Tag Archives: Diva

TSPS Silverweek Cruise And Photos

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The crews of Akdenizli, Bifrost, Diva, Mary-Jane, Sophie, and Voyager set out this past weekend for a three-day cruise to Atami and Hayama. Voyager departed Yokohama for Misaki Friday to position the boat for a short sail to Atami. All but Akdenizli made the crossing to Atami on Saturday. Those who made the journey across Sagami Bay enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant near the marina. Akdenizli sailed into Misaki from Yokohama on Saturday bound for Hayama on Sunday, but unfortunately experienced engine troubles enroute and went no further.

The plans for Sunday were for Bifrost and Voyager to sail to Hayama and be joined there by Akdenizli, for Diva and Mary-Jane to return to their home port at Velasis, and for Sophie to sail to Oshima. Voyager’s skipper, however, didn’t like the forecast for Monday and instead sailed to Velasis, thus leaving only Bifrost to sail the TSPS ensign into Hayama port. Sophie, encountering light winds to Oshima instead returned to Shimoda. Meanwhile, Akdenizli, bound for Yokohama and laboring along with a lame engine, encountered strong northerly headwinds and so diverted to the east to Chiba to wait for a more favorable southerly wind, which she promptly got for an enjoyable sail back to Bayside Marina.

Monday saw strong winds, large swells and wind waves from the south. Bifrost rounded Jyogashima enroute to her home port at Velasis in the afternoon. Voyager remains in Velasis awaiting its six-year inspection and re-certification and will return to Yokohama next week.

We’d like to thank TSPS Cruising Coordinator Per Knudsen for organizing the cruise, and also thank the skippers who made their boats available for the cruise, and all the crew that signed up for the trip.

Photos from the trip:

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Did That Fish Just Flip Me The Bird?

The Marlin Jumps

By Jerry Brady, TSPS member with photos from Masayo Wertheimber Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:45a.m.

I’m 15 minutes into a battle with a marlin, and I am losing, damn it. Sweat streaming down my face, clothes soaked right through, arms cramped and cramping. I’m receiving instructions tersely delivered by Diva’s Captain Francis. Masayo is mopping my brow, and Vassili is at the helm enquiring politely whether the fish is still on the line. Yes the fish, the bloody fish, is still on the line, and it’s going on yet another run. His eighth I’m pretty sure. I switch hands to give my cramped left arm a brief respite. I’m exhausted. Then my mind begins streaming questions as the battle renews… “Why is this fish making it so difficult?” “Why doesn’t it just give up and give me and my arms a break?” “Should I ask Francis if an Automated External Defibrillator is aboard? “How about we janken (rock, scissors, paper) to see who wins and call it a day?” “Hmm. Can a marlin show only ‘paper,’ or can it curl a flipper into ‘rock’? “What about that A.E.D.?” “How did I get here?” “Who was the wise guy that once said, ‘If you don’t want a fight, don’t slap a bear.’

This all began two weeks ago when TSPS member Francis Wertheimber and his wife Masayo invited another TSPSer Vassili Ermakov and me to go fishing for marlin off the coast of Chiba before the start of theTSPS barbecue and fireworks party at Velasis Marina. I figured physically this would be a cake-walk. In years past, I considered myself an athlete. I played many sports including snowboarding, scuba diving, rugby, racquetball, and did some physically demanding commercial tuna fishing in Vietnam. I’d always thought physical activities were easy. I’d do anything, regardless of difficulty, and then drink beer and talk about it later. That was until a few years ago. Training didn’t seem important when I retired from rugby, so I hadn’t worked out in ages. Oh, silly me. Aboard Diva I was about to be worked over by a fish, a 170-kilogram taskmaster of a fish, but a fish nonetheless.

When the marlin took the hook, I was told to take a seat in the fighting chair. We strapped the rod and reel to the chair and listened as the line sang off the reel as the marlin ran out more than five-hundred meters. We watched as it then engaged in fish aerobics by jumping clear of the water several times. Clearly this fish had been working out. Bah! Show off! I reeled it in, but then it took off on another run. This was to be expected and so the fish and I did this several times in succession; it would get close to the boat, take one look at me and then bolt on another 300 – 400 meter sprint. Can’t blame the fish, really.  I had quickly lost my usual saintly expression and and was fearsomely grimacing in shades of red and blue. The battle continued and I was losing hope of landing the marlin, but just when I was thinking of cutting the line the fish decided to stop showing off and instead ambled over for a visit. I was ready to offer my nemesis a congratulatory beer, but then remembered marlin are big-game fish loaded with machismo and prefer stronger drink.

