Report on WaveRunner Touring Discovery Japan 2009 in Izu
May 23 - 24, 2009
Izu Peninsula is blessed with a wonderful natural environment and easy access from the capital of Japan, Tokyo. It is a very attractive land with scenic coastlines, beautiful beaches, hot springs and mountains stretching out to the sea. In the summer, though, it is very crowded with tourists from Tokyo so we made plans to tour scenic spots in Izu on our WaveRunners in May just before the beach season.
24 crafts participated this time. The 30 crafts including the lead and tail crafts plus a rescue WaveRunner made for a big convoy.
Everyone's WaveRunners were tied to an offshore mooring rope at Numazu Yamaha Marina, our kick-off point, beforehand to make for a smooth start. We arranged for everyone to be taken to the kick-off point by boat after they changed clothes. This system allowed us to meet at 9:20, change clothes, have orientation, and depart right at 10:30.
At the pre-departure orientation, the cruising schedule, points to remember while cruising and flag rules were explained.
Two of the most important points to remember were:
Don't overlook instructions from the lead craft.
Don't pass the lead craft.
The convoy headed for our first goal just offshore of Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji is the highest peak in Japan (3776m). Needless to say, it is a revered symbol of Japan. Although it is an inactive volcano, historically it does have a record of eruption. Its nearly perfect graceful symmetric profile gives a striking impression.
On the day of departure, the early morning fog made us worry whether we would be able to see Mt. Fuji, but later the sky started to clear and kept our hopes alive as we headed west.
Sadly, we couldn't see the whole panoramic view of Mt. Fuji but we could see the snowcapped summit. We all lined up for a commemorative photo, then we rode away into Suruga Bay with Mt. Fuji in the background and headed toward Kotoi harbor, our break area.
We took a break and had lunch at Kotoi beach where we could take showers and use the restrooms for free. Everybody was very pleased with lunch which was made up of a variety of local ingredients. Selecting the rest area is one of the most important points for setting up a touring course.
After lunch, we set our heading to the south and entered our main touring course.
The course this time was approximately 90km running along the colorful scenic coastline to the left. It was a spectacular sight to see the large group of WaveRunners riding with the beautiful landscape of western Izu in the background.
We stopped at the famous tourist spot Dogashima (Doga Island) on the way.
Since there were other tourist ships, we divided into groups of six and headed into the cave in the cliff. The sunlight streaming through the gaping hole of the cave's roof was truly fantastic.
We stopped again at Matsuzaki Marina for fueling and headed to Irou-zaki, the southernmost point of Izu Peninsula.
The waves were steep in Irou-zaki and the lead boat, as was to be expected, had to slow down. Participating boats headed to the day's last goal, Shimoda, while being tossed about by the 1.5m waves.
After arriving at Shimoda, we all finished refuel and mooring, and the grand feast, which is one of the great pleasures of a two-day tour, began. The weariness of a hard day of touring seemed to melt away as all the participants licked their lips over the splendid sea food.
The second day opened with cloudy weather.
But the wind had died down from the day before, giving us perfect conditions for sightseeing along the coastline.
This time we passed Irou-zaki, where we had difficulties with steep waves the day before, easily and headed to Hakachi-saki. Some of the caves here are intricately connected inside but it is impossible to go near when the waves are high.
The width of the narrow caves is less than 2m but it was possible for our WaveRunners to pass through. The lead boat which couldn't pass through waited outside.
After Hakachi-saki we headed toward Sengan-Mon. All the crafts including the lead boat could make it through here. The weather remained gray but we were overwhelmed by the beautiful water and scenery that nature had created.
After passing Matsuzaki Marina where we stopped for fueling, the water became calm. The lead boat went up to full throttle but it still didn't seem to be fast enough for the WaveRunner crews.
We had a lunch at Kotoi, the same as the day before.
One of the boats had a slight accident when its anchor rope was caught, but it was solved in about 15 minutes with help of many of the crews.
This is a feeling of security you can get only when touring with a large group.
After arriving at Yamaha Marina Numazu everyone was very busy loading up their craft, changing clothes and cleaning up. The last meeting started at 4:30 in the afternoon and then we all went our separate ways.
We traveled approximately 190km over two days and toured a variety of scenic spots.
We hope to meet again in the future on another tour!