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Mizugama’s Surprise Reef, bit away but worth effort

Date Posted: 2001-06-01

What a great weekend of diving we have just enjoyed while relaxing over the past Memorial Day weekend. The large tidal movement that was exciting during the

week, exposing the mysteries of the reef to many students from Lester Middle School, finally abated and made for some really relaxing diving throughout the island.

This week we travel up the coast just a little but we are going to stay near Kadena and travel over the sleepy little town of Mizugama. Here at Mizugama, novice and old salts alike, will find a wonderful little surprise waiting for them if they are willing to swim just a little beyond the familiar reefs at Kadena Steps. Have fun, watch your air, and I sure hope that it is you that finds this week's surprise too. This week you will win a free copy of my latest book "A Diver's Scrapbook." Remember if you find our dive surprise then be sure to travel down to Fathom's Dive Shop and claim your prize. Now let's take a short trip to:

Dive Site: Mizugama’s Surprise Reef

Site Location: North of Kadena Gate #1 on Highway #58 just past Kadena Marina you will pass the Kadena Navel shopping center. At the next traffic light, at the large green roofed Pachinko Parlor, turn left. Follow this street to the Sea Wall. Turn right and follow the wall until you reach what appear to be concrete bleacher seats on your left. The ‘Steps’ are obvious. Park anywhere along these steps. Be courteous and keep your voices down, they tend to carry a long way and there is short distance to the nearest apartment window.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Enter the water at the centermost portion of the steps. Be careful. At low tide you will walk across some slippery algae covered steps. The buddy system works best here. Walk straight into the water perpendicular to the steps about 15 yards/meters and you will see a cutout in the reef line that has about 12-15' of water in it. Fin up here. At high tide you will have snorkeled this same distance. On snorkel, set a compass heading due west and swim over the rocky bottom. You will see old and abandoned pipelines among the rocks. As you move through this area a coral mound will be rising up on your left from about 30' of water. Continue on snorkel using the sand filled channel below as your guide and follow this out until you reach the area where the reef slopes down meeting the white sandy bottom. Set a compass heading for 240 degrees (Remember that 270 degrees in due west). Descend here and begin your dive toward the blocks maintaining the 240-degree heading. Pace yourself and swim at your own pace watching your air consumption. You will reach the blocks in about 10 minutes swimming at a moderate pace. Check your air pressure when you hit the blocks because you will want to return when your pressure falls below 1500 psi.

What to expect: The blocks are about 200 yards beyond the point when the Mizugama Reef meets the sandy bottom. But when you arrive at the blocks they present a certain eerie feeling that quickly turns into excitement. Here Lionfish love to ambush smaller fish. The concrete blocks stock the lush nutrition of the hard and soft corals living on this man-made reef which attract small bait fish into the blocks and into the ambush sites of the hovering Lionfish. This is survival of the fittest at its best and after the swim out to these blocks you will understand that a good dive plan and a great compass is essential to safely diving this site. But when you get here the Lionfish, Scorpion fish, Raggedfin Fire fish, and schools of Banner fish swimming by in and about these blocks makes the swim and all your work learning to use an underwater compass well worth the effort. This is a great dive!

Best time of year to dive: All year long.

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