Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ready for the apple crumble task

Weather Links and Internet/phone info.

Here in Japan for weather info we use the following links:

JMA, weather map.

JMA, local wind situation. (from here it's easy to go to an other area).

JMA, local weather warning ( same).

JMA, local rain radar (same)., local forecast, for up to 5 days. (also easy to move to an other area).

Yes, you'll need internet on board. In this part of Japan: SailMail and Winlink connections are very poor!

Once we got our internet going…we had coverage almost anywhere between Ishigaki and Fukuoka.

BUT at this writing there is a catch:

It's not easy to get that mobile phone/internet account. Officially, only those with a "fixed" home address can get a contract. So for short term visiting cruising yachts… You'll have to make deal with a helpful Nippon resident.

The best mobile internet set-up is from DoCoMo.

Mind you, here in Fukuoka and so in other BIG cities, (Ishigaki is a small town) you can get Prepaid Internet with-out that "fixed" home address thing.

This internet connection is called B-Mobile.

Pre-paid mobile phones are, same story, also only available in Big Cities. See SoftBank for this.

Hope this might be of help.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Runners On The Move

These legs are made for Running.

It's 12 noon, time to start;-)

Oh yes it's fun to run. Even here below the express way. Left and right country side has plenty to look at.

Country side in winter mode.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

End of Autumn

This week was definite the end of autumn.
Of course it came with daily dropping temperatures, so Alishan got equipped with a kerosene heather.
On top of that: One day we had solid rain, thunder and lightning for 24 hours, followed by a day with gale force winds : 40+ knots from the West. An okay direction for us, but the boats in Odo Yacht Harbor had less fun. (see previous update).
Then again, today (Saturday) it was a great day with wall to wall blue sky…. But as soon the sun is down: Close those hedges and start that heather!!

2 Days were spent shaking the nets for “tomba” (small fish, see below).
It was fun to help Katsuyoshi (77), his wife (74) and sister (74). It also felt like I was doing my old job: Daycare Rehab for Elderly.
But these “youngsters” are in NO need for rehab, they kept on shaking and sorting the fish for 6 hours, non-stop!
What a pleasure and the more as 1 day we had a super BIG small fish catch!

Shaking the nets....(with Alishan at the back).

Always some herons around...guess why;-)

Marijke goes birding when ever the weather is good and still comes home with “firsts”.

For sure it’s a bonus to have a good oven on board and with all the marathon training…Cake and pies are welcome.


Monday, November 29, 2010

At Odo, Fukuoka's public marina.

Fukuoka's public marina is named Odo Yacht Harbour.

21 Years ago we arrived here with Jan Haring after the yacht race: Auckland~Fukuoka.
At that time this marina wasn't super, and it still isn't.
Limited water, No Power, 
No protection from the swell when a NW gale is blowing.
And ...... Not Cheap 
(unless you stay for a month: Pay 10 days --> get 20 days free).

But our friends on Tweed and Sea Rover decided to stay here for the winter.
Nice for us!

This is Tweed....

And this is Sea Rover.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Digging In

Ehh, well it is still getting cooler (or should I say colder).

A sign: Wakame likes to sleep (with us) under the blankets these days. What a change from this time last year when we were traveling the Kinabatanga River in Borneo.
In the mornings we wake up to the sound of the generator: Making AC for the hot water kettle, the boiler, the toaster and ....the heather.
Of course in the meantime recharging cameras, computers and boat batteries.
And we run the air-cooled fridge to warm the aft cabin! So far the day-time temp is still above 10C, so it is not yet too bad. Yesterday we even had a top of 19C & little wind making it very comfy to sit in the cockpit.
BTW, for our daily shower/bath we have the option to go to the gym, the biggg sento ( public bath) or our friend's house.

Alishan has found her official spot here in the harbor and, as said; We are Digging In.
Sundays of course helping out at the Morning Fish market: 5 AM
Daily we meet up with friends from the past, go for runs ( yes i've signed up for a marathon in January), read books, go birding and do the odd boat jobs.
Up till now, we have found the skill to avoid paid-jobs ;-)
It's good to be here.

