Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nakano-shima 中之島

With a following current and calm seas, we made it to Nakanoshima today in 5 hours port to port (that's about 33km). It was a fun day with great views of the surrounding islands. Today's highlight was four hammerhead sharks seen in close succession off of a cape at Suwanose with a strong tidal race. We tried to take pictures of them but alas, they stayed just out of reach of the lens. Another highlight was a sudden eruption of ash from the volcano of Suwanose-jima just as we were leaving the precints of the island. It was accompanied by a loud explosion and what sounded like breathing of an enormous dragon for several hours, all this seen an heard from a distance of 5-10 kilometers.

Tomorrow we will make the easy traverse to Kuchinoshima, the last of the Tokara islands, under clear skies, and calm winds and sea, according to the weather forecast. It looks like we will be obliged to wait there for two days for favorable winds to return before making the long and difficult crossing to Yakushima. But that's okay, we've got lots of time and we are loath to leave these beautiful islands just yet. We'll try to update you from Kuchinoshima if possible.

To follow our progress throughout the expedition, go to our SHARED page on SPOT. 遠征の間現在位置を知りたいならSPOTスポットSHAREDページに見てください。



In the meanwhile, here is a small selection of photos we took along the way.それで、いくつかの前の数日の間撮った写真をアップします。

Snorkeling at Kodakara. We've never seen so many sea snakes in one place. They are extremely poisonous but bite only in self defense. 小宝島でのスノーケリング。海蛇(エラブウナギ)が非常に多かった

A great discovery: Tokara people are gold. For example, here are the Iwashitas, Kodakara couple extraordinaire. Entomologists, cow farmers, shell divers...possessing encyclopedic knowledge of the islands. Brought us full hot meals right to our campsite.  小宝島の素晴らしい夫婦の岩下さんたち。蝶の専門家。牛を育っている。素潜りで貝などを取るのはとくい。僕たちの島の滞在の二日間夕ご飯を作ってキャンプまで持ってきてくれた。大きな感謝します。

Yet another new friend: Masayuki from Kodakara. Retired from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, though looks about 35. Visited us at least 3 times a day, and gave us a wonderful send-off. 小宝島のもう一人の友達のマサユキさん。自衛隊から停年して、故郷に帰って、今牛を育っている。毎日何回もキャンプまで遊びに来て、カヤックの旅などに興味があったそうです。出た時も見送りにきました。

Approaching Akuseki-jima, with a flock of boobies keeping us company. 悪石島に近づきながら大きなカツオドリの群れが頭上を回った。

Arriving at Akuseki, it was 37 degrees in the shade. Rick tries to ward off heat stroke by becoming torpid. A short while later, a discovery of a freezer full of ice solved our problems. 悪石島に着くと影でも37度で地獄の熱さ。リックが死にそうだった。しかしすぐあとで漁協の製氷室を発見。

Rik dwarfs our new friend Higo, a knowledgeable local fisherman (his tiny boat is in the background). Higo-san took us on a tour of the island in his truck, and shared with us valuable local knowledge of the surrounding sea.トカラの素晴らしい島民シリーズの続き:悪石島の漁師のヒゴさん。トラックで島全体を案内しました、ローカルの海について色々教えてくれました。

Higo-san caught two fish called 'Aodai' that day, at a 200 meter depth in the offing of the island. He cut one up for us to eat as sashimi for dinner. It was the most delicious sashimi we had eaten to date, complemented by Kodakara Salt. その日ヒゴさんが島の沖合で200メートルの水深でアオダイと言う魚を二匹釣った。一匹を綺麗に三枚におろして、「食べてください」って。子宝の温泉塩をかけて食べました。今までこんな美味しい刺身を本当に食べたことがない。身が透明で、ちょっとだけ甘い味をしました。

When the ferry comes to any of the Tokara islands, everyone springs to life. The ferry is Tokara's only link with outside civilization. フェリーが訪れてくると突然島が賑やかになる。

Noteworthy rock formations on the north tip of Akusekijima. We began the 17km traverse to Suwanose from here. 悪石島の最北端の絶壁の海岸。ここから諏訪瀬島への横断が始まる。

Approaching Nakanoshima today under sunny skies and calm conditions. 凪の状態で中之島に近づいた。

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