Masayo took a load of pictures, and exchanged family photos with the marlin as I mentally prepared to deliver the coup de grâce. In spite of my respect for the fish, I was looking forward to eating it, dining on barbecued marlin steaks with coconut milk and lime juice. Francis got out the boat hook, stepped to the stern and then paused to take a long look at the fish. He then slowly turned to me, Masayo, and Vassili and told us that even if we provided one steak each for the thirty-five TSPS members at the barbecue, we would consume only a quarter of the fish, and that since nobody had any way of transporting the leftover meat, we would have to pay for the rest of the carcass to be commercially disposed of.

Reluctantly, we all agreed to release the fish. But as it slowly swam away, it turned on its side exposing a raised flipper. Did that fish just flip me the bird? When we headed back to port, my arms were so tired that Masayo could have beaten me in an arm-wrestling match. For some reason, I was reminded of something a friend once told me. We had worked together on a construction site in New York before I moved here. He’d said, “When I was younger, I was a real bad-ass. Now that I’m older, I’m just an ass.” It took a fish to drive the point that I was out of shape home. I vowed to myself that I would resume training this month so I would be ready for the next fishing trip. You know… pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, squats, the whole home-training routine. But today, meh… It’s so hot and I’m so tired that I’m going to default back to my usual training regimen; fridge sprints, speed email finger work outs, and flip-fop curls.

Yeah, better to start training in September. It’ll be cooler then and the fish will be smaller… Many thanks to Masayo and Francis Wertheimber and Vassili Ermakov for a truly unforgettable experience. 


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TSPS Fishin’ Expedition: Fish Have Gone Deep

Fishing740-044The weather in mid-July looked perfect for some fishing. Sunny skies, hot temperatures, light winds some of the time, and according to Francis Wertheimber and Vassili Ermakov, our two skippers for the fishing trip (photo link below), high water temperatures. This, and the high latitude of the Kuroshio meant the fish would be near the surface, all manner of fish- marlin, tuna, barracuda, yellowtail, skipjack, saba… Sounded perfect. But as the week of July 15th began, a typhoon was approaching Kyushu. As the days passed the effect of the typhoon brought cold air in from the north and east and by Thursday evening, temperatures in the Tokyo area had dropped to the low 20’s, a fall of some 12 degrees from the Wednesday high. Additionally, the Kuroshio had shifted 50 miles to the south, meaning the warm waters brought north along the current were no longer reaching our fishing grounds. Ugg. Cool temperatures, rain, and moderate breezes were now forecast for our day fishing on the water. It didn’t look good.

Email started to dribble in from the invited members Friday morning expressing concern with the weather. “Too early to make a weather decision?”, wrote one. “Folks – we are still on for tomorrow, right?”, asked another. Then came, “Unlike us, fish do not mind getting wet, so as long as fish are biting, rain or no rain, I assume the fishing expedition is on.” Then the definitive message from Vassili arrived:

“I believe that all of our team accepts the possibility and consequences of getting wet. So, see you all tomorrow at 08:00 at Velasis. Just to remind you, Mary-Jane is an open fly bridge boat with an awning. So if it’s even a small rain you will get wet unless you stay down in the cabin.”

It was decided. Mary-Jane III, with her zipper down, was going regardless. Francis quickly picked up on Vassili including the word “team” in his message and quickly followed up with:

“Diva would like to challenge Mary-Jane for after-fishing beers and pizza at the harbour.

Boat (Mary-Jane) with the lesser catch buys.
Rules are, whether landed or released:
Bill fish 10 points
Tuna 5
Barraccuda 4
Skipjack 3
Yellowtail  2
Mahi-Mahi -1 (yes, minus one)
Saba -2
Any other fish 1
Any other fish if in a tray having a bar code -10
Alternatively, if both boats skunk out, Tony would flip out the TSPS check book. Kindly be responsible to take home all landed fish.”

The rest of the invitees responded quickly saying they would be in Velasis by 0800h. The amazing thing is that they all were. (As the organizer, I was particularly happy with this.)

