Schock Wave?

At the time that I was ordering Bluesette last year, her builder, W.D. Schock Corp., was looking for a company in Japan to represent them in marketing their Harbor 20 and Harbor 25 sailboats. U.S. Yachts and Customs Inc. , in Fukuoka, western Japan, is now that broker.

The latest exciting news is that a Harbor 25 has been purchased and is on its way to Japan! The Harbor 25 is a daysailer designed by Steven Schock to be easy and comfortable to sail, yet fast, fun and competitive - and of course built for lasting quality.

The Harbor 25 has a self-tacking jib and lazy jacks for the main. It is also equipped with an inboard engine, a head compartment (toilet for you land lubbers) for full-sized people, and bunks for naps and overnight cruising.

The self-bailing cockpit of the Harbor 25 is eight feet in length and comfortably seats six adults. The Harbor 25 has the same sail control systems as the Harbor 20 – the halyards are internal, and they are lead aft to the cockpit for easy sail adjustments. The engine is a Yanmar (a Japanese company which has been around for nearly a century) diesel with a saildrive. It is a 2 cylinder 4 stroke engine.

For a review of the boat check this out: Mad Mariner

Japan is a long way from California, so how to get it here? Shipping Bluessette required a lot of preparation work (see my earlier post: Das Boot!), but putting the trailer and boat into a 20' container was not too tricky.

But, how would you get one of these (don't forget the 1900 lb keel!)...

into one of these...?

Your basic B-flat 40' shipping container.

As Rocky would say, "Hokey Smoke, Bullwinkle!"

To do it, they built a custom cradle for the hull, tilting the boat 45 degrees. A second cradle held the rudder and keel, which will be attached upon arrival. Pukas (holes) in the boat cradle hold the mast.

e voilà!

The cradles are strapped in to keep everything from shifting.

So, now there will be two WD Schock boats in Japan, with many more to come I hope.

Of course the Harbor 25 is literally an order of magnitude above our humble Lido 14, both in terms of my sailing abilities and more especially my bank account, but it is in a way a big cousin of Bluesette. And little Bluesette will always have the distinction of being the first WD Schock sailboat in Japan.

You can read more about it on the WD Schock website (from which I borrowed heavily for this post) here: WD Schock News

Until next, sweet sailing.


Saving Hawaii's Reef Fish

Reef fishing has been a part of life in Hawaii ever since the first people settled there. My daughter and her family on Maui are very much connected to the sea and reef fishing. Here is a picture of my granddaughter Chloe (age 2 1/2) holding up two tako (octopus) which her dad's cousin speared.

Insuring that Chloe and generations to come can continue to enjoy the reefs requires protecting them. That is not easy.

Back in the 1950's, a few people in key government positions made some very poor choices regarding Hawaiian ecosystems. One of these choices was to introduce a non-native species of fish to Hawaii's reefs. The "roi", known elsewhere as Striped Grouper or Blue Spotted Grouper, was thought to offer an economic benefit in the form of a good eating fish for local markets.

As with many other cases where humans tamper with the natural balance of an ecosystem, this decision went horribly wrong. Now, the roi are often infected with ciguatoxin, a toxin from micro-alga that builds up in the tissues of some fish. There is no simple test by which fishermen or consumers can tell if a roi is safe to eat, so there is not much of a market for them.

Another problem is that roi, which can grow to a long as 3 feet, feed on other reef fish and are believed responsible for the large drop in reef fish populations over the last two decades. A University of Hawai'i study estimated that in a three-square-mile area off the Kona Coast, roi eat 99 tons of reef fish annually — the equivalent of 8.2 million fish.

So there is little demand for roi which means they are left alone. That, in turn, means that they increase their numbers and decimate other fish species through predation or competition for food.

The spearfishing community decided to take action at the local level to try to bring the situation under control. Rather than waiting for the government to "do something", they are holding events they call "Roi Round-ups" or "Kill Roi Day", with the support of organizations like Mālama Hawai‘i and the Maui Ocean Center and others, during which they spear as many roi as they can. The fish that are caught are not for eating. Instead, most are given to scientists who are studying ciguatoxins and trying to create a test to make available to fishermen and consumers. The rest are given to an organic farming group to be made into fertilizer.

The Kill Roi program started on Maui and the idea is spreading. Here's a video about one such event on the island of Oahu. Other related videos follow if you are interested.

Local problems often need local solutions (safety, energy, food production, environmental problems, etc.) with the participation of citizens working together. That's what being a community is all about.

A hui hou


Solar Eclipse Seen From Japan

Due to heavy cloud cover here in Kashima City, we saw nothing of the solar eclipse which occurred Wednesday, July 22nd at 10:55 AM. In other parts of Japan, other folks had better luck.

This video from Mainichi Daily News was taken in the garden of a home in Kumamoto, in the southern-most main island of Kyushu.

Mainichi Daily News also has a great series of photos taken from various southern islands which experienced the total eclipse, as well as from other parts of Japan. Linked here: Mainichi Shimbun Eclipse


Home Is Where We All Live

If you liked Baraka, you will love Home

(If you get the "copyright" message, or would like to see a slightly larger version, click here)

Home is a film by world renowned photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

A review on Energy Bulletin dot com says, "From belugas in the Arctic to skyscrapers in Dubai. From glaciers in Himalayas to devastated Easter Island. The images of the Earth captured from above are breathtaking. And the scale of the challenge that lays ahead of us is breathtaking as well. We have 10 years left to change the way we live – to change technologies, economy, governance and above all the consumer culture. There is no technological fix that will do the trick of changing our habits and choosing more sustainable lifestyles. We have to do it on our own."

