Thursday, July 30, 2009

Waterfall Tour

Amami Oshima is all mountains. With 120 inches of rain a year, that means waterfalls! There must be waterfalls everywhere, but finding them is the hard part. There are a couple on the tourist maps, and I've found a couple on my own. A foreign guy who lives here has a blog and he gave me directions to some pretty spectacular waterfalls that I wouldn't have found otherwise.

My bike, Bandit. It's kind of rusty, has a bald front tire and doesn't shift really well, but it's transportation. I'm borrowing it for the second year in a row from Masami's cousin. It's hard to even find a parking space for it here, as we have to vie with the neighbors for every inch of space. If visitors come, they just park in the middle of the street, blocking "traffic," not that there is much.

The bike is a crotch rocket, and really uncomfortable. My hands get numb after 15 minutes, followed by the rest of my body. Here's a typical gravel road, just mud and rocks really, and a streambed when it rains. I try to avoid these, but paved roads just peter out on you. The paved ones in the mountains are all covered in leaves and have moss growing on them anyway. I thought rolled on stones gathered no moss ...

This is a nice one, Funangyo Falls. A huge waterfall. Same as the one at the top.

This is one I found riding my bike around years ago. It's a good swimming hole.

This one, Tangyo Falls, is near Santaro. You actually have to hike up a streambed and swim to get to it. I had my camera in three plastic bags and tied around my head. I still dropped it a couple of times, but it was ok. I forgot my underwater camera case, but couldn't miss out on this one.

View from under the falls. Great swimming hole on this blazing hot day.

Shinsui Park near Yuwan was an amazing shady refuge on a brutally hot day. There was a whole series of cascades over a stretch of the river.

This Hyan Coral Snake was a nice bonus. It was the first time I'd seen one of these.

One of the bigger cascades.

Its twin, on the other side of a big rock.

Working my way downstream.

One more.

This place is so lush, with epiphytes and moss growing all over everything.

I stopped at the Forest Polis, a camping and nature observation area, on the way back. I don't know what the name is supposed to mean. Is is supposed to be the Forest Police, the way people pronounce it, like the nature cops, or is it Forestopolis, like a metropolis of forest creatures? They have some artificial wetlands there, where I always hope to find the elusive wetland birds. The only one I've ever seen here is the moorhen, which I can see in Chico any time. They do have a nice assortment of dragonflies, though.

Neon beauty.

These little fish were cleaning my feet for me.

Decaying tourist infrastructure, built for those hypothetical tourists. This is supposed to be some kind of waterplay area, all moldy and overgrown. This place was new when I came a few years ago, extensive boardwalks which had rotted through a couple of years later. The jungle reclaims things quickly. I like places like this, and there are a lot of them on this island. They have that ghost town type feel. There was nobody at all in the whole park when I visited.
One waterfall that is on the tourist map, Materiya. I'd been here a few times before, but it looked paltry next to the others.

Finally, I saw a bird! But it's dead. There are a lot of crows around, and I imagine they are a pest to farmers. Still, it seems a little barbaric to hang them on sticks like this, and I doubt it's an effective deterrent at all.

No comments: