[ 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!
Our remaining distance of the voyage is now less that 1,000 NM. and we have passed Minami Torishima island. I am so happy that, we are finally back in Japan (water) !
The winds were low that we had to motor for 6 hours last night, but now sailing beautifully and heading to Onahama in great winds.
Sorry, it’s been taking long time before announcing the estimated arrival time. The calculation of EAT for sailing boats can be wrong about one day or one week, while air plaines are few minutes. Our estimation is April 19th or 20th. But, you never know until the last moment.
We have been given a major support from these people from the beginning of this project. Hiki-san, Ando-san and Tanimoto-san. I truly appreciate what you have been doing for us. They sacrificed their time and effort as volunteers. They connected us to our sponsors, dealt with media, guided me when I needed to move around in Tokyo… and many more.
I also would like to mention, Doug’s wife, Naomi-san. She took care of our foods, delivering items we need to the US, helped us packing, the translations on the blog, uploading the bog and all the countless effort for the project and worked as a commander of our team. Many thanks for her.
These behind-the-scene heroes made my second challenge possible. My deepest respect to them.
We had a great sailing last night and should be the same today, too.
We were able to clean up the cabin after the mess while the sea was calm. It is expected to have 30kts. winds from the influence of a low pressure tomorrow. We will try our best to be safe. 3 or 4 more lows are coming before we get to Onahama.
I got a question, ” Why did you want to set the goal in Fukushima?”, so I would write about the reasons.
I started to think about the victims, especially children who were killed or hurt from the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th, 2011, on my way back from a sailing in SanDiego.
I had a lot of fun sailing and I was appreciating the great ocean, but I just thought, those people who lost their normal life from tsunami, hate the ocean, because it took away their family, or have a fear, because they were almost carried away in the ocean.
Then, I got to know, Iwaki Kaisei High School and Iwaki Junior Yacht Club lost all of their sailboats. They were either taken away or destroyed by the tsunami. I really wanted to give them a chance to realize they could have a great experience in the ocean again. So, I came up with an idea to do fundraising by participating in the marathon race in San Diego. Through my support group, SWIS, I was introduced to a Japanese baseball player, Akifumi Ohtsuka of San Diego Padres. He accepted my offer to run the marathon with me. The fundraise was successful, thanks to Mr. Ohtsuka that I got a fund to buy two small sailboats for the school and the junior club. In 2013, at my first attempt of Pacific sailing with Mr. Shinbo, we launched the voyage in Onahama, so I got to give them the boats before we left. As you know, we ended up giving up the voyage by a collision of a whale. I wanted to say “I am back!” from the sailboat to those children in Iwaki, so we decided to make the goal there when we were planing for this voyage. Mr. Narita and many supporters are working tirelessly for us. I really appreciate all their effort.
Wave hight: 60 cm, Course: 260, Boat speed: 6.5 kts.
[ A voyage is like a life ]
The winds and waves were hard until late afternoon yesterday. There are different type of waves depending on the wave period. The same 4 meter waves are not too uncomfortable when its period is long, that means waves are slow. But, when the wave period is short, it hits us upwards, and drops us suddenly, that has a lot more damage to us and to the boat. The low pressure we met yesterday was producing short, choppy waves towards us, that many items in the cabin have blown away everywhere, and we needed to hold on something tight when we walk around, otherwise we would have smashed in the floor. I got so tired even just walking around. That situation continued until late afternoon yesterday. The winds were high as well as the waves, so the boat speed got fast, while we were heading away from our goal. It was tough mentally too.
After all the hustle, we started to sail west again, but the winds were too weak that the boat did not move forward at all. The sail and the boom made a lot of sound and I could not sleep. This voyage is still sending me a message ” you need more patience” 😅. Then, the winds came back about 3 hours ago and we are heading to Japan again! We’ve been experiencing heaven and hell in this couple of days. It is exactly like, ” Take the bad with good”. We will enjoy this wonderful sailing until we meet another low pressure.
※ Took some video of the choppy seas in the morning. We were unable to shoot that condition, because of the night time and too dark, or shortage of battery for that moment. Please wait to see a rough seas video taken by a blind cameraman! 😁
[ We got over the difficult condition last night ]
We started to sail southwest to get away from the low yesterday. We tried to go southwest, but the high waves and current forced us to move south. We just needed patience, patience…
We are excepting to have lower winds and waves this afternoon, so will continue to sail safely. It is forecasted to have two to three more low pressures on our way.
If we kept going NE to get a short cut to Onahama, we would have been in 25 km/h of wind gust! We think we made the right decision based on our weather advisor even though we got further away from our goal.