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September 26, 2005

a diver
a manta
living coral
a fish

Well, I failed to dive the Yonaguni ruins, but after getting back to Ishigaki-jima I managed to dive to see manta rays. When we got back to Ishigaki from Yonaguni, k had to go back to Osaka, but I decided to stay on for a few days and dive with photographer and ex-JET Chris, who was down in the southern islands for photo-taking purposes.

We caught a boat out with a nice bunch of people from an Ishigaki dive-shop, who took us to an underwater rock a few hundred meters out to sea which the mantas seem to use as a meeting place. We dropped from the boat to the living coral 14m or so below, and began to look for mantas. Just as I was beginning to wonder if the search might end up being in vain, a large silhouette condensed out of the haze and we hunched down to watch it glide past. Soon, five or so others appeared. The largest we saw had a wingspan of probably about three metres. They were as strange, beautiful and graceful as mantas should be: about as strange, beautiful and graceful as anything.

Incidentally, Chris’s website has several galleries of lush photographs of Okinawa and Japan. And I designed it, oh yes.

posted in Okinawa9 comments


  1. Posted by Andrew — September 27, 2005 at 6:32 pm

    Absolutely beautiful pictures, and things in the pictures. Underwater photography too!

    Is that manta as big as it looks? (It looks big). It’s nice.

    I never know with those: that bit that looks like a smiley face, it’s not a face, is it? Or is it?

  2. Posted by lva — September 27, 2005 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you!

    The manta probably was as big as it looks. It’s hard to tell underwater, but I’d say about 3 metres across, possibly 4.

    I just looked up mantas on Wikipedia to figure out how their face works, and look what it says: they can be over 6m across! Shit!

  3. Posted by Andrew — September 29, 2005 at 8:21 am

    That’s basically as big as a plane. Nice.

    I just looked at the manta face explanation. So those things that look like little eyes underneath are nostrils, and their eyes are on top.

    I don’t know why on earth they would have nostrils though. Do fish have nostrils too? But they don’t breathe through them, do they? I know that much.

  4. Posted by lva — September 29, 2005 at 11:44 am

    Fish? Nostrils? I always thought the gill was a nostril-substitute. Why, if there were a creature with both gills and nostrils, that would force me to rethink the whole thing! I must speak to my scientists…

    While we speak of giant sea creatures, look what someone else just found: a living giant squid.

  5. Posted by graeme — September 29, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    wow! that manta photo is great! looks like the underwater stuff is really working out!

    giant squids huh? i suggest we russle up a posse and go try and catch us one of dem beasts!

  6. Posted by lva — September 29, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    Sure thing! Let’s russle ourselves up a posse and see if we can’t catch that dang critter before it eats any more of our cattle. I guess Ma’ll be cookin’ us up a gosh-darn big ol’ squid stew tonight…

    Actually, this might be the last underwater photography for a while — I’m thinking of selling the small camera and the casing rather than send them back to the UK. But I have a feeling I might end up back in Okinawa for a few more months at some point in the not-too-distant future, and if that happens I’ll get a new case & camera then…

  7. Posted by graeme — September 30, 2005 at 5:07 pm

    dem god darn giant squids been traipsin an a trawlin round ma`s cattle agin? i got mah tweluve gage on mah shoulder and my finest huntin shoos mah dear ol pappy done gave me afore tha preacher read em his final rites, gorshuck! i see that squid ah`m a gonna tell `em, get yo tentacles of mah god darn property ya god darn varmint! gorshuck!

  8. Posted by mayee — October 3, 2005 at 4:42 am

    wow!!! cool pictures nick!

  9. Posted by lva — October 7, 2005 at 1:57 am

    Thanks May!
    I definitely want to go and see mantas again. But not squids.
    Definitely not squids. Squids are ferocious!