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Diving For Christmas Tree Worms And Nudibranches In Devil's Cove

Date Posted: 2000-06-10

In the second of John Chandler’s explorations of Okinawa’s great dive sites he looks at a fascinating location where you can find a sunken boat, hard and soft corals and augur shells. It is also a good place for snorkelers, non-diving friends, family or children to relax by the beach.

Level of difficulty: Novice to experienced

Maximum depth: 60 feet

Synopsis: Expect no currents, visibility will be low after any rainfall, bring a compass.

Devil’s Cove Site Location: This week we drive north on Highway #58 past Kadena Marina following 58 around the corner and turn left at Kadena Gate #4 (old SAC Gate). Follow this street to the first traffic light turning left again as if you were taking the back way to Torii SCUBA Locker. After turning you take this street down through a small depression another traffic light and then across a red bridge across the Higa River to another traffic light. At this traffic light turn left and follow the fork to the right as this street will wind down through cane fields. At the small residential area turn right just before the first house. This track takes you into the parking area for a really nice and recently constructed park area with lots of things for young kids to play on. Park here. The dive site is to the right of the large rock mound. West from the parking area is a beautiful sandy beach that gently slopes into rock and sand with several large coral mounds that are exposed offshore.

What to expect: A healthy snorkel at high tide or a long walk at low tide will get you out across the reef. Your dive will take you across this well developed collection of hard and soft corals. The Japanese Government seeded the grey soft coral, which is home to the Egg Shell Cowrie, here and all along the Yomitan Coast during 1987 and 1988. We are now enjoying their efforts that have rejuvenated much of the soft coral on the reefs of Western Okinawa.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Starting off from a point just to the right of the hill at the southern end of the beach you can snorkel across the reef using a west by southwest compass heading. Ensure that your direction doesn't take you within 100 meters of the mouth of the Higa River. This would violate common safety standards for divers and the river has continuous small boat traffic. As you snorkel across the reef you will cross one of three crevasses. On SCUBA descend into a crevasse and follow it into the open ocean. A small sunken boat lies in about 30' of water on the left side of the second, or middle crevasse. The crevasse will set you on a westerly heading. Following that you will descend to depths between 45 and 60' in open sand. Many good auger shells can be found in these sandy conditions. A reciprocal heading of due east will bring you back to the crevasses as you ascend back across the reef.

Other activities: A great place for divers to bring their families, snorkelers or non-divers for a nice day at the beach. Underwater Navigation skills can be practiced and it is a great place to participate in Underwater Search and Recovery classes. This dive site is also a favorite for reef walking when the water has receeded from the reef during negative tides.

Aquatic animals found here: Predominantly soft coral formations that are home to a diverse collection of small critters and nudibranches. A very dependable and out of the way dive site for macro photography too. Hundreds of colorful Christmas Tree Worms await the shutterbug with a macro set up. You may also encounter large sea anemones containing a diverse collection of Clown fish.

Best time of year to dive: All year long for diving. Summer months are best for beach outings.

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