All I can say is, watch "Home".


Eh! No mess wid these Titas!

In Hawaii, the slang word "Tita" can have different nuances, but basically refers to a "tough woman" or a "sistah". In other words, "a woman who can hold her own and doesn't take any crap".

Tip of the cap to our kayaking/sailing friend Bonnie at the blog Frogma for this story from her home town, Aiea, on the island of Oahu.

It seems a couple of guys tried to steal a van that was left running (I'm guessing because of the hot weather) in front of a beauty salon while the owner unloaded some supplies. She asked a coworker to keep an eye on the van. Good thing. What ensued was priceless...

Read the whole story here: Salon workers pursue duo that stole their van (opens in a new window)

Tara Madijanon, left, owner of "Desire Salon & Spa", Jennie Honda, skincare specialist, and partner and cosmetologist, Vera Close.

Long story short (but do read the whole story at the link), the van is back in rightful hands and the two perps are in police custody. Happily, no one was hurt.

I wonder what the perps will tell their cell mates? "We wuz caught by three crazy barefoot Titas?"

Perhaps they should change the name of the salon to "Three Titas".

Book 'em Danno.


Something's in the Air

We're used to seeing JASDF aircraft fly over our house several times a week, but while walking Momo this morning I saw an unusual formation consisting of a U125 "Peace Krypton" search and rescue plane with an F-4EJ "Phantom" right off its wing, and a little further out, a Kawasaki F-4 trainer. Several minutes later they made another pass.

A U125 "Peace Krypton" used for search and rescue.

Well, I don't know what they were up to, but it seems unlikely to me that they would fly that combination of aircraft in formation, or for so long, as part of a tactical exercise. If they had an exercise of some kind, they would normally just fly over on the way to a block of airspace off shore which is there for that purpose. I think perhaps they were rehearsing for something else. Air Festival?

We enjoyed two air festivals in 2007. Last year, they didn't hold one at nearby Hyakuri Airbase due to construction on the field. So I searched the "internets tubes" for the 2009 calendar of the JASDF aerobatic team "Blue Impulse" and discovered that there is indeed an air festival in the works for Hyakuri this year. It will be held on Sunday, September 13th. As that is close to my birthday, I'll make it a present to myself.


Hot Summer - Cool Kids

It's very warm and humid in Kashima City today, much like Hawaii - K says "hot". Just a matter of what one is used to. Me? I'm enjoying the breeze from an electric fan.

But my granddaughters on Maui are the coolest...

Bailey does a hula with newly found 'ili'ili stones.

Chloe dons some shades and enjoys a little cruise in the ocean.

Way cool, girls.


Independence Day Pop Quiz

When in the Course of human events...

Okay, my fellow Americans (well, US citizens actually), time to review a bit of what you know about your own country. No fair hiding under the picnic table.

The following quiz was administered via telephone to 1,140 high school students in Arizona and the results were less than encouraging.

These questions are from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services exam. In order to become US citizens, immigrants must answer six of the 10 questions correctly.

Only 3.5% of the Arizona high school students got a score of 60% or better. Should we deport those who are citizens by birth but can't pass the test? Of course not, but surely there is a lot of work to be done to improve the situation! (It is a sobering thought that the 96.5% who failed are eligible to vote when of age.)

OK citizen, here are the ten random questions:

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
2. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
3. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
4. How many Justices are on the Supreme Court?
5. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
6. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
7. What are the two major political parties in the United States?
8. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
9. Who was the first President of the United States?
10. Who is in charge of the Executive Branch?

Click here to see if your answers are correct.

No need to divulge your score if you don't want to. I got 10 out of 10 correct. K, who is a Japanese citizen, born and raised, passed easily.

If you missed a few, don't feel bad. Just use this as an opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of civics so that you can better appreciate what it is you are celebrating this weekend. No, it isn't "The Fourth of July", my friends, it's "Independence Day".

When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. ~Thomas Paine

Happy Independence Day!


Rainy Dog Day

It's "tsuyu" in Japan - rainy season - and it was another "rainy dog day" today. Rain means I don't get my walks and have a pretty boring day. Even the birds don't come around. On days like this, Pandabonium comes out from time to time to talk to me, scratch me, and sometimes give me treats.

Then, in the afternoon, K and PandaB put me in the car. I started to shiver, thinking it was time for another visit to the vet, but instead they took me to the beauty parlor. Whew. I'm still not sold on the experience, but at least I get a nice bath and hair cut. It feels good.

I hadn't been since April (see Beach, Bath, and a Makeover) and my hair was long and because of the rains, dirty, even though I'd had a bath in between. This time, I got a summer cut to stay cool, and instead of bows on my ears, I decided on a bandana (or kerchief).

I got a red bandana with white pokkadots

With my fur short, you can see my brown spots

Days like this make me feel special and loved. A rainy dog day turned into a "rainy good dog day".