Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Place Where Two Seas Collide

Getting to Rishiri Island via Wakkanai  (northern Hokkaido) from Minneapolis is straightforward, with a few perturbations. A place where the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk collide is bound to have perturbations.

An agent at Tokyo's Haneda Airport warned me the flight to Wakkanai might have to turn back. I was sure something was lost in translation, until I went online to review the status of my flight: "May return to Haneda (Tokyo) due to bad weather."

The Boeing 767 landed smoothly and on-time at Wakkanai's small airport.

In Wakkanai, all ferries were cancelled due to "low pressure" causing rough seas and strong wind gusts.  Perhaps there would be no ferries that day.

I checked at Wakkanai's one-platform train station to see if I could get out of town if necessary. The station is at the end of the line, Japan's northernmost, and the rails were rusty.
Nothing was running on those tracks because a few days earlier the line an hour south had been washed out.

But the weather changed, and promised to be sunny and dry for the next few days. A ferry eventually transported me, and the train line will be back in service when I need it.

On Rishiri Island some trailheads temporarily cannot be reached by bus. One road is washed-out and another is blocked by fallen trees. This limits my options, but there's more than enough hiking trails for me to enjoy during my short visit.

Imperfect Wabi Sabi travel to a remote island, an easy adventure.

This morning's Hokkaido radar map.
Note: The photo at the top of this post shows Wakkanai's unusual breakwater. In World War II it was used as a submarine repair facility.

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