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Dependably Good Diving at Sesoko Island

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-10-13

Dive site: Sesoko Island- South side

The cooler weather makes diving adventures even more fun here on Okinawa. October may be a good month for you to get out and about and find the wonders of Motobu Peninsula. Sesoko Island is just off the cost of Motobu and you will find it to be a treasure for camping and just getting away from all the hustle and bustle of the central corridor of Okinawa.

What to expect: Mostly flat water but beware of the currents! On any falling tide you can expect very strong currents. Should wind be coming up from the south you will have wind driven waves making your entry exciting. Be careful. As you face south looking across the bay and in the general direction of Seragaki and Onna the reef moves from your left to right. A vertical wall is directly south of this beach and curves around to your right. The reef to your left is long and continuous. This is good wall diving and as you have already experienced a bit of an adventure too!

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Down any of the paths will take you to the waters' edge. A southerly heading will get you out across the reef which lays in 15' of water. When you go over the edge of the reef you can descend to 90'. The current often runs out to the open sea toward Ie Shima. When these conditions exist it is best for you to turn into the current along the wall. You will enjoy a sloping wall that has numerous cuts, crevasses, and small holes to poke around in. If the current allows a right turn you will descend into a bowl that descends below 90' into arches and large coral mounds. Because of the currents and the fresh clear water which they bring in the visibility is good. In either direction use the wall as a safety reference point. You can spot the halfway point on your dive by either air pressure or time and depth. At the halfway point you can turn and use the currents to help bring you back to your entry point over the edge. Ascending up the wall you will be able to use the small holes to occupy your time while at your 15' safety stop. The tremendous pressure put on this reef by the silt from the strip mining of fill dirt for southern construction projects has caused serious degradation of the coral reef. Currents have slowed the process but not stopped it. At times you will find quite a few Sea Snakes in this area. This dive has more comments about Sea Snakes than any other site in my logbook.

Site Location: Use the Okinawa Expressway to Nago and then Highway #58. Take 58 through Nago. At the intersection with Highway #449 where 58 turns right toward Okuma go straight. Follow this highway, which is now a really nice ocean view drive and winds around the southern edge of the Motobu peninsula. Follow this until you reach a bridge on your left to Sesoko island. Cross the bridge and remain on this road. It breaches the island and will take you to the southern side facing Nago Bay. As you cross the island you see several small farming villages and cane fields. Stay on this road and you will pass the Eagle Cabins. They are very nice cabins on your right. Continue on this road, which is now very expeditionary gravel trail. Following this one line trail you will pass by a large slate rock area of gravel and into an even smaller cane field path. Just when you think you are lost you are almost there. Continue down this trail, which is usually grown over, but very traffic able until you see a trail that branches off the main path and heads down to the right. You may want to back down this path. Follow that down and you will find its end. Just past the end you will find the opening to the sea and a very easy entry. There are several unimproved parking areas.

Other activities: Camping and family activities are a real draw to this dive site. A definite get-a way from the population of Southern Okinawa. The diving is dependably good, not great, but really good. On a bright sunny day the walls and arches are excellent backdrops for those great silhouette style photographs that make the cover of so many dive magazines.

Aquatic animals found here: Sea Snakes. Moray Eels. Map Cowries. Lobster. Parrot fish and the occasional and exciting Eagle Ray.

Best time of year to dive: Winter diving is good here when there isn't a swell coming out of the South.

All Photos Copyrightę, John Chandler

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