Good friends Jon and Pam of sailing yacht Tweed have re-surfaced from their trip to Australia, and so .....we are "flat out".
They are in ODO city marina, 10 minutes by Giant bicycle from here. Also there is Anton, from South Africa, on board of sailing yacht Sea Rover.
Luckily, we feel we are still in a cruising-mode.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Autumn Drive

Autumn leaves in Japan are something special. We were lucky we could borrow a car and went for a drive in the mountains around Fukuoka.
Every corner of this winding road showed us a new "painting".

Ha, this tree is loaded with orange fruit: "KAKKI" =persimmon.
Yummy fruit, and well know by crows and other birds, hence those umbrellas.

Just a nice spot at one of the many mountain temples.
We never get tired of visiting those places.

Friday, November 5, 2010

TOMBA tralala

The other day.....
We had to celebrate something....

Of course The Way to do so is with 30 (!!!) TOMBA.
Small fish, caught here in Fukuoka Bay.

Loaded with fish-fat, so the best way is cooked in soju and sakeh only.

We are looking forward to our next anniversary.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meinohama News.

The weather really turns out to be autumn stuff. That Tee Thing (typhoon # 14) made a nice sweet turn away to the East and didn’t affect us at all. And as you can see, there are some sunny moments. But we do have cold N winds with a bit much rain. The cockpit enclosure is so nice to have, esp. with those extra 2-leggers on board.

Guess who is very happy to be back home again. Within 30 minutes of arrival Nori had scored his first fresh fish.

As ever before, Japanese calendar has many festivals. This one is for kids of preschool age and it is held at “our” temple here in Meinohama. Edwin and Melissa’s cameras are loaded to the rim with pictures!
Tomorrow is D-day for E & M. It will be quiet on board again.
And for us?
Well, start prepping for the winter.
And…J.O.B. hunting??

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windy and Cold

Gale and Cold warnings. Well, we can feel both. After 4 years in tropics/subtropics a temperature of only 10 degree C feels COLD indeed.
But seeing all our friends and family here in Fukuoka keep us warm.....
Just have to watch that Tee Thing down under....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Position: 819-0013

Alishan arrived at Fukuoka.
We are now at position:
Ehhh, Yes, that's the Zip Code.
Ehhh, No, we don't know how long we will be here , but for now the only Movement Alishan will make is Going Up and Going Down with the Tides.
Wow, so great to see all our friends again. And all those familiar places. Remember, the first time we sailed into Fukuoka was 21 years ago, so this is indeed our place.
And you should see Nori and Wakame, they went through the fly-screens to re-explore their play grounds where they grew up.
2 more bicycles were bought, so Melissa and Edwin have wheels.
The calendar is fully booked with welcome-parties, sightseeing, hikes, visits to sento's and other things people do in Big Cities.(eating good food of course....).
Hmmm, when can i do the laundry....?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Alishan found a nice possy along the wall in Yobuko, position:

33° 32' 589 N
129° 53' 499 E

This town is know as Ika Capital. And indeed everywhere you look, there is squid; Drying and Flying.

?? Flying ??
Yes, they use a spinning set-up to dry the squid.

But of course the best way to eat squid is....RAW = sashimi

Now with Melissa and Edwin on board we decided NOT to go for raw squid: Sashimi ika is still tooo much for them ;-(

So the menu for last nights dinner was "not fishy".

Hmm, No Way.
Our neighbor fisherman decided that we had to eat squid... And gave us a load life-ones!

Happy crew, there was enough for all of us, incl Nori and Wakame. And yes, Edwin loves it too.

This is our last stop before Fukuoka...looking forward to see all our friends again.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Well, the JCG did spot us in Hirado, with a team of 4 they came to Alishan to..... right....:
Haha, I had them fill out the forms for us ;-)

Hirado is always nice, okay, a bit touristic, but there is a lot to see ; small streets, old houses, temples, churches, gardens, a castle, a great museum and not the least: A Superb Hot Bath, on top of one of the hotels, (boys 9th, girls 10th floor) The view is overlooking the Hirado Straits. You have to go there yourself and soak in the hot water to believe it.

Anyway, we made a move again and are now at MADARA.

