Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Obyan Beach

Obyan Beach is not a protected area, but it is one of the three most popular dive sites on Saipan (the other two being Lau Lau Bay and the Grotto). You can go there at almost any time on any day and see several trucks owned by Japanese dive shops. I've heard that over 100 divers dive there each a cost of about $50 per dive.

Hello, economic activity!

This is what you might see:

There is also activity taking place on the land. I've seen Japanese photographers and models doing fashion shoots on the beach:

The beach is also a popular spot with tourists and locals alike. There are two WWII era Japanese bunkers, an ancient latte stone site, and, of course, white sandy beaches with a great view of Tinian. On any given weekend one can see dozens of people barbecuing, swimming, snorkeling, spear fishing, and boogie boarding.

There is one thing that has changed about Obyan Beach since I was a kid, though; People are no longer allowed to drive on the beach. In years past we didn't know that driving on the beach kills vegetation and impacts the sand. This can have a negative, if not devastating, effect on erosion rates (the sedimentation from which can kill coral) and our turtle population. These things tend to upset Japanese divers.

Goodbye, economic activity!

We now know better, so please don't drive on the beach! And don't litter!

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