Bolo Point / Cap Zanpa
Bolo Point offers some of the most beautiful dives on the island. You have the option of diving over mountains, gorges, and walls. Water conditions may change quickly at this site. Extreme caution and good judgment should be used. Monitor your depth gauge regularly when diving here; depths exceed recommended limits for recreational diving with the deepest points being well below 200 feet. Near the small caves to the left, you may see lionfish, copper sweepers and an occasional grouper. The mouth of Bolo Point's most prominent cave sits at about 90 feet. Diving is not recommended around the cave as World War II artifacts, including artillery rounds, have been discovered here. Platter coral layers provide homes for a variety of tropical fish, and it is not unusual to see a nurse shark or large snapper.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 11.1 km; you will pass Camp Lester and Kadena Gate 1 on the right and the fuel farm on the left. Travel past Kadena circle and continue going north on Highway 58. Look for a sign for Highway 6 and Cape Zampa. Turn left on Highway 6 at a stop light. Travel 7.6 km past Torii Station main gate (on your left) and Highway 12 (on your right). After traveling 7.6 km, just before a light, there is a fork in the road. Go left and drive 2.9 km. You will see the lighthouse in front of you and a parking lot on the right. Getting down to the water line at Bolo Point is a rigorous hike over jagged rock. Evaluate water conditions carefully before stepping in. Rapidly changing surf and currents can make this spot extremely treacherous.
One of Okinawa's most spectacular coastal areas is found at Channel Crevasses. Visibility reaches 150 feet or more. Nooks, crannies and rocks make a natural dwelling place for crab and lobster. Sea turtles lay their eggs in a protected area on the beach. Beyond the reef, you can see cones, turbans, augers and other shellfish. Beware of strong rip currents during extreme tidal changes.
This site is located about an hour south of Kadena Air Base. Take Highway 58 south through Naha. Highway 58 merges Into Highway 331. Take 331 and continue traveling south. Once through the rotary In Itoman, take the Highway 331 bypass to Yonabaru. When you approach the Intersection of Highways 331 and 7 slow down. Approximately .7 km past the Intersection, you will see a blue and white sign that says "Odo Coast." Turn right at this sign, heading toward the water. At the "T" intersection (dirt road) turn left and proceed to the parking area. (If you get to Peace Park, you have gone too far.) The beach area is accessible to 4WD vehicles only.
Level 2 / Snorkel
Devil's Cove attracts divers with its sunken fishing boat, bottom-dwelling creatures like sponges and urchins, varieties of coral, anemones, damsels, angelfish and an occasional octopus or cuttlefish.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 9.7 km; you will pass Camp Lester and Kadena Gate 1 on the right and the fuel farm on the left. Travel past Kadena circle and continue going north on Highway 58. There is a stop light at a pedestrian overpass. This is Owan Road (also Highway 16). Turn left and drive for 1.5 km. This road (at press time) has houses on the left and fields on the right.. After going .5 km, you will see the parking area on the left. A walk down the steps leads to the water. To avoid wandering into the boat channel, face the tall, red, cylindrical channel marker (located in the water) and swim along the reef wall until it turns north and parallels the beach.
Hedo Beach / Hedo Point
Hedo Beach, Level 4
Hedo Point, Level 5
Hedo Point's currents—caused by the meeting of the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea—make for spectacular diving. But do not go in on an outgoing tide! Tunicate colonies make their home on the reef, along with coral, sponges, crinoids, starfish, and lobsters.
To get there, travel north on Highway 58 past Okuma. Turn left at the blue sign that reads "Hedo Misaki," about 40 km past Nago. Make the second right and follow the road to the beach. To enter the water, walk across the shallows. Suit up near the water's edge. Use caution when diving near the fingerlike cuts in the reef. Unpredictable currents can create hazardous diving conditions.
Horseshoe Beach's impressive underwater wall teems with marine life—coral, barracuda, damselfish, tangs, turtles and reef sharks. It is a difficult dive due to strong longshore currents at times. It is a site where many have been injured.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 30 km. Just north of Onna Village, you will see a fire station on the left and a Lawson Station on the right. There is a stop light at the fire station. Turn left at the light and travel past the log cabin. Once you have gone .7 km, you will be at Manzamo Point parking lot. There is a black top road between the shops and the restrooms; turn left on this road. Go .6 km to a spot where there are tombs on the left. This is where you park for Toilet Bowl. There is a path that leads to the dive point. To get to Horseshoe, continue on the road for another .1 km to a small parking area. There are several points to enter the water.
Plan to dive as close to high tide as possible. Watch your footing as you step out onto the reef. Powerful and unpredictable currents make this site best suited for advanced divers. Avoid diving in high surf.