33° 33' 932 N
129° 45' 900 E

A new place for us, so: Here we go and explore,


Sunday, October 10, 2010


Even before 7 am Alishan was making miles towards Hirado.
As "ever" there was little wind, mostly on the nose... The seas were flat, so no complains.
Now we are at:
33° 22' 278 N
129° 33' 281 E
The`harbor has an unused ferry pontoon and visitors can stay here: For Free.
The plan is to explore town and give the local hot springs and Sento a proper
check;-) Entering the harbor, memories of 21 years ago came back. It was here
in this port we experienced our very first serious typhoon.....At that time no fun , but all went well.
It is definite PERFECT autumn weather, very unlikely we will meet a typhoon now.
So, short for now, we go out exploring.....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Moved to Mie

Early Sunday morning we made a move to Mie, see previous blog report. For Edwin and Melissa those whopping 10 sea miles where the first ever on a sailboat...and all went well. There was not even 10 knots of wind (of course on the Nose).
And yes we had a great time at Nagasaki and its bubbling O Kunchi festival. Just only a few rain showers spoiled the fun briefly, but all in all the weather was perfect. We met up with Satoshi, Nobuko and Michio.
And there was the Sawamura Family , organizing a local typhoon on board of Alishan.
What a fun.
Thank you all for the good times!
On a sour note were the local customs office people, showing their "power". Ha, they were almost disappointed that we had all our papers in order! Okayokay, they do their work...but....   Informing them that for example THEY hadn't informed their own Fukue branch of our planned arrival...the answer was not even: Oh sorry we made a mistake. So we keep on smiling.
The weather looks good for this week, Alishan will move further N , Hirado here we come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

O Kunchi Day 1

Perfect weather and a perfect show. We are so lucky to be here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Indeed we had a great time at Fukue as we met up with some nice people. Of course a lot of time was spend in front of the computer making that HP update, but we did find time to go for bicycle rides, runs/hikes and bird watching.
The Grand Final at Fukue was the Minato Matsuri (port festival) with a final Big Bang Fireworks Display right in front of Alishan.

Yesterday, the trip across the pond, about 50 miles. The wind was mostly from behind, something between 5~20 knots. Great sailing, but hey...It's cooling down. So we were wearing long pants and a second layer over a T-shirt. Feels funny!
Alishan is back at the same spot at Dejima Marina. And yes you can keep an eye on us again as the Harbor Webcam is working. See our previous blog last month

Tomorrow we will drive to Fukuoka to pick up Melissa and Edwin...then we all get ready for Nagasaki Okunchi Festival...
Google that one so you know what we are gonna enjoy ;-)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homepage Update Q3 2010

It's done again.
There is a new update at
Q3 report 2010 part 1 and Q3 report 2010 part 2 ( see menu bar).
It tells the story of Alishan and crew traveling from Okinawa to Goto Retto, Nagasaki.
With many pictures of course.
Please enjoy.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cruising to and in Japan = PaperWork

Even before arriving at your first Japanese port, you'll have to do PaperWork.
This is Only for your Port of Entry!

This paperwork can only be done by FAX.
No! Japan Coast Guard will not answer your initial emails. Once they know you from the FAX, email contact might be possible.
Send me a note if you like info regarding these Pre Arrival Procedures.

Then the cruising can start! Oops...just a moment:
Japan has about 150 Open Ports. These are ports where foreign ships & yachts may go without prior permission.
All the other ports you need a "cruising permit" for.

That's easy to get:
Make a list of ports with possible dates and find the office of Ministry of Transport. Each province has its office and you'll apply for that province. At your first Port of Entry you'll find that office building easy enough...Customs will inform you.
Like for us, we got our first permit in Ishigaki: Good till Okinawa. In Okinawa we got the next permit : Good till Nagasaki. In Nagasaki we got the permit till Fukuoka.

Fill out the request papers with the ever and always happy officer, who speaks enough English!
Okayokay, some of these papers are the same and you already have filled them out at an other office. And yes, he has copies of previous papers in his file...but just do it again. They luff paper.

