We arrived in Iwaki Sun Marina in Onahama, Fukushima yesterday morning. We would not have been made it without your support, so thank you all! I would like to mention my sister, Rie did typing for me from our phone calls, Doug, who took pictures, Naomi did all the translation for the blog. My deepest appreciation for those three. And thanks all for reading our blog!
[ We can re-challenge anything, as long as we are alive ]
Yesterday we struggled against the current. It was pushing us at 3 to 4knots, making our speed drop down to half. We were supposed to arrive on the 19th… Sailing is not only affected by the wind but but the currents and tides. We have 70miles left. I wish we can get there quicker.
On this , I often found myself tearing up and crying as I feel the sunset. It’s not that I’m sad that I cannot see this beautiful sunset. It’s not that I’m crying because I want to go back to my childhood in Amakusa when I could see the sunset. It’s tears of happiness that I am alive today, that I could meet Doug and attempt this voyage again. If I had taken my life when I went completely blind, I would not have had the chance to live this wonderful life.
And if I had decided to call it quit after our failed attempt in 2013, I would not have had the chance to try again with Doug and experience this wonderful voyage. I am grateful of the challenges I can take on because I am alive.
Maybe there are people around you who are suffering the way that I once did. Please help them see the light in the darkness. My book, “The Light I Could See Because I Cannot See”, (only available in Japanese at the moment) explores my struggles and how I found the light. Please share this with people around you who may be suffering. I hope this can make a little bit of a difference. We will arrive in Onahama tomorrow. I will keep my senses sharp until the very end.
With this voyage, as it is my second attempt to cross the pacific, after my failed attempt last time with Shinbo san, there has been a lot of attention on me from the media. I want people to focus more on Doug and his passion and proactive actions. Let me share with you the three things that show Doug’s actions which made this voyage possible.
1. The first email from Doug: Doug heard about my last attempt crossing the pacific through a mutual acquaintance. He emailed me in December of 2016 asking if I’d like to attempt the voyage again. As I was going to visit Tokyo, where Doug lives any way, I decided to meet him to discuss and make sure that we were both on the same page about what this project would entail. Doug said to me, “I can’t sail, but I can see. You can sail, but you can’t see. If we work together, we can make it happen.” Many people were skeptical, that a novice sailor and a blind sailor would attempt this journey together. What if you fail again? How are you going to provide for your family while you are out at sea? Maybe you are being used as a token blind man. Sailing across the pacific is no casual trip, it can be a life threatening experience. Yet, Doug was passionate and believed in our ability.
2. He purchased a boat in San Diego (where I live) and started training: In March of 2017, Doug came to San Diego and started to look for a yacht. He felt that getting a boat in San Diego would make it easier for me when we train and immediately purchased the boat. I was amazed by how quickly he took action once he made a decision. We started training together in May and started sailing together. Outside of training with me, he attended a sailing school and apply to courses through the American Sailing Association. Although he does have time and financial stability, this does not change the fact that he would come to San Diego for two to three weeks every few months for us to train. From this action, I could feel his true commitment to the project.
3. On this voyage, Doug has done 80% of the work. From when we left San Diego on February 24th until now, we have experienced many things, and feel many different emotions of the fact that we will be arriving in Fukushima soon and I am extremely happy. On this voyage, the communication with the weather company, doing the navigation, checking the propane tank, the wind power generator, fixing the AIS, more than 80% was Doug. My role was to remind us to be cautious and safe on the voyage, to make sure we chose routs that don’t put too much stress on Dream Weaver, and when we are in low winds and we start to feel unsure and worries, that I remind us that the Dream Weaver will protect us. I want to emphasize that Doug’s passion and action are what made this historical sail possible. I feel this strongly as we get close to our goal. I am grateful that I was able to meet somebody like Doug. As we get closer to Japan, there are more and more boats in our vicinity. Doug has not slept at all since yesterday in order to keep watch. Please thank and congratulate Doug when we arrive tomorrow.
The winds and waves are calm for now, but a strong low pressure is approaching this way, and it is going to be very stormy, according to the weather forecast. We had enough of the rough seas, but we will give everything we have, to get over this. This is a gift from God for us to make ourselves stronger, or a gift to make our joy at the arrival many times bigger. Please pray for us.
Our current plan is heaving to off the Coast (to park the boat while at the sea) , during the evening of the 19th and arrive in Iwaki Sun Marina in the morning of the 20th.
We came to 600 NM off the Coast near Onahama, a day before yesterday. Speaking of 600 NM, that is about the area, Aeolus has sank, back then.
《 Dear Aeolus 》
We’d left you to sink after our collision with a whale. But still, you stayed strong for us, slowing down the speed of the flooding and giving us as much time as possible before you sank. Thanks to you, we were safely rescued. If only I’d been able to search the damage and fix you somehow, maybe we wouldn’t have had to leave you in the ocean; that is my only regret. Even when we got on the emergency raft, we were supposed to stay near you, stay with you until the end, but since the metal bolt might have had hit us and caused a rupture, reluctantly we decided to cut the rope and disconnect from you. I feel guilty sorry for that. I wanted to stay with you until the very end. But I am alive and feeling so fortunate to be able to re-challenge the voyage. Our three months together in Osaka was a great fun. We shared wonderful memories with lots of smiles by doing maintenance with all the volunteers. I hope you wish us a best from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Have a peaceful time under the sea. Thank you, Aeolus.
[ 3 years since Kumamoto Earthquake ~ best wishes for the reconstruction of Kumamoto from the Pacific Ocean ]
It has been 3 years since the earthquake attacked my dear hometown, Kumamoto. My deepest sympathy to the victims.
I went back to Kumamoto to volunteer on May, 3 years ago. My role was to listened to people evacuated from their house to Joto Elementary school near Kumamoto castle, and give them for some comfort physically and mentally.
That memory comes back every time I go back to my mother’s house in Kumamoto. We had to take apart the building for safety so I know how hard the experience is. I hope, my challenge sends energy and a courage for those who’s working hard for the reconstruction of the City. I would be grateful if I can be part of it.
The winds and waves were just right last night, that I had a nice and deep three-hour-sleep. I was recharged physically and mentally.
Enjoyed my morning cup of Starbucks coffee and some bread; my typical breakfast set. I got a lot of those canned bread donated by one of our supporter, Monma-san. This product is made as an emergency provision, but it is nice and moist that tastes pretty good.
It is expected to have higher winds that will be over 30 kts from this afternoon, and will get up to 45 kts.(almost like a typhoon) by mid-night today. This probably is going to be the biggest winds we will experience during this voyage, so we will get ready, try to do image training over and over. I will try to benefit all the trainings and experiences we got so far to get over this. We will focus with calm state of mind.
Well, being near Japan, is colder. I were fortunate to have a variety of sailing ware items from Helly Hansen by GOLDWIN INC. I am doing preparations, waring their windbreaker jacket today. This is such a nice quality. It is easy for me to move around even waring this jacket that is very helpful.
One of the shop is in a walking distance from Harajuku station in Tokyo. They have some stylish casual clothing as well. Please go and see!
The winds and waves started to get higher from late afternoon yesterday. It is getting better now, but it is expected to get higher again later.
About 3 a.m., yesterday, AIS stoped suddenly. This equipment sends information about our boat and receives information about other boats, so that it is very very important for the safe voyage. We waited till dawn. Doug reached the VHS antenna located under the mast, and wiped the connector of the VHS. Then he connected it back on, and that solved the problem. We were so relieved.
Less than 800 NM from the goal now. We will try our best to continue safe voyage. Thanks for your support and encouragements!