Avast Ye, Shipmates! Hoist the sails and watch the aft! When roads can only take you so far and the point of interests are limited by the land mass of this tiny island, you’re bound to face off with the open seas. Well, straddle up, Buccaneer! Allow me to be your guide to some of the open sea adventures Okinawa has to offer!
Well, call me Ishmael. Obviously, not quite the same as the hunting for that great white whale but oddly enough, I think you might be able to get a glimpse of what it might have been like. During these semi-cold winter seasons, humpback whales migrate over to the Kerama island oceans to give birth and raise their calves in warmer climates. This has caused a surge of fishing boats to carry tourists to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. Multiple boats strategically move around to allow tourists to get that memorable picture of the playful wagging tail. All this while respecting the whale’s personal space of course. Fear not if you don’t get to see the whale that day because they also provide you with a guarantee. Absences of the whale sighting entitles you to a reschedule as many times as required until you achieve success. You can schedule your next whale watching adventure over at https://www.cerulean-blue.co.jp/whale-watching-en/.
Glass Bottom Boat Tour
For the bottom critter enthusiast, I got just the thing for you. Spread across the islands are a plethora of glass bottom boat tours. These are the “stay dry and look at the nice fishies” kind of tour where you can manage to stay dry on a boat all throughout. Why on earth would you want to go on a boat and stay dry to look at fishes I do not know. Regardless, here it is. I would say maybe this is perfect for those who can’t swim. You can find these tours spread out all around the island but most popular I would say is the one in Busena Marine Park. Price is actually not too bad. You can book your glass boat tour over at https://www.busena-marinepark.com/. Make sure to double check the schedules as they may have changed a bit due to Covid-19.
Ferry Dinner Cruise
Whether it’s for valentines or you just want to splurge a bit for that special someone, another type of sailing attraction Okinawa has to offer are the dinner cruises. There are multiple types of dinner cruises available on the island. One popular example is the summer time BBQ tours however, the one I am referring to is a cruise meant for that “mon chéri”. Usually departing from the Tomari area over at Naha, the dinner cruises come as a course meal with some musical entertainment. Not to mention the spectacular view you will get to enjoy all around you. The dinners are served indoors with access to the outside for you to enjoy the view so no worries about your food getting cold. Should go without saying but ready your wallet as this is one of those special occasion prices. Definitely worth it though! Book at https://ja.westmarine.co.jp/.
Island Hopping Boat Tours
Did you know there is a place known as Carrot Island here in Okinawa? Shiver me timbers! I know what you’re thinking; Is it its shape? Is it overrun with rabbits perhaps? Is it almost entirely covered in carrot farms? Ding, ding, ding! It’s the third one. Imagine a tiny island with a primary function of growing carrots. Wacky stuff just thinking about it. Even more interesting is how to get there. There are little speed boat tours that take you there from Heshikiya port over at Uruma city. And if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, they also allow you to ride a separate banana boat to an uninhabited island near this Carrot island to have a picnic (or maybe to search for buried treasure?). More info regarding the tour at http://tsuken.shimatabi.jp/marine.html.
The absolute social distancer boating activity. I know what you are thinking; what scallywag would kayak during the cold seasons? What if I told you that Kayaking in Okinawan is actually a year-round activity? Some people actually prefer it. With the proper wetsuit, surprisingly you might even break a sweat. Kayaking not only allows you to enjoy the sea, on the sea, but also can give you quite the workout. Kayak tours are offered almost everywhere on the island where there is a beach but the really nice ones I recommend are on the separate islands such as the Kerama’s. Best part of Kayaking though is that it’s perfect for this new normal that we are in. Oh, you need 2-meter distance away from the next person? No problemo! All you have to do is just paddle away! When you do decide to kayak though, make sure to follow the precautions set by the tour. At times it can get dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
Whether it is for a romantic dinner, family picnic, sporting activity, or simply to watch marine life from a distance, Okinawa still finds a way to enjoy the waters from above it and not just in it. Cold seasons may be approaching but as long as you play it smart, you won’t need to be sailing out with a yellow jack.