Dive Bum Okinawa

 Dive Log 2011

Kadena North    30 December 2011


Last dive of the year…

With high surf predicted over the 96 weekend we decided to play it safe and hit the water early this morning.  So we headed to Kadena Steps…however the waves were coming in at quick intervals and breaking over the jacks and steps.  Better discretion prevailed and we decided on plan B.  Thankfully plan B was only a few hundred yards away, Kadena North.   The waves were much smaller here and due to the river and reef structure the intervals were much easier to predict.   After timing the waves we jumped into the water and swam past the breakers.  Once we got underwater the visibility was surprisingly good (60+) and the temp was a balmy 71 degrees (thank Triton for my 5 mil wetsuit).  After about an hour bottom time and getting some cool photos we headed back to the surface.  The tide had risen a bit making it a much easier exit. 


Courtney  Promotion Dive   02 Dec 2011

     Today I had the pleasure of promoting a great Marine to the rank of Corporal.  I would like to congratulate Cpl Witt on his promotion this afternoon.  True to the Marines amphibious beginnings we took to the water for his promotion ceremony.  The conditions were great and we had an awesome dive.  I’d like to thank Shawn for photographing the promotion.   

Marine Corps Birthday Dive   10 Nov 11   

  With driving rains and a weather system hitting the west side of the island the Dive Bum’s annual Marine Corps Birthday Dive was in jeopardy.  However a few “Hard Corps” Dive Bums found the fortitude and with their amphibious character hit the beach.  Truth be told the by the time we were ready to hit the water the conditions were actually nice, the rains subsided, the sun came out and seas were calm.  The only downside to the dive was the low visibility.  Despite the low visibility we had a great time.  I’d like to thank LtCol Sherman, LT Green, CWO2 Burks and GySgt Marquez for a great dive.



The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

Dream Hole and Diamond Beach   06 Nov 11    

  I’d like to thank Dave and Oki Diving for an AWESOME dive today.  The Dive Bums met Dave at the Seragaki Port at 0800 and headed to the Manza Dream Hole for our first dive.   There was a bit of a current as we followed he anchor line to the Dream Hole.  As we descended down we were greeted by schools of squirrel fish. 

On our second dive we headed to Diamond Beach.  As we hit the white sandy bottom we saw the elusive running man!  Click here to see him.  After his brief appearance, we started to explore the finger reefs that were surrounded by beautiful white sand.  Al took us on a fantastic tour leading us to several species of anemone fish and a pod of three cuttlefish.  On our way back to the boat we ran into a huge cuttlefish just hovering above a coral head.  I managed to maneuver around it and got some good photos. 


Yomitan Boat Dive    15 Oct 11    

  I’d like to thank Doug Bennett and the crew from Reef Encounters for the awesome dive yesterday.  They managed to turn fair dive conditions (lots of rain and moderate surf) into a GREAT dive.  Their new boat is comfortable, well equipped and large enough to handle 12+ divers and gear for two dives! 

Our first dive was to the WWII dumping grounds in Yomitan.  This is a debris field of discarded military equipment just north of the invasion beaches for Operation Iceberg (the battle of Okinawa).   This was a relatively deep dive, 85 fsw.   As we followed the buoy line that the DMs (Jim and Toyo) had set we landed on three M1 Garands in the sand.  The rifles were well preserved, although they were encrusted with coral you could still see some exposed wood on the stock and the leather slings were intact.  We also found some barrels from some type of heavy machineguns.  We did not find any of the flamethrowers or heavy guns on this dive, that just means we’ll have to go out again, soon!!!
Our second dive was to the Pinnacles, this is always a great dive.   Beautiful soft and hard corals cover the underwater sea mounds.  There was just the hint of a current and the Crinoids or “feather stars” were everywhere feeding, turning the pinnacles into a living flower garden.  On our tour around the pinnacle I found this brain coral with a little sea anemone and a lone tomato clownfish smack dab in the middle of it, odd place but it made for an interesting photo.


Water Treatment Plant    01 Oct 11    

  “Red sky in the morning, Divers take warning…”  Boy was this true this morning.  As I left for the seawall at 0558 the eastern sky was an ominous red.  I knew the winds were predicted to shift to the east sometime today so we met at 0630 to beat the winds.  The conditions at the Water Treatment Plant were nice and calm but the conditions farther up on the seawall were starting to get rough, in fact there were lots of surfers in the water by the gazebos.    We suited up quickly and made an easy entry.  The dive was great, as we dropped down the vis was about 40+ feet and the temp was a nice 81 degrees.  There were lots of cool critters everywhere.  As we hit our half way mark, the vis started to change...fast.  It went from a clear 40 feet to a cloudy 30…20…10 feet and there was a noticeable surge.  Our exit wasn’t as easy as our entry but we made it safely and I managed to take some nice photos. 

