I'm not really a SCUBA diver. Or at least, I'm a recreational diver at best. I can even still tell you all the times I've dived. Discovery dive in Cairns, Australia (2005). Open water certification at Catalina Island, California (2007). The two fun dives in Nha Trang, Vietnam (2010). A dive in Boracay, Philippines (2011). And this past week, two more in Okinawa.
Okinawa: Japan's answer to Hawaii
That's it, so I don't have much to compare it to. Even so, I feel there's a huge difference. I'm not talking about visibility, weather, or fish. They were nice, but in a good location, that can be anywhere.
The biggest difference is the little things that our dive master did. It retained its Japanese-ness. Driving us to the dive spot, just the two of us. Providing a sports drink before, between, and after our dives. Then driving us to a separate place to shower and clean up before lunch--even providing a towel and 100 yen coins for the shower.
And at some point in our trip, a simple diving trip became a full on tour, with lunch at a famous Okinawan Soba house, pictures at Cape 万座毛, and a quick visit to another of the Ryukyu castle ruins, Zakimi.
To top it off--while everywhere else I've been to offers underwater pictures for a fee, sometimes an outrageous amount, our guide not only provide free pictures and plenty of photo ops underwater, but he even dropped off a CD of our photos with our filled out dive books for free the next morning in our hostel lobby.
This is called The Blue Lagoon... you can guess why
So although definitely the most expensive diving spot of my life, I was well worth my time and money. So if you have a license and happen to find yourself with a free day to spend in Okinawa, why not go for a dive?