Southeast side Level 2
Northwest side Level 4 / Snorkel
Ie Island's beautiful, unspoiled reefs and its location away from the main island make its dive spots an excellent, out-of-the-way scuba adventure. Just 30 minutes away by ferry, Ie is a world of underwater thrills. At the Wajee dive site on the island's rocky north coast, there is limited summertime shore diving. There you'll see schools of damselfish, Napoleon fish, parrotfish, squid, and octopus as well as the world's second largest brain coral colony. The best time to dive or snorkel Wajee is at low tide. Entry is at a small, narrow crevice about 100 yards to the left of the pump house. Snorkelers should stick to the shallow areas to spot puffer fish, cuttle fish, stone fish, and more in the crevices. Most of the diving on Ie Island is done by boat. At Rainbow Reef, a popular site on the southwest side of the island, you may spot a wrasse, Moorish idol, pelagic fish, sea snakes, sea rays and sea turtles.
Ferries to Ie Island depart regularly from Motobu Port. Call MCCS Tours+ at 646-3502 for ferry information and details on fares.
Big Time Resort Side, Level 4
Mama-san, Level 2 / Snorkel
Ikei is a picturesque island dotted with small, old-fashioned villages. You can dive almost anywhere on Ikei. The beauty of the island is that you can choose to dive along the Pacific Ocean side or within Kin Bay. To get to Ikei, take Route 8 toward White Beach. Turn left on Route 31. Follow the road to the bottom of the hill and bear left. Cross the long bridge to Henza and wind around the island. Remain on this road and you'll eventually come to a red bridge that leads to Ikei. All signs to "Big Time Resort" lead to the island.
For Pacific dive sites, take any dirt road on the right off the island's main road. Dive sites here boast visibility far below 100 feet. For Kin Bay sites, travel around the island until you see Blue Lagoon Park. Take a left just past the park and another left before a tobacco processing plant. Follow the road to Mama-san Beach. Visibility is about 50 feet. Snorkeling is good at Mama-san, but watch out for jellyfish — they are known to be quite common in this area.
The Junkyard is home to a fertile coral kingdom and diverse marine animal life. You can see octopuses, eel, anemone, clownfish, angelfish, parrotfish and sergeant majors, and a lot more. For a change of pace, try diving the Junkyard at night.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 4.4 km; you will pass Camp Lester on the right. Look for a road sign that states "HIGHWAY BRANCH OFFICE"; turn left at the signal and sign. Travel .9 km to the "T" intersection and turn right. You will have the seawall on your left. Go .6 km. The steps that lead to the dive site will be on your left. Suit up by the steps and walk down to the reef. The 300-yard snorkel to the site is long, but it is worth the effort. Except for the rise and fall of the tide, currents are generally nonexistent. Visibility averages 30 to 40 feet.
Kadena North's easy entrance point makes it a popular site among dive instructors and student divers. Because it's a relatively shallow site, Kadena North is not subject to the stronger currents of deeper waters. Visibility averages 50 feet. Blue sea stars, sea cucumbers, hermit and coral crabs, crinoids, angelfish, butterflyfish, flutemouths, murexes and tritons are some of the creatures found at Kadena North.
Go to Kadena Steps and go .6 km past the steps. The road will end and turn right. This is Kadena North.
Level 2 / Snorkel
Maeda Flats is usually less crowded than Maeda Point, and you won't have to scale limestone to get to the water. The deep sandy floor has been known to shelter stingray, and a swim over the reef reveals excellent visibility, sometimes exceeding 100 feet. The limestone reef is a feeding ground for schools of spadefish. Visitors can walk across the reef at low tide and snorkel at high tide.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right and travel north on Highway 58. Make a left at the "Ryukyu Mura" sign, approximately 6 km past Kadena Circle. Turn left at the second stoplight past Ryukyu Mura. About .8 km later, make a right at the white "Maeda Misaki" sign. Turn left just before the parking lot. To get to the site, wade in at the small beach.
Level 2 / Snorkel
You haven't dived on Okinawa until you've dived at Maeda Point. At the reef's edge and to the right, the depth is about 20 feet; to the left of the reef, it's about 100 feet. At Maeda Point, you can see chromis, eels, tube worms, anemone, clownfish, lionfish, schools of squid and an occasional turtle.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 15.1 km; you will pass Camp Lester and Kadena Gate 1 on the right and the fuel farm on the left. Travel past Kadena circle and continue going north on Highway 58. There is a stop light with a sign for Ryukyu Mura Village; turn left. Travel 3.2 km to a "T" intersection (you will pass Ryukyu Mura on the left.) Turn left at the light on Kuraha road (also named Highway 6.) Go .8 km and turn right at the sign for Cape Maeda. Go .5 km to the parking lot. If you want to go to Maeda Flats, just before the parking lot for Maeda Point, turn left and go .2 km. There will be fields on both sides of the road. Park by the tombs and walk down the path to the beach.
