Holidays at Miyakojima ! (part.2)
First day on Miyakojima. I had a very defined program but a girl of the guesthouse wanted to join me so I had to adapt it a little...
At 8am, we took the bus to the small Shimajiri (島尻) wharf with the aim to go to the tiny island of Ôgamijima (大神島) . From the nearest bus stop, we had only 14 minutes to reach the boat and was very fair. The driver advised us to call the pier saying that we arrived and through our call, they kindly waited for us 2 minutes.
The weather was still very cloudy when we arrived and it is with great regret that we discovered that the sea was gray. Pending the return of the sun (I was joking saying it was going to rise with the tide ... I was right), we started by browsing the small road that leads north to the island. We saw the big rocks that are the emblem of Ogamijima. Brought by a tsunami in the 18th century, they have not moved since. To say that a wave could drop these huge rocks like common pebbles ... mother nature is just awesome.
First contact with the fauna of the island too. There were thousands of small red crabs who lived their life on the edge. I regretted not being able to see bigger specimens but it seems they only come out at night. The vegetation growing on coral stones instantly reminded me of the jungle Iriomotejima.
On Ogamijima, there are no beaches, no museums, no activities. People come to walk a bit and to do some snorkeling. There are beautiful spots just a few meters from the edge. You go down by concrete stairs, walk a minute and you just have to put your head under the water to see all kinds of fishes and marine animals. I was surprised to see coral, clown fish and other sea stars so close to the edge and surface.
I'm a good swimmer but the sea frightens me. I don't like not knowing where I put my feet, not see if there are creatures around me, especially jellyfishes that make me very scared. But I love watching marine animals, especially the latter which fascinate me but I'm always afraid that there is one near me when I swim and it blocks me. For this reason, I had never dared snorkeling and this first experience will remain engraved in my memory. be able to walk (so you can see what might happen) and having someone with me made me overcome this fear. Well, I wasn't this strong and I quickly returned to the stairs to pick up some shells and wandering on the pier while my friend ventured far from the shore.
We enjoyed sea for a while before dry our swimsuits in the sun by walking on the road to the east of the island. Then we visited the town which offers stunning views of the surrounding area. There was nobody outside, we could hear only birds, cicadas and some snatches of conversation coming from the television that the inhabitants was watching.
It must be said that there are not many tourists on Ogamijima and those who dare coming are spoiled. We were able to speak with the manager who told us a lot about the past and present of the island: when the school closed, the decline of the population, etc ... The future is quite sad : there are only 29 inhabitants and the average age is 65 years. They are trying to build on tourism to encourage people to move there but life is harsh: no school, no shops, I do not even know if there is a doctor.
It made me feel very sad so I wanted to do something for this island, even if it is something simmple as a blog post. That's why I decided to talk a lot about Ogami on this blog and I decided I will go again on my next trip to Miyako.
After the factory, we wanted to go on Ikemajima, 5km away. Again, a group of young men stopped and we ended up going to the beach with them. In return, a lady drove us a little further on the bus line. Thank you to all of them for their kindness.
I returned in most places so here's just a picture of the Funakusu (フナクス) beach which is on Ikemajima. There was no way to it so we had to go down among the rocks. We had the beach for ourselves : a real plesure.