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The Best and Most Accessible Snorkling In South Okinawa

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-06-16

In this third of John Chandlerís dive stories, he explains how to find lovely corals, swirling schools of butterfly and larger bat fish. It is for divers of all levels of experience.

Maeda Misaki - A Snorkeler and Diver's Paradise. This area is Okinawa's China Sea Coast offers something to everyone that enjoys cooling off in the water during the "dog days" of summer. This area has several sites that will make your summer really cool.

Site Location: Drive north on highway #58 past Kadena Circle and continue to the village of Yamada. The Ramada Renaissance Hotel is on the left side of Highway #58. Turn left at the traffic light in front of the Ramada. Take this street, Highway 6, driving up the hill passing through one traffic light. Just past this traffic light, about ONE kilometer, you will see a road sign pointing right to Maeda Misaki. Turn right here and continue until you reach a parking lot. This is an improved parking site that has full service rest room facilities and fresh water showers as well as a snack bar with great Yaki-Soba!

What to expect: The best and most accessible snorkeling and sport diving on Southern Okinawa. This dive site has everything for divers of all certifications and levels of experience. The only drawback, for some, is the main entry point is at the end of a long set of stairs that delivers divers to the waters' edge. It is easy going down but can be a challenge for some coming back up. Divers beware of the hill on the way back up. In summer months divers can overheat and become uncomfortable quickly. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Visibility here is always good.

Recommended Snorkel Dive: Down the steps and into the water. Swim to your right and along the face of the cliffs toward to the Ramada Renaissance Hotel. Here you will find about 20 acres of colorful hard and soft coral that are home to thousands of tropical fish. If you want to have some real fun stop in a dive store and pick up some fish identification cards and see what member of your snorkel team can identify the most.

Recommended 1st SCUBA Dive Profile: Down the steps and into the water you should dive directly into the cut that is on a straight line off the steps and into 20' of water. This area is known as the classroom since you will since a large truck wheel and tire and is used by instructors to tie off their training floats. Turn let into another cut and follow this as it descends across lovely corals filled with clown fish, anemone, and swirling schools of butterfly and larger bat fish. When you reach the end of this cut you will have a beautiful drop off that descends to about 80'. Bring plenty of Vienna sausage because the fish and eels love it and are accustomed to being fed. As the cut opens into 40' of water turn left and swim along the edge of the wall which will descend to 80'. No need to go that deep since all the scenery is at 60' or above. Moving down the wall, keep the escarpment on your left and you will swim through a school of barracuda. Continue around the large rock formations until you swim into an V-shaped opening at 60'. This opening will be obvious since the floor rises up from 80' to 60' and the bottom is carpeted with small fragments of white crushed coral and rock. Turn left again and swim into the crevasse on your left. Here you will see two small arches. On bright sunny days you will want to swim through these arches since the lighting is dramatic. Be careful though because two very large Lion Fish (almost the size of Turkeys-hence term turkeyfish) live in the first of these two arches. Follow the crevasse to a wider opening and you may see the school of barracuda just hanging out. Now just cruise around the large mound keeping this wall on your right and it will bring you back around to the wall had followed out from your entry point. Turn left here and you can retrace your dive back to the first crevasse you entered into.. Loads and loads of live entertainment on every dive. Great place for novice and divers with advanced certifications and specialties. I spend lots of time here at Maeda Point with my camera and I recommend this dive to everyone WHEN THE WATER IS FLAT.

Other activities: The best place of all to enjoy a guided Underwater Naturalist course. Night Diving. Deep Diving. Search and Recovery. Photography. It can all be dove here with a real emphasis on safety for the underwater realm and the diver! Maeda Point is a real gift to all divers. It is possibly the best overall site on the island for learning the elements of all recreational dive activities.

Best time of year to dive: All year long. BE VERY CAREFUL OF THE WINDS. DO NOT DIVE IF YOU SEE WAVES COMING INTO THE STEPS!

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