About Me

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Singapore
I am owned by Pauline and Mark Blasky. My hull was built at the Duncan Marine Yard in Taiwan and launched in Dec of 1980. It is a William Garden design based on the Pixie Design and called by Duncan Marine a Freedom 45. They are the fourth owners and have owned me the longest. They have done extensive refitting to me including replacing my entire deck structure and rig. My masts are roughly 10% taller than original and now are made of aluminium as opposed to the original wood ones, which, though pretty, were always problematic. You can read more about me under "MORE ABOUT SARI TIMUR"

May 30, 2014

Hirado Sightseeing


After coming from Nagasaki we thought we had seen a lot of history.  Or at least places where the East met West.  But tiny Hirado played a big part as well.

The first ship with Westerners to arrive was Portuguese in 1550.  But they soon had a falling out with the locals and had to withdraw to Nagasaki in 1551.  The Dutch established a trading house in 1609 and soon trade was flourishing.  Streets, bridges, land reclamation to make quayside wharfs, large buildings etc were soon part of Hirado.  The English came and established a trading house in 1613 but left after 10 years.  In 1639 the Shoganate closed all trade with foreigners except the Dutch.  But the Dutch were moved out of Hirado and re-established in Nagasaki in 1941. 

There are loads of sights to see and it is a very picturesque port.  We have to admit though everything is pretty much up and down.  Actually there are more ruins of steps than anything else.  Which means we got our exercise while sightseeing.

One of the things we found interesting was the gravestone of William Adams locally called Miura Anjin.  He was a Dutch seaman who drifted ashore in 1600 and soon became very influential and a foreign affairs advisor to the Shogun.  We both enjoyed James Clavel's Shogun and we think this figure was the inspiration for that novel.

Hirado played a huge part in the survival of Christianity during the closed door era and even today 15% of the locals are Catholic.  Francis Xavier made three trips.  There are loads of shrines and churches marking many martyrs and persecutions.

There is also some unique food here but one thing Hirado is famous for is the beef.  We splurged and went to one of the more famous Yakiniku restaurants last night for a feast of beef.  We westerners can talk about our tender beef but I don't remember any of it being so easy to cut with chopsticks as the cuts we had last night.  Definitely "Oishi".

Old wall built by the Dutch

Grave of William Adams aka Miura Anjin


The Francis Xavier Memorial Church

The church and temples
Hirado Castle
View of Sari Timur from the castle

View of castle from Sari Timur

May 29, 2014

Hirado and Why We Cruise

Actually there are many reasons we cruise.  But one of them is when we enter a port, we are more than just a tourist flying in.  We tend to mix into the community a bit differently than if we traveled here another way.  Partially because we have to interface with the hardware stores, grocery shops, petrol kiosks etc i.e. mix with the common folk.  I also think it helps to bring a pretty boat from a distant land.  And you never know how things will play out.  An example of this just happened to us. A couple of days ago just after tying up here in Hirado we invited the guy who caught our lines aboard for a beer.  A little while later another bypasser was looking intently at our boat so we invited him to join us.  He spoke fairly good English and was giving us some of the low down on the area.  He couldn't drink as he had to go to work in about an hour.  We asked what he did and he told us many jobs but one of them was at a convenience store.  Anyway just another aquaintance.  That was until today a few days later, we were a bit tired after hiking up several steps to the museum and 10,000 more steps to the castle (well maybe only a couple hundred but it seemed like 10k!) we stopped into a store to buy a couple of cold drinks.  And you guessed it, the guy behind the counter was our friend from the first day.  He asked us what we were up to and suggested we go next door.  It turns out it was a place they made Sake. Here we met the proprietor whom we think just had a call from our new friend and he tried to explain Sake and Shochu making to us in broken English.  But then he figured the best way to describe everything is break out the finished product for some free samples.  It was really quite fun, us jabbering in our extremely limited Japanese and him in his broken English ( which actually wasn't bad).  And after about 43 samples we settled on our favorite and bought two bottles.  We will remember this and look for it elsewhere as we travel around Japan.  And if we do see it again we will remember the guy in the small Sake making place in Hirado!