Before suiting up at the point, check the conditions at Maeda. Don't dive if the surf exceeds two feet. The stairs from the parking lot lead to about 15 feet above the waterline. At this point, you'll have to climb carefully down the cliff's limestone rock face before reaching the water. Save some energy for the exit and the climb back up the stairs.
Onna Point is known for its vast coral colonies and wide array of ocean creatures, including crab, anemones, clownfish, angelfish, wrasses, sergeant majors, stonefish and octopus.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 28.6 km; you will pass Camp Lester and Kadena Gate 1 on the right and the fuel farm on the left. Travel past Kadena circle and continue going north on Highway 58. Just south of Onna Village, you will see a white (at press time) pedestrian overpass and a school on the left. Turn left at this road, go .9 km, and veer right. The road is paved and then turns to dirt. Turn left and cross a field for about .9 km. Turn left on any of the roads and go .4 km to the point. Once the pavement ends, be very careful. It is easy to get stuck when it has been raining. You should have a 4-wheel drive vehicle to go to this site.
Walk across the beach and enter through the crevasse. Pay close attention to the currents moving through the reef, especially near the entry point fissure. The rip current during low tide makes getting to your site easy; just let the current pull you out. Exiting may pose a problem for other than experienced divers. Novices should try diving Onna Point at high tide when the currents are weaker. Bad rip currents can occur here.
Level 4 / Snorkel
Sesoko Island is a small islet connected to Okinawa by a bridge just north of Nago. Diving here is possible virtually any time of the year. To get there take Highway 58 north. In Nago, get on Route 449 toward Motobu. Past Motobu Port, you'll see the bridge to the island. Turn left on Route 172 and go across the bridge. To get to the first dive site, take the first left after the bridge toward the beach.
Enter the dive spot through the beach, but be careful of the boat and ferry traffic lanes. Only experienced divers should attempt this site. For the second dive site, cross the bridge and drive about 1.2 km. Look for a blue golf course sign and make a right just before the sign. Make a left at the golf clubhouse, then left again onto the gravel road before the beach. From the beach, snorkel straight out about 400 yards. Visibility averages 50 to 80 feet.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 32 km; you will pass Camp Lester and Kadena Gate 1 on the right and the fuel farm on the left. Travel past Kadena Circle and contine going north on Highway 58. You will pass Oki Ham Company on the left. Go past the Ishikawa cut-off. You will then pass Moon Beach, Tiger Beach, Sun Marine Beach Hotel, and Rizian Sea Park Resort on the left. North of Onna Village, you will pas Manza Beach Resort on the left. Look for a sign that says Seragaki Beach and turn left. Go .1 km, turn right, and go across a causeway. Stop and pay your entrance fee of about ¥500 a person. There are many diving points on the island. A "Dive Spot" sign marks the entrance to the staircase that descends to the beach. The water is generally calm, but longshore currents are tricky and run both ways along the reef. There is also a pool, showers and a convenience store on this island.
Level 1 / Snorkel
Sunabe is one of Okinawa's top dive spots. The limestone rocks slope into cracks, crevasses and cliffs, and visibility averages 50 feet. At the edge of the reef is a soft coral garden, home to various anemone and clownfish. You may also spot an occasional cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, crab or squid. Mollusks, including tritons, cowries, and murexes, like to seek shelter within coral and rock carpets.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 3.7 km; you will pass Camp Lester on the right. There will be a SEGA arcade on the left, at the stop light at Hamagawa Road. Turn left and go .7 km and follow the road as it curves right. You will see the seawall on the left. You can dive at any point from the seawall.
Sunabe is usually free of the sudden current changes that characterize other dive sites. Although the winter season brings waves up to six feet high, flat seas are the norm.
Toilet Bowl's strenuous entrance and exit and the need to maintain proper buoyancy make this site appropriate only for experienced divers. Ideal conditions exist along the outermost reef at about 30 feet. Near the reef top you can see crinoids and hydroids, and the underwater mountains, valleys and caverns host fish, crustaceans and sea fans. Divers need to exercise extreme caution because conditions change rapidly.
From Kitamae Gate on Camp Foster, turn right onto Highway 58. Go north for 30 km. Just north of Onna Village, you will see a fire station on the left and a Lawson Station on the right. There is a stop light at the fire station. Turn left at the light and travel past the log cabin. Once you have go .7 km, you will be at Manzamo Point parking lot. There Is a black top road between the shops and the restrooms; turn left on this road. Go .6 km to a spot where there are tombs on the left. This is where you park for Toilet Bowl. There is a path that leads to the dive point. Before getting into the water, don you mask, snorkel, and fins. Jump In using the giant stride-method. Quickly swim away from the edge of the bowl. Exit with caution; be sure to save enough air. For an easier departure, swim to the peninsula at the side of the bowl and climb up.