winds have died down a little and have shifted more out of the east now. Very nice, now we're on a close, almost a beam reach as we search the horizon for the #2 buoy. I think we can almost shake out the second reef, maybe put in the first? But that always causes the winds to pick up, but a wise man once said, it's always easier to shake out a reef when you're bored than to put one in when you're scared. Um, wait... but this the corollary to that: it's easier to shake out a reef and go faster and put it back in if it get's windy again than to... yeah, scratch that.