Breaking News: Typhoon Hagibis creates havoc and has resulted in the cancellation of England v France and New Zealand v Italy.
Day 17 is one I had been looking forward to – travel to the glorious Island of Ishigaki for 5 days of sunshine, beach and one of my favourite pastimes, scuba diving! Again another checking fiasco by ANA. We booked group seats, however, we were all allocated random seats that were not together.. another unnecessary delay as well as sending us to the group desk where we thought we were checking in for them to just issue us our boarding passes and told to go join the queue at the normal checking desks to go through same process and check bags in! Note to self..Avoid group check in desk and go straight to the normal desks. In the evening we enjoyed Yakinuki style dining at Maru accompanied by a mixture of beers and local Sake..30% proof! Which didn’t take long to take effect.
Meanwhile All Blacks cruised to another victory against Namibia 71-9; South Africa smashed Canada 66-7 and France almost slipped on a banana skin against Tonga before defeating them 23-21, qualifying for the Quarter-Finals. In typical style I read the French players are in a mutiny against the coaching team..only the French!
Day 18 started with 60 lengths in the pool which took me an hour and 12 minutes. That is significantly slower than normal. I felt pain all the way through. Punishment no doubt for the weeks’ excesses and lack of exercise. An essential visit to Pushymina whom we are exclusively chartering the yacht from for tomorrow’s 8 hour cruise. Though the charter was confirmed by them, despite several attempts by and then by Miko to obtain information from them on a suggested itinerary and catering options we hit a brick wall. Saw them confirmed all was still on, told them I needed all dive gear and yes we have to provide catering and drinks. The Intercontinental Ishigaki had already said “non” to the provision of catering and drinks for the charter so off to the supermarket Miko and I went – something I never expected to be doing on this trip! Pushymina was the only operator that we could have chartered a suitable yacht from so we are rolling with it. Finished the day on a high though with a much needed Thai massage by a Japanese masseuse with the comment “You are the biggest guy I ever massaged!” With a smile..
Day 19 The yacht charter started well on Carina, we were picked up promptly and boarded a clean and well kept yacht. Weather was slightly overcast and temperature was 29deg with a breeze keeping us cool. 15 minutes later we arrived at our first stop, Taketomi Island – a sparsely populated and unspoitl Island. We had the choice of the island tour on foot, bicycle or water buffalo drawn carriage. We, of courtse, opted for the tour by Water Buffalo which became known as Pee & Poo ride! During the 25 minute tour the water buffalo stopped for 3 poos and 2 pees! Every time the buffalo stopped, the guide seemed to know whether it was a poo or a pee stop and held the collecting bucket below the appropriate exit channel!
Back on the yacht and off to our first stop for some scuba diving and snorkelling. The weather suddenly changed for the worse as we started feeling the effects of Typhoon Hagibis which is 3 days away from hitting Japan. I kitted up and got ready for the first dive. As I waited for the dive briefing the dive guide, already kitted up, jumped in to the ocean..I shouted breifing? and he just summoned me in..and I thought I guess I am just following you then and no briefing. Just as well I am an experienced and competent diver! It was great to be in the water again though the dive site was not particularly inspiring. On returning to the yacht there was general amongst all to head to shore as conditions were not encouraging.
Day 20 A second day of pure diving with trusted and tried Umicoza divers, whom I dove with last April during my recce. Absolutely loved it..spectacular coral reefs, 4 giant green turtles, with shells about a metre long, Garden eels, moray eels , batfish, electric clam, sea snake, popcorn shrimp, nudibranch an abundance of other sea life.