Sushi Run Boats Prepare for 2010 Continuation

Original 2009 Route Map of the GSSR - Courtesy Ken Williams

Original 2009 Route Map of the GSSR - Courtesy Ken Williams

Ken Williams, who, with his wife Roberta, owns the Nordhavn 68 Sans Souci, reports that the 2010 cruising season for the boats of the Great Siberian Sushi Run (GSSR) is approaching. In an email today to followers of his blog, Williams reports that the boats, which traveled from Seattle, Washington to Osaka Japan last year, will this year explore more of Japan and finish in Hong Kong. You can read our coverage of the start of the GSSR last year here.

Williams says, remarkably, that the 2,000 mile voyage will likely include only one overnight passage — that from Taiwan to Hong Kong.  Here’s a quick summary of the trip from Williams’ e-mail:

2010 Route Plan of the GSSR From Osaka to Hong Kong -- Courtesy of Ken Williams

2010 Route Plan of the GSSR From Osaka to Hong Kong -- Courtesy of Ken Williams

“Our journey this year “should” be much easier than last year. We’ll be traveling from Osaka Japan, into Japan’s inland sea, where we’ll visit Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Somewhere along the way we’ll visit South Korea, but we won’t be taking the boats. It’s too complicated, and expensive, to clear the boats out of Japan, into South Korea, and then back into Japan. Instead, we’ll park the boats somewhere and take a ferry into South Korea. Once back on the boats we’ll explore Nagasaki and Kyushu Japan, then head south along the Ryukyu Island Japan, visiting Okinawa along the way. Allegedly the Ryukyu islands are a chain of tropical islands, reminiscent of Hawaii. We’ll then leave Japan from the island of Ishigaki and head to Taiwan, where we’ll visit the factory where our Nordhavn boats were born. Our group will be the first Nordhavns to ever return to the factory, so everyone is very excited. After that we’ll head to Hong Kong.”

To read more about the run, including who else will be in the group this year, you can read Ken Williams’ blog here. And if you haven’t already picked up his books on cruising, you should. They’re a great mix of journal-like entries with a narrative that let’s you share his learning experiences along the way. We have a link to the online store where you can order them over on the right sidebar (that link is not a paid ad; it’s there because I like Ken’s writing and hope to expand his readership even farther).

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Destinations, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, People, Powerboats, seamanship

GSSR Reaches Japan: Sushi Must Wait

GSSR Route Map Showing Progress to Date  -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

GSSR Route Map Showing Progress to Date -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

Ken Williams aboard Sans Soucireports that the Great Siberian Sushi Run has reached Japan, although the arrival there apparently had a number of unexpected events.  In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, the crewmembers of Sans Souci, the first Nordhavn 68, and Seabird and Grey Pearl (both Nordhavn 62s) couldn’t find an open sushi restaurant on arrival day and some of them, at least, ended up dining on Chinese cuisine.  More alarming was the fact that Sans Soucicrewmember Shelby (the dog) was not allowed to immigrate into Japan due to what Ken describes as a stunningly bureaucratic paperwork issue.  A “Free Shelby!” movement has begun within a Yahoo discussion group known as the Nordhavn Dreamers, with a groundswell (seaswell?) of support for the sole canine aboard.

The GSSR fleet is moored at a marina in Tomakomai on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.  The three ships made a five day passage south from the Russian port city of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka peninsula.  Ken Williams reports in his latest blog entry that the passage was without bad weather and that the worst complication was navigating through fields of fishing buoys.  His post has some interesting screen shots taken from the radar displays that nicely illustrate the navigational challenge.

Next stop for the group, and last official stop on the GSSR route, will be the huge port city of Yokohama, on the “main” island of Honshu.  Yokohama is the big industrial port inside Tokyo Bay.  Readers who are considering a stop in Japan should read the latest blog entry from Ken as he describes in typical high-resolution detail the challenges of international immigration; not just for crew but also for the boat. 

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Destinations

Great Siberian Sushi Run Reaches Alaska

Sans Souci (far right) in the Petersburg, Alaska marina -- Photo courtesy of Ken Williams

Sans Souci (far right) in the Petersburg, Alaska marina -- Photo courtesy of Ken Williams

Ken Williams and his three ships, the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, eh. . . .Sans Souci, Grey Pearl and Seabird have arrived in Alaska and are deliberately making their way up the coast.  Earlier this week they reached Petersburg, only a day’s run from Juneau.  In his blog on the trip, Williams reports that things have gone very smoothly so far, and the Inside Passage seems to have lived up to its reputation for spectacular scenery.  As of his report #14, the GSSR had completed 913 NM of its planned 4,363 NM voyage.  In his latest entries, he also has interesting interviews with the couples aboard the other two boats.

Williams spends some time discussing his passage through the Wrangell Narrows en route to Petersburg.  This is the channel between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island in the Alexander Archipelago in Southeast Alaska.  The Wrangell Narrows is one of the six Listed narrows in South East Alaska.  There are about 60 lights and buoys to mark it because of its winding nature and navigation hazards.

In the picture below, Williams has captured one of the unique features of the waters in this region.  First-timers to boating in the Pacific Northwest are often shocked to see how deep the waters are, given how close to land they are.  You can see in the photo below that Sans Souci is traveling in a very narrow channel, with high mountains all around, and yet the water is more than 1,800 feet deep.  I’m not sure my depthfinder would even read the bottom that deep.  Naturally, Sans Souci is fitted with the ultimate in marine electronics, as it should be for this passage.

Sans Souci in Very Deep Water in Alaska Passage -- Image Courtesy

Sans Souci in Very Deep Water in Alaska Passage -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

If you haven’t visited Ken Williams’ blog on the Great Siberian Sushi Run yet, you should.  Visit it here and consider picking up a copy of Ken’s book here.  Yes, I know I’m advertising for him, but he is a compelling storyteller and talks about great destinations as well as the cool geek side of boating (which we particularly love).  We’ll continue to give you status reports, but consider signing up for Ken’s e-mail subscription and you’ll never miss a stop along the way.  This will end up being one of the classic passagemaking stories except that this time you can follow along in real time.

GSSR Route Map -- Image Courtesy of Ken Williams
GSSR Route Map — Image Courtesy of Ken Williams

Copyright © 2009 OceanLinesith S

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Passagemaking News