This started small, but I'll keep adding them until the file gets too large, enjoy ...
DIVER(S): Ron Stark and Bill Ray DATE: 31 May 1999 LOCATION: Natsudomari Peninsula, Aburamezaki CATAGORY: Beach/Photo/Drysuit/DPV/Search&Recovery MAX DEPTH: 35 Feet AVG DEPTH: 30 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 41 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: The main purpose of this dive was to test a loaned DPV in a familiar
dive location. To test it out I selected the task of recovering a piece of old pottery I had
located in October of 1998. I new the general area to search and the DPV made it easier by
letting me cover more ground quicker. It took less then 15 minutes for me to get to the
area and locate the object. On the way back I "parked the DPV" on the bottom while moving around in the general
vicinity to take some pictures. Visibility was marginal at 15 to 20 feet maximum and water temperatures
averaged 49 - 52 degrees.
Suiting up at the parking area
DIVER(S): Ron Stark and Bill Ray DATE: 31 May 1999 LOCATION: Natsudomari Peninsula, Oshima (East cliff-side) CATAGORY: Photo/Drysuit/Kayak MAX DEPTH: 59 Feet AVG DEPTH: 45 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 45 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: This was a first-ever dive in this location. Getting to the dive spot
required using a sea kayak and paddling over 1 kilometer to a small landing point on the rocks.
After beaching the kayak entry was simple in the sheltered small cove. The site features a
slope of boulders descending down at a 30 degree angle to a sand and mud bottom at 40 feet. There
suppossed to be some bomb debris or something at this spot according to a Japanese dive club but
we were unable to locate anything except large starfish and trash. Visibility was mixed. At the
surface it was about 25 to 30 feet but at depth it dropped to no more then 15. Temperatures
although not measured, were about 49 at best. This area has potential for future kayak trips.
Our kayaks loaded with SCUBA gear
DIVER(S): Ron Stark and Tom Cook DATE: 30 May 1999 LOCATION: Kusodomari Village Seawall CATAGORY: Beach/Photo/Drysuit/Deep MAX DEPTH: 75 Feet AVG DEPTH: 55 Feet BOTTOM TIME: Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: This was our second dive at the same site. Although
we dropped to 75 feet at the start the majority of the dive was between 40
and 60 feet. We spent the time exploring the many boulders, crevices, and
overhangs along the seawall. The incoming tide made for a tricky exit on the
rocks that were now awash with swells.
Our entry point at Kusodomari
DIVER(S): Ron Stark and Tom Cook DATE: 30 May 1999 LOCATION: Kusodomari Village Seawall CATAGORY: Beach/Photo/Drysuit/Deep MAX DEPTH: 85 Feet AVG DEPTH: 65 Feet BOTTOM TIME: Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: The objective of this dive was to determine just
how deep this location really gets, for future advanced classes and deep
dives. After we cleared the steeply sloping rocks and boulders we found
ourselves on a gently sloping sand and gravel bottom at 60 feet. We
followed it straight out into the center of the cove to 85. The slope kept
going but we didn't. I estimate that another 50 feet or so would have taken
us to 100 feet depth but there wasn't anything worth the air. The bottom
is covered with many varieties of starfish and the light penetration was
fair. DATE:17 May 1999 LOCATION: Tappizaki West Side CATAGORY: Beach/Photo/Drysuit MAX DEPTH: 51 Feet AVG DEPTH: 40 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 41 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Now I am really humbled! On our second attempt to get to the arch we ended up in the canyon maze again and unable to locate the arena. About mid-point in the dive I recognized a ridgeline that we normally pass when returning from the arch, except water visibility kept me from getting really oriented. I am fairly certain we initially dropped down very close to the arch but were unable to see it because of the limited vis. Water temps remained the same at 52 surface and 49 bottom. DATE:17 May 1999 LOCATION: Tappizaki West Shore CATAGORY: Beach/Photo/Drysuit MAX DEPTH: 47 Feet AVG DEPTH: 35 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 38 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: The objective of this dive was to visit "Eriko's Arch" but I stand humbled! We went to the right spot but I couldn't spot the yellow submerged buoy marking the entrance to the arch. Either someone removed it or the winter storms tore it free. We followed the canyons and finally came to the sand "arena" which marked the way to the arch but I was down to 900PSI and we turned 50 feet short to return. Visibility was a little murky, about 15-20 maximum. Water temperatures ranged from 52 surface to 49 bottom. DATE:1 May 1999 LOCATION: Japan, Natsudomari Pen, Aburamezaki CATAGORY: Beach/Photo MAX DEPTH: 30 Feet AVG DEPTH: 25 to 30 Feet, this was a really shallow dive! BOTTOM TIME: 41 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: This was the first dive of the 1999 scuba season in northern Japan. Surface temperature was 48F with bottom temps around 42F. I dove in a drysuit and managed to stay comfortably warm in spite of the chilly water. Visibility was only 