My Favorite Dive Site
Most divers have a favorite dive site. For some it’s a site they dove once or twice while on vacation. For others, it’s a site near home that they dive regularly. Favorite sites earn that place in our hearts and minds for many reasons; visual wonders, temperatures, ease of access, a great meeting place, solitude, sea life, or a myriad of other reasons. Our favorite sites are as individual as we are and may touch our hearts so deeply that we can barely explain.
My favorite site is about 7,700 miles from where I live and difficult to access (on foot). Access requires strength, stamina, determination, and care. But once you get to the entry point it’s an easy entry and exit, and everything about the dive is just stunning. The depth at entry is about 15’, which makes for an easy start and an excellent end as your safety stop is actually the top of the reef. A mere 20’ from the entry point is where the reef drops off into a canyon that goes down to a little over 100’. Going left or right along the wall takes you out of the canyon and offers phenomenal wall diving where depths easily exceed recreational limits if you’re not careful. There is so much to see on the wall that I used to dive it at different depths on every dive, or go in different directions. There is something at this dive site for everyone, but you must be fit enough, and willing to make the treacherous walk to and from the site!
The site is Bolo Point or Zanpa Misaka on the East China Sea on the west site of the island of Okinawa, Japan. I lived there for two years and dove the site regularly. It was an easy drive from anywhere on the tiny island, there was ample parking and incredible sites for non-divers and land photo bugs walking around the lighthouse. This made it a great place to meet up with dive buddies and take lunch breaks, and there was usually an ice cream truck in the parking lot. If you’ve never had Okinawan beni-imo ice cream, you’re missing out! Once geared up it’s a short walk across a paved and grassy area. Sounds easy so far. Then you’re off – balancing on sharp volcanic rock hills and valleys that vary in height by up to three feet at some points. It’s a slow treacherous walk for about fifty yards, especially with full SCUBA gear. When you finally reach the entry point, you have to climb over a short wall and then down to the partially submerged natural rock entry area. There are natural step like structures that make the climb down pretty easy. The entry area is like a small partially submerged peninsula. I usually walked out to the end and did a giant stride entry.
Exiting the site is the complete opposite, but if you follow the entry ‘peninsula’ along its southern face back to its base, there are natural steps back up to the entry point. Then begins the climb over the short wall and the back across the volcanic rock!
The site definitely requires thick-soled wetsuit boots and the willingness to really work for your dive. Those who take on the challenge are rewarded by pristine waters, abundant sea life, a beautiful reef and the pure wonders of the ocean. For every drop of sweat my body produced at that site, I believe I shed a tear of sheer joy during the dive and afterwards as I just closed my eyes and sat down in the sun, after stowing my gear, to smell the sea air, and reflect on my dive!
What’s your favorite dive site? Tell me about it in the comment section below. Does it do for your soul what Bolo Point does for mine?