My project for the next month is to do the trip planning for our trip to Japan. I met with another cruiser, a couple weeks ago, who spent several months in Japan. He said that Japan was great cruising, and that he wished he had stayed longer, BUT that it was difficult getting around. Aside from all the headache associated with clearing in and out of ports every time he moved the boat, he had problems with the language.
Japan is a little off the beaten track for cruisers, so the best he could find was Japanese cruising guides and charts. He found that sales brochures were a key navigational tool, in that they at least had pictures of where he was going, and Japanese (kanji) characters that he could try to match between the brochures and the charts. His average approach to a marina often involved mooring the boat wherever he could find, going ashore with the charts and brochures, hunting down someone who spoke at least some English, and then having them point until he felt he had enough knowledge to head back to sea. Usually 2 or 3 stops were required to move the boat.
Just to give you a little taste of what fun navigation in Japan will be, I scanned a representative set of pages. The last picture is an excerpt from a chart. Everything is in Japanese!
Click here to see the scanned brochures and chart à http://www.kensblog.com/aspx/m/492681
And, on a different topic…
David Sidbury, owner of the second Nordhavn 68, sent me a couple of pictures of his boat. It looks great! (but, I am biased…)
He also sent along pictures of Fender Hangers he had made, by: http://www.fendmaster.com/
Very cool! He had this to say about them:
“…I took a few pics of the Fendmaster fender hangers now in use. I love them. Raising and lowering all three fenders now takes less than one minute…”
Now I know what to buy myself for Christmas.