Saturday, December 19, 2009

You Haven't Dived on Okinawa...

...until you've dived at Maeda Point. How many times have I heard that saying?? After being in Okinawa for over 3 months and becoming more involved in the "diving community" here, I can assure you that Matt and I are both fully aware that Maeda Point is one of the best dive spots on the island. It had been a few weeks since we became scuba certified Open Water Divers, and we finally decided to head out to Maeda Point for our very first time diving without an instructor. As soon as we got to the location, I realized how beautiful the spot actually was on its own - gorgeous green cliffs and rock formations dropping into clear turquoise water! It was something to see, even on land!

The long staircase we had to climb in our heavy scuba gear!

Some signs about sharks they had (a little scary!)

Shark appears frequently?!?

They also had a chart there talking about different types of sharks (not necessarily around Okinawa) and their translation about the Great White was a little off (okay, it was hilarious!):

"A scharactarized in the movie, Jose, this shark is very ferocious, which suits its name of sea gang".
Hmmm... I think what they mean to say is:

"As characterized in the movie, Jaws... " (just a thought)

We got down past 60 feet

Me :)

One of the best things we discovered about Maeda Point is a decently large cave! We were under the water when we found it, so it looked dark and scary to go into (for me at least). Matt and our friend, Jason, went in to check it out while I waited for them at the entrance. While waiting, I realized that there were a ton of snorkelers coming out of this cave, swimming above me. Where were they all coming from?? I swam to the surface, met up with Matt, and decided to go in myself and check it out. It was a little dark under the water, but on the surface, light was filtering in from cracks in the high ceiling all around us. The water was dark, but actually not frightening at all, and the best part was how calm it was in there - it was like a relaxing little break from the waves on the surface outside the cave. In the back of the cave was another opening that led up to the land, so the snorkelers that I had seen swimming out of the cave were actually entering the water through this way.

Looking at the entrance to the cave on the surface - this opening is actually much larger as most of it is under the water:

Inside the cave looking out on the surface

Check out this video clip under the water in the cave. Sorry that most of the end is dark - I thought the part where you can see up through the entrance of the cave and see the snorkelers above us is pretty cool. And FYI - it was not pitch black as it appears to be in the video:

Me inside the cave taking a break from diving

Matt diving below me on our way back to the shore (I was snorkeling back, because I was starting to get low on air)

A video clip I took of Matt feeding the fish:

After we were done diving for the day, we explored the area right next to Maeda Point, which is called Maeda Flats. It's basically a beautiful little area that has tiny secluded beaches that you find by walking through sugarcane fields. The sun was starting to set while we were out there, so we got some pretty shots here as well. Now I know why Maeda Point is one of the most talked-about spots on the island!

Climbing some rocks

On our way back to finding our car

And now, it is time for a new section of the blog I like to call...

Updates in the life of Matt and Cortnie:

A lot of family and friends have been asking us what ended up happening with the Japanese Coast Guard regarding our Jet-ski incident. Well, I'm happy to inform everyone that after countless hours of being questioned over the course of 3 different days (they wanted to know everything from what hospitals we were born at, to how long we dated before getting married!), 4 1/2 hours of waiting in a tiny room for a verdict while both extremely bored and hungry, and after a 170,000 yen fine ($2,000.00 exactly at the current rate of 85 yen to the US dollar!!), Matt and I are finally done with everything! Not our finest experience to be had in Japan, but a learning experience nonetheless. We are currently the proud owners of 2 Japanese Jet-ski licenses!



  1. Didn't we read "some man-eating sharks hide in the shadows of battle ships" (IN Okinawa!)...and you guys still are diving there? BRAVE!
    Don and I were concerned to know you were left alone while they explored the cave. Glad it turned out good! Why did your air run out before Matt's. Has he learned how to conserve or a larger tank? ('cuz in Hawaii he had to swim on surface out after using his tank so quickly. That was when my ears went, being a mom and chasing after him when the guide tried to get his attention to tell him to slow down.)
    Beautiful skyline colors.
    Whew...expensive day out on the jet-skis! Darn! Love you both! xo

  2. Hi Leanne! If we were the only ones out there, I may have been a little nervous - I know you can't tell by the pictures - but there were TONS of other people out there diving or snorkeling in groups. Both Japanese and Americans - some with instructors and some without, so I didn't feel alone at all. There were about 10 other people around me at the opening of the cave:) I have a slightly smaller tank than Matt does, but I tend to run out of air sooner, because of a couple things. I think Matt is working on learning how to conserve his air, and I'm starting to think I'm slightly over-weighted - too many weights on. This isn't really a problem, but it makes it hard to get "neutrally buoyant" where you are floating in mid-water. Instead, I've noticed that I have a hard time staying off the bottom, and I'm constantly kicking to stay off of it, which I think is why I'm using my air quicker. I know I'm over-weighted, because based on my weight, I should have about 12 lbs on, and I have been using 16 - but this is what the instructor thought I needed. I'll be experimenting with it the next few times we go out!