|Travis and Steve, sharing a moment (and a brew)|
which is right next to Tottori prefecture, where I live. The boat ride from the mainland was about two hours long. We sat out on the covered deck and shmoozed a bit. I snapped a few shots and settled for the crappy bento lunches they were selling below deck. It started to really feel like a vacation as we sipped our drinks and watched the sea crash into the horizon endlessly before us. A short time later we stopped in our port and piled off the boat. We met our English speaking contact and all climbed in a van for a twenty minute or so ride to our side of the island. For this trip, we decided to save a little money and camp on a scenic overlook near the sea. So we made arrangements at the visitors center/tourist office place and someone offered to take us up to the grounds so we didn't have to shlep our gear the mile or so up the mountain and to the grounds. He dropped us off and we were the only ones around. Each plot had a little driveway where you could park your van or car, and a well kept green space to pitch a tent. There was a covered kitchen type area with running water and a long trough that acted as a sink, and several tall fire cubes where you could cook your food. Beside the dining structure were the bathrooms and showers, also covered and well maintained (but full of bugs). The showers even had gas heated water! As far as camping goes, this place was the ritz. The crème de la crème for your unwashed backpackers.
|Looking out to the sea from our campground|
We set our things down and headed back to the pier for a boat tour. I mentioned before that it was beginning to get a little hot when I was out at Izumo Taisha. Well, as you can imagine, a sun baked island in surrounded by the sea was even more intolerable. But I decided that I was going to work on my summer tan and sweat out some toxins so we all happily pushed ourselves a little. But I was the only one foolish enough not to wear sunscreen. More on that later.
We ate a bit of food at the pier as we waited for our boat to arrive. The sun was getting high in the sky and the sunlight was oppressive. But as we headed into the shade of the boat's air conditioned cabin, we all settled in to relax. The boat tour was a long one. It took us a good distance along the coast, showing us such hammy sights as "turtle rock" and "boot-looking thing rock" and other rocks shaped vaguely like other things. joking aside though, the coast was very beautiful and I got to see flying fish for the first time in my life. When people said flying fish I imagined the kind of thing that salmon do when they get caught by a bear, or when dolphins break the surface for a moment and go back under. But that is not at all what these badasses do. They shoot out of the water like a submarine missile and deploy two sets of gliding wings and glide for sometimes upward of twenty freaking seconds outside of the water. I tried in vain to capture one in action on film, but I did manage to get this unimpressive picture featuring one as it goes back in the water. Pretty lame. Anyway our boat trolled about over the waves and into some caves, and as I looked around, more and more people in the cabin, including my friends, had begun to fall asleep. I must admit I felt a bit sleepy too, but at one point on the way home, Steve and I were the only people awake in the entire cabin. It was kind of bizarre.
|We took over that yellow thing in the distance|
all over the beach there. Out in the water was an anchored slide that the kids could use to play around on, and as the day wore on the crowd thinned out, my cronies and I decided to stage a hostile takeover. We climbed on the slides and kicked and pushed each other off and slid down and had a grand old time. When it was time to go, we made our way ashore and cleaned off. We decided not to get a cab, which in retrospect I kinda regret. But by the end of our trip the others were strapped for cash, so I guess it was a good idea. But we walked quite a ways back and I got a pretty bad case of chafing where my legs rubbed together as I walked. It became quite intolerable and I whined about it as much as I dared to. We hit the local store for some provisions for the night and slugged it all up the hill to our campground. And so the real struggle of the day began.
|This fire was so weak we didn't even get a participation prize|
Speaking of the bathrooms, the places were FULL of roly polys. I have no problem with roly polys, but I also had some up close and violent encounters with other insects. Namely, spiders. The first encounter happened when I was at my most vulnerable-- in the shower. I was going through a routine inspection of the facilities, being possessed of a curious mind and all. I inspected the nozzle, inspected the nobs, lifted up and inspected the drainage grate, and out popped a medium sized spider, not particularly scared of me, but more confident and confrontational. It came at me, all like "ZAA BITCH! Scared you didn't I! What chu gon' do now?" So we sat and stared at each other as I muttered curses at it to help steady my hand. I searched about for some sort of weapon even as I sealed the escape route so only one of us would be leaving alive. I dared not use the water, because I would have to cross it's attack zone and I couldn't risk giving up my position or exposing myself to fanged assault. I considered using my hand to crush it. No, too fleshy and weak. My foot? No, I haven't the courage or the aim. What, then? What Excalibur could I use to fell the enemy? I looked down at my right hand, where I was still clutching the grate. The center was too perforated to make a large killing surface; I couldn't rely on crushing it with the flat part of the disk. But I knew what I had to do. I flipped it up so I was holding it like a frisbee. I dropped into my battle stance and engaged in primal naked warfare with the beast. Later on, my friends told me they could hear the shrill clanging of plastic on plastic and my repeated war cry of "SPIDER BATTLE!" until everything went quiet, and a short time later the shower started.
|ARTIST RECREATION (DO NOT BE ALARMED)|
|They seemed pretty disinterested in us|
So we set out in our two man kayak with me in the back and Travis in the front. We had a great time slapping the waves and learning to steer and navigating into the caves and back out again. I really enjoyed my time kayaking and I think I should like to do it again soon. The combination of the challenge of navigation and the go-anywhere feeling of being in the kayak was exhilarating.
|Many people go in, never to be seen again...|
camp stove. A pox on them, I say! I was delighted when the wind overturned their giant self satisfied tent and sent them chasing after it.
Steve was hard at work setting the day's charcoal on fire. He was a quick study and remembered the trials of the previous night, so we had a taller and more powerful flame this time. I still think I ate a few questionable things, but I was in better shape than the previous night.We all turned in early, and I rolled miserably around trying to find a position that didn't cause the flesh on my arms to feel like it was submerged in a lake of fire. I finally drifted off on my back, but again we woke early as the sun turned our tent into a greenhouse/oven.
|View of the island from out on the water|