Golden Gotou Part 3 of 6
Stimulated with such little entertainments (see Golden Gotou Part2), several kilometers of the coast goes by, wild except for a couple of places where the ridge almost yields to connect the sea with the landlocked bay beyond; had we been in a real pinch, we could have portaged the kayaks across here and completely avoid the rough sections around the cape.
This cape lies at the south west of Fukue Island and is the most exposed area in Goto. This place is also the most popular place for fishing, and indeed when we passed by we saw more then 20 people bravely clinging to the rocks in hopes of catching “the big one”. Compared to these people we felt quite a bit safer on our kayaks.
The previous day riding on a strong north wind, we cruised down the west coast of Fukue Island, stopping only briefly at Arakawa hot spring for a mid day soak. A soak in the small simple bath helped to relieve our fatigue but did little to reduce my stress due to the looming voyage ahead. Putting on our freshly washed wetsuits we continued south toward Tamanoura Village.
Once arriving at the Tamanoura beach we went to check out the strait separating us from the final leg of the rocky west coast. Due to the current and the strong winds, the strait was full of breaking waves. We concluded that we were stuck here for the moment, at long last put on our dry clothes and ventured on to town.
This town is home to a large Akou tree, which stands beside the shrine. These giant sprawling trees seem incredibly strong and sturdy, as we failed to notice any movement of the branches in this strong wind.
The Children’s Festival in Japan in early May welcomes the birth of boys in the family. On these islands where depopulation is a big problem, the birth of a son is greeted with an incredible display of bright colored fish flags in front of the house
In the center of town we climbed up to the temple that overlooked the village. Here dozens of small Buddha statues stand somewhat neglected and frozen in time.
Due to the strong winds we decided that tomorrow would be a rest day, and to toast this we went for a wonderful dinner in town. We both ordered the fish special of the day, which included sashimi, various fish products, fish soup and rice. We concluded that indeed the fish from Goto tasted more delicious than any other fish we had ever eaten.
Much refreshed from our dinner we returned to our campsite for the night.
Early the next morning (no relaxing on our rest day!), in order to check out the condition of the sea, we hiked the 14 kms to the lighthouse on Cape Oosezaki. The view from the lighthouse was spectacular and quite terrifying. Steep gray cliffs descending straight down for 100 meters into the crashing waves below did little to alleviate my dread of the day ahead. Still, we were happy to see at the cape near the shore, the waves were moving fast but were not so large. The larger waves caused by the current going against the wind were further away from the shore. The south side of the Island was completely calm.
Upon observing the conditions we felt comfortable with the task ahead and once back at camp we decided with the change of the current in the afternoon to proceed onward around the cape. So much for our relaxing rest day!
Once through the strait we were committed to our goal, as the strong northerly wind made a retreat impossible. Also the shore was rocky and no friendly landing areas existed. For this part of the trip we decided to rope together with our towline. We expected getting out of the strait to be quite difficult. In fact it wasn’t, and the towline ended up being a hindrance rather than an asset. Going south toward the cape being blown by the wind and riding on the waves was the most intense 45 minutes of the trip. Here there was no room for error, no space for misjudgment, we were fully committed. Trying to keep my cool, I breathed deeply, almost to the point of hyperventilation. The hardest part ended up being when Rik’s kayak was pulled forward on a wave, and since we were roped together I would also get yanked ahead. This made it difficult to keep my balance. The correct thing to do would have been to release the towline-, which is fairly simple, but we didn’t have time to talk, or speculate on our options. Finally we were at the Cape wising past dozens of bewildered people fishing.