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Short Drive, Easy Entry and Beauty of the Junkyard

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-09-22

Dive Site: The Junkyard at Sunabe.

This is a great site for divers that have recently completed their certification this summer. Before the water starts to cool off you can still enjoy some wonderful shore diving and you will not have to drive very far to get there. For Divers living in the barracks that do not enjoy having their own wheels you will not have to drive around looking for a dive site. You can easily jump in a cab from either Kadena Marina or Tsunami Gear and find this dive site and you will only spend „1000 or so getting there. This is my favorite dive site to photograph the elusive "Christmas Tree" worm that extends itself out from the coral heads. They abound throughout this area. I am sure you will enjoy the easy entry, the short drive, and the beauty of the Junkyard.

What to expect: Immediately you will notice fewer divers and an easier entry. Enter the water through the last staircase in Sunabe's Sea Wall. Walk, or at high tide swim, on a west by northwest compass heading. A short walk across the coral of 30 yards/meters at low tide will take you to the edge of a 20' coral wall. An effortless entry. You will be diving among large coral heads with an obvious reef wall that you can use as your course reference.

Recommended activity: At the edge of the reef fin up and shoot a northerly compass heading that will parallel the sea wall. Your dive will take you along the face of the reef and into a depth of 45'. For deeper water turn left into the sand heading west toward depths of up to 80'. Most divers enjoy following the wall and poking around in the holes and recesses of the reef. If you continue north you will find a rock and sandy bottom that should yield the interesting trails of Auger Shells. Within the hard and soft corals of the reef you may find Tiger and Egg Shell Cowries and the occasional Moray Eel or Octopus hiding out. So keep your eyes open and your flashlight on.

Other activities: This is an very dependable location for that first Night Dive you've been wanting to do. Don't forget to leave someone, and/or a light shore side for safety. At night the reef comes alive when corals all open up to feed and shells move from their daytime hides in search of food. Cones, Cowries and Spider Conchs are all here in abundance. You do not have to dive deep to enjoy the variety of aquatic life forms present here. Since this area is not usually crowded with students you will not find yourself bumping into the normal herds of divers you find further down the wall.

Aquatic animals found here: Eagle rays are sighted infrequently in summer months. The coral reef yields a nice collage of soft and hard corals of varying colors when illuminated by the sun during the day and will surprise you at night when illuminated with your dive light. Expect to find Clown fish in their anemones as well as the not so popular and occasional visit by a Sea Snake. Be watchful for Lionfish, Scorpionfish and Stonefish that appear to be napping among the rock and coral on the face of the reef.

Site Location: North on Highway #58 from Camp Foster turn left at the light just before Kadena Gate #1. Follow that road into Chatan-Cho and through the traffic lights until you reach the Sunabe Sea Wall. Turn right at the wall and follow it down until you leave the hard surface road and keep on going. On your left you will see new construction in open fields and then you will arrive at the corner of the wall. This is the Junkyard and it is obvious. Park here. Your entrance to the water is at the last staircase in the wall just before the wall bends back around toward Chatan. .

Best time of year to dive: All year long. See you at the Junkyard!
All Photos Copyright©, John Chandler

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