Last day in Hokkaido. Beautiful blue skies and air so crisp you could eat it. Up at the crack of dawn.
Highest temperature: 7 below zero. We should all be ice. This is what the ocean looks like. I think we could have walked all the way to Russia. (Thanks to Yohei Nakano for the photos).
So what do you do in this treacherous weather? GO SWIMMING, of course.
The water was so cold a normal human would die within 30 seconds. Luckily, we had the benefits of the miracle tight-fitting frostbite-inducing dry suit. Completely waterproof, but unfortunately not entirely coldproof. Make no mistake, it was fucking cold. But sunbaking on top of the ocean in the biting cold has a certain charm.
All that was left was the trek back to Ako. JAL managed to foil that plan by breaking their plane, so we had to let them put us up in the Kansai Airport Hotel for a night - in a haunted room! Awesome!
So that was Hokkaido. Winter was spectacular, nothing like I've ever seen before; bracing and challenging. It's supposed to be beautiful in the summer too, one of Japan's last wildernesses. Check it out.