Bike Tour Naha to Ishigaki Island: In search of the Mantas.
Bike Tour Naha: I came to Okinawa primarily to do some great diving. Okinawa is supposedly ranked third in the world for visibility underwater. When I discovered that Ishigaki is the island to go see manta rays, I flew there from Naha to witness this wonderful creature first hand.
-Yonehara -Kabira Bay -Manta Dive
Ishigaki is a small island with not a lot of residents on it. It had some tourism but it wasn’t flooded with travelers, which was a good thing, until I found out that the buses ran every few hours on most parts of the island. With a twenty dollar bus ticket, it was good for using any buses for five days. The transportation on this island would make it very inconvenient to freely go around the island, without waiting for hours for the buses to arrive. I was very frustrated with the transportation on this island.
Yonehara campsite would be my home for five days on this island. It was free since there was no staff around. Right on the beach amongst the trees, it was a peaceful and nearly empty except a few campers and a few campers that seemed like they had been there for months. The snorkeling here is pretty decent with good amount of marine animals and corals.
After visiting a few dive shops, they told me it would be very unlikely to see manta rays due to the typhoon that was on its way.
This news was demoralizing, given that I flew here and waited a few days in Naha and here for the weather to get better. After considering giving up on the mantas, I made the decision to take my chances and do the dive. Luckily, I did see two mantas at manta point near Kabira, where the cleaning station was. I got to enjoy watching them get their dental work done for a good thirty minutes, getting nearly within 15 to 20 feet. The divers were very disciplined about giving these animals their space. I was extremely satisfied to finally see these amazing animals up close and personal. I think whales are next on my list.