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"

April 28, 2015

The Japan Sea (Hagi)

34 d 26.492 N
131 d 25.203 E

Well we did not stop at Ube.  As we were getting closer we realized that we were making good progress and if we continued on we would hit the Kanmon Kaikyo at slack tide.  This sounded great to us so we decided to pull an overnighter and go for it.  The change would also allow us to pick up some lost time in the schedule and hopefully still catch up with the Chuas who are visiting Hokkaido from Singapore.  The winds were light so we were motoring but catching the currents right so making good progress.

After the Kanmon Kaikyo and just before sunset we noticed patches of red tide and large patches of weed.  During the night we were treated to one of the most spectacular biophosphorence displays we have ever seen.  Anyway just after midnight we rounded the corner to head in for Hagi.  This  is still a distance of about 24 miles to go.  The boat started to slow down.  Our charts said there was a current of up to two knots against us so we attributed the slowing to that.  But as time went on we began to keep slowing.  Pretty soon we are down to just two knots and we realize something was wrong.  The natural thought was something was around the prop.  But it was dark, cold, the water had this nasty stuff inside it and we really did not know how much current there was so we decided to press on.  We were also second guessing ourselves, lack of sleep will do that and thinking it might be a transmission problem.

Anyway we finally arrived in Hagi, now the wind is blowing 15 knots and the engine is not working right.  We do not dare to take it in and out of gear nor go to reverse until the last minute docking is going to be the proverbial B!+€h!  Luckily the dock here the end was empty and it was lined up perfect for us.  We later found out it was because it was under repair.  But it was our haven and we made it in without dramas.

We then dipped the camera and could see the prop was indeed fouled but could not tell how bad.  Mark suited up and armed with his new knife that we bought after the Guam to Okinawa prop fouling, he went below.  Cutting away batches of weed mixed with old net and line and handing it up to Pauline.  In the end we had a pile about a meter wide stacked on deck.  Then we went down to check the transmission.  The oil level was ok and not discolored, a sign of overheating (we had seen discolored transmission oil from the old, old Paragon transmission).  But now the wind is gusting up to twenty plus knots so we did not dare take the boat out for a sea trial.  But we were fairly confident it was ok.  We would wait for tomorrow.  Instead we checked in with the marina paid our fees and waited for Customs, and the Coast Guard to clear us.

The  coast guard checked out our debris pile and said it was a very old net and probably drifted from Korea!  We have a picture I will try to post it later.  Anyway after all the formalities we were pretty wiped out and felt we best walk some or we would fall asleep.  Neither of us had more than a couple hours sleep the night before.  We wandered to the local seamart and were shopping for dinner and an ice cream when the Marina lady found us and started telling us we had to come with her.  Due to the language barrier we didn't know why.  When we arrived back at the boat we were met by a guy who had broken English and explained that our boat was too big for the dock in its present state and he cleated a place for us to move to along the main wall.  He agreed to help us with our lines.  The wind is still gusting up to twenty but we see what we are doing to the dock and agree we need to move.  We send up a silent prayer indeed hoping that the transmission is ok and we do not pull away from the dock into some non recoverable situation.  Anyway all went well,we backed out ok, the prop wash and rudder and boat speed allowed us to maneuver out to open water in reverse and then forward to line ourselves up to be beam on to the wind just as we aligned up to the wall and to throw our lines.  All looked very professional and then the guy asked if he could take us back to the seamart.  We declined but when I started walking to the local convenience store to get some sushi for dinner he insisted I ride with him to the supermarket.  So off I went.  When we came back he brought over a 12 pack of beer and said his thanks again for us moving.  He couldn't even have one with us as he had to go do some work somewhere else.  What great people!

Today we went site seeing around Hagi and looking at the local pottery.  Hagi is a very pleasent town to walk around.  Mark easily walked 15 km today where as Pauline had enough after 7.

The circle in the center is some water on the lens, the line on the top is our tape measure



This is several hours later and the weed has dried a bit so the pile is a bit smaller
   
Inside the castle ruins

 

April 26, 2015

Murotsu

33 d 50.113 N
132 d 06.989 E

Well we had our last okonomiyaki in Hiroshima last night and headed out for Murotsu this morning at 8 am to time the currents for the Obatake Bridge.  The currents there get a little heavy and we wanted to hit it as close as possible to slack water.

We arrived in Murotsu to a large audience they helped us with our lines and we gave them a tour of our boat.  This is just a quick overnight stop and we are off to Über in the morning.

April 23, 2015

Kudos for Steiner

We have owned a pair of Steiner Commander III binoculars since 1996.  Anybody who has ever looked through these has always been amazed at just how nice these binoculars are. Recently we had the rubber protective coating become soft and mushy in one spot that left a blue goo on your fingers.  This is probably because they came into contact with something.  The compass light was also not working and there was a little fog on one of the lenses.  We decided to see if they could be fixed and went to the Steiner page.  Sure enough they fix them but it would take more than six weeks.  We were actively cruising at the time so when we went to the States we bought the new Commander XP or the newest version and sent ours in for repair to later use as a backup.

