Ship Trouble

This we afternoon we got lost at sea, or more precisely stuck in the middle of a harbor. We went to 大湊 (Ōminato), a harbor and shipbuilding area. I’ll get back to the chronological order soon, but the trouble has to get out immediately. Bad news is good news, as newspaper people say.

So here’s what happened: We boarded a nice little wooden ship to take us to an island in front of the harbor, were further spots to visit would be. The ship was just big enough to carry our group and the two crew members, and they had decorated it with flags of all the exchange students’ nations. After getting well away from the landing place, the motor stuttered and stopped. The crew managed to restart it, but a short time later the same thing happened again, and this time their efforts were in vain.

People in lifevests looking out of a boat as another with the label "RESCUE" approaches

So, what to do? We weren’t far from land, so a phone call was enough to get a rescue operation going. In the meantime, we had to push the ship away from some pillars marking shallow water (the ground looked close enough to walk there). Soon enough, we could see another boat approaching, and after some work ours was safely moored to it. In the end they tugged us to the place we were scheduled to go, just a bit later. It was quite a memorable experience. 🙂

Thanks to this trouble I ended up spending the time at which the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred three years ago (14:46) at sea. And while that is not necessarily where I would choose to remember an earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami, the disruption of the busy sightseeing schedule was welcome: I could just turn my face to the sea, ignore everything around me, and take a moment to remember and silently pray for Tohoku.

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