The Sake we bought

May 27, 2014

Hirado

Position 33d 22.28 m N 129d 33.30m E. We just arrived in Hirado.  Another town steeped in history so we will add another post as we do some exploring.  But we are tied up to an old ferry terminal which is complete with floating dock.  And though it is old it is better than the best thing Guam had to offer to boats.  The town looks pretty neat.  We can see a castle and an old church, a temple and a Dutch trading post just from our deck.  So I am sure we will be able to add more.  But so far we have been here two hours and had two visitors welcoming us.  Not bad!!!

May 25, 2014

The New Batteries are In

We have installed the new batteries.  Or more importantly we have removed the old ones.  The old ones were very badly deformed when we pulled them out.  We replaced 6 Trojan T105s with 2 CCB 12DD-200s.  This required rewiring the bank and eliminating loads of jumper wires.  We did lose some amp hours but we think the new solar panels will make up for it.  Anyway the boat electrics sure seem to be happier for it.  The flickering lights and jumping gauges have started working normal.  So we can only assume motors, pumps and instruments are enjoying the change as well.

This is what the new batteries look like.


Hashima

Hashima, also known by the locals as Gunkanjima.  Gunkan meaning Battleship and Jima is Island in Japanese.  Hashima was made famous as the lair of the villian in the James Bond movie SkyFall.

Hashima lies about 4.5km west of the Nagasaki peninsula.  It is a tiny island with a seabed coalmine.  After the mine was closed in January 1974, it was left uninhabited for many years.  In January 2009, they opened it again for tourism.  You can read more about the island's history on the internet.  Below are some of the pictures we took.
The remains of the old dock

front of the main office building where the miners gather before work

this is a sort of scupper for the sea water to drain during a typhoon

remains of the swimming pool

apartment block for the bosses

view of the island

apartments for the workers and their family

another view of the island
supports for the conveyor belt bringing the coal to the ships

the water tower, next to where they have now installed a lighthouse

May 22, 2014

Sightseeing in Nagasaki


Nagasaki is very nice.  Sari Timur is berthed right down town at the Dejima Marina and we are within walking distance to lots of shops, restaurants and sights, even the government offices we have to deal with.
Nagasaki is also well known as the city hit by the second Atomic bomb during WWII.  At 11.02am on August 9, 1945, the bomb, nicknamed “Fatman” was dropped on Nagasaki and history was made.  About 150,000 people were killed or injured and the city was destroyed.  We visited the bomb hypocenter and the museum and saw lots of thought-provoking exhibits and due to the sensitivity of the event we decided not to take any pictures.  It is difficult to express how we felt when we came out of the museum.
One surprise we didn’t know about before we came here is that Nagasaki was the big Christian center in Japan.  And we were worried we could not find a church in Japan to attend mass on Sunday!
St Francis Xavier came here and converted lots of Japanese to the Catholic faith and for a while there was religious freedom.  However, they were later being banned from practicing their faith and persecuted.  Lots of Catholics were banished, tortured and killed and they took their faith underground.  For over 200 years they passed on their faith to their descendents in secret.  When the practice of Christianity was finally allowed, they started building the Urakami church brick by brick.  It took about 30 years to complete and it was one of the biggest and grandest churches in the Far East.  However, the atomic bomb was dropped 500 meters from the church and destroyed it.  They have since rebuilt it.  One of the original bell towers fell and they left it where it now stood as a reminder for us to see.
We also visited Oura Church, the oldest wooden church in Nagasaki, built in the 1864 in the Gothic style.
The people of Nagasaki take lots of pride in their city and they keep it really nice and clean.  They are very into recycling.  They even have a boat that runs around the harbor picking up the flotsam in the water.  In spite of the huge ship building activities along the river, the water is clean and clear.  No oil spill or 5h1t floating in the water that we can see.
Nagasaki has the third largest Chinatown in Japan and there are lots of Chinese restaurants.
Nagasaki is also a stop for cruise ships.  In fact one came in a couple of days ago.
There are about 500 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki prefecture and one of them is the famous Hashima or as the locals call it, Gunkanjima (meaning Battleship Island).  We will talk about this in another post.
Nagasaki has lots to offer in terms of sightseeing but there are more in terms of food!  We have been trying different restaurants and they offered up different varieties of Japanese food.
The world is small!  While we were traveling on a crowded streetcar, we heard some people speaking a unique language (Singlish) that we recognize.  Found out that they are 25 Singaporeans traveling on a group tour.  We chatted with them till we got off at our stop.
We do recommend Nagasaki as a destination for your next vacation.

