Katsuyama to Velasis Marina, Miura, and Enoshima

It’s been a while since my last post. Not because I haven’t been out sailing, but because I had a wonderful surprise visit from my uncle D’arcy. Mom’s been in Japan for the past month getting inspiration for her artwork (which you can see on her website at: http://peggyburkosky.com/). It’s been great having her here, but the enjoyment was doubled one evening while Mom and I stood on the sidewalk discussing where to go for dinner. As we stood there looking at the map of the area, someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked where they could find a good seafood restaurant with quality lingcod. As it slowly dawned on me that the asker was my uncle D’arcy, all I could managed was a shocked “… whaaaaaaaat?!”. He’d managed to arrange vacation time, and Mom and Kiwako assisted with all his travel details, so it came as a complete surprise. D’arcy is Mom’s youngest brother, and as he’s not that much older than me he’s been like an older brother to me in many ways. It’s been great having him here, and we had the chance to go out sailing a few times. D’arcy’s now shopping for his own sailboat 🙂

After a nice seafood dinner and a night of karaoke (D’arcy wasn’t a fan of my singing, no idea why), we all headed out on the train to Katsuyama.

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We arrived at Katsuyama during a torrential downpour. The first view of Watari was a rather damp, dreary one.

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My new crew remained undaunted however, being used to hardship on the high seas. They only thing that seemed to concern them was my cobbled-together gangplank. Eventually they got the hang of even that though.

In short order they had their gear and our supplies stowed, and the rain had stopped, so with D’arcy manning a winch I was able to go up the mast in the Bosn’s chair and retrieve the main halyard which we’d lost up the mast on my last trip. It turned out to be that the shackle simply wasn’t wired shut and had come open. That was a simple repair, so after a dinner of Mom’s boat soup we were able to get underway.

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Under a full moon we slipped out of the harbour and out into Tokyo Bay. Our destination was just the next town of Hota, about a mile away, but with the light winds it took us a while to get there. We had to motor most of the way. D’arcy later shared that this was the most nervous he was on the trip, as Watari tends to shudder, shake and groan a good deal under power. I share his sentiment, and also like to avoid motoring as much as possible.

In the morning we woke up to clear skies and a view of Mt. Fuji across the harbour.

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After an onsen (hot spring) bath at Hota, drying out from the previous night’s rain, and filling the water tanks we were ready to sail across Tokyo Bay to Velasis marina to have lunch and get fuel. The winds were very light,and we spent a couple of hours practicing safety drills, man overboard recoveries, and learning the ropes, so it was around 13:00 when we got into Velasis.

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We didn’t stay long there, just enough to have lunch and fill up at the fuel dock. The wind picked up a bit and we had a relaxing sail down the Miura Peninsula to Miura Misaki, where we planned to spend the night. Miura Misaki has a pontoon with a few visitor berths, which are free between 18:00 and 09:00. It’s a very well protected harbour, especially in a north wind.

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We were able to provision here at the supermarket, which was within walking distance of the harbour and had all the essentials.

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After provisioning we walked up the street from the harbour to the restaurant area. Although famous for sushi, especially maguro, we were a bit late and all the seafood restaurants were already sold out and closing. Luckily we found this ramen shop, which had some of the best ramen I’ve ever had!

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The next morning we got up with the sun and set sail across Sagami Bay for Enoshima. Enoshima is the centre of the Shonan beach area, and is very popular for tourists. We had a unique view of it though, as we approached from the sea where there are no shops, only views of the tall lighthouse/observation tower.

We dropped the anchor in a sheltered area on the northwest side of the island, and jumped in for a swim and snorkel.

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After I dove on the anchor to make sure it was holding well, D’arcy and I snorkelled over to the beach. From there we walked up a small path, and suddenly emerged onto the main road, lined with small shops, leading up to Enoshima Shrine.

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It was a fascinating experience swimming to shore and experiencing the island like this, it really felt like a fantasy world.

After hiking up to the top of the island we headed back to the boat for lunch, then sailed back around and to Enoshima yacht harbour where we were able to find an open guest berth. These were paid berths, if I recall correctly ¥2600 for 3 hours or so. It was worth it though, as it allowed us to fill up with fresh water, enjoy a hot shower, and easy access to the shops and restaurants of Enoshima. Mom enjoyed strolling around looking at the shops, then having her toes nibbled on by doctor fish. D’arcy found some good squid crackers and a new straw hat for the boat.

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By that time we were all pretty tired and it was time to set off for home as the sun set over Enoshima.

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Yes, I can navigate with my eyes closed.

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We had a peaceful sail back across Tokyo bay that night. D’arcy took the helm while I had a nap, and despite having to dodge several ships he was able to steer such a close compass course that we raised Ukishima Island, the entrance to our harbour, right on course within 100 meters of our mark! A very successful voyage.

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