Two days later, the Permit is ready and you can go.
Arriving at a closed port, with this permit in the chart table...No worries.
Arriving at a closed port without...... big change nobody= Customs and/or Coast Guard will show up. But if they do....very likely they will send you OUT.
And correct. ( unless there is typhoon or other problem of course...)

Now here at Fukue Port (=closed port), we were checked out by customs and Coast Guard.
Ha, see the picture: It took them 48 hours to spot us! Their office is right next to us.

Sadly enough, beside the Min of Transportation, there is zero communication between the different offices, even from the same department, so have to fill out many=same papers. ( e.g., how much sugar, how much engine oil etc, where you have been and where you will go). Again, these officers usually will speak some English. And they always come with a smile.

That's all.
If you have any questions, drop us a note.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy to be in Fukue

Alishan made a Move due WEST. We are now at the Port of Fukue on the East side of Fukue Island, one of the islands of the Goto Retto Group. Position:
32° 41' 788 N
128° 51' 018 E
This location is alongside the ferry pontoon. All day long many ferries are coming and going, until 7PM: Then we have this place all for ourselves. To park here they charge us a whopping 2 Euro/day, so you won't hear us complain.
While at Mie we had a few nice days for varnishing, so happy that is done.
Today it is the official start of the autumn and yes: It blows half a gale and it's colder than cool we think. Even though the temperature in the cabin is around 25C.....we shiver. But it's great to go for bicycle rides and runs.
Fukue island was a stop for us 4 years ago. At that time we were at Arakawa, on the West side.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Moved to Mie

Alishan made a Move to Mie Town. Just North of Nagasaki. Position:
32° 48' 968 N
129° 46' 474 E
This part of the harbor we are at is to be used by fishing vessels (only???) in case of a typhoon.
And there is a Biggy Down Under ( SE of Okinawa) at the moment, but it looks like it will head for Taiwan. Dear friends, take care!
So No fishing vessels now... We are all by ourselves. Sorry, no webcam here, you'll have to use Google Earth.
And what a good place it is to do some varnish work. The great weather is also a good help:
Blue skies, little wind and in the's even chilly in my pyjamas.

We met up with friends from 21 years ago when we first sailed to Nagasaki.
Mr and Mrs Sawamura had adopted us that summer and we did all sort of fun things together with their .....12 kids!!
It is so good to see them again and bringing back all those memories from those days.
Once again we really realize why we like Japan so much, ESP when cruising around by yacht.


Alishan Song

Don't we all dislike the ever obnoxious shopping mall "back ground" music?
Well the other day we were window shopping at China Town in Nagasaki and the back ground music was nothing less than the MT Alishan Song. ( click on the link, it will take you to our HPpage with the song).
Isn't that nice shopping?!!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Castella Town

Well, it wasn't easy to sail away from Akune. So many friends tried their utmost best to keep us much longer...but hey, life of cruisers is to Make Moves and then.

This is even before 6 AM. Akune just doesn't want us to go...

Let go for and aft...but what are all those strings doing up the mast??

The seas were calm, the wind very liitle from No Where and so the 45 miles across were done by Yanmar. The only things we had to look out for were the odd fishing boats, birds and a few rocks. Entering Nagasaki did recall memories from 21 years ago...just a few as the port lay out and the city sky line have changed. And not in a bad way.

The new Nagasaki Port Sky Line...

Alishan is in Dejima Marina...did you try the webcam?

32° 44' 617 N
129° 52' 206 E

Nagasaki is known for many reasons.
Good ones and of course sad ones.
But one is very tasty: Castella!
This cake recipe is not from Holland, ( Nagasaki has a fat dutch history....) as many people think, but it comes from Portugal.
And Satoshi, local yachtsman, has mastered the skill how to make this cake perfect. And we were the "victims" to taste it. Yummy! Thank you Satoshi!

Alishan applied for the next cruising permit. Once we get that piece of paper we make a Move Again.