Sari Timur sitting in her berth at the end of the dock at Dejima Marina

Oura Church

Cruise ship "Vogager of the Sea"

Street Car

The rebuilt Urakami Cathedral

The bell tower that fell

Part of the old wall from the original Urakami Cathedral transplanted to the bomb hypocenter
The clean up boat clearing trash from the harbor

Part of the original wall of the Urakami Cathedral left standing

May 18, 2014

Nagasaki

For those of you crossing your fingers we found a north bound current and picked up over a knot of speed we also got some help from the wind, and we made it here before lunch.  Got a great berth only to be told that we have to leave before next Sunday as everything is booked.  Ah the drama!  But hopefully we will get our batteries.  We were planning to stop here for a while and have some friends from Guam join us for the sail through the next part up to Fukuoka but it looks like we will be too rushed for that.  Nagasaki so far looks nice.  After a bit of a quick nap we will head out for some sight seeing.  Ah the joys of being on the end of a power cord!

Finally Moving Again

Current Position 31 d 07.50 N  130 d 06.40 E  Well we finally left Yaku Shima.  We probably would have stayed longer but our house batteries are now just about completely dead.   I really didn't think that lead acid batteries would die so quickly but they have.  Anyway we are taking advantage of a break in the weather and are trying to go the whole way to Nagasaki in one leg.  We need to keep the motor running most of the time to power everything anyway so we decided let's just head for it.  The weather break is a pretty good high which means cold temps.  We are having a hard time believing this is mid May and we are at only 31 degrees North.  The temp at noon was only 19.6 degrees C or 67 degrees F.  Which might be comfortable ashore but out on the water!!!  Pauline keeps saying what happened to bikini cruising!!!


Anyway I am sure summer will arrive soon enough and we will miss these cool temps.  Keep your fingers crossed that we find a north bound current.  I don't know of any close by, but if we do it means only one night at sea if not the second night will be mostly in circles.  Also while you are crossing those fingers hope that we have good luck in Nagasaki with batteries.  We are going to have to buy them there anyway we just hope we can get the size we want.  Which is a little less common.  If not we will have to go for the more common one which is two big ones instead of six smaller ones and only 2/3rds the power.  But right now we can not be choosey.

May 14, 2014

Yakusugi Forest

A view on the way up to the trail
 I mentioned in an earlier post that they have cedar trees here over 2000 years old.  In fact there is one dating 3000 years old.  But it is in a part of the park we didn't hike to.  We did see one over a 1000 years old and another 1800 year one.  It was a very pretty walk especially after all the rain yesterday.  We also saw some more monkeys and deer.  One of the old bucks is quite used to people and comes right into the parking lot and lets you touch him.  Supposedly in deer years he is close to eighty, don't know what he is in people years.

Ready to go hiking?



















This picture and the next are of a thousand year old tree







These two trees called the twins are pretty young at a couple hundred years but they grew up out of the trunk of a very old tree cut nearly 500 years ago!



Ya'll come back now



May 11, 2014

Yaku Shima (Some Sight Seeing)

Not Sure if he was waiting for the bus but we were


The Waterfall on the end of the bus line
Last night after fixing fenders we wandered about town and also bought a three day bus pass starting today.  The town is rather nice and the river view is pretty neat.  This morning we set out on the bus for the other side of the island where a waterfall awaited us.  After the falls while we were waiting for the bus a small family of monkeys wandered in for a visit.

This Park Is Next to the Boat


These Views are From the Local Town

A View from the South of the Island





May 10, 2014

Recycling!

The two boats rafted together
After the barge came in another boat came in and they needed to raft up to us.  As the wind was pushing us both on the wall we felt our fenders might not be up to the task.  In Japan everyone has these large styrofoam fenders.  We asked one of the fisherman if we could buy them here.  He said Nagasaki.  Whoops that wasn't going to do us much good.  Anyway we started hunting around and the fisherman came to us and asked through a translator how many we wanted.  I said one or two he said get in his van and we would go search the beaches for some washed ashore.  A bit dubious but at the second beach we found lots of pieces that we could use to make up two fenders.  We then used an old banner we had carried with us from the GTA regatta we acted as committee boat and we made up two fenders.

Tying The Foam Pieces Together


Putting On the Covers