Tuesday, May 10, 2005


fog2, originally uploaded by vibromama.

Travelling at night from Fukuoka by freight boat, it was hard to ascertain the condition of the open sea. Arriving in Izuhara, Tsushima's largest town, with hours left before daybreak, we searched in vain for a ramp in the harbor. The sole employee of the shipping line still awake at this hour was not very helpful. He could not fully grasp what we were about to do, and only succeeded in increasing our worries by painting a truly grim picture of what the seas are like outside Izuhara's sheltered harbor. He would not even budge from his chair to drive our boats, still loaded on a truck, to a nearby place where we might put them in. Eventually, we carried the boats ourselves and launched them with some difficulty at a set of steep steps on the pier, and set off into the misty, uncertain dawn. Getting out of the harbor, we saw the seas were not that bad after all, although visibility was limited in mist, drizzle, and a very low cloud ceiling.
Seeing the steep coast stripped to bare rock and hollowed out in caves to a height of 15m or more, we understood that the sea was really only resting today. Landing spots were very few, and moderate sea currents, seemingly out of synch with the tide schedule, were felt around the projecting capes. We moved cautiously onward, making the occasional landings at an isolated beach or a seaside shrine, and by noon we had rounded the southern end of Tsushima. A south-west wind had produced some swell on the western side and we rode this a short distance north to the tiny fishing port of Sasuse, where we decided to camp on top of the concrete ramp beside some stinking scum-covered nets that had been laid out to dry.


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