Friday, September 10, 2010


See if you can spot us.
Just click on ALISHAN , the webcam will
show you Nagasaki Port. You can operate the camera.
We are in the small marina
on the far right, parked in line behind a catamaran.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Number 7 aka Malou

Look what keeps us here in Akune..... Ms. Malou
Wind strenght and wind direction are no problems for us here in the harbor....
And the continues stream of visitors o/b of Alishan makes it even more a "Typhoon Party".
(btw, Akune is in the right hand bottom part of the yellow circle.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shutter and Wall paintings in Akune

Fuji Film couldn't do better.

Akune's Prime Coffee Shop. They closed the shutters just for us to take the picture.

Marijke & Kiyota Sensei ( The Artist) doing the picture trick.

Hmmm, what's he looking at...



Some of you might know what AA means to me.
Well, in this case it also means: Alishan is in Akune.
32° 01' 281 N
130° 11' 523 E

And it is good to be here.

Typhoon # 7, with the sweet name of Kompasu was heading this way. Luckily for us "she" choose a course very far to the West and we had zero wind/waves from her. Mind you, the pontoon we are along side AND the solid concrete wall not far behind us should have given us plenty comfort. Let's not say that too loud, as there are more Ls and TDs down under.....Remember September

About 15 years ago we did spend a night in this small town, but beside the harbor , the off-lying islands and the superb down-town 330 yen hot spring we don't recognize much about the place.

Too bad, Akune has been hit hard by the economic downturn. The fishing fleet is having a hard time and so do the shops and stores. We met Mr Kiyota who is turning this place into a tourist attraction by his amazing wall and shutter paintings. Will post some pictures later.

Meanwhile we will hang out here a few more days...... Guess why??


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kagoshima Ken

Kagoshima Ken has a great sky-line. Wakame is also enjoying this perfect sunrise moment whilst Alishan is slowly sailing towards the coast on our trip from Yaku Shima.

Chiran is famous for its Samurai history. Here a sneak pix of one of the gardens...
Not a bad spot to watch the Stones Grow.

The windward coast on the day of the small TD we had at Kasasa Ebisu.
Happy to see the sea from this point.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Just in Time

Alishan left Makurazaki early Friday morning before the wind picked up. Already a nasty swell was running at the entrance of M port, but soon we were able to run down wind and with the waves around the corner to Akasa Ebisu.
31° 24' 924 N
130° 08' 047 E
The resort here in the bay has a nice pontoon and we are able to use it. Of course not for free, but's perfect to sit out this small typhoon. So far we had some nasty wind bullets, ( maybe 30~40 knots) but that's all. At night we soak in the resort's hot spring... So nice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Alishan is in the fishy port of Makurazaki. Position:
   31° 16' 126 N
130° 17' 607 E
Fishy? Well, fish smoking !! it is.
Due to the season there is not much Katsuo= bonito  fishing activity, but the cool houses are loaded. 
Half the town consist of fish smoking factories, so that bizz goes on as usual. And can be smelled for miles.  Once smoked it is then shaved to very thin slivers for all sort of Japanese food toppings. Even PIZZA gets some.
The trip from Yaku Shima to here was NICE. We left the harbor just before sunset. The moon was up already, 95% full. No cloud in the sky and we had a great sail across. Of course there were the odd BIG containerships we had to avoid, ( Tokyo/Osaka~Hong Kong/SIngapore route), but with the perfect visibility all went well. There were enough hours in the night, so the little wind we had from behind gave us a perfect timing for the landfall.
Alishan will stay in this port a few days, until we ourselves get smoked out. It is still HOT, but the sea temperature!! is a few degrees down. And we found  a nice Sento=public bath house. Wow, it's so good to soak in such a bath.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Some Anbo Pix

Concrete walls in Japanese ports. Here is Alishan
at the foot of the cement tower.

Yaku Shima has many OLD inhabitants. This one is at least 1500 years old.

And these oldies "like to do it together".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And cool it is, at least at night!

As you might have seen at Google Earth, Anbo port and town is right at the mouth of the Anbo river cq valley. Both water temperature and ESP night breezes are a pleasantly cool. Even inside, the floor of Alishan is: cool!

