Okinawa Trip 2014 {Part II.}

Day 3 in Okinawa was a chill day for us, since it was raining most of the day. We drove around, took sticker photos, ate, and just roamed around rather aimlessly.

Day 4 was probably my favorite day of all! My sister, who has been super passionate about scuba diving for the past year, signed us all up to take a boat out to the sea. It was her chance to scuba dive, and she wanted to take us along so that we could snorkel inside the famous Blue Cave.

The Blue Cave is a natural cave rising up from the ocean and received its name from the blue tone that one sees when inside the cave. The blue tone is actually the sun’s rays when entered into the sea and reflected off the white limestone bottom.

Our guide picked us up at the hotel and shuttled us nearby to their facilities, where we were fitted into wetsuits. They warned us that the water would be extremely cold, and advised the kids to double up on the wetsuits. Bridgette, who finds it comfortable to wear tanks and shorts in the snow, was not happy about having to get into a wetsuit at all.

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We compromised by having her just wear one wetsuit, which she still found to be very uncomfortable. We took a short boat ride and arrived at the Blue Cave, eager to get into the water. Our Mandarin speaking guide kept warning us about the “freezing” water, so I was a little nervous about the temperature. But the minute we jumped in, we laughed, because the water was probably in the 70 degrees. We could’ve been in bikinis and be fine!

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bluecave_snorkeling2IMG_2322 IMG_2323Since it was Bridgette’s first snorkeling experience in the ocean, we played it safe by asking the guide to use a floating board nearby. The girls were able to hold onto it as needed, and made it easier for us to stay together as a small group.

As soon as I put my head in the water, I wanted to squeal in excitement. It was like being in one of those beautiful fish tanks at an aquarium. There were so many beautiful fishes swimming around me, in all different colors and sizes. It was truly mesmerizing and one of the best snorkeling experiences I’ve had!

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We only stayed in the blue cave briefly, as our guide kept saying it was too cold in there. We then remained mostly outside the blue cave, and had a chance to feed the fishes. Hundreds of fishes were swarming all around us as soon as we started tossing food in the water, which really freaked my mom out, but she remained calm for the sake of the girls (thanks mom!). 🙂

Photo obtained from http://www.aruguid.jp/en
Photo obtained from http://www.aruguid.jp/en

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Bridgette was quick to strip off her wetsuit as soon as we got back on the boat!
Bridgette was quick to strip off her wetsuit as soon as we got back on the boat!

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After our morning adventure, we went back to the hotel to shower, grabbed a late lunch nearby, and then headed straight to the beach!

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Even though the weather was warm and breezy, with temperatures in the 70s, it was still considered “winter” in Okinawa, so most of the beaches were closed, much to our disappointment. We did find a nice beach by ANA hotel that remained open, but it was completely deserted when we were there. The girls loved playing in the sand, and collecting the beautiful seashells that were like jewels everywhere.

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Look at the beautiful collection of shells they gathered from the beach!
Look at the beautiful collection of shells and fossils that they gathered from the beach!

On our last night in Okinawa, we found a wonderful restaurant near our hotel, known for its pork and sukiyaki. Such a lovely way to end our trip!

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Our flight was scheduled to depart at 4pm, so we still had some time in the morning to visit Okinawa World, a touristy theme park that included a natural ancient cave, a craft village, and a snake museum. The Gyokusendo Cave is one of the longest cave in the country, and the parts open to the public is very well maintained with walking paths.

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The cave was cool to walk through, but I think we collectively agreed we enjoyed the “off the beaten path” caves in Puerto Rico more, as it felt more exciting to be sharing the space with live bats and cockroaches. 🙂 We also attempted to have lunch at the nearby Gangala Cave Cafe but were quite underwhelmed by it. It seemed to be under construction at the time, at least parts of it, and it was very humid in there. Their menu was extremely limited, and we left feeling quite disappointed because the photos in the guide book made it seem so much more appealing.

When we asked the girls what they’ll miss most about Japan, this was their answer:

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Japan does have the most awesome vending machines!! 🙂

See the fun video I made recapping our trip:

 

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