Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Okinawa Adventures - Day 1 & 2

Been too long since my last underwater post but it seems to have exited from the dry spell with a bang to Okinawa. As you may have read/heard, Okinawa has a highly diverse aquatic ecosystem that can compete with the most beautiful dive sites in the world. Of course it is probably not as sparse as the Great Barrier Reef but it certainly meets its match. 

We arrived quite late on the first day so we did not see any underwater action. The weather was also not so accommodating and it looked as though the next few days were not promising either. Our fingers were kept cross!

Our first destination was to Churaumi Aquarium up north but since we arrived late, it would be our first tourist destination the next day. On the way up north, we took the scenic route and stopped by Sesoko Island which is renowned for it's sunset. It is also a popular destination for beginner snorkelers or children at a beach located west of the island. We arrived just in time for sunset as you can see from the pictures below. 

Postcard picture

Simply breath taking

What makes this site so calm is the coral/rocks that protects the shore. However, it was evident that this beach experienced coral bleaching due to the change in climate over the years. Even though we did not test the waters (except for our feet) the overall experience of this beach was exhilirating. The picture of the water below just emphasises the cleanliness and the clarity of the water we encountered.
Only knee deep but you can only imagine how clean it was

 My partner daring to be brave

You can also see the rock formations to what I believe were coral that shifted above ground due to earth crust displacement. Several small caves were discovered except they were pitch black and only for those brave enough like my partner (above). I don't think these small caves led to anywhere but I am sure it would be entertaining for anyone who dares to enter..  

Day 2 unfortunately was a wet day which ruined our plans to have an afternoon snorkel at the famous Maeda Blue Cave. But this was not going to ruin our day! We arrived at the aquarium at 9am and scoured through the wonderous maze of aquatic tanks. We were met with awe when we finally reached the tank that supported 4 whale sharks. 

The largest whale shark inhabiting this tank

These whale sharks were accompanied by manta rays, tuna (blue fin and yellow fin), giant trevally, and numerous other types of fish. Below is a closer view of the whale shark feeding on krill.

Big feeders! They even get vitamin tablets!

 View of the tank from the top

Apart from these sensational creatures, an external section of the aquarium had a few manatees as well as sea turtles. The sea turtles had their own little private beach (artificial) and it was detrimental for breeding purposes. They had about 15-20 odd turtles in the tank/pool and I was able to get a pretty good shot of one of them below:

Say cheese! 


The manatee feels like a seal mixed together with an elephant and whacked with a platypus tail. Was quite strange to see a tail/fin like that. I was expecting to see bi-fins like the dugong. These majestic creatures were entertaining to watch but I couldn't help but feel sorry for them as they were stuck in this boring and lifeless pool. I am sure the conservationists know what they are doing:) 

The next 2 days were spent on Zamami Island and Aka Island. I will have to wait another day to write a post as there is just so much to write about! 

Keep you posted!

Till then...


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