101017We were in a mild state of panic this morning.  We were going to the unknown, and we were doing it without the safety of our van.  We had to leave our home of the past 60 days, and make do with what we could fit onto the ‘cub (which is a small pack each and my giant camera bag).  We’d (I’d) considered/wanted to camp a few of the nights while we were in Okinawa, but as the weather forecast warned us of an approaching typhoon (and because I couldn’t physically pack it), we didn’t bring the tent.

kagoshimaLuckily, it wasn’t a sudden realisation and I’d been able to (slightly) pre-contact some couchsurfers in Okinawa.

The other thing that had been troubling me recently is what we were going to do with SS Delica while we were gone.  It’s big (and ugly) enough that people will notice it (the Sapporo number plates don’t help) if it’s left in the one place for a week.  While it’s not likely that it would be towed (more likely is a note telling me that I shouldn’t park there), it was still possible.  And, since I couldn’t afford a fine/ticket/towing I had to be careful.  We had a few ideas of places of where we could inconspicuously leave it, and while inspecting them we managed to find a paid car park with a ridiculously low fee of ¥100/day!  There was a queue, but it was worth queuing for.

kagoshimaThe ferry to Okinawa left from Kagoshima City, which was only a short (and super cheap) ferry ride across the bay away.  We had a few hours to kill, so went to go explore.  We did some shopping/exploring.  The weather was amazing, clear, dry and the sun felt nice on our skin as we cruised around on the ‘cub.

kagoshimaWe feasted on an amazing (I’ve said it so many times before, but it honestly was one of the best ever) bowl of ramen.  Kagoshima-style is similar to Fukuoka’s (both are tonkotsu), but this was much lighter, much less like a thick soup.  The roasted pork was also amazing, so soft/juicy/tender/gooood.  Dinner was early, but we’d planned on having a nice feed and skipping some nasty ferry cafeteria food, at least for one meal.

kagoshimaIt was getting close to boarding time, so we rushed back to the port.  This boat has one very large shared room for 50 second-class passengers, so we wanted to get in early to try and secure a nice position.  Little did we know that we were actually pre-assigned locations on the floor.  Sadly, it was between poor/ugly people and not near a power outlet.  Second-class travel is quite unglamorous.

kagoshimaExactly at 6PM we departed, and to wish us bon-voyage the skies over Kagoshima lit up an amazing colour (I’m sure all the ash in the skies from Sakuraijima had a part in it).

We went back to our patch of floor (at least it had a thin mattress, which the Otaru-Niigata one didn’t) and tried to ignore the people around us, eventually falling asleep with the aid of ear-plugs and an eye-mask.