Still exploring the very most North Western islands of Japan. Yesterday’s island was a classic volcano popping its head up & out of the sea. Today it’s Rebun island: shaped like a shrimp. The shrimp’s narrow tail faces South: our journey so far. A sense of scale: if Shetland were Rebun Island (our NOW), then, five months ago, we were somewhere near Timbuktu. Somewhere in the Sahara Desert. Rebun’s shrimp head faces directly North. As the crow flies, 42km over the SEA OF OTHOSK lies Russia’s largest Island: Sakhalin.
Once inhabited by Ainu, then the Japanese (Imperial Army using Koreans for labour) & finally the Russians. Today Sakhalin is a rich resource of Oil & Gas. But back a hundred years or so and Sakhalin was considered fit only for a prison. A common theme around this neck of the woods. Russian and Japanese prisoners on either side of the Sea of OTHOSK. Trapped. Which is how Heidi & I feel on Rebun today.
The hard winter is over, and today, at the northerly cape, we find Seal Patè & Double Decker tourist buses. Dried kelp too. It’s cold, grey, and windy outside. Sam & Joe run around excitedly looking at seagull nests. The parents mope inside drinking coffee. A decision is made. We must get off this island. We must set a new goal of cycling the perimeter of Hokkaido. Challenging, but doable. Heidi & Brad struggle with aimless drifting.
We return to our tent in good spirits. We have a plan. 24 days remain …