Monday, August 30, 2010

August 29, 2010: Taketomi Island Day Trip and Tour

As April was beginning to feel better today, we went on a tour to Taketomi Island. It is a small island that highlights traditional Okinawan life and is a 10 minute ferry ride away from Ishigaki harbour.

We took a cab to the ferry terminal and took the tour company that was suggested to us by one of Bill’s Sapporo professors. We chose the full Taketomi Island that was supposed to take about three hours. The first part was the ferry ride to the island, followed directly by a glass bottom boat tour of the coral of the island. The glowing blue coral was especially cool and we got to see clown fish in anemone and other gloriously coloured fish and corals.

Next we were led to a museum type place where we awaited a bus tour of the island (actually a mini-van). April struggled with nauseau from the Cipro antibiotics. It was very hot. The tour of the island showed us some graveyard, one of the “star sand” beaches (we were expecting something larger than the microscopic sand they put in our hands (these star pieces were few and far between probably because they sell vats of it around the island and at the airport). We then were taken past the best beach for swimming on the island, Kondoi, so we could see it. Then onto a place where we would have a Water Buffalo Cart tour.

We waited for about half an hour and then were led out to a cart pulled by a water buffalo. We felt kind of sorry for the water buffalo who had a hibiscus attached to his horn and had to drag all of us around (not to mention having to defecate and urinate in front of us into a bucket held up by the driver- provoking some fellow at the front to dry heave much to Bill’s delight). The driver could sign and play the traditional Okinawan guitar- Shinsa. Then we were dropped off back at the place where we had caught the ride. We had  to quickly grab some Yoneyama noodles before being picked up by a “bus” going to the beach we decided to go to for swimming instead of taking in another museum.

The bus dropped us off at Kondoi beach where the sun promptly left replaced by grey storm clouds, whistling wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. We swam until it seemed to dangerous with the storm approaching fast. Then we showered and changed. Bill sat and enjoyed the grey clouds while April looked for shells and got soaked in a torrential downpour. Then we waited for a bit and pet a black and white bobtail cat before venturing over to a waiting bus to ask if he was the one that was there to pick us up (we had to pre-schedule a pick up but of course we had no watch or clock and the weather was only getting worse). He did not confirm or deny that he was there for us but instead took us to the harbour where we caught the next ferry back enjoying the stormy weather back on the short ride. We walked to the bus station and caught the bus back to our hotel where we could actually have a warm shower and some dinner. We had a good sleep.

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