In June the stationary front that divides the warm hazy air of the early summer from the truly hot and humid tropical air to the south finally creeps north giving Amakusa a month of unstable, often stormy conditions. We are on the brink of the rainy season and the weather has been warm and very settled, so that the surrounding seas have become smooth as oil. Only the slow, low swell in the open ocean off Ushibuka warns of the slow approach of the front. It’s a good time to make some open water traverses under completely safe, if monotonous, conditions.
Today, tidal currents dictated a 6am start. Two hours later, after clearing the Hachiman and Mebuki Straits, we moved onto the open water of the Yatsushiro Sea. In the hazy stagnant air the opposite shore, 14km distant, was not visible and we both had trouble staying awake as we paddled on. Many times I drifted into semi-consciousness, mechanically paddling off in the wrong direction, waking with a start as I was starting to tip over. Finally the other side emerged from the murky air giving us, at least, something to paddle toward. We made landfall at Koiji Island just west of Minamata Port.