Okinawan Blue – The best places to spend time in the ocean
In an island that seemingly never runs out of sea, it’s hard to decide where the best place to spend your precious vacation time is. From the surface, all the beaches may seem similar being a simply clear blue body of water but diving in reveals that they couldn’t be more different. Each one offers their own special qualities that makes each of them the best in their own way. And what is the best way to explore and enjoy the deep blue sea you ask? Why, snorkeling, of course! It’s really the only way to go. Here are some of the known and not so known top picks of snorkeling areas in the island to dive into the Okinawan blue.
Zamami Island – Furuzamami beach
Probably the most beautiful snorkeling spot you could ever encounter, Kozamami beach is often overlooked as because it is tucked away in the east side of the small island of Zamami. What makes Kozamami beach the best place to snorkel is probably the coral beds. Coral beds are layers after layers of colourful live coral that houses many species of fish and spreads out throughout a vast wide area probably a couple of square meters wide. With all the snorkeling spots now being stormed by tourist, it’s very rare to find such a wide array of live coral functioning marine ecosystem. Luckily, the village of Zamami has strict rules on their tours to help the preservation of such beauty. You can book your tour to see the live coral beds at https://www.vill.zamami.okinawa.jp/.
Tokashiki Island – Tokashiku beach
Following at a close second, the Tokashiku beach is home to one of the most colourful fish you will ever find in the island. Located in the west side of Tokashiki, this beach has probably the most variety of fishes you can encounter in a single area. Obviously, there are the standard angel fish, parrot fish, and the dory fish (royal blue tang), but this beach also offers the highest chance of spotting a sea turtle. During the summer months, it is almost guaranteed as long as you time it right. Please remember that under no circumstances are you to touch the sea turtle as this would cause him to swim away and not come back. Simply just watching him feast on his morning sea grass is plentiful enjoyment and stress relief enough. To get there, you need to ride a ferry which departs Tomari port twice a day. Learn more on how to get there by visiting http://www.vill.tokashiki.okinawa.jp/.
Snorkeling in Ishigaki offers a unique benefit that most people unintentionally overlook; that is, Isolation. Now-a-days, especially during summer, it seems everywhere you go there are wave after wave of tourists just trying to find their own little private space so that they can enjoy in peace. Obviously you won’t find this at any of the tourist commercial beaches but one thing about Ishigaki is that since it’s surrounded by nice calm seas all around, you can find a beach almost anywhere and all you have to do is simply stop your car and take a short walk and poof! Your own private beach. This is perfect for when you want to have a private snorkeling adventure just with you and your special someone or with your family. Generally, it is safe to do so and you will spot other tourists who are also having their private adventure but just keep a wary eye of your surroundings in the water and don’t go too far into the deep end. If you ever find yourself vacationing on the Ishigaki Island, consider adding this private snorkeling into your itinerary.
Maeda Point is like a mixing pot of marine enthusiasts. First off you have your guided tour snorkeling groups, the scuba diving groups, the casual folks there for a swim, and the free divers, which can’t help but makes you wonder, what on earth is going on? Obviously there are the fish but what draws people to this marine popular spot is the underwater cave. The blue cave to be exact. Swimming a couple meters in and you will find yourself at the entrance of an underground cave. As if the cave itself wasn’t exciting enough, the climax of the tour comes at the end of the cave where there is a natural blue illumination underwater that comes from the reflection of sunlight that enters the cave. Wild stuff. Recommend to go with a group tour as it usually comes with a story guide and some awesome pictures. For more information, check out https://blue-cave.okinawa/
Ikei Island – Oodomari beach
Ikei Island has many beaches that offer snorkeling but Oodomari beach is hands down the best place to go for snorkeling in Ikei. To snorkel, most beaches require high entrance fees or have special restrictions for snorkeling such as you have to wear life jackets at all times. Surprisingly, with all their stringent demands, they don’t even offer a good viewing of fishes. At Oodomari beach, not only are they lenient a bit on their rules for snorkeling, but also have a wider range of fish. At one specific part of the beach, there is a patch of coral that is the permanent house of the entire cast of finding Nemo! Well, almost the entire cast anyways. Interesting thing enough is that since there is an entire village of clown fish, you will never run out of awesome pictures. Best part is that you can also buy fish food to feed the fishes! For more information on Oodomari beach AKA Mamasan beach, check out http://www.oodomari.com/