Cruise Report Seven – Day 10 – Monday, October 1, 2007

At Sea – Western Pacific

From the Navigator

Today we continue sailing on a southwesterly course with an average velocity of 17.5 knots, towards Aomori, Japan. The weather forecast calls for an outside temperature of 57 degrees and west-southwesterly din force of 4.

As I write this, sitting in the ships library I am looking out the window at an emerging sunrise, over a fairly calm sea. It also looks like the skies will be clear.

The Current Conflict in the Kurils

(Each day the ship publishes a Daily Program – for us old sailors this is similar to the ship/station plan of the day).

In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco was signed by Japan and the Allied Powers, formally ending WWII. At that time Japan renounced its rights to the Kuril Islands and Sakjhalin, Russia’s largest island. The four southern Kuril Islands were not mentioned n the treaty, which was not signed by the Soviet Union. For over 60 years, Russia and Japan have disputed ownership of these southern islands, with Japan maintaining that their seizure was illegal. The dispute has kept these two superpowers from signing a formal peace treaty following the end of WWII… and the beat goes on.. Russian President Putin claims that his country “wants to get rid of all the thorns of the past, and we are seeing a solution to this issue together with Japan.”

Our course today, as we approach Aomori, will include sailing by the island of Hokkaido. Our brother, Junior, was stationed there with the US Army Occupation Forces at the end of WWII. Barbara and I were hoping to visit this island as it is now connected to Aomori via the longest underwater railroad tunnel in the world – some 33.4 miles. We had to shelve that idea as we only have a limited time in port. If we did go and missed the ships departure, it would be a long and expensive train ride to Yokohama. Instead we are hoping to visit the “castle” city of Hirosaki about 30 minutes away by train.

Ops, the sun is a rising, gotta go.

Today was rather laid back, beautiful clear skies, calm seas; in fact this is the smoothest water we have sailed through so far. We have picked up many gull type birds that seem to enjoy hanging around the ship. Whether they are just flying along side, or “surfing” the wave of wind above the bridge, they are beautiful to watch. We figured that we would see the island of Hokkaido today, but it was so far off to the west it was barely visible. Possibly when we make our approach to Aomori, we will be afforded some views.

Last night we turned back our clocks two hours and tonight they go back one hour more. Sunrise and sunsets are now about 12 hours apart. Sunrise tomorrow is 5:33 am.

Our Cruise Critic group met once again this afternoon, with 40 in attendance! One person in our group hasn’t been feeling to well of late, but will be ready to go ashore tomorrow. These meetings seem to just be getting better, with members sharing experiences from our last port if call; Petropavlovsk. What a congenial group we are. I have also noticed that some are getting together on other occasions– a real family feeling.

Tonight’s entertainment was a production by the young singers and dancers; it was good but not as good as their first two productions. I had a hard time staying awake.

To bed now, we have a big day tomorrow.

Jack and Barbara

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