Without a doubt, one of the most iconic experiences in Okinawa is entering the Blue Cave of Cape Maeda in the Onna District. Talking to fellow travelers along the route and it is highly likely that they are heading there or have been there. Once you’ve decided to join this adventure, choosing the right diving school is key to get the most out of this experience. In Onna, there are several schools and tour operators providing a similar service, yet one that rises above the rest both for its professionalism and hospitality is Marine Club Umi.
Marine Club Umi offers guided snorkeling and diving tours to the Blue Cave. It does so with a large team of professional divers who not only know their craft well but are also good at keeping the groups entertained even when tour participants are nervous and inexperienced. From the start, the staff (some multilingual) are ready to assist you either in English, Korean, Chinese, and of course Japanese. The owner, Saiko-san, is a local who is not only happy to offer the tours, but is also open to give his customers further recommendations for touring the area. To get the best out your time with Umi, give yourself from two to three hours depending on the experience you choose.
Marine Club Umi
Once the formalities are done and the waiver signed, you are then suited with all the necessary gear, for either snorkeling or diving into the cave. Again, for inexperienced participants, a briefing about the technical aspects is given both while choosing the gear and prior to entering the water. All the logistical aspects go pretty smoothly and in no time the group boards a van headed for Cape Maeda, where the famous Blue Cave Awaits. Technically, anyone can head to Cape Maeda and enter the water on their own, yet having the guys at Umi taking care of the gear, driving you to the cave, and looking for a parking spot (scarce during the high season) are some of the aspects that make their service highly valuable.
Marine Club Umi
Once at the Maeda Cape, one more safety briefing is given after which the group enters the water. When snorkeling to the cave, the group, and especially the less experienced swimmers are sort of escorted to the cave while hanging onto an inflatable device. If you do have experience and would rather explore a little away from the group, talking to the guide usually does the trick. With the strong currents nearby though, it is good to stay close to everyone else. The group will enter the cave, hang in there for several minutes, take the necessary photos and then head back to the cape. You can choose the snorkeling experience from the beach for 3,100 yen or from a boat for 3,800 yen.
snorkeling to the cave
Diving to the Blue Cave is a different story and if you are comfortable being underwater then this is an even more thrilling experience. Being able to swim with the sea life around cape Maeda and inside the cave are the main reasons to make the trip here. For cave diving you can choose two options: Blue Cave diving experience from the beach for 7,500 yen, or Blue Cave diving from a boat for 8,500 yen. While diving, you’ll be guided by the Umi Marine staff although with much more freedom to enjoy the underwater world than with the snorkeling groups. As an added bonus, the guide with a camera in hand will document your dive, point you in the right direction so as to not miss out on any cool creatures, and take memorable photos as you are floating deep inside the cave. They might surprise you with some bread which will have fish swimming around you and feeding from your hand.
Diving to the Blue Cave