In my last post I mentioned my concern at having reached the climax of the trip while sailing along the Aleutian Islands, and how this concern proved unfounded when we reached Kamchatka.
I then left Russia quite sad, feeling I had barely scrapped the surface of this remote frontier and convinced I would do all in my power to return as soon as possible.
I was not overly excited about arriving to Japan and thought I’d soon thereafter confirm the end of my trip and board a plane to Phuket or Mexico. And again, I was proven wrong.
Otaru, on the island of Hokkaido, is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. It’s inhabitants are extremely friendly and welcoming, the town very beautiful, the weather perfect (sometimes even too hot for us accustomed to the cold of the Okhotsk and Bering seas), Otaru Beer, simply delicious, and their tradition of Taiko drumming, breathtaking. We were fortunate to arrive right before a three-day festival which commemorates the anniversary of the town and offers a tribute to the sea. Three days of eating street food, dancing, drinking, exchanging smiles with gorgeous girls clad in kimonos, karaoke, Taiko and parades.
I am not a volcano enthusiast to the degree of my Captain, Craig, and while I can readily admit that volcanoes create the most stunning scenery on this planet, following this incredible journey which started in Sand Point, where the people treated us like family, all through Alaska and on to Kamchatka and Hokkaido, it is the love and fire-filled people of this part of the Ring, including my crewmates, who will forever remain engraved in my heart and who make me want to come back as soon as my newly acquired sail boat is fit to cross the Pacific.
But I am also ready to admit, after so many pleasant surprises, that this world is full of smiles and that my plans may derail as I attempt to make it back. And that is my most valuable lesson and the Truth that will for long, if not forever, keep me from returning to a monotonous desk job routine. A wise man born in the same town as I once said that to live is to travel (H.C. Andersen). I guess he was right.