15 to 20 feet and the algae and plankton blooms had not set in yet. DATE:1 May 1999 LOCATION: Japan, Natsudomari Pen, Aburamezaki CATAGORY: Beach/Photo MAX DEPTH: 25 Feet AVG DEPTH: 20 to 25 Feet, another very shallow dive! BOTTOM TIME: 25 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: THe main purpose of this dive was to show Tom a training site for open water students. We found a line of crab baskets strung paralell to the beach and some trash on the bottom from the winter storms. Our profile was straight out from the beach about 100 meters and then back again. Water temperature was 48F surface and 42F bottom. DATE:12 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, Emily H8K Wreck and Shark Rock CATAGORY: NITROX/Boat/Wreck/Photo MAX DEPTH: 31 Feet AVG DEPTH: 25 to 30 Feet, this was a really shallow dive! BOTTOM TIME:45 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Incredible visibility but a strong current. We first dropped down to a rock outcropping with an overhang popular for white-tipped reef sharks. Luck was good and there were three sleeping under the rock and I got some great photos. After this we swam the short distance to the aircraft wreckage, coming first to the twisted cockpit remains. All the instruments have long ago been stripped and all that remains is the shell, a metal frame seat, and a control yoke someone leaned against the side of the pile. From here I explored one of the outer wing pontoons that remains, and sections of sheet aluminum from the lower bow section. The forward nose turret with its protruding machine gun was sitting upright in the sand forward of the port wing (moved from last year). Visibility was excellent but maintaining a position for photographs was difficult due to the current.
DATE:12 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, Chinsen Maru Wreck CATAGORY: NITROX/Boat/Wreck/Photo MAX DEPTH:30 Feet AVG DEPTH: 25 to 30 Feet BOTTOM TIME:47 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS:The objective of this dive was to see if their were any white-tips sleeping in the recesses of bent metal plating. Swimming against a strong current along the starboard side towards the bow I spotted one but he swam into the interior of wreck. Visibility was excellent and I did manage to expose some nice images as we came back along the port side to the stern. DATE:11 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, Obyan Beach CATAGORY: NITROX/Beach/Night/Photo MAX DEPTH:48 Feet AVG DEPTH: 40-45 Feet BOTTOM TIME:50 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS:I was hoping to see some of the large turkey lionfish common to this site, but luck wasn't with me on this night. It was a wonderful night with crystal clear warmwaters and I did have a chance to expose some frames on sleeping parrot fish and colorful crinoids and soft corals. What makes this site incredible is the contours of the reef. You have to enter through a channel in the reef along an anchored guide rope. Once out of the wave surge the reef opens into a large valley with a white sand bottom. On a very clear night (common in Saipan) you can actually see the milky way through the rippled surface. DATE: 9 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, Outside Reef - Ice Cream Mound CATAGORY: NITROX/Deep/Boat/Photo MAX DEPTH: 52 Feet AVG DEPTH: 45-50 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 49 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Another large coral formation outside the reef. This site is known for the eagle rays that circle the mound. Today we had good luck and three lingered around the top of the formation and I managed to expose several frames of these beautiful creatures. One of them had a missing tail, and I found out later that some of the locals of Saipan pride themselves in the ability to snag and bob eagle ray tails (okay here's a note for you ignorant [expletive deleted]s, how would you like it someone whacked off a piece of your anatomy just for the thrill of it ???) DATE: 9 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, Outside Reef, The Dimple Mound CATAGORY: NITROX/Deep/Boat/Photo MAX DEPTH: 86 Feet AVG DEPTH: 75-80 Feet BOTTOM TIME:35 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: My first time diving outside the reef in Saipan. The dimple is a unique coral head that hosts an abundance of life. This is a great place to take photos or just circle in a slow relaxed swim. DATE: 7 January 1999 LOCATION: Saipan, The Grotto CATAGORY: NITROX/Deep/Shore/Photo MAX DEPTH: 93 Feet AVG DEPTH: 75-80 Feet BOTTOM TIME:36 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: I just had to dive the Grotto while I was here ! Coming to Saipan and not diving here would be the ultimate crime for a serious diver. The "washing machine" surge was relatively calm, making getting to the entry rock simple. Once in we explored a small cave on the right side of the amphitheater shaped cavern before exiting on the right tunnel. I photographed some large sea fans at the entrance to a deep tunnel and then we followed the outer wall back to the large "cathedral" entrance. For me, diving the grotto is a chance to experience what I call "quiet light." The bluish glow inside the cavern gives one a very relaxed and almost religious feeling.
