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CyberDiving Prepares for Mother Nature's Surprises

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2001-02-02

Two young divers leave their barracks, dorms, apartments or homes, looking forward to finding the adventure underwater that they have been training for these past four weeks. Lots of classes, lots of time in the pool and then four dives with their instructor. Now they are ready for "their" adventure and it is off to Onna Point. Since arriving on Okinawa they have heard nothing but great things about Onna Point. Their instructor trained them at Maeda Point and that was good, but today they are really excited about Onna Point. They are ready! Or, are they? Have they checked their tide tables? Have they checked the weather?" Have they put the two together to see if Onna will be a good site, a safe site, for diving today?

The answer to this rhetorical question can be a difficult one. Tide Tables? Easy to find every week in Japan Update or daily in the Stars and Stripes. What about the weather? Again the Stripes give a wide area summary but what does all that mean and how does it apply to Onna Point anyway? Wave height? Out going tide, incoming tide, when to dive, when not to dive. What does all this mean. What was it the instructor said?

So Dan the Diver man says "Letís quit all this talking and get it on. We are going to Onna Point John, so pack it up and get those tanks in the van. Letís go!" And off they go totally unprepared for the surprise that Mother Nature is about to present them with.

What is the danger here? Well on this beautiful Saturday morning the sun is shining in all its lovely radiance but a strong front is moving across the East China Sea from mainland China and will reach Okinawa by noon. Leading this weather front will be strong winds that will drive water across the China Sea into the West Coast of Okinawa where Onna Point in located. We really do not enjoy the details of "The Weather Channel" on Okinawa do we? So what should these divers do? The photos reveal the difference in one day at the same dive site. How can we better predict, for safer dive planning, what the weather will be?


A wondefully creative web master and enthusiastic diver has renovated his web site so that now it focuses on transmitting the latest in weather news that would be of a concern for divers. Going a step well beyond anyone elseís efforts Mr. RC Smith, owner and web master for www.h2okinawa.com, has included a DiveCast that summarizes all of the current information and projects the impact of weather forecasts on the most popular dive sites on the island. This is a huge effort. His efforts should be applauded and utilized by all divers and water enthusiasts on the island. His easy to read summary points divers and suggests those dive sites that will be safe. This will prevent divers from driving for an hour and then feeling that since they drove all that way they should go ahead and dive. Divers can make that kind of call way before the pressure is really on. Even better yet is that RC will even e-mail this data to you every week just in case your enthusiasm to get in the water prevented you from remembering to check his website out. He e-mails his DiveCast to anyone that signs up for this FREE SERVICE. This is the Genesis of Divers looking out for Divers in my opinion.

More than six months ago I wrote "Dive by the Flag." A short look at common sense dive planning here on Okinawa. Many divers commented that it makes sense to simply look toward any one of the large national emblems and allow them to point you toward beaches that will be safe from heavy surf. RCís site takes this a quantum leap forward, building on that same common sense approach. If wind is what drives waves then we should be concerned with forecasts that reveal the direction of the wind. My guide leaves the diver short since it only reports wind direction at that time. Too late for some. RCís guide will get you several days of forecasts and help you to better plan your Spring time diving.

I hope you can use this new site to make your diving, your fishing, your surfing, and of course your kayaking more fun and most of all MORE SAFE FOR EVERYONE. Watch that flag but please first click on WWW.H2OKINAWA.COM . See you at beach. I will be the bald guy with the lap top connected to my INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER.

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