Wednesday's weather was even better than Monday's. A beautiful fall day for the beginning of Autumn. The air was in the 70s F and water the same, with blue skies dotted by puffy cumulus and wisps of cirrus clouds.
We arrived a bit later than usual as it was Ohigan, the Buddhist holiday at the Autumnal Equinox, and time for visiting the graves of ancestors with offerings of flowers, incense, water and rice cakes. In rural Japan, many graves are in small community or family plots or at the local temples. On days like this, as we walk down the street, the air is filled with the sweet scent of incense.
(side note: Contrary to popular belief - even among some Buddhists - the offerings are not for the deceased per se, but rather are a way for the living to reflect in appreciation on the fact that one does not create one's own life, but rather we owe our existence to others, especially to those who have gone before. The incense, flowers, etc. are simply expressions and reminders of that dharma - truth.)
After rigging Bluesette we had to wait a bit for someone to operate the cable winch, as all hands were busy teaching new sailors. So, we launched about 11:30 in winds of about 6 miles an hour. The painter on Bluesette is too short to be handy at the dock, as it is matched to the length of the tow rope on the sendai (dolly) so that both sendai and boat come out of the water together. I added a second small diameter painter that is much longer, so that when we leave the dock, K can just wrap it around a post, get into the boat holding the end of it and cast off when ever we are ready. Much less hassle than before.
First times are often a learning experience, and K did everything well. However, I wasn't quite ready and hadn't said anything about casting off yet. Oops. I hadn't thought to work that out with K ahead of time. Ready or not, we were off! :-)
Lots of sailboats shared the lake. A young boy was sailing a pram again, his dad sailing with him part of the time and sometimes separately in a Laser. It turns out the boy had learned to sail in April and wanted to sail on a bigger late than the one he learned on.
The harbor owner's son was on watch and if anyone got into trouble he would race out to them on a jet ski and lend assistance, which he did on several occasions.
We docked for a lunch break about 13:00 and headed for Mama's Kitchen. We both had the special lunch of the day - Sanma, known as Pacific Saury in English. Sanma is very popular in Japan and this day was an appropriate one for eating it, as it is an Autumn fish. It is usually salted and grilled as pictured below, but Mama'a dish was very different.
We got back to Bluesette about 14:00 for another hour and a half of sailing. Over lunch we agreed on the procedures for casting off, so this time we were both ready before letting go of the painter. The painter floats and is easy for K to retrieve from the water after we shove off.
The wind had picked up to about 9 mph, so we had a great time hiking out and getting wet. Good fun. Docking again at 15:30, the wind was just starting to go back down. Good timing.
I'll be doing more scratch removing and polishing this weekend since K has to work. The following weekend we have a guest joining us for sailing - hopefully both on Friday and on Saturday. Three in the boat will be interesting. Not sure how we'll organize things, but that will be part of the fun. Perhaps we'll also trade off with the one left on shore taking some pictures.
Oh, and that reminds me. I am hoping to be able to post better pictures next time. The Pentax Optio W60 I've been using is waterproof and fine for close shots with its wide angle lens, but it has no image stabilization system, so if I try to take a zoom shot, it invariably comes out blurred unless I am on shore with the camera set on a post.
I just got a replacement camera - an Olympus μ Tough 8000 (called Stylus in USA, I think). The Olympus has 12 megapixels (vs 10 on Pentax), is also waterproof and has a zoom feature, but more importantly, has optical image stabilization to keep those zoom shots crisp. It should make it possible to offer pics that get you closer to the action. We'll see soon enough.
Until next, sweet sailing.