Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Okinawa to Amami traverse PART 2

Guided by channel lights, we slipped past the edge of Yoron’s reef in the pre-dawn darkness early the next day. Beyond 34km of open sea lay Okinoerabu island: slightly larger and taller than Yoron and for many centuries the northernmost land of the Ryukyu kingdom. When finally seized by the Satsuma domain of Japan, this remote island with unpleasant and harsh living conditions was used to exile prisoners, the most famous of which was Saigo Takamori, the true Last Samurai. After the seven-hour crossing, which went by uneventfully, we had impatiently followed the coastline looking fruitlessly for any place to cross the reef and its relentless surf. We had eventually pulled ashore at the new, ugly, and grossly oversize Sumiyoshi fishing port.

Today, the island's inhabitants struggle to make a living growing sugar cane on the island’s barren ‘akatsuchi’, or red soil. Water is scarce, and in the summertime it only rains during typhoons, which of course wreak their own damage on the crops. There had been no typhoons yet this year, and the land was hot and parched as we walked the kilometer or so to the tiny town of Sumiyoshi (Good Living).


  • holaaaaaaaaaa
    mi correo es

    By Blogger Gandalf, at 12:35 am  

  • Hi, happen to drop by your blog.
    Well it seems to me that you guys are on a kayaking expedition or something like that, at japan area. That's cool. Nice pic as well. I'm an avid lover for kayaking too. Hope to see you guys post more pictures here..its fantastic! see ya and happy kayaking

    By Blogger Hercule5, at 10:04 pm  

  • Hi,
    I came across your blog while searching Okinoerabu. I was stationed there with the US Air Force in 1959-1960. I enjoyed your pictures and description of the island. I often think about my time there and someday maybe I will be able to return for a visit.
    Bill S

    By Anonymous Bill S, at 9:21 am  

  • While your opinion is like what every person has. Those people make alot more money growing their wares. On top of that I pay $250.00 a month for a 5 bedroom and Okinoerabu has some of the best diving around. Plenty of water as I shower each day sometimes twice.Smoke that.

    By Blogger takemoto.shinobu, at 5:13 pm  

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