Be aware of the sea conditions before you enter and make sure you look at the forecast and plan your dive accordingly.   As I was cleaning my dive gear at the dive shop, the sea conditions went from All Clear to Danger….

Arc Dive    11 Sept 11    

9-11, Lest we forget…

  What a great day for a dive.  This morning I met Shawn and his classmates at Arc Dive for his final two dives before getting certified.  (Alan thanks for letting me dive with your O/W and Rescue class this morning)  I don’t think the conditions could have been better; It was high tide, no waves, no surge, 82 degree water and 20+ feet of visibility.  It was nice!!!  We slipped into the water and followed the chain to a nice sandy area at the end of the reef and after some quick skills testing Alan led us on a guided tour.  While at the surface Alan asked his class if they wanted to see Nemo and true to form he led us straight to a very cool coral bommie with a big sea anemone and three resident Percula Clownfish.   After about an hour surface interval we headed back for the second and final dive of the O/W class.  After another quick skill test the new divers went on their last tour of the reef as student divers before heading back to the dive shop to complete their paper work to become newly certified divers.


Junk Yard    21 Aug 11    

  Ahhh, first dive after the typhoon and to top things off I got to dive and snorkel with family and friends.   The Divebums met at the Junkyard around 0900 for a nice late morning dive.  Jess was trying out a back plate and was sport’n her new purple tank and Russ finally got to dive in Okinawa.  The conditions were awesome, tiny waves and the tide was coming in.  As we were snorkeling out I thought the vis was going to be great, on top of the reef the water was crystal clear however, once we got to the edge of the reef and dropped down 10 feet the water quickly clouded up and the vis was only 15-20 feet.  Despite the poor vis we still had a great dive.

Junk Yard and Tengan Pier  30-31 July 11   

  It seems like every weekend we’re racing to get a few dives in before a typhoon hits Okinawa.  Typhoon Muifa is forecasted hit the east coast of Oki sometime on the 5th, but we’ll be feeling the effects sooner than that.  With the typhoon hot on our heels, we managed to dive two different sites this weekend; Junk Yard and Tengan Pier.   

The soft coral gardens of the Junk Yard never disappoint.  The visibility was down a bit from its normal 50 + feet but we still managed to find some very cool critters.  I got some nice photos of a tiny nudibranch and the girls holding a huge pin cushion star.  On the way back to the seawall Mike found a molt from a large lobster, too bad we didn’t find him before he shed his shell…”Lunch!” 

The conditions were awesome at Tengan Pier this morning.  Calm warm water (84 degrees) and the visibility varied between 5 and 50 ft depending on where we were on the pier.   As we descended into the forest of pilings I was greeted by the ever present Risbecia tryonis’  (a cool leopard spotted nudibranchs).  You can always count on spotting a few of these guys crawling around the pier.  After about 30 minutes playing under the pier we turned our dive and headed back.  On our way back from the pier we decided to do some underwater navigation when we ran into a sunken 5 gal bucket.  How often do you find a bucket full of Tiger Cowries’?  Well we found one at Tengan Pier!    When I looked in, I was surprised to find it occupied by a bunch of cowries!  After a few photos, we left them in their plastic condo and headed back to the beach.


Mini Dream Hole and Diamond Beach  24 July 11

  Al, thanks for setting up the boat dive!!  If you could describe near perfect dive conditions it would be our dive to the Mini Dream Hole and Diamond Beach.  With swells the size of a soda can, 82 degree water temp and 100+ ft visibility that was it!  And to top things off we saw some amazing critters.  After descending through the Dream Hole we ran into a family of lionfish.  I counted three adults and two small juveniles within a ten foot radius. 

At Diamond Beach the dive started off with an octopus greeting us by one of the finger reefs.  Then about midway through the dive Mike spotted two very large remoras, they had to be at least three feet in length.   Then I started to think “Wow” I’ve only seen huge remoras like that on large sharks or rays….after a quick look around and the theme music to Jaws slowly fading in my mind we continued the dive.  After a short stop to play with a friendly puffer we headed back to the anchor line. 

Junk Yard 16 July 2011

   With a typhoon looming off the east coast of Okinawa, the conditions are predicted to degrade throughout the weekend so the Dive Bums made an early dive at the Sea Wall this morning.   Once again the surfers were out in force.  I’m not sure what they were expecting since the wave forecast was predicting only ½ meter waves on the west coast in the AM. 

