My third day in the Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa, was spent pretty much in the ocean.
This was the part of my trip that I was looking forward to the most. In fact, I specifically booked the extra flight from Naha to Ishigaki just to do this, and I’m so glad I did.
I booked an all day “Scuba Diving experience with Snorkelling” package with a Japanese company called Ishigaki Manta. I decided to pick this company as they take photos of you with their underwater cameras and send you the photos on a CD as part of the deal. As I don’t own an underwater camera, I wanted photos for the blog and for the memories.
The day started at 9am where they picked me up from my hotel, and we set off for the port to get on their boat. For the morning session, there were about 7 customers in total. We sailed out to somewhere in the middle of the ocean, perhaps a 20min boat ride, and we all did a bit of snorkelling.
Then three of us, myself included, took part in the scuba diving experience bit. I’ve never been scuba diving before in my life and I was so nervous. All of the instructions, like the breathing technique and hand signals, were explained in Japanese. This was a real test of how much I had learnt so far. Luckily, I pretty much understood everything and the scuba diving went smoothly!
It was absolutely fantastic!!
I was swimming with all these multi-coloured fish, and touching all these different coral. We were wearing gloves so I think it was ok, but I still felt bad that I was breaking some of the coral with my fins… 😦
Since the other two girls had done this scuba diving experience thing before, they went with one instructor and so I had my own personal instructor. Or in other words, my own personal photographer! HAHA!
In terms of swimming around, I didn’t actually do anything. My instructor basically pushed the oxygen tank on my back to get me to move around – it was pretty funny. But it worked out well as I got a full clear view of the ocean as he guided me around from behind.
After the first session ended, it was time for a bento lunch, which they provided.
The afternoon session was full of more snorkelling at two different points. The first diving point was at Manta Point, and as the name suggests, you can see Manta Rays. Obviously, it isn’t guaranteed that you will see them but we were lucky enough to see 5 of them! The instructors originally said that we might not be able to go to Manta Point because of the typhoon, but the weather really cleared up in the afternoon and I’m so glad we managed to go there.
The second session was free-time snorkelling in another location, while other people did some scuba diving.
The day ended at about 4.30pm and I was shattered. It was an incredible experience and I’d love to do it again.
I received the photos they took of me the next day, before I headed to Naha.
If you are going to Ishigaki Island and want to do this, I thoroughly recommend the company I went with, Ishigaki Manta. The service was great and so worth the money. I actually received a 10% discount because I was staying at a hotel that was owned by a lady who is friends with one of the instructors – that just made the experience even better!
Thanks for reading!
P.S My camera broke a few days after my scuba diving/snorkelling adventure. Luckily, I am getting it fixed for free here in Japan because of my warrantee. Unfortunately, this means that I did not take many photos of my last few days in Okinawa, and I won’t have a camera for over 10 days while it is being repaired!!! I’m doing so many things in the next two weeks, but I’m afraid the quality of the photos on my next few blog posts won’t be very good (mixture of iPhone photos and my brother’s camera, hopefully). Sorry 😦