We got up this morning, but I slept in while Wayne went out walking along the beach at the resort. He found it quite enjoyable, and I enjoyed the extra rest. Then it was off to breakfast, and then to Maeda Point.
Maeda Point is also known as “Danger Spot Number Five” according to the AFN commercials. Those of you who read this who were stationed overseas remember commercials like that, along with the OPSEC commercials...Some days the point earns that reputation, other days it is a beautiful place to dive or snorkel, as it was today. The key is checking out the sea conditions before you gear up. If the water is rough or foamy there is no safe place to don or remove your fins or even get a secure foothold. Two days ago, when the water was flat, we saw signs placed at the top of the stairs warning swimmers about the sea condition. But two airmen who were coming up the steps said not to worry, the dive was good and conditions were fine.
We got there, and entered the paid parking lot. It is 100 yen/hour. We put together our gear, and consolidated our valuables into one backpack, which Wayne then put into a locker in the men’s shower room. Of course, I managed to leave my compass and my mask inside the car, so he had to go back, get the keys, open up the car, and pay another 100 yen for the locker. :p
Once we were geared up, it was time to hike down to the entry point. There were a lot of steps. A lot. I can only imagine how much of a pain in the butt it was to get down when there weren’t any stairs. We waded out to waist level, put on our fins, and swam out to the dropoff. Our first dive was to the left, second to the right with the cave. Towards the left side we saw a Heron Ardeadoris nudibranch, which was quite lovely; a cluster of at least 10 fire dart fish, if not more; a free swimming banded snake eel; and a number of ferocious anemone fish, bent on protecting their anemones! They were reminiscent of the Hawaiian Dascyllus, which come out to attack if you get too close as well.
To the right, we started out looking for the cave, which is a very popular tourist site, but we veered away from the shore out a little further. There we saw a school of what I think were pinnate spadefish, more anemone fish, and a juvenile bumphead parrotfish. We wended our way to the cave, and there we saw an even more interesting group - dive instructors doing what appeared to be discover scuba diving dives! The instructors were indivdiually holding two divers each, and guiding them to the cave. Personally, I didn’t find the cave to be too exciting - as you go up to the top, there is an air pocket where you can take your reg out and breathe normally. Having done chandelier cave in Palau many, many times, I’d already checked that block.
If you decide to dive here, it’s really easy. You descend and go either right or left, and when you hit what you want to be your halfway point, turn around and come back. Make sure you have more than a half tank left, there can be some strong current on your way in.
This was the first time we have done two shore dives in a morning in a long time. We have taken to doing one long dive in the mid morning, and then enjoying a lunch out in the mid afternoon. This was a bit of work :)
After rinsing gear, we brought the tanks and weights back to Torii. I checked out the rental/fill prices. A 100 fill card was $400, for either 32 or 36! $4 per tank! Rental was only $9/tank!!! And weights were $2 per day. You can’t beat that. At all. Lunch was at the beach cafe (really just a pavilion with tables and chairs served by a short order grill staff), and had a late lunch. We were starving, and we weren’t let down with the food. All in all, thumbs up for Torii Dive Locker, and Torii Station in general.
We got back to the resort, cleaned ourselves up, and took a nap at about 6 pm, setting the alarm for 7. We had checked out the menu for the resort restaurant, and were looking forward to dinner. Alas, no menu, only buffet style, with food I would very likely not eat. We went out to another Okinawan food style restaurant, which Wayne predicted a) I wouldn’t like and b) wouldn’t take credit cards. We will never know about a, but b was true. So we headed back to our home away from home, and went to check out the Joyfull restaurant (yes, Joyfull!).
We were pleasantly suprised with the menu, and definitely happy about the prices. And they have an ordering system I wish more restaurants would have. Instead of waitstaff hovering over you, when you have made up your mind, you press a buzzer, and they come and take your order, instantly sending it to the kitchen. Your meal comes out in about 5 minutes. Wayne had mackerel, I had steak, and we both ate happily.
Once again, two tired puppies are headed to bed.