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Kaua‘i last stop for Japanese sailors sailing around the world

NAWILIWILI — The small group of shipside greeters, a Kaua‘i Search and Rescue Unit working with the U.S. Coast Guard on a multi-agency exercise, and boat owners and fishers of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor watched on Saturday, June 3, 2023, as the 47-foot Yuimaru, based in Osaka, Japan, negotiated the waters while trying to locate its assigned berth that was too small for the Oceanis 473 Clipper.

With the help of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor population, Shin Kawamoto, one of the boat’s owners, Shuji Nishimura, a boat co-owner from Kyoto, and Tatsuo Tsuchiyama of Kyoto were able to settle the boat for its week stay at Nawiliwili.

“Mr. Kawamoto is from Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture,” said Art Umezu, who represented Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami at the shipside greeting. “Moriyama is one of our sister cities. The Yuimaru is based in Osaka, but sailed south to Ishigaki to start its world journey. Ishigaki is another of Kaua‘i’s sister cities.”

Nawiliwili Harbor is the final stop for the three Japanese sailors before they embark on a monthlong sail to get back to Japan. During the week, the three sailors are being hosted by Char Ono.

“Years ago, my son, Akira Nordmeier, participated in the Rotary student exchange,” Ono said. “He went to Moriyama and stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Shin Kawamoto. Their daughter, Haruka, stayed with us for a year, and we’ve kept in touch.”

Ono said that besides representing Kaua‘i’s sister cities, these three gentlemen have been sailing around the world, starting April 1, 2022 from Osaka.

“I don’t think I could live aboard a boat for more than a year,” she said. “They left Japan on April 1, crossed the Philippines, Malaysia, France Reunion Islands and the Indian Ocean to welcome the New Year 2023 in South Africa. From there, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to St. Helena Islands, Brazil, Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. They went through the Panama Canal and sailed to Hawai‘i.”

Umezu said the three sailors will be on Kaua‘i until June 10 before departing for Japan, with Ishigaki Harbor as its point of entry into Japan.

“Long journey,” Kawamoto said. “It takes about a month to sail from Hawai‘i to Japan. We won’t be home until at least mid-July.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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