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Island Hopping: Miyakojima

JAPAN | Friday, 20 September 2019 | Views [39]

In the tube, Miyako

In the tube, Miyako

WHAT BEGAN AS ON-AGAIN, OFF-AGAIN SHOWERS accompanied by strong, gusting winds graduated from a tropical depression to tropical storm Tapah and may even — or already have — become a typhoon.  It's hard to tell since internet weather reports seldom provide much information, only those cute little icons.  The Japanese Coast Guard have moved the cutters from their berth in Ibaru to the protected harbor outside our hotel, the Ibaru Bridge is closed to traffic and the power has been out for a couple of hours.  Time to batten down the hatches.


      Tapah is between Okinawa and Taiwan and we are right in the middle

We are island hopping our way from Japan — Kyushu to Okinawa to Miyako to Ishigaki to Taiwan — and Miyako, just north of the Tropic of Cancer in the East China Sea, seems to be in Tapah’s path.  Miyako is known for its beaches but the weather isn’t cooperating.  We are adherents of Paul Theroux’s philosophy that only a fool blames his bad vacation on the rain — or even a typhoon.  It’s all part of the experience and we're making the best of it.   


  Ibaru Bridge from Ibaru


                 Green Sandpiper


                             Storm's a'brewin'

Since we couldn’t get into our hotel on yesterday until 4PM — Hotel Miyakojima has no reception desk, relying instead on electronic codes emailed at the last possible minute — we decided to explore a bit.  Despite buffeting gales we drove across the 3½ kilometer long bridge to Ibaru, one of four smaller islands connected by bridges to Miyako.  It didn’t take long to circumnavigate Ibaru, even with birding and photo detours  The wind made birding problematic but intensified the surf pounding on the rocky shore.

bb     nn

    Pacific Coast of Miyako                Higashi-henna-saki lighthouse

This morning we explored more of “mainland” Miyako-jima.  We tried to time our stops to avoid the downpours but the wind-driven mist was almost as bad.  When we stopped to look at the Higashi-henna-zaki Lighthouse Connie’s well-traveled folding umbrella finally reached its use-by date, one of several victimized by the wind.  


             Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world

The surfers are eating this weather up.  They looked exhausted from catching one near-perfect, spume-covered wave after another and hardly seem to notice the rain.


          Room with a view

If you have to wait out a typhoon — yes, Tapah is officially a typhoon — Hotel Miyakojima is the perfect place.  It’s brand new for starters.  Our suite has two queen beds, a desk, 2 comfy chairs, a kitchenette and a great shower.  Our fifth floor view overlooks the harbor and we can see the Ibaru Bridge.  When the rain isn’t pummeling the balcony doors, that is.  The supermarket is only 1.5 km away.


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