After 10 weeks of not hearing from them we contacted them and they said they were waiting on a part from Germany but we should have them soon.  Now in regular contact we asked if it would be possible to change the original return address from my mother’s house to friends of ours in Guam where we were going to be on a visa run and to please give us the cost for postage and repair.  We were advised there would be no charge and they could mail them off the next day, we were ecstatic.


We arrived in Guam to find our nearly 20 year old binoculars as good as new and were very happy.  Then recently nearly four months later we got a message that my mother had received a pair of binoculars.  We quickly contacted Steiner to let them know there had been some mistake as we had received our repaired pair, that maybe there was a mix up and someone else’s binoculars had been sent to us.  They thanked us for our honesty and shipped mom a free shipping label to return them.  Another week passed by and we heard from Steiner with thanks again for our honesty and explained that they figured out what had happened.  One of the parts they had ordered from Germany was supposedly no longer available.  So it went into the system to replace the binoculars with the nearest equivalent.  Somewhere along the way a spare part was found on the shelf and shipped.  Ours were repaired and shipped as described.  But the replacement was still in the works and that was shipped as well.  A bit of a mistake on Steiner’s part but it is nice to know they erred on the side of the customer in customer support.  Again we love these binoculars and now we think highly of the support behind them.

April 20, 2015

Hiroshima

34 d 21.506N
132 d 24.972 E

Wow what a day.  We left Omishima at 0700 this morning smack into dense fog.  Often times we had only about 25 metres of visibility.  We were sounding the foghorn fairly regularly but still had a couple of too close for comfort calls.  Luckily the fog seemed to lift around the three bridges we had to cross under.  But one of them we were straining pretty hard to see until just before it, Mark noticed the vehicles going over the bridge and then we were able to find the center point.  After the third bridge and right into Hiroshima it cleared to over a mile of visibility (what a relief).  Anyway safely tucked into a slip.  We will be here at least until Saturday.  We have to take the coolant tank off the engine and repair or replace it.  It is plastic and has  develepoed a leak where the refrigeration fan belts chafe against when they are loose, which is most of the time.  We carry a spare but Mark has an idea to fix the old one and glass on a stainless chafe guard where the belt tends to hit.  We will let you know if it works.

April 19, 2015

Omishima

34 d 14.895 N
132 d 59.580 E

Well after a couple of wonderful days in Onomichi we had to move on.  We really like Onomichi and highly recommend it to anyone traveling nearby.  Lots to see on foot or bicycle and of course there are so many places to eat and drink.  We missed several of the rally crowd that live in the area.  Our apologies for that but we did manage to meet up with some of the crowd.  We also said good bye to our friends on Toroa III who have been with us pretty constantly for the last few weeks.  Please come and visit us somewhere up the road Barry and Maryanne.

This is another repeat stop and more info can be found in a previous post.  This is the spot with the museum that has so many samurai swords and armour.  But alas it is just an overnight stop for us this time as we need to be in Hiroshima tomorrow night.  This part of Japan has the third strongest tidal currents.  This means navigating this area requires pretty close attention to timing the currents.  Thus the reason for the not so long trip today of only about 19 miles.  We would of been hard pressed to make it through the various bottle necks around here and achieve the 60 plus miles to Hiroshima in one shot so this breaks the trip and will allow us to make the rest of the way tomorrow providing we get an early start.  Of course there is loads of rain in the forecast tomorrow so we will certainly be happy to arrive in Hiroshima.

April 17, 2015

Farewell Message to Tannowa Yacht Club


The following is the farewell message we wrote in the Tannowa Yacht Club's Visitors Book.

It is Sakura (Cherry Blossom) time in Tannowa and we have very mixed feelings about leaving.  First, we are anxious to get on our way toward the next exciting part of our journey to Alaska but we are sad to leave so many friends behind.  The members here have been incredibly friendly and thus the software side of the club is fantastic.  We have always been included in the parties and functions put on by the club and individuals and have always had everything patiently explained to our often novice Gaijin selves.  The hardware side of the club, with its breakwater, docks and electricity, have made staying here through the winter stormy periods very comfortable.  Thanks especially to Takeda-san and his very helpful staff at the harbor master office, who made things easy to get here.  Thanks to Kakihara-san for his often warm greetings and teaching us the harmony of Japanese food and sake.  Thanks to Yoichi-san and Kanehara-san for their very informative instructions and of course for their hard work fixing our leaks.  Thanks to Yoshida-san and Morishita-san for their generosity and especially for the firewood to keep us warm.  Thanks to Kishida-san for the medications for our journey.  And finally, thank you Kondo-san, for making it all happen and introducing us and inviting us to Tannowa.  We are eternally grateful.  Arigatou gozamashita.  We hope to see you again.

