Posts tagged ‘snorkeling’

Return to ‘Secret Beach’ on Ikei Island

Several weeks prior I described how we found this somewhat isolated beach on Ikei Island, a small island connected to Okinawa by a bridge. Now ┬áthat we knew where it was, several of the guys from Flightline and I we prepared and packed up our snorkeling gear. The last time I was here, it was late in the evening during the fading sunlight. We left early and it afforded us ample opportunity to explore the underwater landscape stretching out from the rocky beach. Past thick seaweed fields were 10 to 20 foot deep coral environments, brimming with fish. Stanley and Medlicott didn’t come out of the water for about 3 hours straight, they were so involved in trying to catch fish with their spearguns. Stanley actually caught several colorful fish, his first and only other catch was months ago. Russell laid on the beach the entire time and despite my warnings, put only tanning oil on his lighter skin. We all laughed when his thighs looked like a lobster the next day at work.

_MG_5229

View of the beach once you make your way through the jungle path

_MG_5230

Walking to a spot to drop our gear

_MG_5254

Thick tropical growth that hides the beach

_MG_5247

Clinger searches for unique shells, (note the extremely short tan Navy diver shorts)

_MG_5233

Hermit Crab

_MG_5256

Stanley cleaning and gutting his catch of the day

_MG_5257

The vibrantly colored fish that met the wrong end of the speargun

Driving Around Aimlessly Leads Us to “Secret Beach”

Not having a destination in mind and my desire to explore led me to drive with Jones and Stanley onto some of the Okinawan islands that are located close enough to the main island that they are connected by a bridge. In contrast to most of our previous journeys, we traversed the eastern (Pacific) side of Okinawa instead of the western (East China Sea) half. One area we stopped at near the island-connecting bridge had this amazing feature where the water was only ankle deep for literally a mile out from shore. It was definitely different to be so far from shore and still standing with the ocean not even touching my thighs.

After navigating narrow, unknown roads, we came to the final tip of Ikei island and could go no further. Fortunately, we saw some parked cars and a few people mulling about in scuba gear; a beach had to be within walking distance. Past a sign that advised American service members to go no further, we happened upon a lightly used beach that was shallow out to 100 meters. In other words, perfect for snorkeling. We found no name for this spot, and due to the difficult nature of locating it and the secludedness, we proclaimed it “secret beach”.

_MG_4818

Stopping near the bridges to the nearby islands

_MG_4823

Shallow water stretched out as far as I could see

_MG_4829

_MG_4831

Crustacean remains

_MG_4843

Stanley doing…. Stanley things

_MG_4850

Visually impaired dog, Ikei Island

_MG_4853

Colorful boat

_MG_4855

Pathway through jungle to “secret beach”

_MG_4856

Warning signs don’t turn me around, they encourage me to go further

_MG_4857

Coral shelves, “secret beach”, Ikei Island

Getting off the base

At this point, no one had any type of vehicle yet, so I — and almost everyone else — had been essentially confined to base. Jones and Medlicott rented, on base, two of the tiniest cars I’ve ever been in. I was eager to leave the gates of MCAS Futenma like a greyhound at the starting line of a racetrack.

10 of us fit into the small cubes otherwise known as cars. We all had to buy snorkeling gear first and my thrifty ways led me to buy cheap equipment which I would come to regret a few weeks later. We stopped at a spot north of the bases on the western side of Okinawa (the East China Sea side). In 5 minutes I saw more fish than I could hope to see in an aquarium in a day. To be fair, a lot of the sea life was uninteresting creatures, like the multitudes of Sea Cucumbers I saw. They are just 4-10 inch black-colored cucumber-shaped blobs that sit still and don’t move. One or two people poked one with their foot, and they shoot out some white sludge (insert joke here).

_MG_4218

_MG_4215

Trust me, it’s a lot more cramped than it looks

_MG_4232

Arriving at the unnamed and semi-secluded beach

_MG_4239

Stanley actually caught a fish, he wouldn’t catch another for 2 months

_MG_4254

Reflections and shadows at low tide