Departure (5th May 2012)

Tony (my weather router) suggested that I aim to leave Choshi Marina at 0500 on 5th May. So, in the morning of 4th May, Kaz and his friend took me to Kishima to get my passport stamped with “departed”. On arrival back in Choshi, I checked out of The Hotel Sunrise and with Kaz’ help, made my way to the marina. After a few words with Shin, I stowed my last few belongings on Blossom and waited for her to be lifted into the water. Prior to launching Blossom, Shin poured sake over her, as a toast, for good luck.

Justin Dann – an Aussie guy living and working in Japan, whilst repairing his tsunami damaged yacht in his spare time – kindly invited me aboard for a delicious farewell supper. Afterwards, I made my way to Blossom and barely slept due to numerous thoughts, emotions, excitement, but soon it was 0415 and time to meet Valerie Burrus and her friend Kate on the pontoon. With farewells said, Blossom was soon steered out of the marina and out into the open water.

Kaz’ yacht “Tella”, with Kaz, Kaz’ friend, Valerie, Kate and Justin all onboard, escorted me from the marina until after rowing for 2 hours, they wished me good luck and farewell. Alone, I continued east in search of the Kuroshio Current. After several hours of hard rowing I found the current and it was then time to take a break and put out the para-anchor.

Since leaving Choshi, I have seen 3 whales, not as close as I would have hoped, but still fantastic to see them. I’ve been in scorching heat and just last night passed through two storms, with plenty of lightning and thunder. Due to the sea state, it’s been hard to boil water and therefore eat and also to sleep. I had about 3 good hours sleep last night and had my first hot meal this morning. Today is another scorcher! 32 degrees in the stern cabin! All is OK with me and Blossom has performed magnificently, particularly during the battering waves last night!

Ben – sponge, tomato ketchup!

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