Between these trips to Saipan all of my diving is done in the frigid waters of the Aomori Prefecture, Northern Honshu, Japan. It would take me days to add all of the log entries for a whole season of diving into this site so I've substituted this very brief note instead. Our first dive was made on April 20th, 1998 in the icey cold (48 degrees) waters off the Natsudomari Peninsula of Mutsu Bay. The season concluded with a dive at Aburamezaki, also on the peninsula, on October 12th (Columbus Day). Between these dates I probably logged a total of 50+ dives, hitting almost every site a half-dozen times.
DATE: 17 November 1997 LOCATION: Saipan, the Chinsen Maru Wreck CATAGORY: Boat/Wreck/Photo MAX DEPTH: 31 Feet AVG DEPTH: 25 to 30 Feet, this was a really shallow dive! BOTTOM TIME:50 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS:The Chinsen Maru (actually the Shohan Maru) is a Japanese WWII Freighter. The ship sits upright on a bottom of 30 feet but its hull was blown apart during the 1950's. The stern section protrudes from the water a few inches and makes a good mooring point. The wreck is a scattering of metal plates and debris and a wonderful refuge for marine life. Amidships you can still make out some of the ships main structures, and a large boiler sits exposed among the twisted deck plates. DATE: 17 November 1997 LOCATION: Saipan, the B29 (Emily) Wreck CATAGORY: Boat/Wreck/Video/Photo MAX DEPTH: 35 Feet AVG DEPTH: 30-35 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 52 Minutes DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Excellent photographs of the large radial engines, one with its propeller still virtually intact. The main wing section is still in one piece but the boatlike hull has been ground into pieces scattered over a wide area. A nose machine gun turret was sitting behind the port side of the wing. Lots of cables and wiring drape some parts of the wreck and a monument (in Japanese) sits wedged between rusting oxygen cylinders just forward of the main wing. DATE: 17 November 1997 LOCATION: Saipan, Obyan Beach CATAGORY: Beach/Night/Photo MAX DEPTH: 65 Feet AVG DEPTH: 50-60 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 42 Minutes DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: An awesome night dive under perfect conditions !!! DATE: 17 November 1997 LOCATION: Saipan, Obyan Beach CATAGORY: Beach/Night/Photo MAX DEPTH: 72 Feet AVG DEPTH: 60-65 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 38 Minutes DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: This was actually a twighlight dive. The indigo glow of the water under the setting sun and bright orange and red sky provided us with a surreal feeling as we entered the canyons between reefs. DATE: 18 November 1997 LOCATION: Saipan, The Grotto CATAGORY: Deep/Overhead Environment/Video MAX DEPTH: 81 Feet AVG DEPTH: 65 to 70 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 42 Minutes DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: My second wonderful dive at this site. The objective this time was to take photographs inside the large cathedral entrance on the left side of the cavern. Jacques posed in various locations to add perspective on the size of the opening. Had alot of fun shooting with the Nikonos 15mm wide-angle lens. DATE: 25 October 1997 LOCATION: Hayama, Japan CATAGORY: Photo/Video (Nikonos V - SB101 / Sony MPK40) MAX DEPTH: 44 Feet AVG DEPTH: Around 35 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 43 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: The purpose of this dive was to conduct an underwater reenlistment ceremony for a member of the United States Navy. After conducting the ceremony in waist deep water (for legal reasons), we entered the water on the south side of the beach and snorkeled out about 25 meters before descending. This area is rocky with alot of short kelp growth. Visibility today was not the greatest, about 25 feet. We conducted the ceremony (complete with an American Flag) on a sandy patch and then explored around the crevices and kelp beds. DATE: 25 October 1997 LOCATION: Hayama, Japan CATAGORY: Photo (Nikonos V - SB101) MAX DEPTH: 40 Feet AVG DEPTH: 30 to 35 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 40 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: For our second dive of the day we (actually "I") decided to try the north side of the beach. We had to snorkel about 100 meters out before it got deep enough to descend. The bottom was a combination of lava rock beds and sand patches and the kelp forests were everywhere. We spent the entire dive poking under crevices and observing the fish. I got some interesting photos of not only several species of fish, but also alot of sponges and sea fans on the rocks. DATE: 11 October 1997 LOCATION: Osezaki, Izu Peninsula, Japan