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Kadena North – An Interesting, Beautiful and Easily Accessible Dive

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-09-29

For divers that may not have the time to drive up north to the more isolated dive sites above Bolo, Maeda, and Onna an area just outside Kadena's Gate 4 makes it very easy to get in some great morning (before work) or late afternoon (after work) dives. The concrete steps reaching all the way into the water makes your entry almost effortless and the underwater terrain remains as beautiful and interesting as Sunabe's Sea Wall. Give Kadena's Sea Wall a try and you will not regret the convenience and learn to appreciate just how close the underwater beauty can really be.

What to expect: If you have been recently certified on Okinawa it is likely that you did some or all of your open water dives here, or near here at Kadena Steps. This area is only second to Sunabe Sea Wall in popularity among Okinawan Dive Instructors. When you walk to the top of the steps you will be facing the mouth of the Higa River. You will be diving to the left of this opening. Remember not to dive into the mouth of the river since this violates common safety practices for all divers. Many boats move in and out of this river daily - please stay clear! Visibility is best on high slack tide. You can expect this area to have reduced visibility after heavy rains in the spring or after a typhoon since the river is a natural outflow for the rainwater from inland sources.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Walk down the steps and turn left. At low tide it will be a walk across smooth limestone rock. Walk due west until you see an indention in the face of the coral reef that drops off into 15' of water. Fin up here. On SCUBA move on that same westerly heading across the coral fingers beneath you. When you reach a depth of 60' you should turn left 90 degrees. This course will allow you to swim between the coral fingers and an open sandy bottom. It will be easy for you to reverse this course when your air pressure or dive time puts you at the halfway mark of your dive. For novice and advanced divers this can be a dive site that yields 60 minutes of bottom time when using a 80 cu ft. aluminum tank.

Other activities: A good choice for underwater navigation and underwater photography. Also a great spot for practicing Underwater Search and Recovery skills. On the first leg of the dive you will find several concrete blocks in 30' of water that are suitable for practicing left bag maneuvers at depth.

Aquatic animals found here: Sunset Wrasse. Clown Fish. Parrot Fish. Octopus and Cuttlefish. Spider Conch and Egg Shell Cowries are common here. Auger shells can be found in the sand and rock bottom between the coral fingers. Be sure to bring some treats for your friends underwater. These fish love to be fed and will provide you with quite a show all for the taste of a vienna or fish sausage that you can purchase at any Lawson or Family Mart. So be sure you arm your fish food weapons before diving here.

Site Location: North of Kadena Gate #1 on Highway #58 just past the Kadena Marina you will pass the Kadena Navel shopping center. At the next traffic light past the Kentucky Fried Chicken turn left. Follow that street to the Sea Wall. Turn right and follow the wall until you reach the end of the street and it begins to turn sharply to your right. As you turn right you will see what appear to be concrete bleacher seats on your left. They are obvious. Park anywhere along these steps.

Best time of year to dive: All year long.
All Photos Copyright©, John Chandler

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