The opening ceremony of the 2015 Zamami Whale-Watching Season was a great success! The Zamami Tourism Association and the Whale-Watching Association held the event in the Valley of Gangala: Cave Cafe. Recently, archaeologists in the cave unearthed human remains dating back over 9000 years. Visitors immerse themselves in history simply by entering the venue. And who knew history could provide such great atmosphere! Bright incandescent stage lights illuminating thousands of years old stalactites juxtaposed with life-size images and underwater footage of humpback whales created quite the enchanting mood for the evening.
The night began with a press conference across the street at the Okinawa World theme park. Other than the Zamami Times, there were five different news and media outlets, one of which was a television station, covering the opening ceremony. Following the press conference, attendees made their way into the cave cafe. The aforementioned atmosphere afforded by the unique venue was topped off by tasteful music. Once everyone had arrived, the Zamami Village Mayor, Mr. Satoru Miyazato, presented a speech to kick of the new year of whale watching. Other partners and sponsors in attendance also gave speeches, and then the festivities began.
While visitors enjoyed dinner and drinks, Zamami’s hula-dancing group performed a few numbers on stage. The elementary-school performers hands down received the greatest ovation. In addition to the hula performance, Mayor Miyazato and representatives from the primary sponsors cut a ceremonial whale ribbon to yet again celebrate another year of successful year of whale watching.
The final feature of the night, and certainly the biggest treat, was a live concert by the Okinawan artist Syakari. A Chatan-cho native, Syakari gained quite a bit of fame nationwide thanks to her stunning vocal prowess and tight back-up band.
Although the opening ceremony has come and gone, the life-size whale-picture panels are still in the cave cafe and will be on display until February 22. If you’re already heading to Okinawa World for your fix of Ryukyu Culture, make the trip a set by visiting the cave cafe for a quiet break in a wonderful space (located across the street.) And definitely come to Zamami Island for the real whale-watching deal!
The Zamami Whale Watching Association homepage has details about booking whale watching tours.