Goals – open crossing

February 6, 2007

I’ve been considering paddling to Ajishima from Matsushima.


The distance si about 25km fairly protected waters, and in my experience fairly predictable weather. Tidal range is a maximum of about 1.6m and currents here are pretty non existant (though about 2knots run in some parts of Matsushima bay itself).

The main hazard in this crossing, assuming good weather, would be other sea traffic of which there is a lot.

The aim would be to try and paddle there in May or June.

However the probelm with this goal is that I actually don’t think it is that challenging – completing it wouldn’t give me a sense of ‘wow I did that’. So I was wondering if there were some other crossings that I could consider that were more challenging? Two spring to mind. The first is probablay too challenging for me – crossing to Hokkaido from the Honshu accross the Tsuguru strait (I blogged about that before).

The other one though that might just be possible (although it gives me butterflies thinking about it) is Niigata to Sado Island (Sado shima or Sado-ga-shima).

location map

Its about 33km as the crow flies but if I were to get the ferry back it would be a further 15-20 km along the coast to the ferry port of Ryotsu.


If I were to do this I imagine an early morning Saturday start, 7 hours of paddling; camp on the beach then Sunday morning along to the ferry port for a lift back.

From checking the wave heights in Japan site it appears that the Japan sea is relatively benign, although storms can kick up, swells tend to be smaller than on the pacific side. The Tsushima current runs north along the west coast of the island.

The biggest risks are again other sea traffic, including fast ferries (at 40kmph). Also Sado shima has a very rocky exposed coast so landing spots would have to be well planned.

Sado shima is famous as the place to which people (including an emperor) were banished in feudal Japan; the now exhausted gold mines; and an excellent troupe of taiko drummers. (My wife would laugh at this term “taiko drummers” as the two words mean the same, like edamame beans). Looks like a beautiful island.


image copyright mike media


image from the town website.


One Response to “Goals – open crossing”

  1. […] other option, if I do paddle to Sado ga shima, is to do a detour to 38N 139E on the way, that would be a nice double although would significantly […]

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