Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Kinko Bay Tour

On Sunday, the family decided to take a one-hour ferry boat tour of Kinko Bay. (No, the first mate's name wasn't Gilligan). The weather turned out to be perfect again, and I ended up getting a decent sunburn out of it. The boat was a simple flat bed with seating and tables for 20 people, but we only had about 8-9 on this trip (mostly foreign tourists). The more expensive, longer trips include a night-time cruise, and a dinner cruise. The course was north up the Kagoshima city coastline a couple kilometers, then across the bay to go south along the Sakurajima island side, to about even with Tempozan (where the Kotsuki river empties into the bay), and back to the Port. I had the feeling the captain was cutting the trip short by ten minutes for some reason, but no one else complained. I really wished that we'd gotten up past the north end of Sakurajima to visit the ship death zone, or at least get to see some dolphins, but the weather was good, anyway.

(The Kagoshima port break water wall.)

Re: the death zone - there's a section of the bay, kind of protected between the northeast coastline of Sakurajima, and the neighboring stretch of coastline of the Kagoshima peninsula, that has a volcanic vent down at the seabed. Hot gases stream up through the water, drastically reducing the buoyancy of the surface water. Boats getting too far into the zone will sink. I'm told that there is a specific tour that occasionally runs in that area where you can view the death zone from a safe distance, but I've never been able to find out when that tour occurs.

(Two of the ferries running to and from Sakurajima. The volcano remained quiet for the first half of the tour, and then started spewing ash, which was slowly blown by the wind in our direction.)

There are supposed to be wild dolphins that play in the bay during certain times of the year, and they can be spotted from some of the tour boats. But, I've asked many of my students, and other people I know, for more details, and no one has ever been able to say when they'd last seen the dolphins themselves, or where to go to get answers. Anyway, no dolphins this time.

At the beach near Sengan-en, there were quite few people swimming, and more on sail boards and jet skis. Some of the jet skiers cut across the bay to Sakurajima and back. The tour guide said that jet ski rental was cheap - about $30, but I don't know how much time that covers. I'd consider it, but I don't have a body suit (the water remains cold out towards the middle of the bay, and you want protection in case you fall in). Maybe later in the summer.

(Some of the fishing boats on the Sakurajima side of the bay.)

(The area in front of the big hotel near the port has a fishing pier, which was pretty crowded with picnickers.)

There's a little island just south of Sakurajima. There's no beach on this side, so I don't know if anyone can climb up on to it. If I get a jet ski, I may have to go down there to find out.

And then back to Kagoshima, just short of Tempozan. Overall, an enjoyable trip. The rest of the afternoon was spent in Dolphin Port, drinking coffee and eating pasta at Tully's coffee shop, and then a bit of heavier food and beer at a nearby restaurant, while watching people playing at the waterfront park. Finally, back home for the night, and to process the photos from the trip.

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