Okinawa (Part II)

May 15

After Part I was posted with all black & white photos, a friend queried as to whether or not future posts would be in color.  The correct answer is: b) Yes!  I quickly discovered the cheapest and most efficient to catalogue my time on the island was through color slides.  And in those two years, I took boxcar loads.  In this modern era, however, the most effective means of display is digital.  So a few years back, with time on my retired hands, I began scanning slides.  I did not do them all (I think I just quit), but I think I highlighted about a thousand.  Hang in there . . . 

[As you’ll recall from the original posting, Okinawa is a small island.  You can, and we did, circumnavigate it in a long afternoon.  The trip was made easier when I ditched my 1965 Mazda for a brand new 1970 Daihatsu, for only $800.  This may have been the first trip in that car in August 1970 . . . ]

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[If you drove directly east of our base in Sukiran you would shortly arrive at the Pacific Ocean.  So this is a good spot to include all the military posts on the island.]

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[This, and above and below, are of the Navy’s White Beach Area on the SE side, i.e., the Pacific . . . ]

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[Any time you crossed over the island to the east or the west, you had to traverse the central “mountainous” spine . . . ]

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[Now we’re back on the east side of the island.  I remember those buildings, just can’t remember what they were.  Small town or resort?]

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[You’ll get a feel for the location of the above photos as that’s the Motobu Peninsula in the distance . . . ]

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[It’s the large jut out about 2/3’s of the way up the west side on the East China Sea, if that makes sense.  It was known to us as Yaetake (yigh-tok-ee), because that was the name of the military installation there . . . ]

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[Not uncommon here, or Hawaii, the occasional rain burst during the day . . . ]

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[Sun may be here, but it’s raining there . . . ]

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[skerry is a small rocky island, usually too small for human habitation.  It may simply be a rocky reef.  A skerry can also be called a low sea stack (Wikipedia).  Okinawa has thousands of these . . . ]

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[We weren’t going all the way to Yaetake on this trip . . . ]

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[It appears this was a photo op stop with, I believe, the town of Onna ahead.  This is the photo that confirmed I was driving the Daihatsu because that’s its white roof in the foreground . . . ]

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[Always stop for skerry views . . . ]

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[Likely Onna, a local fishing village . . . ]

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[Gorgeous scenery; skerries abound.  The island of Ie Shima is in the left center of the photo, just off the end of the Motobu Peninsula.  More on Ie Shima later . . . ]

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[And this must be Camp Hansen, a marine base.  Communications technicians from our Ft. Buckner also did a lot of work here . . . ]

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[Another overlook of skerries, Yaetake, and the tall building in the center right likely marks the city of Nago, population 62,000, at the base of the peninsula . . . ]

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[Ie Shima can be spotted between the two skerries on the left . . . ]

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[It’s time for the beach map . . . ]

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[Moon Beach and Manza Beach on the west side were our most frequented beaches . . . ]

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[The neighborhood, looking like a sporty resort area 50 years ago . . . ]

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[A part-time skerry?]

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[The isthmus out to Manza Beach, with Yaetake looming in the background . . . ]

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[And again . . . ]

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[And now for a little 50-years perspective.  Here is what Moon Beach @ Onna (top) and Manza Beach (bottom) look like today.  Maybe it’s time for a return visit?]

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[And now we’re heading back home.  A beautiful drive along the East China Sea in the following 4 photos . . . ]

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[Ahhh, ye ole Daihatsu.  Ferried a bunch of guys to and from the beaches and golf courses . . . ]

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[And based on the above 4 photos, as good a place as any to stick this in.  “The Long and Winding Road” will always mark 1970 in Okinawa for me, it always seemed to be on the radio when we drove to the beach, as well as knowing it was the farewell song for the Beatles . . . ]

[And we’re home – looks like some ball games going on as the sun sets on China.]

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I had examined myself pretty thoroughly and discovered that I was unfit for military service.  ~  Joseph Heller

Up Next:  Well, I did go to a track meet yesterday . . .

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