Tokyobling's Blog

Busena Marine Park – Okinawa

Posted in Animals, Nature, Opinion, Places by tokyobling on December 19, 2013

About near the north-middle of Okinawa, on the main island’s western coast lies the Busena Cape (Busenamisaki) stretching out into the ocean and sheltering a large coral reef in its shallow bay. I visited there in 2011 and took these photos of the 760m long white beach. These days the cape has a resort park, with the obligatory resort hotels and tourist attractions. Many of these are left over from the 2000 G8 Summit meeting. I wonder if any of the visiting world leaders got to see any of the natural beauty of this little piece of paradise? Tellingly, the only of the eight leaders who attended who is still in the same position is Russia’s Putin. Also tellingly, the most interesting part of the summit was the hockey game between a Canadian and a local Okinawan team. Ice Hockey in Okinawa? Who would have imagined it. If you are ever lucky enough to get handed a 2000 yen note, that was issued first in 2000, you can see the commemorative back side featuring Shuri castle from Okinawa.

One of the main tourist attractions of the cape is the glass bottom boat tours. Having never seen a coral reef before it was interesting, but for people who are braver than me I guess that the real action is underneath the surface, diving and snorkeling. Like in all the oceans of the world, the coral reefs of Okinawa is most likely heading towards extinction. There are volunteer and government programs to restore the reefs but without tackling the larger problem of ocean acidification it is unlikely that we will be able to show our grandchildren any corals apart from the ones grown in aquariums. Okinawa also regularly suffer from overpopulation of starfish that feed on corals and there are local volunteer diving teams that spend weeks every year removing starfish or even killing them to save the coral. As always in these problems, without addressing the causes the symptoms are unlikely to go away.

Still, to uneducated visitors like me, this part of Okinawa looks like a little piece of paradise. You can find the homepage of the Busena Marinepark here.

Oh, and this is the 1800th post online (not including deleted posts). Time flies!

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18 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on December 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Congratulations on your 1800th post! I wish I was as dedicated as you, but then I don’t live in an interesting area like you, nor do I carry around my camera, looking for a good shot. (Which I should. My photojournalism instructor used to say it doesn’t matter how good a photographer you are, if you don’t have your camera with you, you’re useless!)

    Okinawa is on my bucket list. My daughter went there and said it was like Hawaii without the tacky tourist traps, though she said tourism plays a huge role in the economy there.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on December 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thank you! Exactly. But I assume you are a normal american and that means you have your iPhone with you at all times right? That little sucker has an amazing camera! (^-^) Yes, tourism is hugely important. For better and for worse.

      Like

      • Hangaku Gozen said, on December 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm

        No iPhone alas! Data plans are very expensive. Also, people I know who own iPhones complain that Apple downloads so many updates to its OS that after awhile, you either have to buy a phone with more memory or delete all of your apps, photos, etc. just so the phone will work. I do love the camera on the iPhone, however. I wonder if I can buy one and just use the camera…. :)

        Like

        • C said, on December 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

          You haven’t found the US ghetto plans, then — I pay $45/month for unlimited phone/text/data, no contract. And I haven’t updated iOS for two versions. Turning off automatic installation is a good thing :)

          Like

        • tokyobling said, on December 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

          I am sure that is possible and not a bad idea at all! (^-^) I have considered doing the same thing…!

          Like

  2. dragonlife said, on December 19, 2013 at 6:57 am

    You are in Okinawa now! You lucky man! I went there 3 times, especially the small islands! Have a good time!

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on December 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Haha… I wish! I took these photos in early February 2011, almost three years ago! (^-^;) I still haven’t been to any of the small islands…

      Like

  3. Hope Tours & Safaris Africa said, on December 19, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Looks amazing

    Like

  4. C said, on December 19, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Hey, tell them to send the starfish to the West Coast! Just read an article about how they’re dying off out of the blue, in record numbers. That’s not good either, because it will cause overpopulation of things starfish ate (like clams) and crowd out tidepools.

    Mazel tov on 1800! And I don’t know if you know, but an ad (some video) popped up at the end of your post. It seems that WordPress will sometimes put ads in unless you pay $30/year for them to turn it off. That must be new…

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on December 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

      I don’t think it is the nice kind of starfish. These bastards eat the top part of coral, all good if there are enough predators to keep them down but once you insert man into any ecology things happen.

      Thank you! (^-^) They have been showing ads for years I think, maybe they are just increasing the number of ads? I used to get little warnings now and then. I think we are all pretty used to ignoring ads these days aren’t we? (^-^)

      Like

      • C said, on December 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

        I dunno, I have both DoNotTrackMe and AdBlock Plus on my primary browser, so generally don’t see a thing anywhere. It’s very liberating! But I have to have a “normal” browser to test websites I’m designing, so that’s where I noticed it.

        You could always do a fundraiser to pay the ad-free fee — your loyal readers would be happy to chip in a few pennies to make it happen, I’m sure :)

        As for starfish, I guess too much of anything (or any creature) is not a good thing! Oh, and snorkeling is surprisingly easy (coming from the person who failed learn-to-swim twice) — did that on the Big Island once and it’s magical to hang out with turtles and fish. I think experiencing that directly helps people appreciate how fragile and beautiful the ocean is. Well, at least I did…

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  5. yoshizen said, on December 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    It seems you’ve mixed-up Motobu Peninsula to Cape Busena on map reading.
    I don’t think Busena is stretching out —- in such extent.
    I spent a while in Okinawa (other side of Busena = on the Kin Bay / Ishikawa)
    and working building the power station there when I was a drifter.

    That star-fish (Oni-hitode) is a real evil. Grown up up to 2′ (50~60cm) and if it
    was chopped into ten, they just become ten of them.
    Funny paradox was, when I was there every body said that all the coral will be
    finished by them within 10 years —– is coral still exists there. :-)

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on December 20, 2013 at 12:12 am

      I am pretty sure this is Cape Busena! I didn’t have any GPS gizmo in my camera this time but if you compare the photos on the link (to the Busena Marine Park official website) I think you will find that they match up. The second photo might be a little further down the coast, but not much, maybe that is the confusing odd photo for you?

      Being a drifter building a power station sounds great! You have lots of experiences! It is possible that all the work from volunteer groups is keeping the starfish at bay? Or, as is much more likely, they have eaten most of the corals already. (^-^;)

      Like

  6. Shelli@howsitgoingeh? said, on December 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I LOVE OKINAWA!!!!! I’m dying to go back! I went to Ishigaki, Iriomote + Taketomi islands. It is so magical there.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on December 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Oh, you are quite the island hopper! I am envious! I hope to do that trip myself some day… (^-^;)

      Like

  7. Dina Farmer said, on December 20, 2013 at 4:13 am

    My friend that lives there is really lucky!!! i’m so jealous!

    Like


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