CATAGORY: 1st Dive of the day, Video MAX DEPTH: 62 Feet AVG DEPTH: Between 50 and 60 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 19 Minutes total dive time (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Our entry point was at the steps in front of the Apollo Dive Shop near our setup site. We snorkeled out to the end of the first pier and descended to bottom at 40 feet. From here we proceeded along the rocks to a pile of metal grating and assorted junk that was home to alot of different species. We lingered here for at least five minutes taking video of all of the life. There were Lionfish, Wrasses's, Moorish Idols, and many other fish living around this junk pile. From here we checked out another small pile of debris before returning to shallower water at the base of the pier. I looked for morays in the rocks but didn't see any this time. Visibility was up to 40 feet today and the sun was shining brightly. There was a strong breeze that churned up some surface spray but no real waves to speak of since the cove is sheltered. We had earlier checked the west side but found it unsafe to dive because of 4-5 foot waves breaking on the rocks and high winds. DATE: 7 September 97 LOCATION: Osezaki, Izu Peninsula, Japan CATAGORY: Repetitive (2), Photo, Video MAX DEPTH: 32 Feet AVG DEPTH: Between 25 and 30 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 55 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: 2nd Dive of the morning. The entry point was on the east side of the point at the northernmost paved entry ramp. We followed the edge of the reef/rock line in a southerly direction against a slightly noticeable current. There were a few Moorish Idols to bee seen, but again the most prominant and beautiful fish were the Lionfish hovering over the sandy bottom at the base of the rocks. The visibility this morning was 50 plus feet and the sunny weather gave good light penetration to the bottom. Unfortunately for me the battery on my video camera picked this dive to die, but I still got some good video of the Lionfish and other divers. The best part of this dive was actually the end when I broke surface and was treated to a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji !!! DATE: 7 September 97 LOCATION: Osezaki, Izu Peninsula, Japan CATAGORY: Deep, Video MAX DEPTH: 130 Feet AVG DEPTH: Between 85 and 65 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 27 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: This was an early morning deep dive off of the northwest tip of the point. The entry was over a field of rough rocks but once we got in the water and got buoyant it wasn't too bad. The rock field gently sloped to 30 feet and then made a 40 degree drop to the deep blue depths. We followed the bottom contours to a depth of 130 and looked around for just a few minutes. Suprisingly there were alot of sea whips everywhere and visibility/light penetration was remarkably good. Not to eat up alot of air, and wanting to see more colorful fish we ascended to 85 feet and began a parallel swim along the slope. There were many Goatfish feeding with their "whiskers" in the sandy spots. I also spotted a few Racoon Butterfly Fish floating around the soft corals and sea whips. For a safety stop we continued a parallel course along the rocks at 15 feet. It was here I spotted a Spotted Moray poking his head out of the rocks. He extended his body a lttle when I brought the video camera up to him, and I got a great shot. DATE: 6 September 97 LOCATION: Osezaki, Izu Peninsula, Japan CATAGORY: Repetitive (4), Night, Deep MAX DEPTH: 70 Feet AVG DEPTH: 50 to 55 Feet BOTTOM TIME: 45 Minutes (using an UWATEC Alladin-Sport Computer) DIVE HIGHLIGHTS: Okay, I know this breaks the rules of doing the deepest dive of the day first, but hey, it was well worth it and the depth was "in moderation". With our green chemlights glowing our group of five divers headed out from the side of the pier into the cove. We descended to bottom at 30 feet just off of the pier's end. There were alot of "very" spiney urchins here so everybody was very careful of where they made contact. Our "leader" took us on a clockwise course through the cove that I can honestly say was my best night dive in a few years! I counted over 8 different Moray Eels amongst the rocks and in an old tire. I also spotted a bright red Scorpion Fish, some beautiful Anemones, and many crabs. I was disappointed to see so much trash on the bottom, but the again this is Japan! Since this area is a dive resort, the number of divers in the water this night was hard to believe. There were constant blasts of light everywhere from strobes, and green chemlights were cris-crossing the area like traffic on a highway. At one point two of us ended up following a group of Japanese divers by mistake (DOH !!!!).