Things that go bump on the radar

So. A strengthened Megi is supposed to affect the wind and wave patterns in this area for the next week. On top of that information, a severe tropical depression is forming off Kagoshima (behind us) and will sweep southward in the coming weeks. Storm central this is.

Armed with this information we have decided to be satisfied with what we have accomplished and return home. The only other option is to wait in Ikema for 2-3 weeks, maybe to find another storm coming at that point. November make s change in the weather patterns in this area, not in our favor.

Too bad, we had hoped to get to Ishigaki at the least, but we are only one short hop from that point, and we feel mostly happy with what we have achieved. See you all in Vancouver soon.

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SUPER Typhoon Megi

Our local menace, Megi, has been upgraded to Super Typhoon; she is now as strong as a class 4 hurricane.

The winds here are nuts and pieces of trees litter the roads. We will hold on until the 21st and determine if the seas have calmed enough to make the crossing to Ishigaki. Typhoons can leave the seas very rough for days after they have left the area.

I will be bat shit crazy by the 21st.

“Typhoon Meggie”. Or: “this is getting silly”

Always with the weather delays. Today the villagers begin to board up their shops and homes and pull in their fishing boats in anticipation of the impending typhoon: code name Meggie.

All I can hear is Rod Stewart.

She started brewing two days ago and will hit Taiwan on the 19th; the winds here are already nuts. We must hunker down here until at least the 21st and hope that the weather cooperates and allows us to complete the last half of the trip. So close yet so far away.

The Japanese say that this is the 13th typhoon this year: they usually get 4. Nice year we picked eh?

All that’s left is to explore the islands ancient ruins and hope to get some diving in before the water gets too crazy.

Ikema

Well fed and rested after our crossing, we wake up to monsoon rains soaking all our gear, pooling up in our tents and completely soaking all of our dry clothes.

You. Have. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

So tired and messed up and we can’t even get a nights sleep.

Local fishermen who look on us as rebels (coast guard forbids this kind of travel in japan) and amusing vagrants who sleep in rain pools, take pity on us and find a vacant house in the village on Ikema Shima, around 50 people.

Rest is ours finally! Time to dry some clothes and get rid of that foul sea water/nylon stench.

Long crossing

Well. That was not that much fun. Our wind lasted the first day and night, before dying and eventually blowing in our face. Light enough, but straight in our face and somewhat damaging to tired travelers morale. We made it in four long days and paddled half the total distance, long days moving at 1.5 – 2 knots due the the contrary breeze (we can normally push a K2 along at 3.5 – 4 knots in nominal conditions) and strong current.

Our bodies are covered in ugly salt sores, damaged from the constant spray and pooling of ocean water. As well as being mentally drained and physically punished from 94 nonstop hours in a kayak, we find our digestive processes disturbed by a diet of cliff bars, dried fruit, SPAM and Gravol. What did we think would happen eh?

Off to feed and sleep for 15 hours.

Onward

We have had our fun in Kerama, waiting for the right wind; it appears our window for travel opens tomorrow. Now we pack, rest and mentally prepare for the 300 km trek to the next island group.

The crossing will hopefully take only 3 days, but if the wind fails us it could be much more. I foresee a need to rest on the flipside. If the weather gods smile upon us and do as promised (weather forecasts are as predictable/reliable as a game of Craps in a seedy casino) we should flow through to Miyako Shima on a steady 25 kn NNE wind. Great news.

Kerama

Chilling in Kerama us pretty sweet, snorkeling in beautiful coral and long beaches, truly tropical heaven.

As well, some of the heaviest rain I’ve weathered in a tent, fly shaking and new rivers pouring through the forest.

Looming ahead is the 150 kn (300 km) jump over to Ikema and Miyako Shima, which with perfect weather could take as little as 2 days and nights (sailing all the time, wind at our back), or as long as the weather decides (no wind, or worse, wind in our face).

Much debate and study during dinner where we group up and pour over the latest weather forecasts. Only a 3 day window will do! Minimum!

Paddle and layover

Our crossing from Naha to the Kerama Islands was conspicuously void of wind, we eventually paddled the entire distance in 8 hours.

It seems we must wait again for the weather; a low pressure system is blowing some strong unfavorable winds in on Saturday and Sunday, and we must wait it’s passing before attempting our large 3 day crossing from Kerama Miyako Shima. The tentative departure is scheduled for Monday.

Holding pattern

Looks like our departure date is set for the sixth, a big storm rolls over Okinawa tomorrow and will not settle down until Wednesday.

It is quite beautiful here, but we pale skins must remember to stay covered despite the heat due to a few bad sunburns already. Today there is no breeze and the sun is bringing 35 degrees to every nook and cranny, there is no escape.

Also another storm is brewing for next weekend, a short window of travel appears. Too hot and sticky to write more.

Heat wave

Visiting an old friend of Dougs in Naha city, where they treat us all like long lost family. I must admit though, the heat is a bit overwhelming right now.

Planning on picking up food today and assembling the kayaks, for a tentative departure to Kerama islands tomorrow. Weather permitting.

Shiro is in high spirits and keen to set out. Doug is stressing caution and vigilance in our weather attention, there have been 12 typhoons in japan this year, compared to their usual 4. And the water is quite active, waves of 9-10 feet with little wind.