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Seragaki Is a Place for Dive Buddies and Relaxation

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2001-04-28

During the winter months there have been quite a few of dive buddies visiting friends here on Okinawa. Some are coming from as far away as the United States, while others are coming in from Guam or Mainland Japan. I am sure they are enjoying the weather and the escape from the cold cannot be all that bad. Several folks have asked me about what I think is a great site to take a dive buddy that is familiar with diving but not Okinawa and they do not have lots of time for diving during their stay.

Well this week we are going to explore a dive site that I think is very representative of Okinawa diving and it is a great family beach too. Seragaki Island. This is a really great place to dive, picnic, snorkel, or just swim and relax in their salt water pool. So when dive buddies from a distant land arrive, or when those wonderful days in May and June finally show up you will want to remember to get in your dive vans and adventure cars and head north to Seragaki Island. I just dove Seragaki this past weekend and while everyone else was packed in tightly at Maeda Point we were enjoying the peace and quiet of the Picnic Areas and breathtaking views at Seragaki. The southern winds had laid the surf down and we enjoyed a wonderful Saturday of diving and the friendship that diving brings with it.

Site Location: On Highway #58 go north of Kadena Circle continuing past the Ramada Renaissance Hotel and crossover the overpass at Nakadomari taking the

right fork in continuing on Highway #58 toward Nago. You will pass through the tourist village where McDonalds will be on your right. Continue north. You will

pass through all the large Japanese Tourist hotels as you travel through three villages. After passing through Onna Village drive past the community harbor on your left and over the next hill. This hill will wind down slowly and to your right. In the bend you will see the road sign that points you toward "Seragaki". Turn left. Go across the causeway they have built. It is 500Y or $5.00 per person to get in. It is worth it.

What to expect: At Seragaki you can expect all the amenities that families like at the beach. A saltwater swimming pool, a snack bar, clean restrooms, great camp sites for tent campers, and some really beautiful scenery (besides the divers that is). When you enter the parking lot you can drive on the wide sidewalk on the western-most edge of the park. This is where all the divers generally park if they are not camping. Usually plenty of room to park any time of day.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Walk down the stair at the beach point marked for "divers only" (A nice touch). Walk in the water. First dive is best to move across the reef with a heading that will take you directly toward Ie Island, which you can usually see directly off the beach. On low-tide this can be a long

walk across the coral. On an incoming high tide, when visibility is at its best, you will be buoyed by the water and the walk isn't too bad. On very high tides you will snorkel out to the edge of the reef. Either way it is about 75 yards to the edge of the reef. On the heading toward Ie Island there is a nice cut into the reef that will allow you to descend to 15' and move toward the edge of the wall having some reef beneath you. At the edge you will have the opportunity to descend to 110' before bottoming out. It is recommended that divers keep their depth to 80' and follow the wall south keeping the wall on your left as you glide alongside of the wall. The bottom edge remains at 110' but will fall 10'-15' more as you move south. This will resemble a drift dive if the currents are moving in a southerly direction. Currents do play a factor here and with proper planning can really enhance your dive and help you move across more territory. Moving south you will encounter large sea fans or red gorgonia. Often times these gorgonia will have brilliant yellow criniods hanging on them making for some very colorful portrait photos with your buddy as the star! A ledge is a 95' about 100 yards from where you descended. A huge, maybe the largest, Turkey fish on the western coast of Okinawa, hangs out under this ledge. There also have been numerous dead finds of all kinds of shells in this ledge. Be sure to take a flashlight along with you on this dive so you can illuminate the ledge and all the crevasses you will encounter. You should ascend using the wall as a reference point. The top of the wall will be in 15'-20' of water so you will be able to enjoy an "illustrated" safety stop which is sure better than just having to hang on to a line. It is always a good idea to bring a treat for the fish to help pass the time of your safety stop. A compass heading in the easterly direction will take you back toward the entry point, but remember you will be south of where you entered since you have drifted down the wall about 110 yards. The distance of your swim in, after your safety stop, will depend on the height of the tide. At high tide the swim will be longer and walk in easier. At low tide the swim will be shorter but the walk will take longer across the limestone and coral. The best bet is to enter the water on an incoming tide, both for visibility and for ease of entry and exit.

Other activities: Underwater Photography is a must here. Bring a friend to act as your model amongst the Red Sea Fan and Gorgonia. Shell collecting, finding nice shells whose animals have died leaving just the shell, is quite likely here.

Please remember that the 18 Physiological Training Flight is hosting its monthly seminar of the dangers of Decompression Illness and how to prevent such on

April 26. You can get a good idea of what the "Chamber" looks like at H20 Okinawa and to get your reservation please call 634 1967 soon. Capt Allen tells me the seats are going fast again this month. See you at the Beach!

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