Tuesday, September 13, 2005


tokunosima, originally uploaded by vibromama.

The next day we wistfully departed Okinoerabu. Though we only planned to move a bit up the coast, the day seemed too good to waste and after a vending machine break at the port of Inobe we began the longest traverse of our trip: 41km to Tokunoshima. A favorable south wind was blowing but the relentless current kept dragging us back and left. It was quite strong at first and it seemed to take a long time to clear Okinoerabu’s northeast Cape Kunigami. As the island gradually receded, however, the current veered and weakened, and our progress became faster. The mountains of distant Tokunoshima had been visible all day and hour-by-hour, they grew more defined. About halfway across, I spotted a single fin slowly following Leanne’s boat at a few meters’ distance, “Jaws” style. She had been singing traditional Okinawa and Amami folk tunes and the animal (be it shark or dolphin, we’ll never know as it scuttled on my definitive approach) might have been attracted to the vaguely yodel-like sound. Leanne carries tablature in her map case and often sings to relieve the boredom of many hours’ paddling to nowhere. Today further singing was discontinued as a precaution. We were also more alert than usual splashing around in the water during the mid-ocean pee breaks. In the late afternoon, approaching Tokunoshima on a swell from yet another distant typhoon, it became obvious we would not make landfall by dark; but heading toward a fishing port, we were able to land safely.


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