Lars Alfredson
Wed 24 Feb 2016 15:13

pos 26:13.59N 127:18.07E
Zamami Island

Tuesday was the day we were going to get our permission to sail to "closed ports".
In Japan they have open ports, like big ports were foreign ships come in and they have immigration and costums etc. All other ports are closed ports, even bays there you anchor out. For these you have to apply for a permission to stop there. There is a ministry of "something" that gives you this permission.
Based on what I read in blogs and books I had made a list of about 100 ports, you have to give arrival date and departure date for each port. As I will stay in Japan for 4 months it will be mostly a wild guess on what date you will be there. A sailor comes when the weather allows him to.
Anyway after signing some papers I got a permission for about 1/4 of the way trough the Japanese Island chain. It's another district so you have to visit another office in Kyushu I was told. One hurdle at the time!
After that we went shopping in "The Main Place" and took a taxi back to the boat.
Dinner at a Steak House on "the Street".
The weather has been lousy for a few days, strong winds and rain showers. We still felt that we wanted to start moving north. The first harbour on my list was Ginowan a few miles north of of Naha.

Wedensday morning the wind seamed to have calmed a bit, from our mooring in the harbour. Not so as we were soon to find out.
The day before we had visited the tourist information and found this info about Zamami Shima. Around this Island there was supposed to be a large group of Humpback Whales that came there to breed and give birth to their young every winter. And the high season was now! Let's go there said Anna, and off we went.
As soon as we got out of the harbour we felt the wind and the 4 meter swells. Anna got a bit green around the gills and even sacrifised to Neptune on the 3 hour crossing to Zamami.
With 30 knots of wind and big waves we could not see any Humpbacks. As we rounded the Island and passed the harbour we could not resist to enter. We were soon tied up at the fast ferry mooring place (no ferry because of to big waves), directed by a friendly islander. Soon we met Brian a friendly Japanese speaking American that worked for the tourist board. He said that most probably there won't be any ferry tomorrow either.
We felt happy about that and explored the little town.
At about 16.00 Brian came to the boat and said that the Cost Guard had called them up and wanted to know from us why we were in Zamami and not in Ginowan as our permission said. ( I have to turn our AIS off so they can't see where we are.) I said that we had to seek shelter from the bad weather and after a while we were allowed to stay over night.
We invited Brian on board fore a beer or two and later for dinner. We had a nice time together and Brian helped us to order a dinner with lots of local specialities.
Weather permitting we will see Humpbacks tomorrow.
All is well.
Lars, Karl and Anna

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