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Onna Point - Toilet Bowl!

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2000-08-18

Dive Site: Onna Point - Toilet Bowl I'll bet you never expected to go diving in a toilet bowl and talk about it, but after one dive here you will be telling your friends with great pride that you have been diving in the Toilet Bowl at Onna Point. So named because of its shape its less than flowery nickname is obvious to you as soon as you arrive at the dive site. This is one dive you 'll be sure to want in your dive log. While there is plenty of diving for those with Advanced levels of certification, even the Novice diver can and will enjoy the Toilet Bowl. Bring the kayak too because I am going to give you pointer where you can put in and enjoy the tourmaline like waters around Okinawa's Manza-Mo area.

What to expect: Very dependable visibility (70+ feet') on most days. A very easy entry. Very deep water. Lots of great coral beds in much shallower water. Crevasses, ledges, and more coral. The Toilet Bowl itself is apparently what's left of a very old volcanic crater. The wall facing north fell into the ocean leaving a full third of the crater open to the sea. An 8 foot wide rim extends around the right side of the crater and guides you to a point of entry into the open ocean. At high tide this rim is just like the edge of a swimming pool and the entry is absolutely effortless. At low tide it can be a giant stride entry and a buddy assisted exit. On most days the crater is very calm. Visibility is always excellent here which makes this a great place for recreational diving for the experienced diver. On your first dive keep and eye focused out to the deep blue open water. Chances are good in the early morning or late afternoon you may see a turtle, or a family of Eagle Rays fly by while you cruise across the unending coral beds beneath the beautiful Manzo-Mo Escarpment.

Recommended 1st Dive Profile: Suit up at the parking area and walk down the painted trail to the waters edge. Just follow the mud trail. BE CAREFUL these are very sharp limestone rock formations that have been sharpened by centuries of exposire to erosion from water and wind. Walk slowly and don't be afraid to hold hands with your buddy. Teamwork saves the wetsuits and ankles. Enter the water any where along the rim to your right. Stay clear of the left side of the rim since the local fisherman are very active on that side. They like to angle for the deep, very deep, bottom dwelling fish.. You will see miles of monofilament fishing line on the left side which serves as a reminder that you have drifted too far left. Once in the water and finned up you can go on SCUBA. Swim out of the crater bearing to the right as you descend into 30' of water. You will have a wall on your right and you will see a large rock and crevasse in front of you that is in 45-60' of water. Swim into the crevasse and descend to 60'. The crevasse turns to the left around the large rock and opens up into 130+. Turn right at 60' and keep the wall to your right. This course will allow you to glide over the coral fingers that descend from the rock escarpments of Manza Mo cliffs. These fingers are completely carpeted with beautiful hard and soft corals. Shells move in and out of their hides within these corals. Octopus like to hunt among the cracks and crevasses beneath the coral formations as they hunt for mollusks and other hard shelled prey. When air or time at depth signal the halfway point simply turn to your right ascending up a finger into 20-30' of water. You can turn right again and you will be heading back toward the opening of the crater mouth and back into the horseshoe. This is a great place for divers that have made the good habit of a 15' safety stop. You can enjoy your stop and swim over wonderful coral arrays. As you reenter the Toilet Bowl you will observe its point coming out into the water so just follow it around to your left and you will be back in the crater. Exits at low-tide can be tricky so watch your tide tables carefully. At low-tide the water can be as much as 4' below the edge of the rim you entered from If this occurs the first diver should remove their weight belt and BCD and exit the water. That diver can then pull the gear up the rim and help their buddy out. It sounds hard but it isn't. It's just good, safe teamwork!

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 McDonald's will be on your right. Continue north on 58 passing the Sun Marina and Rizzan Sea Park Hotels and then through the village of Tanchu until you reach the village of Onna. On entering Onna village you will pass under a pedestrian overpass. You will pass through one traffic light and then travel down hill to a second traffic light where a large Fire Station House is on your left. At this light there is also a large blue traffic information sign pointing left directing you toward Manza Mo. Turn left here. Follow this street up the hill until the houses on your left cease. Continue up the hard surface road and into the tourist attraction area. Be both careful and courteous here. Just beyond the large parking area and tourist kiosks there is a small road on your left. Take that road, it is hard surface but old. The local fisherman use this road to get to their favorite fishing holes which is adjacent to the Toilet Bowl. If a car is coming out of this path you may need to back up or move to the side to let them pass. It's worth the trouble. Follow this path to the left and down to brand new blacktop road. Just about 50 yards on this new blacktop road (there is even a curb here) you will have to park and unload your gear. There is a dirt clay path that leads off to your right. You cannot drive off the hard surface road because of the new curb so just recon the dive site from this parking place. Walk down the clay path road following the same direction the fisherman take and you wind around to your right. The dive site is on your right. and it is obvious. Suit up at your car and be sure to lock it! DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR CAR. My advice is to not take valuables to any dive site. You can expect them to be missing if you do not secure your car well. Welcome to Toilet Bowl.

Other activities: This is a great place for your first Night Dive on Okinawa. After a couple of good dives that have familiarized you with the hydrography, you will find a Night Dive to be something special and memorable. Underwater Photography is also terrific both day and night. You will find numerous nestings of Colonial Anemone and at night the Cup Coral bloom in profusion. These make for great MACRO photos. Kayakers can put in just across the street from the Fire Station that you passed when you drove up to Manza-Mo. Use the the small creek there or bring your watercraft up to the dive site and put in right in the Toilet Bowl if you do not mind walking your boat across the jagged limestone rocks. Please watch your step though. Aquatic animals found here: Sea :Turtles Occasional Eagle Rays. Moray Eels, especially in the crevasses. Countless Clown fish in their Anemones. A wide array of Tropical Reef fish that will warm up to you if baited in with Vienna sausages or tuna fish. It is best NOT to bait fish with any frozen food product like peas or corn since the fish cannot digest these large chunks of food.

Best time of year to dive: All year long. Best on an incoming tide!

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