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Fun and Frolics for Divers, Snorkelers, Kayakers, Plastic Rafters

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-09-08

Maeda Point can be found on most local maps and is identified as Maeda Misaki. Here you will find the most popular Japanese and American dive spot on the island. Maeda offers water enthusiasts everything. Snorkelers, kayakers, SCUBA divers, or just folks that want to float around on their plastic rafts or air tubes will enjoy the tranquillity of Maeda Point. But for all this fun and frolic there are two drawbacks. 1. The walk down the steps to Maeda's entry point is easy. The walk back up is about 77 steps. Pace your yourself. In summer months divers can overheat and become uncomfortable quickly. 2. The weather will mandate when you can and cannot enjoy the tranquillity of this cove. If the wind is coming out of the north and across Nago Bay blowing south toward Kadena, skip Maeda Point and head south. Usually Maeda Point is an awesome place to cool off in the summer or explore in the winter. I can honestly tell you that many divers on Okinawa have volumes of logged dives from Maeda. It is just that good.

What to expect: You can expect an easy entry once you have navigated down the steps and its final 12 feet of limestone trail into the water. Maeda Point offers countless beds of clownfish teasing you from their colorful anemones. Clouds of fish are awaiting you. They are accustomed to being fed so don't disappoint them. Bring Vienna Sausages with you. Put them re-sealable baggies so when you want just one you can dip down into your bag of treats. Avoid using frozen peas or corn because the fish cannot digest them. When you start feeding the fish your treats it will remind you of a bunch of kids on Halloween night. They line up to get their treat first and some will even push to the front of the line. You will have a great time feeding these colorful creatures. The fun is trying to identify how many different specie of fish will come up to investigate your treats.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Down the steps and into the water you should dive directly into the cut directly off the steps and turn left into 20' of water. Follow this cut as it descends across lovely corals filled with clown fish, anemone, and swirling schools of butterfly fish and the rainbow colors of the Sunset Wrasse. Turn left again into another cut. As the cut opens into 40' of water turn left and swim along the edge of the wall where you can 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 45'. 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 watchful here. You will usually see several large yellow trumpetfish feeding in this area. These long lean fish suck their catch in through their large trumpeting mouth (hence the name Trumpetfish). Also you may see one or both of the very large Lion Fish that live in the first of these two arches. Follow the crevasse to a wider opening and you may see a second school of barracuda again on your left. Now keep the wall on your right. This will loop you back around and you will find yourself back where you first entered the deeper water. Retrace your paces back up to around 30 feet of water where you can find luxurious carpets of hard coral and numerous colonies of anemone full of colorful and very photogenic clown fish. On your right will be a wall full of hard corals, anemones, and Sergeant Major fish proudly strutting stripes. Look down. On the floor of this cut there are often green and brown spotted moray eels peering out of their daytime hides. Further up the cut and closer to your entry point there is a small family of Mantis Shrimp. These very colorful 4-6" creatures love to flit around from rock to coral and draw your attention. They look like a painted prawn or even small lobster without antennae.

Enjoy the view but DO NOT TOUCH . These guys have surgically sharp feeder claws that move with incredible speed and precision in devouring whatever comes before their mouths. Maeda Point is the perfect opportunity for Underwater Photographs of your buddies and the surrounding aquatic animals.

Site Location: Drive north on highway #58 past Kadena Circle and continue to the village of Yamada. The Ramada Renascence 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!

Other thoughts and activities: This is one of the best places to enjoy a guided Underwater Naturalist course or Night Diving. Deep Diving. Search and Recovery and of course you can always join me here for an Underwater Photography course. Please be sure to maintain a real emphasis on safety for the underwater realm and the diver! When the weather cooperates (and it almost always does) Maeda Point is a real gift to all divers. If the weather is uncooperative it is obvious but don't dive here if conditions cause you to question your ability. This 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.
All photos copyrightę,John Chandler

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