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I had my first diving in Japan over the Golden Week holiday. It's not
actually a full week, but 3 holidays fall on consecutive days from May 3rd
to May 5th. When it falls right with a weekend it can be a really great
break. But it is also a time of traffic jams, crowds, and expensive travel
(prices double at least). We traveled to Chiba prefecture to Banda Dive shop
in the city of Tateyama. Diving in Japan in the Kanto region(areas
around\near Tokyo) at least is greatly affected by the commercial fishing
associations\unions. They decide if and when you can dive, and each diving
outfit is assigned a couple of sites. So at the Banda Dive shop, they have 2
or 3 sites which they can bring divers.
 
As my last dives had been in the Philippines during the end of
March\beginning of April, the diving in Japan would provide greatly
different dive conditions-especially regarding temperature and visibility.
 
Monday, May 3, 1999
weather: overcast; some rain
2 dives.
 
1st dive: Matsune
depth: 14 meters
Water temp: 14 degrees Celsius\58 degrees Fahrenheit
Visibility: 1.5 meters
 
As this was my first dive in my 6mm john and 6mm jacket, I dove vastly
underweighted. That coupled with a suddenly leaking mask and near zero
visibility did not make for the most enjoyable dive. After having to surface
to get some more weight, the dive then turned into a good introduction to
buddy diving in much lower vis circumstances than I had previously in more
tropical locations of SE Asia.
Alot of interesting sea life; the people I was diving with were excellent at
pointing out many of the smaller critters. The problem is I don't Know many
of the names in English-just Japanese. There were allot of moray eels,
gobies (?), shrimp, crab, lobster, and much more.
 
2nd dive: Tire Reef
depth: 12m
water temp: 14 degrees Celsius
visibility: 3 meters
 
This is an artificial reef constructed for the most part from (that's right,
you guessed it) tires. Visibility picked up a bit and saw similar sealife as
before.
 
Tuesday, May4,l999
weather: heavy rain
3 dives
 
The nice thing about scuba diving-you don't have to be rained out.
 
Generally more of the same.
Visibility ranged from 2-5 meters
temperature around 14 deg. Celsius
The swells could cause some interesting moments.
That afternoon we visited a site ''covertly," as it isn't on the proscribed
list. Lotsa big fish.
 
Wednesday, May 5, 1999
weather: sunny
3 dives
 
1st dive: another "secret" site
depth: 24m to 10m
water temp: 14 deg. Celsius
visibility: 3-4m
current: medium-strong
 
great weather. Another site technically not on the list. Basically a
hill\mound shaped reef climbing from approx. 24m to 10m. Medium to strong
current & swells. Lotsa life.
 
2nd & 3rd dives
revisited previous sites.
 
All & all an enjoyable 3 days. This week end I will experience another
Japanese diving experience. I will dive at the Izu Peninsular famous for
among other things, the crowds. Apparently, the divers number in the 100's
on any given day. Such is life in Japan.
 
William Bragg
Kawagoe, Japan
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