The other day we got a ride up to Yakusugi Land, a natural park where 2000++ year old sugi trees can be found. OF COURSE by times it rained tropical! but walking around in this forest, even in pouring rain is magic. Every corner in the path showed us more giants! Pretty water falls and small streams, plenty of deer and monkeys ( the friendly variety, not like those mean rubbish bin macacs in Malaysia) The "park" is 1200 meters above sea level.... we got a guided tour/ride up with Mr Yamada, who runs a small B&B here in town....with in the booth of the car...our bicycles, for the return journey...THAT was fun!

Talking about Giants. Jaap's Giant bicycle took him around the island yesterday. Round trip is 98.9 K, it took me 7 hours with the odd stop for sightseeing and close encounters with deer and monkeys. Coming from the-land-below the sea...those 200 meter hills ARE high! Marijke went bird scouting, but somehow..very few birds to spot here. But plenty of butterflies and flowers.

some pictures:

Nori and Wakame have their own concrete jungle here ashore: Big blocks to be used for new harbor projects... Don't think they really like those blocks.

The weather still looks settled, the plan is to make a move after the weekend.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Anbo, Yaku Shima

Alishan just found a possy along, yes again, a concrete wall at
30 degree 18.7N
130 degree 39.5E
The trip across from Koniya was with very little wind, from behind and choppy seas due to the ever running currents and counter currents in this part of the pond. We had a super view at 3 BIG thunderstorms forming to the west of us, joining each other and....never dropped a drip or a thunder on us.
As anywhere here in southern japan:It's Hot, extremely hot. So we keep it low key....
OR go up in the mountains here on the island. Top is 1900m above sea level...must be cool out there...
Tell you later.


Friday, August 13, 2010

That was a TD

Koniya's Summer Festival did go ahead despite the rain. The karaoke was fun to watch, as there were many traditional songs and dances. And the fireworks were still splendid, about 1 hour oh's-and-ah's...but also leaving loads of fireworks rubbish on the deck!
And indeed that nasty weather turned into a TD (it did reach us the day after the summer festival). Not a deep TD, we saw 985 on the weather map, 1006 on board. So yes we had some wind, most in the range of 25-35+. The rain was plentiful. That was good to wash the boat!
We had stayed at the little basin with extra lines across to the other side and all went well. Don't know if we would stay here if a real big blow would come over. Wind protection is perfect, but the surge here can be dangerous.
After drying out we took the Lend-a Car for a spin around the island, it's so pretty here. Too bad we can't and dare to move off road to far into the bush as Amami Oshima is ill famous for poisonous snakes!
Now the weather looks okay for the next week and Alisahn will make a move North again.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Amami Oshima

We left Izena with a wind/weather/sea forecast that promised to be good.

As we moved away from a lee-shore concrete wall, there was little wind. Out at sea, as soon as the sails were up...the bumping and jumping started. First due to a fat squall with some lightning and plenty of rain and then plenty of wind. Just on the beam, that was good enough so we could lay our course for Amami.

BUT did the seas built up. Nasty 3~4 meter waves.

With the cockpit curtains down we were mostly comfy, but the going became rough. Lots and lots a waves jumping on deck etc.

Turned out that JMA issued a "high waves and thunder storms" warning for our area...

And ...That weather system did develop into a TD ( early stage of a typhoon)..moving SW (away from us) and later in the's coming back to us!

Anyway, after 14 hours Alishan found shelter in the lee of Amami and we decided not to move further on..just let Alishan drift for the remaining nite-hours. Next morning with first daylight we moved on to Koniya. Where we first anchored for some R & R. Later in the afternoon we moved to:

28° 08' 720 N
129° 18' 600 N

red circle is Koniya.

Alishan found a possy for a night. Or two. Or three.

Nice spot, next to a small park. Right downtown. Water for Alishan and us and trees and grass for Nori and Wakame.

And what a timing, this weekend it is Summer Festival. And yes in the park is the stage for karaoke..... Oh No.
Will let you know if and how we survived.

There is also an hour fireworks display on the schedule...let's hope the weather will be fine.

As said, it looks more like fat autumn weather, low fast flying clouds and by time nasty wind bullets...and rain. brrr


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eisa Pix

Soo hot, it was at least 35C and the tarseal didn't cool them either..
But for us, it was a great show to watch.

Teach them young.