Part 1 (continued): Back from Japan: Our schedule for the Expedition 2019 - Part 1/2
After two days we flew to from Tokyo to the Ryukyu Islands 2000 km to the south, to visit the local coral reefs and to decide how to organize the diving with our Expedition team 2019. For two days from 8:00 to 16:00 we went diving with Prime Scuba to the nearby reefs. The visibility ranged from good to very good and the reefs were in good condition. But on the snow-white anemones you could detect that there must have been temperature problems. Our dive guide explained us that there had been at least two typhoons fewer than usual and that these storm systems are responsible for the mixture of warm and cold water. In the course of six dives we saw a lot of stones and some soft corals, mantas, whitetip reef sharks, Napoleon wrasses, turtles, plenty of sea snakes, ghost pipefish, lots of butterfly fish and some angel fish, incredible numbers of damselfish and a group of large batfish. This is an ideal place for the reef research we are planning and the diving boat carries 18 people. The maximum number of participants will thus be 18.
After two days we went to the neighbouring jungle island Iriomote where there are still 100 specimens of an endemic cat species. Of course we didn’t get to see the cats but we found some large tree frogs, snakes, lizards, spiders and some groups of metallic-looking beetles, which were asleep on leaves. We travelled down a small river in kajaks to observe the freshwater fauna until small rapids prevented us from passing. Snorkelling in the approx. 23 °C cool water was awesome: moonyfish, grunts, mudskippers and a lot of gobies were our reward for freezing. Our trek to the waterfall also paid off. The predatory fish can’t swim that far and so there are plenty of shrimps, as big as 30 cm, in the last pool before the waterfall! At 22.5 °C we are still talking crisp temperatures, but it was beyond impressive. Visiting these islands with their unbelievable biotopes is a must!
Our last station was the Ogata fish farm at Fukuoka in the south of Japan. We have now warmly bonded with this very beautiful and large koi farm. The boss himself took us around, observed our water tests and also gave us permission for underwater shots.
The only trouble we had was the security officer at the airport in Fukuoka who simply didn’t want to let the battery of my underwater flash pass. We left the battery there so as not to miss the flight. But I will complain to the ANA because I am not going to let €200 go just like that, especially when this battery has previously been transported into 60 countries without a problem!