Friday, September 22, 2006

SCUBA DIVING IN MY BACKYARD?

Took me over two months to negotiate with the local fisherman's union...

We plan to scuba dive the waters around Aji Peninsula, where we live...

We have heard that the fisherman's unions in Japan are pretty tetchy when it comes to scuba diving by 'outsiders' in their territory...

The reason is, there have been many cases of 'outsiders' pouching the fish and shells, thus affecting the livelihood of the fishermen...

We are recreational divers and we have no intentions of pouching...

Anyway, was lucky to have a good friend who could introduced me to the union chief...

And what luck, her husband came along and it turned out that his grandfather was the union chief some years ago...

The union chief said there would be no problem as long as we alert them before we dive...

More than one month passed...

Then, a phone call came...

The fishermen will take us to some uninhabited islands to dive...

We would have to pay them 5000 yen each (almost US$50) for the boat ride...

There would be no dive guide, and we have to source everything by ourselves...

I rejected the offer and countered that we only plan to do beach entries rather than boat diving...

Another month passed by...

The response this time was, fortunately, positive...

However, we are only to dive in one site dictated by the union...

For the time being, I said, ok...

On our last trip back home, we finally bought our BCDs (Buoyancy Control Devices) and Regulators...

We are ready to scuba dive this weekend to check out our new equipment...

Rented two aluminum tanks yesterday from a local dive shop...

Imagine, 4000 yen (almost US$40) for merely two tanks and nothing else...

Talked to the boss of the shop who gave me some good hints...

So, instead of Aji peninsula, we shall head to Naruto area in Tokushima prefecture, which is about an hour's drive away...

Apparently, the visibility there is much better... perhaps four to five meters compared to the one meter at Aji...

If we are lucky, we could see some pelagics...

But, we are shallow divers...

And, we prefer the little critters like gobies and nudibranches...

Wooh... can't wait to sink into the ocean...