As it was late morning when we arrived at the lake, we opted to eat lunch first. Neither of us was very hungry, so we went for lighter fare than usual at Mama's - I had an egg sandwich on a bagel with fruit, while Kimie had fried rice, chicken and curried potato patties. The meals included a visit to the salad bar, but no dessert. Delicious as always.
We had our first serious run-in with a bamboo pole. We were on a down wind leg very close to the north shore. A clump of bamboo poles lay ahead and slightly to starboard and I was planning to do a 270° turn before reaching them, so I ignored Kimie's repeated warnings of "stakes!" "stakes!" "oooooh, stakes!".
It turned out that she was referring not to the clump of poles that I had fixated on, but a single one dead ahead. The 1 inch diameter stake was set in the lake bottom like all the others used for holding net traps, and stuck out about two meters above the surface. I hit it first with the port bow and it slid along the rail until hitting the main and boom which rode over it, bending the bamboo, but pushing the boom in toward the boat as well. As it popped back up from under the boom, it was between the boom and the outstretched mainsheet, which it snagged. Fortunately, although it was pulling the boom back again, it bent over once more and freed itself from the mainsheet without causing us to jibe.
I quickly executed the 270 and we were on our way back toward the center of the lake. We argued briefly about what Kimie should have said to warn me of the specific hazard, but I soon realized that no matter how she put it, I probably would have hit the pole anyway because I was so focused on the large stand of poles. We laughed about it. Situational awareness lesson learned.
The striped mullet were jumping and I finally managed to get a picture of one in mid-flight.
After washing down Bluesette and putting her away, we headed for the showers. Kimie was drying off in the ladies shower room and I was still in the shower in the gents, when I thought I heard a freight train coming. No freight trains around Hinuma, this was an earthquake. A fairly big one. Awkward place to be and fortunately it was over soon. No damage, except briefly to our nerves.
We are used to frequent quakes off our coast, as they have increased in frequency by a factor of twenty since March 11th, but we usually only feel them as a level 1 or 2 on the Japanese "Shindo" intensity scale of 1 to 7. Saturday's quake was magnitude 4.8 on the Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 11 miles from where we were. We experienced it as a 4 on the Shindo scale.
That just shows we should have stayed out on the water longer. ;^)
As for the title of this post, you may ask, "Why a cloud to steer her by and not a star?" Well, we're on a small lake, in daylight, with nowhere in particular that we need to go. A cloud is as good a guide as any for a lovely afternoon sail. Don't you think so?
Until next, sweet sailing.