A day we spend driving down the coast, heading for Lake Saroma. We pass various seafood processing factories and marvel at the huge piles of scallop shells. There are long, long beaches strewn with driftwood and fishing paraphernalia. In some places, small, temporary communities of salmon anglers have developed. There are also many derelict buildings concerned with the fishing industry in one way or another. This coast is desolate but somehow less interestingly desolate or less majestic than the Sea of Japan coast. Perhaps it is just too much of the same, kilometre after kilometre.
We stop, for the night, at Lake Saroma, a free campsite at Kimuaneppu which we share with a few bikers. The site itself is on a promontory into the lake, with water on 3 sides, so it is a little exposed and there are lots of small flies swarming off the rotting weeds at the lake edge. The sunset is very spectacular. Some people arrive just for the show then leave again.
Lake Saroma is an inlet of the sea separated from the sea itself by a long, narrow spit of sand. After our habitual breakfast, we drive the short distance to the other side of the water to hire bicycles to ride along the sand spit.
It is a beautiful, sunny day and it is fun to ride a bike after a hiatus of about 5 years and, of course, the sand spit is relatively flat. There are still some flowers in bloom and lots of sky and water though surprisingly few birds, the odd heron and a few crows are about it. We note signs of deer activity everywhere, though we don’t see any.
The seaward side of the spit has a long beach with fishing nets attached to the shore set at right angles to the beach. Are they catching fish or cultivating shellfish?
We return our bicycles and go to Abashiri to buy warm blankets as it is getting steadily colder at night but, in the end, fail to do this. We drive inland a little, to investigate another campsite at Lake Abashiri but again the trip is abortive. The campsite is too dismal, so we head back to Lake Saroma and Kimuaneppu.
This is a happy choice as, again, the sunset is superb and, later, the night sky is breathtaking with the Milky Way much in evidence. I pick out Sagittarius, in so far as I fancy I see a horse shape. D. checks the star map and, yep, it is the centaur.
famous local food scallop, oyster, crab, sea urchin, , ,
rent-a-cycle 650 yen at Wakka nature centre
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.