I left the Oku school grounds at dawn. I’d pushed a note under the door asking the teacher there to email me the school’s address so I could amuse those kids with a postcard from the cape.
For the morning I stuck as close as I could to the sea. On the south side of the peninsula, as I was today, is the Pacific Ocean and about 9,000km out there on a bearing of about 147 is Auckland and many of the people I am missing right now. Seaweed smells the same the world around and it was carried on the breath of each small village I wandered through until the coast dipped away south and I took to Route 197 to get over the hills. Or rather through them via many tunnels.
Eventually I emerged from the darkness to Yawatahama, a port I could have come to directly via ferry from Beppu but that’d be cheating. It’s a standard grubby town and the roads are busy again. The coastal road, though meandering, was pleasant and I’m just pushing through the city blocks to reach the mountains again. Tonight I have opted to camp behind a run-down apartment block filled with fragile people dropped off by their caregivers and shuffling along the balconies to visit their neighbours. Some have been peering down at me so I waited until dusk to quickly put up my tent. The theory being that once it’s up and I’m inside no-one will approach to tell me not to.
I managed not to go too far today, suprising given my early start. A good way to waste time is looking for hiking maps. Even the shop clerks have to open and inspect each one to determine if they are good for hikers. None of them ever are so I leave and continue my day.
Word of the day: hanto = peninsula
Distance today: 42 km