2009's post), where we go every year to visit her uncle and aunt (see also 2008's post). In this view from Amami Oshima, you can sort of see that the island is one long skinny chain of mountains (it's the first island). It seems small compared to Amami, like a footnote to the main island. So I'm always surprised at how long it takes to drive the winding mountain roads. At least we had a tiny K car this time and not the bus we had last year. A Kei car is one with a smaller than 660 cc engine and less than 63 horsepower (according to Wikipedia) so you can imagine what a powerhouse it is on the hills. We drove the back roads this time, saw more fabulous beaches and scenery, and Masami's beach, Tokuhama. It was a total shock coming back home to Naze, the big city (40,000 pop.), with the traffic jams and clutter after a couple of days in Kakeroma.
Before we took the ferry to Kakeroma, we stopped at Honohoshi, a beach with these big rocks that get pummeled by ferocious waves. We came here during a typhoon once, and it was pretty savage. The seas are mostly calm around Amami, I imagine due to the coral reefs that act as breakers, so this place is unusual for the island.
A nice arch at Honohoshi.
We did the usual stuff, a barbecue, fireworks, snorkeling, and driving. The island is pretty quiet, mostly really old folks. We drove across the island on the main road for an hour and passed 5 cars.
More fun with fireworks.
Masami's mom even enjoyed playing with the sparklers, although, when I showed her the pictures I had just taken of her, she didn't remember doing it.
There's a nice waterfall on the island, which I haven't seen before. Masami calls me Takiokun, Mr. Waterfall, because I like them so much. See last year's Waterfall Tour.
What a cute kid!
After being warned for years about the omnipresent habu, the much vilified local poisonous snake, I saw my first one. Unfortunately, it was dead in the road. Some attribute the lack of development in the islands to the fear of the habu (although it hasn't seemed to help Okinawa much). Thanks, habu-san.
I really wanted to go back to Kakeroma and snorkel at Surihama, which has the healthiest coral reef I've seen in the two islands. The water was a little cloudy, but here are some pictures.
Masami's mom even got in on the snorkeling. It was a little too much of a challenge for her, but she tried.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Even though school is out now, most of the kids are busy all day with clubs or something, so mostly he sits around all day and plays computer games. We did have a barbecue party the other night and invited 6 kids. Japanese charcoal is serious, as you can see by the log above. None of those wimpy briquettes.
After the barbecue, we shot off fireworks at the park.
Posted by Jon Aull at 5:56 AM
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I've been snorkeling a lot, since it's too hot to do much else. I have a compact Nikon point and shoot camera and an underwater case, which is basically a thick plastic Ziploc bag with a barrel and plastic lens. The underwater world is pretty amazing, so I'm always disappointed to upload my pictures and see them all blued out and fuzzy, except for close-ups. I finally figured out that "correcting" the images by sharpening and enhancing the color saturation made them look more like what I see through my mask. A lot of them have been cropped, also. Hopefully I'll be able to get some better pictures of the many different kinds of fish here in Amami, but here a few I took this year.
Most of the coral is dead, but floating over the edge of the reef is like flying over a maze of coral canyons.
Although there's not much healthy coral, there are plenty of fish. Unfortunately I left my fish id book at home, so I don't know the names of any of them.
Posted by Jon Aull at 7:16 AM