The teams separated at the bottom of the gangway leading down to the docks and went off in opposite directions. Gerry Brady, Eugen and Suzuko Mall, Warren and Rumiko Fraser followed Vassili to Mary-Jane III, a 36′ Yamaha sport fishing boat, while Tony Whitman, Wolfgang Bierer, Jeff Canaday, and Demir Sadikoglu and his partner Naoko followed Francis to Diva, another 36′ Yamaha sport fishing boat, where Masayo, Francis’ wife, was preparing for departure. Once aboard Mary Jane, we were given PFDs and quickly got under way on gray waters under grey skies, heading south past Kurihama and then Kenzaki Point. For an hour we sped along at 22 knots until we reached a point on the water about 10 miles off the north-west corner of Oshima. Francis had called in to say the water temperature was 23 degrees. Here there might be fish.

After bringing Mary-Jane to a stop, Vassili descended from the fly bridge to rig up four rods. The fishing lines from the outer two rods were run up long aluminum poles called outriggers which were then lowered from the near vertical to almost 50 degrees to get the lines as far out to the side of the boat as possible and help keep the four lines separate as the lures move through the water. The lines from the inner two were set directly off the stern of the boat. We then began to troll, motoring along at about 7 knots, with everyone’s gaze fixed on the distant lures 20 to 30 meters off the stern. We headed east for a spell, then we headed south. We returned to an eastern heading then swung around to the south again. Then again to the east and the south and the east yet again. The fish were clearly not going east and south. At this point we all felt the bite of excitement when our skipper, looking astern unexpectedly pointed the bow north and then west and Jerry cracked open the first beer. We’d been patiently waiting for this moment for two and a half hours. Eugen mentioned something about how the sun, if we could see it, would likely be above the yard arm. Time to slake our thirst. We continued on like this for a while- the fishing, not the drinking and we were beginning to have our doubts. Four lines in the water for almost three hours and not a single bite. Not a fin. Not a splash. Nothing to indicate we were swimming with the fishes.

At approximately 1130h, Francis called again on the VHF to tell us the fish had gone deep and there was nothing out there. He’d been experiencing the same frustrations aboard Diva and decided it was time to head home. Vassili agreed. We quickly reeled in the lures and hooks, furled the outriggers, and set course north toward Velasis Marina. Naturally we all felt a bit dejected. The opportunity to big-game fish south of Tokyo was a unique experience and it was really too bad no one on either boat got to feel the thrill of reeling in a fish.

We were soon back at the docks. Diva was in slings getting hauled out of the water and dropped into her boatyard cradle when her quiet crew came over to Mary-Jane and together the twelve of us commiserated with one another over beer and wine, all saying how nice it was to simply get out on the water, in spite of not catching even a glimpse of a fish and the cool, gray weather. And we were right. It was nice, but catching a fish would have made it just that much better. I hope we get a chance sometime to do it all over again, when the fish don’t go deep.

Here are pictures from the fishing trip

On behalf of everyone who participated, I’d like to thank our hosts Vassili Ermakov and Francis and Masayo Werthiember for their generosity and time and patience.
Warren Fraser
Commander, TSPS

At Anchor: Looking for Cherry Blossoms

On April 7, four boats- Akdenizli, Andiamo, Bifrost, and Diva- met up off the Chiba coast for what had been promised to be a great two hours of cherry blossom viewing from the sea. Bifrost was the first to arrive and drop the anchor, followed by Andiamo, and Akdenizli. Diva, having powered south about ten miles to get some fishing in, arrived a little later and was the third boat in the raft. Akdenizli, being the smaller boat tied up last. After finishing tying the boats together in somewhat windy and wavy conditions, some of the twenty-one crew began to notice there was not a single cherry tree in sight. “Yes, I realize that,” said a skipper, “We’ve been misinformed.” A third person commented they’d seen cherry blossoms further down the coast. And so the question became where the correct spot to anchor was. We all came to the conclusion that it was elsewhere. The absence of blossoms was soon forgotten as crew brought out the food and beverages and the conversations turned to boats and boating, fish and fishing, sandwiches and vegetable sticks. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with brief gusts and a small rolling swell coming through. At just past two the wind kicked up and the raft quickly broke into its four component parts that were each quickly flying off in all directions, two boats under power and two under sail all bound for their homeport.

Warren Fraser

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