Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 19 Jan 2014 12:47
Alongside Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Weather: mostly sunny, cool

On Friday I thought that everything was coming together nicely, much better than I thought they would, but this afternoon an email has rather unravelled everything, well at least the first part of the plan, and if we can't get past the first part then the subsequent parts are rather academic.
My plan was to proceed from Naha a short distance up the coast to Ginowan where there is a nice big marina. Here I wanted to spend a few days catching up on some maintenance, storing ship, doing the laundry, and planning the next legs in a bit more detail. However I received a reply to my email to the Ginowan marina which advised that they were full and could not fit Sylph in. This I had not counted on as it is the biggest marina in Okinawa and from my research many foreign yachts stop there. I rang then later in the day explaining that I was locked into leaving Naha tomorrow and that my options were limited, but unfortunately it seems that there really was no way that they could fit me in.
I tried to ring a few other marinas around the area but with the language problems it all became too difficult. I had been passed from one marina to another, or so I thought, until the man on the end of the phone said, we can fit you in after eight p.m. tomorrow, but we are full from five to eight. This sounded very odd, and I asked the man, “You are a marina aren't you. I have a sailing yacht that I need a marina berth for.” A short silence. “No, we are a restaurant.” At this point I looked at the list of numbers I had scribbled on my pad, realised that most of them were other restaurants, said 'arigato' to the man on the other end of the phone, hung up, and decided to give up on the problem for the day. I walked back to Sylph shaking my head and laughing to myself at the absurdity of it all.
Having now meditated on the problem for a bit I have decided that the best solution is first thing tomorrow to go visit Isamu at the Department of Transport, explain the situation to him and then presumably rework Sylph's sailing itinerary. If it is possible to still get away tomorrow then I will, but I doubt that it will be. The demands of sailing and good seamanship and those of bureaucracy just do not make for good bedfellows. While the Coast Guard and the port authority may want me to leave tomorrow, if the paperwork isn't done to the bureaucracy's satisfaction then I guess they will just have to let me stay another day. In fact at this stage I am as keen to leave as they are for me to go, as poor old Sylph is covered in grit and grime, and some of her paintwork is chipped from bouncing on the heavy duty dirty black fenders. However, I figure that in the bigger scheme of things that this particular problem is so minor as to be bordering on the comical.
We will see what the morrow brings.
All is well.