Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bluesette Bliss

Due to the airshow this Sunday, the 13th, we didn't think we'd be back on the lake until the following week, but K took Thursday, the 10th off, so we got to go sailing after all.

(click photos to enlarge)

Beautiful day at lake Hinuma. As it was a weekday, there was no one else on the water.

There was not much wind - 1 to 2 m/s (2.2 - 4.4 mph). We'd get going for a few minutes, only to slow again. That was fine, but the wind could not make up its mind which way to go. I would establish a course and then follow the bit of yarn on the shroud and watch in amazement as it gradually changed direction. I'd keep adjusting our course and we'd go through a turn of 30, 60, 90, and then 120 degrees as I tried to maintain the same angle of attack to the wind! The weird thing was, these shifting winds seemed to be located at the north and south side of the lake. And formed a kind of trap that kept one in one location or the other. The only way out was to tack back and forth in quick succession to break out to the other side . Mind boggling, but fun.

At 11:30, the cities of Japan play chimes to let everyone know it is approaching lunch time (different cities may adopt different times. Ours play at 11:45). The funny thing is, two cities - Ibaraki Town and Hokota City - share lake Hinuma. We were at mid-lake at that time. First we heard Ibaraki Town's chimes start with a traditional Japanese melody, and then, seconds later, Hokota City started playing Green Sleeves. The tunes clashed with each other over the lake in a strange sort of "battle of the bands". Happily, the tunes only last about 30 seconds.

Village of no return? The wind conspired to keep us coming right back to this part of the lake. It reminded me of the story by Japanese author Kobo Abe - "Woman in the Dunes" about a man who is trapped by a woman living in a house that is surrounded by ever-encroaching sand dunes.

I felt I didn't dare venture very far from a line north from the harbor as the unpredictable direction and often weak wind speed might make it hard to get back. We had been out a bit over an hour and decided to dock, take a lunch break, and see if things improved later on. If not, we'd take a drive and explore the north shore by car.

We reefed the sails and borrowed some fenders to keep the fickle winds from pushing Bluesette against the dock while we went to lunch. When I took this picture of K, the light hit the street-glo lettering on Bluesette, lighting it up.

Mama's Kitchen, we soon discovered, is closed on Thursdays, so we opted for Ikoinomura Hinuma, the resort just a few hundred meters down the road. (next door to Mama's).

K had a pork cutlet, while I had tempura. The restaurant has a view of the lake so we could keep our eye on the wind as we ate.

A lone red windsurfing sail took the water.

The wind did indeed pick up as hoped, to 2 to 3 m/s (4.5 to 6.7 mph) and gradually rising. As the direction was such we could easily go east and west on the lake. I took us as far west as we could safely go. In addition to getting shallow at that end, there are increasing numbers of nets strung there. Some pics taken by K...

Fish splash - we often see striped mullet jumping, but catching them with the camera is almost impossible.

Resort where we had lunch

I found a scientific study of lake Hinuma on the "internets tubes" showing a map with depth contours - very handy. I printed it out post card size and had K laminate it.

Loons fly over Hinuma with Mt. Tsukuba in the distance.

We had such a good time Thursday afternoon that we were late getting back to the harbor. As we approached, the wind was from the south - ie offshore - and for the last 100 meters, almost entirely blocked by the trees. K broke out the paddle to give us a boost for while, then a little puff came along and took us the rest of the way to the dock.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Don Snabulus said...

The weather looked beautiful with fluffy cumulus and wispy cirrus overhead. Lunch looked nice too. I am really enjoying these adventures on the lake.

My word verification was: caling - When sailing is calling.

Pandabonium said...

Don - that sky was really "yummy" as was the food. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts. We're going to keep sailing this year until the weather makes it unbearable. Hopefully well into November.

Caling indeed - it calls to me all the time these days. Thanks for reading.

HappySurfer said...

Wow! K taking off a day to go sailing. Life's sweet (sailing).. :D

Thanks for sharing the adventures, PandaB. Great insight for me.

Pandabonium said...

HappySurfer - yeah, that was great. Ain't she sweet? Thanks for reading.