Octopus’ Garden

Hello Everybody!

So, I have discovered snorkeling! Now I know it’s not as grand or as exciting as scuba which is the very big thing over here, but it is amazing!

I had been into Tsunami Scuba on base for a Memorial Day sale and bought the whole snorkeling package with the help of my friend and advisor Amanda (she’s hardcore, she scuba dives with sharks!) before I headed off Tokyo.  My equipment spent the weekend in my FunCargo in Naha  while I was galavanting all over Mainland!

One of the first things I wanted to do last weekend was get my gear and head to Cape Maeda and see the Blue Cave through the mask.

very bright
It was very bright after coming out of the blue cave! And no, I’m not really a ScubaPro in case you were wondering.

Keep in mind I have never done this before, but really, how hard is snorkeling. Well there is a little trick to it, mostly with the fins, but overall the most difficult part was putting on the wetsuit. I have never put on a wetsuit which I found out is twenty minutes of cardio before you ever put a fin in the water. But I had my lovely experience with the Blue Cave and decided that there must be fish to see, because I was surrounded in my quick little swim when I was there.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea what I was in for.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish….okay I realize there are no red or blue fish in this picture, I’m just giving an example.

Amanda told me that it was easier to get my wetsuit on if I were wet… so I jumped in the showers at Maeda and my struggles began. I used to think putting on pantyhose was an ordeal, holy cow, I will never complain about that ever again. I could not get the zipper up…I was having problems… so after struggling I did get it on and looked in the mirror and a superhero was looking back at me.  If I had known how awesome I looked in a wetsuit, I would have bought one years ago.

I walked down this stairway with many, many other people. Normally I don’t enjoy the company of most people, being a misanthrope and all, but I figured if I started drowning, someone here would notice and pull me out.

I put on my fins, adjusted the snorkel and mask and away I went. When I looked through the mask it was like being at Churaumi Aquarium in Nago…there were all these gorgeous fish swimming around me. What an experience.

Sorry about my finger in the corner of the screen, I’ll need a little  learning curve while I adjust to underwater filming. I also apologize for the crazy jumpiness of the shooting.

I really liked these yellow and black fish…

So I ended up spending quite a bit of time there that day, which was fun and exciting. The next day, I horned in on Amanda’s scuba adventure to the Keramas, which are islands not too far off the coast and are known for their excellent diving conditions and extremely clear water.

The Keramas, from the boat.

We arrived on Sunday morning at a port not far from my house. I was armed with my Dramamine and Sea Bands as I have an extremely sensitive stomach. I also only had a green smoothie for breakfast. The ride out there was awesome, it was a sunny day, it looked pretty awesome. There was Amanda and some other young woman diving, then three Japanese guys and their guide  joined us last minute.

We arrive at the first of three diving spots and everyone jumps up and gets into their wetsuits. First the Japanese dudes go and then Amanda and the girl and into the deep blue sea they go. And I look around the boat and there is only me and the skipper. I thought, oh  this is interesting, there is only me! I heard the skipper yell and point ‘sakana, atchi’ (fish, over there) so I decided to go get them. There were fish everywhere, big ones, small ones, different colors, different shapes! Wow!  But then I started to think about getting back to the boat, so away I went. I got close to the boat and all these wave started upsetting my stomach. Well, so much for the green smoothie. I got sick before I got in the boat, after  I got on the boat and pretty much for the rest of the day. When you can’t keep Dramamine down, there is an issue.  Needless to say, it was a rough day, but it was exciting at least to hear about everyone’s dives and what a great time they had. I wasn’t fully recovered until about Thursday.

So that brings us to today…I bought a new camera, which after using, I am dubious about. Back to Maeda Point. Today was a rainy day…I don’t know if I’ve said it or not, but we’re in the rainy season here and when it rains, umbrellas are not very helpful as the rain seems to come in sideways. But I figured I was going in the water anyway, so who cares. Again, that unreality sense when you stick you face beneath the surface and a whole new world appears around you. So amazing!

So, the camera is not as good as I expected, but I was able to get a video, it’s terrible I warn you. I watched a little octopus, his head was about six inches, swim up to a coral outcropping, he changed colors! I remember cuttle fish being able to do that, but  hadn’t realized or had forgotten that octopi could do this. He turned the same color as the coral and I had a difficult time identifying him. Only the purple on the underside of his tentacles gave him away. There is a little black fish in the video who had no difficulty discerning this intruder, so keep an eye on the fish. He keeps pestering the octopus, which occasionally darts a tentacle out at him and finally, he shoots away. This happened quickly and I didn’t realize it until I watched the video later. But before he goes, he turns all purple! It was like being in a Jacques Cousteau movie!

After that, I kept hearing all this sound on my wetsuit, I stuck my head up and looked around and it was down-pouring! I shot this at the end of the day when the rain was coming in very heavy. The sound was not great on this, but it gives you an idea of what it was like.

So my agreement with myself yesterday was that if I played today, I would clean my house on Sunday. So it is Sunday already and I am enjoying a coffee and some little pancakes from my farmer’s market.

Maybe  they were in school for my Japanese language class?


I signed up for a college class and begin tomorrow, but for now I will spend a quiet day in my quiet neighborhood and clean and learn Hiragana. Have a great week! Next week may be adventures in Nihongo (Japanese Language).