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HANEJI DAM | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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A nine-year construction project, Haneji Dam --- just three miles above downtown Nago City --- finally began contributing to Okinawa's water supply in 2005.




Back in 1853, the exploring party from Commodore Perry's BLACK SHIPS SQUADRON explored the entire long and narrow watershed of the Haneji River, and called it FERN GLEN in their report to the U.S. Government. In the upper reaches of the valley, the numerous ferns lining the river were measured at at up to 35 feet in height (over 10 meters), and the thick colony of Fern Trees stayed with them all the up into the mountains !


Back in the 1980s I replicated their "Exploration" of this valley --- making the same trek up the river-bed from Highway 58 to the top of the interior mountains, then down the other side 'till I came to the shores of the Philippine Sea at Oura Bay, just north of Camp Schwab.


I did that twice.....and I was lucky to see the numerous tall Fern Trees that grew there.


Today, the Ferns that existed for centuries are all gone, and my old adventures along the river-bed are now distant memories buried at the bottom of this reservoir, under almost 200 feet of water .


The reservoir covers an area equal to 44 times the size of the new Sports Stadium down in Naha (Okinawa Cellular Stadium) and holds enough water to fill over 65,000 "swim club" swimming pools of the 25-meter-length type found at most venues on Okinawa.


This Dam also spent quite a bit on "Public Art" as part of the fine details --- I will show some of it in the days ahead.




Because is does NOT share any boundaries with US MILITARY PROPERTY, the reservoir is open to all who want to bring their own canoes or kayaks for a day of exploring the many back-channels and feeder valleys.


[ gas-powered motor boats. Not sure about electric, though].


Completely FREE, all you have to do is register at the Dam Office (seen at the far side in the photo) so they know how many are in your party, and to make sure you have the required safety vests and etc.


Once in the water, you have a whole new world of a photographic adventure that those of us up on the road cannot get to ! ^_^


BELOW THE DAM is a "Kiddie River" and campground area. Great for day-picnics, too.


Of course, public bathrooms are here and there, and sports facilities are available.


A hidden "Fish Ladder" actually works on a siphon principle to bring fish and prawns up to the reservoir from downstream --- you can see those that have newly arrived in a special pond at the top.


FINALLY, like most of the other Dams on Okinawa, there is a great little Museum on the first floor of the Dam Office.









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Taken on August 17, 2012