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A Dive with Amazing Scope and Size

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-10-06

Dive Site: Hedo Point - The Beach

With a three day weekend ahead you should know that Hedo Point is certainly one dive destination that you will want to add to your log book before leaving Okinawa. There are several places to dive at Hedo Point but the best place to start is right off the beach just below and behind the northernmost point of this island. While it can be as much as a two hour drive north from the Kadena area divers will find that the expressway and improvements in traffic patterns through Nago help make the drive more fun than boring. This is a great reason to get out of the house and see some beautiful sites along the way to the "Point."

Site Location: On Highway #58 drive past Okuma through the village of Hentona and continue north. Hedo Point is about 45 minutes north of Okuma. You will pass through several tunnels. As you exit the last of three tunnels you will be going uphill and winding back to your right. You will crest that hill. At the crest you will have a large hill on your right and a bridge before you. Continue on past the bridge and the road begins to wind back to your right. You will come to an intersection (no traffic signal), turn left (this takes you to the tourist area and Hedo Point's overlook) and then turn right almost immediately and follow that road downhill. You will see the beach and open water on your left. The actual Point at Hedo will be on your left. You can see the point over your shoulder as you look across the water. Follow that road down to a crushed rock parking area. The dive site is in the center of this wide white sand beach. Suit up in the parking lot. Leave no valuables or anything you cannot afford to lose unless you have the luxury of a friend/spouse or other that will stand watch as your gear guard. After suiting up move down to the center of the beach and you will be ready to have a great dive.

What to expect: A network of large fingers, crevasse, and tunnels that contain plenty of nooks and crannies for lobster and shells who enjoy the good life protected from the pounding action of the surf against the reef.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: After entering the water at center beach you will descend to its bottom in 20' of water. Shoot a due north heading on your compass and begin to fin away from the beach. You may choose to descend early so you can enjoy the gentle slope that will take you as deep as you want to go. When you reach about 85 feet you will be amazed at scope and size of this dive site. Large coral formations separated by sand and crushed white coral that carpets the area between these coral fingers. Large fish, occasional sharks and turtles will glide by checking you out. On your way back in on your southerly reciprocal heading you will surely want to save enough air to poke around in the coral fingers and crevasses. You will find plenty of little antennae creeping out of these holes. Lobsters are not hard to find here. They may be hard to catch though so best of luck. Ensure you and your buddy's equipment is in the best of condition and you are comfortable with your experience as well as that of your buddy. You may be interested in pursuing some exploration into one of the many tubes and tunnels that are found in this area. Please ensure that you monitor you air pressure closely while in these tunnels. For safety sake you will want to begin heading back to the beach when you have 1000 PSI remaining. NEVER DIVE THESE TUNNELS ON AN OUTGOING TIDE. Recommend you watch your tide tables very close and dive only on incoming or high slack tides. The current in the tunnels, as the tide drains off, is more than a diver should try to swim against. Your return should be just as easy and exciting as the exit from the tidal pool.

Other activities: Shell collecting and lobster hunting are the focus here. Numerous rare shells can be observed by the astute diver who has developed (or is developing) a sixth sense when looking for shells. The Turtle Shell (Cyprae testudinarae) and Map Cowry (Cyprae mappa) both inhabit these tunnels and can be located with some fun searching. Good luck. Parrotfish can easily be observed sleeping in the crevasses of the tunnels. You will find them napping covered by their mucous cocoon with which they enveloped themselves to reduce their scent while sleeping. An occasional Sea Snake will poke its head into your business. They can be very exciting while in the tunnels too!

Aquatic animals found here: Turtleshell and Map Cowries. Lobster. Sea Snakes. Moray Eels. Large Parrotfish. Octopus. Manta Rays have been sighted here as well.

Best time of year to dive: All year long when seas are calm and wind is not driving surf across the reef.

All Photos Copyrighted©, John Chandler

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