Departed Kagoshima

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 3 Mar 2014 13:06
2100 Position: 31 07.3 N 130 33.5 E
Course West Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: East nor' east F4 moderate breeze
Sea: slight
Weather: clear, cool
Day's run (since sailing): 28 nm

The forecast for the next leg looked perfect, starting off with a north-easterly early in the day to take us out of Kagoshima Wan, then veering into the east and south-east to take us west along Kyushu's southern coastline and then north-west up its western coastline. Tomorrow evening the wind is forecast to continue to veer and strengthen into the north, so we want to be somewhere snug by then. Sato Ne on the island of Kamikosika Shima is about sixty miles away, so with the favourable forecast that looks like a good place to head for.

I was expecting to have a fresh breeze from the moment we left Kagoshima, and there was indeed a promising breeze as we left the harbour to which I set a reefed mainsail in the expectation that the wind would increase once we were clear of the harbour, but it did not turn out that way for once we were out into the bay the wind died away and we were left drifting on a calm smooth sea. This surprised me as the Japanese Meteorological Bureau had a strong wind warning current for the waters off Kagoshima, so while I would have expected the wind to be lighter in the Bay, I did not expect a total calm. I motored for a little bit, once to clear a fish farm that we were drifting into, and once just to see if we could find some wind in the bay, but big grey clouds of smoke that the Volcano would regularly belch out were all going straight up and hanging above its crater, so I came to the conclusion that there was no wind anywhere nearby and gave up, allowing Sylph to lie placidly on the Bay's mirror smooth waters, only occasionally disturbed by the wake of a passing ship.

But eventually some wind did come. At about five o'clock, as I was preparing a vegie curry for dinner, the wind suddenly freshened from the east, and I had to put my culinary preparations to one side in order to reduce sail as Sylph heeled well over to the stiff breeze. We were soon making good five knots close hauled to clear the entrance of the Bay. There were numerous ships passing in and out of the entrance so I had to keep a good lookout in between chopping potatoes and carrots. We gained the entrance as it was getting dark, and were able to alter course to the south and ease sheets, which made the ride much more comfortable.

The curry was a success and we are now running square before the fresh easterly breeze, heading west along the southern coastline of Kyushu. The dark silhouette of the peak of Kaimon Take, an extinct volcano, dominates the night sky immediately to the north. The sky is clear, the slither of a moon has set leaving numerous stars to light the night, and Sylph's bow wave bright with bio-luminesence to light the sea. Soon it will be time to alter course to the north-west towards Kamikosika Shima.

All is well.