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3 girls in tubs successful in 60km crossing

NIIGATA -- Three women completed the 60-kilometer crossing from Sado to Honshu in tub boats Saturday, following in the footsteps of a mythical figure who traversed the straits to see her lover on the mainland.

Kanako Takahashi, 26, Miho Hamada, 25 and Miki Takano, 27, each rowed a tub boat across the Sado Straits to make the first successful crossing in the craft for 40 years; the third overall, but the first ever to be completed solo.

"My arms and hands are really hurting, but I'm so glad it was successful," Hamada said.

A Sado tale tells of a woman called Omitsu paddling one of the island's famous tub boats from Sado to Kashiwazaki, where her fisherman lover Gosaku lived. The Sado Tourism Association planned the three women's crossing, which began at about 10 a.m. Friday in Sado.

Takahashi, Hamada and Takano, all clad in traditional garments, set off in their 1.9-meter tubs at about 10 a.m. Friday, provisioned with food, water and a bucket to use as a toilet. They arrived in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, at around 10 a.m. Saturday. Two fishing boats accompanied the women to ensure their safety.

There were fears that the approaching typhoon Man-yi could hinder their journey, but the worst weather the women encountered on their 24-hour paddle was light rain. Waves were only about 40 to 50 centimeters high.

In 1966 and again in 1967 there were successful crossings of the strait in tub boats, but on each occasion three people had taken turns in paddling them.

"Having made the crossing alone, now I know how Omitsu must have felt about Gosaku," Takahashi said


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