The dive conditions were awesome, the temperature was a balmy 81 degrees and the vis was a nice 40+ feet.   About half way through the dive a very large stingray joined us at about 50 feet.   He was swimming up to Carey but as I turned to take a photo of him I startled him and he bolted! I barely got a shot off before he swam out of sight.  Not one of my best shots but he sure was cool to see.  Towards the end of the dive as we were at our safety stop, we found a very friendly moray eel.   

Junk Yard 11 July 2011

   Finally, east/west danger was lifted!  So what do a bunch of DiveBums do?  Make a beeline to the Seawall.  Although the surfers beat us into the water, I think we had the better conditions.  With one foot waves and a 5+ minute interval they were doing a lot of sit’n on their surfboards while we did a lot of diving.   The water was a balmy 81 degrees but the vis was only 30 feet and a bit cloudy. 

After a quick game of Volleyball we started our dive.  With the vis a bit on the poor side we concentrated on getting some macro shots.  We found some very nice nudibranchs and flatworms and I got a nice shot of a Thor amboinensis shrimp, it was a neat find!  It was just a bit bigger than a grain of rice!!!

4th of July Weekend 2011

   Wow, what a Fourth of July weekend!  I missed my goal of 8 dives but I did manage to get in three great dives, two at Maeda Point and one at the Toilet Bowl.  In between the dives I got to spend my time lounging on the beach with family and friends.  I would write more but there is too much to say and I’m way too tired!!

Junk Yard 28 June '11

 I would like to thank John for setting up the evening dive at the Junk Yard.  Mike, Tim and I met John at the Junk Yard at 1730ish…one diver was a bit late (Sorry guys, I didn’t count on evening traffic).   Although the typhoon just passed on Sunday the visibility was at least 40 ft and clear.  It sure was nice to get out after being cooped up all weekend.   I think all of the critters were tired of high surf too they were out in force, we must have seen at least 10 different species of nudibranchs and tons of fish. 

One thing I forgot to mention, parking was insane.  There were hundreds of surfers parked all along the sea wall, not sure if the locals knew but there were no waves to speak of.  Yet they were all trying to catch the 1 foot waves barely breaking over the reef.   Great dive conditions, not so much for surfing. 


Maeda Point 18 and 19 June '11

  For Father’s Day weekend my daughters took me to Maeda Point.  

Saturday, Haylee and I meet Pete and his kids for a snorkel at Maeda Point.  We had a blast playing tour guide showing them around.  With great conditions it seemed that all the critters were out showing off.  We saw lots of sergeant major damselfish, parrotfish, batfish and an occasional clownfish hanging out in an anemone.  If I was a betting man, I would put money on Pete and his family getting bit by the snorkel bug…and maybe getting certified soon…(that’s a hint Pete)

Sunday Jessica took me on an early morning dive.  She missed seeing the resident frogfish at Maeda Point last weekend so we headed back there to see if it was still hunting on the same rock.  As we drove down the 58 we could tell that it was going to be a great dive, the sun was coming up and the ocean was calm.  Once again the conditions at Maeda Point were exceptional!  With south east winds the waters were glass flat and vis was an outstanding 70+ feet.   

We suited up quickly and headed down the stairs to the water and made a bee line to the frogfish’s lair.  As we descended I spotted him almost immediately.  My daughter didn’t see him right away but as she got closer and finally saw it the look on her face was priceless, she finally saw her first frogfish in the wild.  Then taking after her father, she grabbed the camera and got a great shot of me with the frogfish.

Maeda Point always amazes me, no matter how many times I dive that site I always manage to see things that I’ve never seen before.


Maeda Point part deux and trios 11 June '11

  With the great conditions at Maeda Point yesterday I had to go back again, soon!  So I made plans for an early dive with John at 0600 and then I meet up with the family at 0730.   John and I had a great dive, lots of cool stuff to see.  Between the frogfish, eels, nudibranchs and huge school of Moorish Idols we had our pick of things to photograph. 

On my second dive, I got dive with my daughter while the rest of the family snorkeled above.  We couldn’t find the frogfish but we had a great time diving together.


Maeda Point 10 June '11     

  I came home from work this afternoon and couldn’t stay put, the weather was too nice to stay indoors.  So I talked the wife into going to Maeda Point for a quick dive.  I guess I wasn't the only one with that idea because there were several good friends there too.  With south winds the conditions couldn’t have been better.  The water was glass flat and the temp has definitely gone up in the last month.  I wore my 2/3mm and I was nice and toasty.  There was some kind of bloom in the water so it was a bit cloudy but the vis was about 30+.  The nudibranchs were out in force, I must have seen at least a dozen and I got a photo of one that I’ve never seen before.  If you know what it is please let me know. 

