Arrival Okinawa

Lars Alfredson
Sat 20 Feb 2016 14:09

pos 26:12.55N 127:40.43E
Naha harbour, Okinawa

Monday the 15th we woke to a rainy and windy day in Bisha Harbour, Keelung. The plan was to move over to the fuel dock for fueling. We had enlisted help from Seed Marine with primarily the language. The weather was so shitty that we canceled that for Tuesday instead.
Kenneth and I took a taxi to the supermarket and spent a couple of hours restocking our stores. In the afternoon we walked around the harbour and visited an fantastic fishmarket. They had on display and for sale almost every kind of creature that lives in the sea, most of them alive in different tanks. Very interesting to see all the things from the sea that they eat in Taiwan. Kenneth cooked us a very nice dinner that we ate together when J&C returned from Taipei.

Tuesday morning the weather had calmed a lot and we fueled up, cleared out and payed all fees. At 11.00hours we were out of the harbour and layed a course for Okinawa.

We want to thank our newfound friends from Seed Marine. Roger, Trista and their friends.
They were very helpful with everything not least our contacts with the authorities.

With our usual "luck" we had the wind on the nose and settled for motorsailing with the main. We had a short weather window as on Friday the bad weather was supposed to come back.
In all it took us 58 hours to cover the 326 NM to Naha, Okinawa.

When you sail to Japan you are supposed to send in lots of papers in advance. We had worked hard on this getting a mail adress and send in all the forms. Unfortunately to no avail.

When we were getting close to Okinawa in the dark on Thursday evening we were hailed on channel 16 by the Japanese Coastguard. They wanted to know who we were. After we had identified ourselves we got directions on were to moor in the big harbour.

As it was 21.00 hours in the evening we expected to start the paperwork in the morning. Not so, the dock was full of people waiting for us!

I give the word to Kenneth for his take of our arrival:


Well, actually when we were about to tie up in front of a very imposing Coast Guard vessel the radio went crazy and said CG said we are in the wrong place! No says I, you gave us these co-ordinates. Mumble, mumble and do you see the flashing light behind the ferry? Yes! Well please go there. A check through the glass showed at least a dozen guys and almost as many lights. Ok, so we headed there, tied up and the first guy comes on board. A very polite gentleman with a surprising lot of English. Crew list, please, says the man. Ok Lars makes one on the form provided and fills a few more forms, among them one asking how many people died on the passage. Fortunatelly the honest ansver was nil! You may take down the yellow flag, says the man, who was from the health authoroties and gives us a certificate telling whom it nay concern that it is not particulary probable that our vessel or we will infest the proud people in Japan with the plague or any other pest! Nice to be trusted.

Next guys, four, were from customs. Crew list, please, same document to be filled, and we are in the home of the Vaio! Ok, Lars goes to work and two guys want to inspect the boat. Ok says I and we go down an all the way to the most holy, i.e. the Skippers cabin. One of the guys starts opening cupboards and sweeping them with a small pice of cloth that is later packed into a zip bag and numbered 1. The same procedure in the saloon, the loo, the other cabins and two bilge lockers. Interestinly the fridges and the booz lockers were left un touched. When I asked if they were looking for traces of drugs, they just smiled. Apparently they are still smiling as no Swat team has attacked us so far, almost 24 hours after the sweep.

The next guys, Coast Guard!!, yes, they wanted a crew list, surprise, surprise. They also wanted to know where we were going after Naha. Well, I want to sail for four months in Japan, says Lars.?????  Says CG and produces a list. No way says we, we go to the Ministery of Transport tomorrow and sort out the permits. Ok, and the guys present a paper that says we have entered Japan without notice and can get fined a million money and go to prison for up to two years!  Don't even try it I say when they want Lars to sign a paper admitting to this horrendous crime. We sent you an e mail and we spoke to you on the radio three hours befor we came here. You yiurselves gave us a place to berth!
?????, the guys start japaneesing and the paper dissapears, as do the guys.

Next appears two guys from immigration, very polite and passports please and would you come up to my little van please, ok,  up we go one at a time to find a machine wanting our fingerprints and photographs and what nots. After kneeling for the camera a few times the picture of me resembles my late father, more or less, and the man is satisfied, and when everybody, including Larse's non existant fingerprint from the left fore finger, is recorded, the guyes says arigato, i.e. thank you and leave. The whole rigmarole didn't take more than about one hour and a half, so we have a small rum, or two and a half and go to bed.

Friday morning  we start out to find an ATM, to get some local money. A normal ATM, of course, doesn't spit out any local dinero so we ask a bank where to get some. Of course it's office!!!. Ok where is that?  We get directions and eventually find it after about a mile of walking. A glance at the watch tells us it's high timefor a beer, and  after a lot of searching we eventually find a place on the 9th floor of some place that has some. Kampai!

A taxi took us to the ministery of something and luckily a nice young lady who spoke some English got us to the right place, she actually worked there. After some waiting the boss and a lady came and asked for a, yes you got it,  crew list. Well we forgot that and gave them a list of ports Lars wants to go to during the coming four months. The list having been prepared during a few hours on the boat, based on a little book by somebody who had sailed in Japan and a a cruise guide, both being somewhat off, as it appeared.

The lady and her boss started going trough the list of ports referring to a few books, lists, and when not finding the place, our showing them on the chart based on the co-ordinates we had given on the list. Some places, about three, seemed to be in the middle of the ocean so we just deleted them, one actually being in Korea! Lots of laughs all over.
Can you come back on Wednesday to get your permit? Yes. Ok but what bout the permit to get to the marina we wanted to go to in the first place? Ok come back at five. Arigato.

We walked for a while and ended up having lunch without a beer, as we couldn't find any. The food was good, I had duck and Lars both fish and meat. Walking back to the ministery we got soaked as it rained cats and dogs, but we got our document, absolutely gibberish to us as it is inJapaneese, but should allow us to go to the marina.

Back at the boat we awaited Lotta  and Jontte and had dinner and a last game of mexican train, Lotta won, despite the rhum, and all of us came to the conclusion that there was something suspect about it. The big question now is should we move to the marina or not befor Lotta and Jontte leave for China. Next time we know, until then, 

Kenneth and Lars

Skickat från min Xperia™-surfplatta