Once we arrived back on the ferry, we checked into our hotel only a few blocks from the port, the Vessel hotel. Using trusty TripAdvisor, we found a local restaurant serving the famous Ishigaki beef, Sumibi Yakiniku Takesantei only a block away from our hotel.
Again, only a little English was spoken, but we managed to get by with the help of hand gestures, my little Japanese skills, and the friendly staff. We ordered a dinner set that came with Ishigaki beef, veggies, kimchi, salad, and of course had to order some garlic (Nin'niku ニンニク (pronounced knee - knee - goo) - one of my favorite words I've learned so far! #dadwouldbeproud #ofthegarlicofcourse) This was like many Japanese restaurants, where you get to cook the food on the stove in front of you. #greatbusinessidea The Ishigaki beef was pretty good - but hard to compare once you've had the melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef!
The next morning, we were picked up for our diving trip by Umicoza Diving. Ishigaki is very popular for manta rays, but unfortunately, due to water conditions, we didn't get to go to the spots where they are most frequented. We did still get two good dives in though! Harvey (who was recommended by our diving instructor and his wife in Okinawa) picked us up from our hotel and took us to their site to get ready for our dives. It was a bit chilly out, so Harvey's wife hooked us up with some extra wet suit padding and jackets for the boat, as well as hot water on board to warm us up after our dives. #spoiled
Our first dive was to Mash I and Mash II - named after the huge mushroom-like coral structures about 10 meters (32 feet) deep.
Here we got to see all types of fish including Garden Eels (as soon as we got down to the bottom), sea snakes, ghost shrimp, electric clam (literally looked like a little lightening bolt or taser lighting up in it which was pretty cool), batfish, a large fish (maybe tuna?), and little finding Nemos. One of these little Nemos came out and took a nibble on my finger - guess I got too close to it's home! #goodthingIwaswearinggloves
After having some tea and relaxing on the boat between dives, we headed out for our second dive.
Second dive site: Osaki Hanagoi Reef (or Anthias Reef)
This site is like a coral garden. We saw all types of fish and a cuttlefish towards the end of our dive. Check out the pics and videos below. All courtesy of our dive master, Harvey :)
After diving, we headed back to Umicoza for some lunch. Our guide, Harvey, and his wife, Miki, were great. And they even surprised Nate with a 30 year Umicoza anniversary gift (shirt and special awamori) for his birthday.
For lunch we had some yummy mapo tofu (one of my dad's favorite dishes). It was spicy and hit the spot! #yum #couldeatfordays
After diving, we were dropped back off at our hotel. We showered, and got ready for dinner. We ate at a nice little Italian spot, Dioniso. The owner (and cook and bartender!) grew up in Rome so he knew his shit. Nate had some homemade gnocchi in Gorgonzola sauce, and I had their daily pasta special with prawns, finished off with some tiramisu. As expected by any chef from Rome, the pasta was delicious. It felt intimate and like a home cooked meal. We chatted with the owner about politics, life, and what was going on in the world for an hour or two after dinner and then headed on our way. #lovethesetypesofevenings #goodfoodandgoodconversation
After dinner, we headed to a little Spanish bar for a drink or two before heading back to our hotel for the night getting ready for Nate's big 33 the next day!
Follow in our Footsteps:
Sumibi Yakiniku Takesantei (Ishigaki beef spot)
2 Chome-2-4 Hamasakichō, Ishigaki-shi, Okinawa-ken 907-0013, Japan
Umicoza (Scuba diving) (loved them!)
Dioniso (Italian restaurant)
270-10 Ishigaki | 2F Pearl Mansion, Ishigaki 907-0023, Okinawa Prefecture
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!