Okinawa (I)

One reason for visiting Okinawa was to see the Churanmi Aquarium which is the second largest aquarium in the world. It was an amazing experience to view gigantic fishes from a  huge window with unheard dimensions of 8.2 m in height and 22.5 m in width.

The design intention was that visitors will be  unaware of the presence of the window. Everything opaque were removed from their sight except fishes and water, so that visitors feel that they are totally immersed in the sea. This was made possible by joining together super large acrylic panels (measuring 8.5 m (H) x 3.5 m (W) x 4 cm (D)) without using any reinforcing materials.

The acrylic panels were glued together. The panels not only have to resist very high hydraulic pressures but also have to accommodate large variation in dimensions as a result of temperature changes and water absorption; this was altogether quite an engineering challenge.

Also, the aquarium has adopted an open system which intakes  sea water from the ocean, circulates in the tank and discharges back to ocean once again.

The aquarium is divided into three sections according to the depth. In the shallower part, we  can see coral reefs and coral fishes.

There are as many as  800 different coral colonies representing 70 different species of coral. Fishes swimming jovially in and out of the coral reefs help in controlling seaweed and zoanthids which inhibit the growth of coral.

The lionfish looked exceptionally beauty in the aquarium. They are well known for their ornate beauty, venomous spines and unique tentacles.

With that we descended into the deepest and mysterious part of the aquarium.

In the deepest part of the aquarium, you can see creatures like a transparent type of shrimp which only lives at very big depths. There are lots of other small creatures living at deep seas, some feeding on bacteria which in turn feeds on deep sea nutrients in the seabed.

There was so so much to see even when we were back on the surface. The dolphins show in the Okicha Theatre nearby gave us some hearty laughs when the clever dolphins come up every time from the water and making splashes.

The trip to Okinawa was unforgettable and I must say, the aquarium is  the best part. We were fortunate to have seen three big whale sharks (with babies) coming together and took their photos. It was indeed  an eye- opening experience which can rarely be seen in other places!

14 thoughts on “Okinawa (I)

  1. Okinawa, the fierce battleground and killing fields where a huge number of Japanese and Allied troops lost their lives before the bombing of Hiroshima and Negashaki at the close of the Pacific War. It has been recently hyped up as vacation destination by local tourist agents but I wonder whether there is much worth seeing besides the aquarium and immense cemeteries.

    • Yes, it was the scene of one the most bloodiest battles in WWII. Surprisingly, there are still something worth seeing. I will report in the next post.

  2. You alluded to the engineering challenge-no doubt, structural . The marine biologists have a much greater challenge-the sustainability of the marine life. Ocean Park, by comparison, is just for tourists and they have made it worst in competing for more ‘dollars’

    • The Okinawa aquarium has a 1.8m diameter offshore sea water intake pipe which takes in water 350m off the coast at 20m depth. Also, they have a closed high pressure filtration system with polyester membrane and silicate sand for the filtration. This is a big challenge for the E&M engineers.

  3. The scenery is so beautiful. This made us who are still hard-working everyday jealous of it.
    Now you know you made the right decision, this should be made earlier.

  4. I just read that there are more centenarians in Okinawa than anywhere in the world. If we wish to live longer and be as happy as them, perhaps, we should move there.

    • Make sense. The cost of living and price of property are likely to be less expensive than in the main islands of Japan. There is not much economy there. Young people have gone to cities on the main islands; many buildings are aged. Price of properties may surge if Okinawa is successfully hyped up as a tourist destination.

  5. Our diminutive Ocean Park pales in comparison (but I love ours anyway) because I can’t go to Okinawa (yet). My uncle comes from there and I remember my aunt and cousins visiting a couple of years ago – they loved the “butanding” or the whale shark and had the actual diving experience here after they visited Okinawa. But after weeks of hearing about them my cousins got tired of them.

    The engineering designs you described were used here in our local ocean park as well. It really is an amazing feat and in Okinawa truly mind-boggling when I compare the scale of it based on the topmost photo. Amazing!

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