Camp Courtney Beach Clean Up 29 Apr '11   

  DiveBums and Marines from bases around Okinawa met today to help Semper Fit with their beach cleanup for the Camp Courtney Triathlon.  About 35 Marines participated, 20 helped clean the beach while 15 hit the water to make sure that there were no obstructions or dangerous debris in the swim lanes.  Luckily there was very little trash underwater, our group (like the others) only found a few plastic bottles and bags.  I hope everyone has fun on the swim during the Triathlon on Sunday.

Tengan Pier 23 Apr '11  

  Only a few Divebums braved the rain and wind this morning.  John, Mike and I met at Tengan Pier at 0600 for an early dive.  The conditions were actually nice despite the rain and the winds hadn’t picked up yet.  After a short 20 minute fin out to the pier we descended into the forest of pilings.  The vis was about 30 feet and there was only a hint of a current.  As we swam between the pilings we were surrounded by soft corals, sea fans, fish and critters of all sizes.   I’m not sure what caused it but the nudibranchs were out in force on this dive.  John and I must have photographed over a dozen different nudi’s and flatworms on this dive.   Just before we started our ascent, I noticed a little fish hiding in a small sponge, he wasn’t too sure of my intentions with the camera and was playing hide and seek.  As I got closer to take the photo he would drop into the sponge, finally he popped up just as I pulled the trigger, got’m.


Junk Yard and Maeda Pt. 16 Apr '11

  After 5 straight weeks of work it sure was nice to have a weekend off.  Operations Tomodachi and Pacific Passage are finally coming to an end.  So with our first weekend off, a bunch of new Dive Bums and some old ones met at Kadena Marina this morning.  For our first dive we headed to Junk Yard.  The conditions were great, the water was clear and the critters were out in full.  We saw tons of soft coral and some really cool nudibranchs. 

After a quick stop at Lawsons for some meat on a stick and drinks we headed to Maeda Point for our second dive.  The conditions there were near perfect.  The water was as flat as glass and the vis about 70+ feet.  As we winded our way to the cave we saw about a thousand Japanese divers and snorkelers who were also taking advantage of the great conditions.  After we departed the cave we saw a nice school of barracuda by the “drop off”.  As we ended our dive we stopped by the resident sea anemones for some photos with clownfish.

Horseshoe 22 Feb '11

  The moon was still out when we meet this morning at 0600 but John, Mike and I still managed to see the waves breaking on the reef at Horseshoe.  As we got suited up and the sun started to rise we could see that the waves were coming in at short intervals but weren’t very strong so we decided to go in by Goat Path.  Unfortunately for Mike, during our gear check by the entrance he noticed an air leak in his BCD.  On inspection, his inflator hose had torn away from the bladder and he had to back out of the dive.  The entry was a bit rough (3-4 foot waves) but once we got underwater it was great.  The vis was over 60 foot and the temp 70.  At about 80 fsw I saw a nice little octopus posing for a photo, unfortunately my camera decided to be temperamental and I couldn’t get off a shot.  By the time I got Johns attention the octopus decided he had enough and hid in a hole.   So, I didn’t get too many photos on this dive but it was still a great dive. 

 Channel Crevices 18 Jan '11

 After three days of East/West RED, the Dive Gods smiled upon us.  On our last day of the 96, the Friday Night Lights Crew and the Okinawa Dive Bums met at Channel Crevices for two wonderful dives.  The tide was going out so we dove the Crevices first.  As we swam through the crevice we shot out into a huge pool that opened up around the reef, the vis was about 60 ft and the water temp a balmy 71f.

On our second dive we walked just north of the Crevices and followed the pipeline to the water.   Not sure if it was because of the time of the year, but I saw much more sea life on this dive.  To top things off, towards the end of the dive we found the largest dog faced puffer I’d ever seen.  It had to be at least 3 feet long.  And then I got a nice picture and video of two cleaner wrasses either in a mating dance or fighting, being married it could have been both….

A quick tip for those heading home after a dive, make sure you don't pass the entrance onto the express way or you’ll have a long ride home.


Junk Yard 09 Jan '11

 First dive of the New Year!!  It sure was nice when we got into the water…when we got out it was cold, windy, raining and the swells came in.  Despite what was going on at the surface, underwater it was great!  The vis was about 50 foot + and the temp was 72 you would have never guessed that it was East/West RED yesterday morning.   The critters were out in force, I think they were enjoying the nice conditions too, we even saw some guy with one blue fin…I guess no one found your other blue fin John :-)