We woke up and packed our stuff as today, unfortunately, was our last day in Rebun island before we depart to mainland Wakkanai to continue our journey to East Hokkaido.
As we were chowing down our breakfast, the owners of Pension Uni told us of an earthquake which happened at night around Iburi subprefecture, pretty close to Sapporo. The extent of the damage was unknown and be ready for some transport disruption. Good news is ferry from Rebun and Wakkanai is good to go. We thanked the owners of Pension Uni for their wonderful hospitality and food. Really highly recommended place to stay in Rebun.
As the Heartland Ferry departed the port… a group from the Momoiwaso Youth Hostel performed some fun and energetic farewell dance routine at the berthing area….. till we could see them no more.
Overall, despite the unfortunate event, it was a very unforgetful trip to the wonderful island of Rebun.
We arrived at the port of Wakkanai on time , ready to rent a car…. but hmm.. something was amiss – there was no electricity at the port station.
Oh no. We were still hoping that it was only there… but as we walked from the port to the train station – it was clear that there were NO electricity in the whole area. Our worst fear came true when we wanted to rent a car… everything was halted. No rental cars, no trains, no buses. No means of transport to continue our journey. Apparently the power station supporting the whole of Hokkaido was knocked out by the night earthquake. We were stuck in Wakkanai.
First thing we did was go to the Wakkanai Tourism office to see what their advise would be in this situation. She was very helpful and she made some phone calls to the nearby hotels… and she got us a hotel to stay for one night. So nice!!! If she hadn’t got us a hotel, we would have to stay at a nearby school which acted as a temporary shelter for locals (I wanted to experience it but Elaine said no no no). We’re one of the two foreign tourist there. The other was a solo Taiwan girl.
So off we go to the Wakkanai Sun Hotel nearby and checked ourselves in. There would be no electricity or flushing but it was great we had a roof above us for now. Then, off we went for a walk around the vicinity of the hotel to become a tourist again.
Back to Wakkanai Sun Hotel, the front reception handed out free onigiri (rice balls) and ice cream to guests as their freezer was out for the night. So nice.
The quiet streets of Wakkanai got ever quieter with only a few cars passing the main road sporadically. To relief ourselves, we had to walk in the dark to nearby portable toilets setup overnight and the train station with only our hand phone lights for illumination. Geli also.
Back in the hotel room, we had our windows wide open for the cool night breeze to come in. We slept soundly after all the running around with our luggage.