Calm before the Storm

Tropical storm? What storm, it was one of the prettiest days on the water we have ever seen. Apparently everyone thought so, the water was busy with dive and tour boats everywhere. The sky was clear blue, the water a blue crystal. No wind and just a bit of south swell. The day seemed at complete odds to the dire storm watch messages on the radio. We will do the storm thing tomorrow, today we dive…

Manta
Manta ray (Manta birostris) cruises the reef at Garden Eel Cove
With a storm watch out we did not go far from harbor. For both dives we used one of the moorings at Garden Eel Cove, the same moorings used for the famous Kona Manta Dives. These moorings also offer decent daytime diving, with rich coral and one of the shallowest places you can visit garden eels.

At one point I filmed a manta cruising the reef right below me. Just after it passed by the manta swung about and came right at me. I continued to film and the manta bumped the camera. Yes, it was that kind of day. The mantas were coming in close. These manta are familiar with the idea that divers mean food. During the night manta dives the dive lights attract plankton, creating a buffet for the mantas. The behavior seems to spill over into the daytime, with the mantas coming very close to divers.

Hawaiian Garden Eels
Garden eels (Gorgasia hawaiiensis ) at Garden Eel Cove
On the second dive Deb and I wandered in the other direction from the rest of the group. Crossing under another dive boat we dropped to the sand in the corner of the cove. Here is one of the shallowest places you can visit a garden eel colony. Usually you must drop to the sand at the base of the reef to visit the eels, 70-100ft down. Lying on the sand my gauge read 57 feet as I waited for the eels to poke back out of their burrows. A little patience rewarded Deb and I, as the eels re-emerged and allowed us to get a few decent photos.

After the last dive we often head for harbor. Today we just hung out at the mooring for a while, it was such a nice day. Out of air? Not problem, a mask and fins is enough, just take another swim.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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