Snorkeling Okinawa Japan: The Lava Cliffs of Maeda Point
Spend a day snorkeling or diving Madea Point in Okinawa, Japan. One of the more picturesque places I had the opportunity to snorkel, unfortunately I didn’t bring my gopro on this excursion. On the day I went there was a variety of aquatic life such as blue starfish, puffer fish, lion fish and the always interesting cuttle fish that are found along the reefs.
Keep some Yen handy and expect to pay a small fee for parking if you want to start right at the gazebo or have a friend unload your scuba diving equipment and search for a spot on a side road to park for free.
Visit early to avoid the crowds for snorkeling and diving near the main entrances as this is a popular certification spot for the local dive shops. For those who want a mellow location to relax stop in late afternoon to have it all to yourself for sunset sitting on the rocks or several park benches.
Weather here can change quickly and the sea conditions can become dangerous, it is always best to check the surf reports for this area when heading out to dive or snorkel. If the waves are above two feet or there is too much surf activity to easily get your fins on near the edge of the cliffs I recommend staying out of the water.
With that disclaimer out of the way there are a few different access points to get you down to the waters edge to gear up so you can explore the underwater outcroppings or dive the famous Blue Hole.
If you stay to the right and away from the tempting trail out to the cliffs you will find a well constructed staircase that works its way down to the water (an option I wish I noticed) or you can go the route pictured above requiring sturdy footwear. This choice is not advised if you are bringing more than just fins and a mask as the weight of dive tanks and rough terrain would be a technical and unsafe hike, it will take less time to swim to this cove than to depart from it.
Water hues ranging from shades of royal blue to green combined with the varied depth and features found here at Madea Point make this one of the best dive sites on the island of Okinawa. With calm seas and a clear day, visibility here can be world class allowing you to see a great deal of activity following the changes in depths along the reef wall.
The deep water found just off the edge of this reef wall dive site attracts good deal of activity from both snorkelers and divers alike at this location. If bringing the family out for a day I would suggest entering at another beach named Madea Flats to give the little ones a seemingly endless shallow snorkel area out to the reef wall. If diving its a long slosh through waist deep water to reach the gear up point.
Jelly fish can present a hazard during certain times of the year so it may be best to wear a wet suit from June to September. Check the reports and don’t let these little guys discourage you from seeing octopus, turtles, barracuda, and many other varieties of sea life.
A general rule of thumb I use while diving is that if something is beautiful keep your fingers and fins well away from it as often the more attractive species underwater are the toxic ones.