April 16, 2015

Onomichi

34 d 24.483 N
133 d 12.191 E

We arrived right at slack tide.  The wind was manageable and we had old rally friends to help catch our lines.  We were also lucky as the outer pontoon was open so no dramas today.  We also had all four sails up and the engine off for the first time this season.  Only for an hour and that was just before the winds started, but it was nice to see the old girl in all her glory.  She is looking a bit neglected as she needs new varnish which is too costly here in Japan.  After we tied up, a bunch of locals shouted down at us, wondering where we were from.  They said we had a very beautiful ship.  Of course we know that!

We were then whisked off to an onsen and then followed by a fantastic Italian dinner courtesy of our friends here in Onomichi.  We have decided to delay our departure from here until Sunday morning.  Right now it is deceiving as it is glassy calm outside but sometime tonight the winds are supposed to start and make it rather nasty for moving for a day or so.

April 15, 2015

Shiraishijima

34 d 24.503 N
133 d 31.443 E

Apologies for not posting more on Naoshima.  Will add some pictures later.  We have limited internet here and we pulled a very quick departure out of Naoshima.  We saw a very brief weather window and we moved the boats out in a hurry between squalls to get a little closer to Onomichi where we are trying to meet up with friends.

We did a post on Shiraishijima during the rally as it was a stop there.  Actually all of our stops now to Hiroshima are return stops.  This one was to sit out the gale that was coming through yesterday.  Basically we just stayed below, nursed the fire, and rested while the wind and rain blew.  The crew from the other boat did a walking tour and found the main town and said it was quite pleasant but we were not that excited to brave the cold and wet.

We hope to make Onomichi this afternoon.  It is a short distance but the currents for entering and departing there are very critical so it has to be done on slack tide.  And of course the wind is not supposed to die down until about 2-3 hours after slack tide.  This should be interesting!

April 13, 2015

Naoshima

34 d 27.456 N
133 d 58.406 E

We almost missed this stop.  It is only 21 miles from where we were in Shodoshima but the weather forecasts were playing havoc with our schedule.  We thought we were going to be stuck in Shodoshima for another day.  Not a bad place to be stuck, but we do need to kind of keep moving towards Hiroshima before our permit runs out.   Anyway we woke up yesterday to near gale winds and very cold rain so we stayed put.  Then about noon we got a break so off we went.  Motor sailing with just a partial Genoa between 7 and 8 knots.  The wind lessened but the current behind increased so some forces wanted to make sure we came.  Anyway we arrived to find a lovely little island.

This island like many in Japan was going through a serious population drain.  One of the residents turned benefactor decided to promote an art culture here.  It has worked and become a "must see" by visitors to Japan.  And from what we saw last night the word is out.  We haven't seen this many gaijin in all of Japan!   Our first foray around last night was very interesting and we will do some more exploring today.  Let's hope for a good forecast for the next couple of days so we can spend a few more hours here.  Watch for an update and some pics to this post.

We did the Art Houses Project.  Six houses with 'art'.

the toilet in one of the 'art houses'.  note : it is only for display

The most photographed art pieces on Nao.  Note the boats tied up at the pontoon on the right

Lots of houses have images like this.  It is drawn with twine

the steps of this shrine is made of glass that went all the way underground

lots of pretty tulips, all over Nao

April 10, 2015

Shodoshima Uchinomi Ko

34d 28.743 N. 134d 17.893 E

Well we made it.  Sari Timur was flawless.  The weather was a precursor for our Alaska crossing i.e. Cold wet and miserable.  But we now know some of the things we need to be prepared for.  We made it just over 10 hours.  We will tuck in here for a couple of days and do some sight seeing, this is a tourist island sort of with a Mediterranean atmosphere. We will add more to this post as we explore.

Last night we decided to head to the local onsen and warm up.  After a half hour in the various baths we were rather toasty and it was time to eat.  We were in bed before 9 and slept all the way until eight this morning.  Then today we hired a car  for six hours to explore.  We went to a soya sauce museum and worked our way up to an old abandoned temple.  We were on a back coast road oohing and aahing at the various scenic views when we came to an abrupt end of the line as the road had washed out in front of us due to the heavy spring rains a few weeks back. We ended up backtracking almost to where we started in order to catch the main road which we used to circumnavigate the rest of the island.  We sorted out some of the must see sights for tomorrow and used the last of the time with the car to reprovision.  Look here for an update tomorrow.






In the Cablecar

Looking into the Gorge


Almost to the top, a few more steps

From the Highest Point in the Inland Sea





A Panoramic of where the cable care stops






April 9, 2015

Time to Shake Off Winter

Well it is 05:30 and in a few minutes we will be disconnecting the power cord and dock lines and head away from Tannowa.  We are only going as far as Shodooshima but that is 60 miles and a fairly long day with some currents to pay attention to.  We will miss Tannowa tremendously.  We will post what we wrote in their visitor's book a little later.  So many people here have became such a part of our lives and it is hard to say goodbye but it is time to hit the road again if we are going to make it to Hokkaido in time.