Thu 16 Jan 2014 11:51
Alongside Naha, Okinawa, Japan
We are here. We did it!
By about three this afternoon, with still nothing sorted out, I had pretty much resigned myself to another night at sea, which of itself would not have bothered me, but loitering outside a harbour is always very tiring as one can only afford to cat nap in between keeping a look out and attending to the navigation. Then the Coast Guard came to the rescue. They called me on VHF and advised me that a berth had been organised and gave me its position. I think someone in the Coast Guard ended up taking pity on me and went out of his way to fix things up. I will jump over all the boring paperwork, suffice to say that it was not all that painful, though it did involve a cast of at least twenty officials. We are now alongside, we have filled in numerous forms, visited the immigration office, and now have our passport stamped for a stay of ninety days.
And poor old Sylph! She arrived this afternoon clean and bleached from the sun and sea, with only a few minor rust spots here and there. Now her decks are covered in dirty black boot prints and her topsides have big black streaks on them where she has been laying alongside the wharf's dirty black fenders.
It would appear there is nowhere here for small craft. The Coast Guards says that we can stay where we are until Monday. This is going to put a bit of pressure on me as moving around Japan in a private boat is complicated. They have such things as open ports and closed ports, apparently something left over from the days when Japan was trying to keep itself cloistered from the outside world. It is amazing how these sorts of things can just keep on hanging on. The consequence of this arrangement is that to visit anywhere half interesting one has to fill in a long form stating all the closed ports one wants to visit and when. Unfortunately this is hardly conducive to the normal relaxed routine that most yachts prefer, and often need to take because of the vagaries of weather and the like. Anyway, seeing as I have to leave on Monday and there are quite a few closed ports between here and the next open port on Kyushu, I have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning to try and get the necessary paperwork completed. I can see this is going to be a bit messy.
Oh well, I will worry about all that tomorrow. For now I am going to have a bit of a leg stretch ashore and then an early night.
All is well.