Underwater Pumpkin Carving

By Kevin

Since arriving in Okinawa, Japan I have been able to complete scuba diver certification, and enjoying the underwater world so much, I have also encouraged Heather, Pie, and Bug to become certified as well. These certifications have opened up a whole new world of experiences and opportunities for us. One of which has been underwater pumpkin carving. On a sunny Saturday in October Bug and I met the other 9 teams at Kadena Marina to compete. Once the first timer started we were able to cut a lid, remove the seeds from inside the pumpkin, and use a grease pencil to mark our design on the outside of the pumpkin. We were then issued an ice pick and a butter knife to complete our pumpkin. We geared up in our scuba kit, made our way to the water and descended to about 12 feet below the surface where we had 30 minutes to complete our pumpkin carving. This, of course, added some new degrees of difficulty. We had to keep a hold of the pumpkin to keep it from floating up to the surface, we had fish swimming through feasting on the discarded chunks of pumpkin, and we each had a scuba regulator in our mouth, so we could not speak to each other. We had to use hand signals and gestures to coordinate our carving efforts. The judges swam back and forth checking on the teams to ensure we were not cheating by adding extra dive weights to our pumpkin to keep it on the bottom, by using un-approved carving tools such as dive knives, or any other unfair advantages we may have thought up. At the conclusion of the 30-minute time limit we surfaced and made our way back to the beach. Our pumpkins were displayed and judged, and while we did not take home the trophy, it was an enjoyable unique event that many of Bug’s peers have not had the opportunity in which to participate.

Adding Another Bubble Maker

By: Kevin

When we arrived in Okinawa last year we were told there is world-class scuba diving here. We also were educated about all the aquatic life that could injure us in the waters around Okinawa. It took us a few months to determine the true safety of the water, but once we made it past that, we have been exploring the water ever since. I, Kevin, got scuba certified in September of last year, and Heather followed suit in October. Well, now we have a third diver in the family, Pie. Pie successfully passed her Open Water scuba certification this month!

Heather and I have really been enjoying exploring the many colors of the reef, the fish and other aquatic life that live here, and the adventure of being 60 feet under the waves, an area previously inaccessible to us. We have found fouled anchors that had to be cut free from whatever vessel they previously held, discarded sections of large pipe, a Japan Post mailbox, and even a Tiki man carved into the side of a reef that supports a river channel marker. We knew that if we passed up the opportunity to allow the kids to become certified we, and they, would most likely regret it.

Japan Post Mailbox (40′ underwater)

Pie did very well in her class, even showing up her adult classmates in book knowledge and completed her pool and ocean dives successfully. Pie’s instructor was kind and patient and even allowed me to tag along for fun as Pie completed her class ocean dives. I cannot wait to be able to explore the waters with her and see her reactions to the things we find underwater. In the near future, once he finishes with his soccer season, Bug is excited to start his training for scuba diving as well.