This morning we arrived at Iwo Jima just as the sun rose. Behind us was the steaming volcano Minami Io Jima which is a perfect cone, and disturbingly, has other perfect, recently-erupted cones right around it below the surface, one rising to just a meter below the surface. We motored up to see the beach and inspect the hill ... we came along the south end of Iwo Jima, where all the landings took place. The hill is appalling ... to think of an army attacking it is unbelievable.
I spotted what I thought was steam coming out of the beach, and H thought it was a wave hitting a spot between rocks and erupting up. We were both wrong -- our first sighting of life in Japanese waters was five humpback whales, including a calf. We spent quite a bit of time drifting off the beach, while two of the humpbacks breached repeatedly. The girls had never seen breaching so close up.
As we went up the west side of the island, we could see huge rusted hulks of ships lying in the sand.