A full night and day was spent on the ferry rolling in the swell produced by a typhoon just then traversing between Taiwan and Shanghai. We left in the evening and by dawn the next day we arrived at Naze, the main city on Amami, which was to be our paddling destination. Then, as the day wore on, the ferry hopped the island chain southwestward; we observed the sea and land carefully gleaning various clues helpful to our journey. Finally, about an hour before sunset we disembarked in Motobu, a small port in northwest Okinawa. We slid the boats into the lukewarm sea and paddled into the night toward a small, uninhabited island where we had seen a possible campsite from the ferry. The place was fine; we soon set up the tent, ate dinner and fell asleep.
We were up and packing an hour before dawn, when we discovered a couple of these creatures snacking on our supplies of dried fruit and nuts. These cute critters are giant land crabs and are about the size of large lobsters. They are slow and basically harmless, and dexterous enough to open pockets with flaps. We were delighted to be sharing the island with these native inhabitants and leaving a few morsels behind, we paddled off toward the breaking dawn.