Friday, June 02, 2006

Golden Gotou Part 2 of 6

Timing is everything- The golden hour comes about 5am the next day, and after one last walk to the lighthouse to check the conditions, we launch the boats and finally round Cape Kashiwa in reasonably calm conditions. As we head south a tail wind picks up as expected, speeding our progress. Out of the drizzly mist to the southwest emerges Saganoshima, a small but very interesting volcanic island with a rocky crater half-sunk in the sea. Although we wanted to visit there, the sea won’t permit it today and we have to stick to the shore where the waves are manageable. Quicker than expected we arrive at Takahama, a rare, natural sand beach with spectacular scenery. We talk briefly to the only other person there: a solo cyclist from Tokyo who has spent a comfortable night under the roofed structure built for summer bathers. Soon we are off again, aiming at the entrance of a fjord-like passage that will offer protection from the increasingly stormy sea.

The deer episode

Finally sheltered from the howling wind we explore the coast more closely. As we are playing around in the rock gardens and caves, in one steep gully I spot hidden in the rocks an animal. Rik scoffs at me “What are you thinking there are no animals here”. On closer inspecting we find that it is indeed a deer. It must have somehow fallen down the steep slope above. As it tries unsuccessfully to climb up the cliff to get away from us we soon realize that he is trapped and can’t figure out how to get himself out. At this point Rik gets out of his boat and goes above the deer and forces him into the sea. Possibly the first time in his life, the deer is in the sea swimming for his life. At the next gully he once again tries to get out, but his attempts are again thwarted. Although a skillful climber, after numerous long falls, landing surprisingly well on his feet, he looks no closer to figuring out an easy escape from these steep walls. Things are not looking good for the poor deer. Once again, this time I get out of my boat and go above the deer and force him into the water. Rik guides the deer along into the open sea and toward a safe easy exit. During this process the deer darts into a cave, which has no exit. Rik in his attempt to steer the deer out capsizes and gets one of our headlamp and binoculars wet. Finally Rik after a quickly executed roll manages to get himself and the deer out of the cave.
The pair atlast arrives at a moderately steep slope and the deer obviously struggling, barely manages to drag its soaking wet body out of the sea and up the step hill to freedom.
Later while recounting our story to a local woman sitting by the sea repairing her nets, she comments how we should have clubbed it and ate it.
The binoculars were new and quite expensive because they were guaranteed waterproof, ideal for kayaking and recommended for rugged use. What a disappointment. Next comes the exhausting procedure involved in getting the company to honor their guarantee. Wish us luck!


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