"Diary of My Trip to Takeshima" # 3
by an Anonymous Traveller
I spent three days looking up at the sky, but, unfortunately, I found a wind that was definitely a whirlwind. The west wind blew stronger on the 24th, but as soon as the clouds went to the east, it changed to a northwest wind and then to a northeast wind before ending. Such a change in wind direction may always occur, but I noticed it because I was watching so closely while hoping everyday that I could see the moon from the island. [Direct translation: "since I was hoping to complain to the moon on the island"] Anyway after this, the wind will stop, and the weather will be fine. I felt relieved. There was no need to read the telegram from the weather station. At 6:30 p.m. on the 26th, we set off from Saigo (Oki) and sailed north for Takeshima.
▲ 27th: At daybreak, I jumped for joy wondering if something in the distance would be Takeshima. At 6:30 a.m., when we were as close as 4.5 ri (18 km) away, we recognized that this was certainly our objective. Although I haven't been here before, I could imagine the office manager saying, "Look at this proudly." The way the two islands stuck out on the horizon was like an ornament of two sails on the big ocean. I thought I would like to see it from various angles while sitting and worshiping it. In the meantime, three big sharks appeared and together tried to attack our ship, which impressed us very much. They came a close as four or five ken (7.28 - 9.1 m) before leaving while we were yelling, "Sharks, sharks!"
▲ Nakai, who had good experience with sea lions, was at the bow. As soon as he said, "There is a sea lion," many people soon gathered at the bow and produced telescopes. It was a mess. It seemed as if thousands of brown-colored sea lions were looking at us. They were saying, "There, and there too!" Obviously there were thousands of them crowded like maggots. As our ship came close to them, the sea lions uttered strange sounds like a long howl of dogs and dived into the sea one by one. The submerged sea lions raised their heads out of the water and were swimming around, howling continuously. They looked like swimmers at a seaside swimming area swimming competitively.
▲ We arrived at Takeshima at 8:30 am on the 27th. Oki Maru was moved to a place where waves were not high. It anchored about ten cho (1090m) away from the island. The sailors said the depth was about twenty-six hiro (about 40 m). Someone, maybe a fisherman from Oki, tried to use bait to fish for squid and soon caught a big fish of about one shaku (about 30 cm), which attracted the interest of the passengers.They said there were plenty of such fish here. When the ship was getting ready to move, we saw a baby whale swimming in the water. It was interesting.
▲ Nakai said that he would be the first person to land. It was a pity that I missed the fishing boat while I was looking expectantly for either whales or dolphins. I envied Omodaka and Nakai, who were rowing away with a fisherman.
▲ I couldn't stand staring at it, so I asked another fisherman to take me out on a lighter boat (called tenma), and we left the Oki Maru. A soft wind came from the direction of Kan-on-jima (觀音島), causing waves to splash at the portside. The sound of oars and the waves mixed together. We chased after the first boat, but the fiherman got in trouble because of the ebb tide.
(Translated by Pacifist)
1906 Apr 8 - "Diary of My Trip to Takeshima" # 3
The following is an April 8, 1906 San-in Shimbun article that talks about a man's first visit to Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks). (Click on the article to enlarge.)