Saturday on the Puakō Wall

The email is brief… Let’s go diving, my place 9am – Pete. It is all I need to plan a Saturday, just need to get the tanks filled.

Pete Shoots the Frogfish
Pete in the process of irradiating a painted frogfish at Puakō.
Just three of us, Pete and a Akamai student intern at Keck also named Andrew. Andrew is spending a few weeks with us and building some optical bench heaters to keep the laser stabilized.

Conditions are pretty good, no swell or surf to create trouble crossing the shallow shoreline reef. Visibility could be better, it was only 30-40 feet. Andrew thought it was good, we looked at him and quickly let him know that this was downright murky for Puakō.

The usual dive plan for Puakō… Work the wall. Pete dives this section of the reef several times a week if the weather is good. We just follow him. If he bypasses some spot, it is not worth the time. Much of the dive is spend working the wall at 30ft depth and wandering in and out of the small caves that penetrate the reef.

Painted Frogfish
A bright red painted frogfish (Antennarius pictus) at 25′ depth, Puakō
First stop is a bright red painted frogfish Pete had found the previous day while freediving. Sitting in a coral head above a large arch it is nicely situated. This time we have the heavy camera gear and work over the little fish, taking turns. While Pete shoots the frogfish I wait my turn and shoot Pete.

A lone turtle is found at the cleaning station, the usual swarm of tangs and surgeons nibbling the algae from the turtle’s shell. Midway through the dive we take a quick excursion over the face to check out the garden eels at about 80ft. With my last air I shoot a trio of racoon butterflyfish raiding the eggs of a sergeant major.

Beyond the frogfish there is nothing particularly special about the dive. It is simply a nice day to spend a little time underwater. As we come ashore we are not the only divers using the beach access point. There is another group that landed just ahead of us, we chat about what we have seen, sharing the easy camaraderie of fellow divers. Everyone is enjoying the morning, it is hard not to. Another dive on a pleasant first day of summer weekend.

Author: Andrew

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

One thought on “Saturday on the Puakō Wall”

  1. Hi Andrew-
    Always enjoy the diversity of your posts! Unfortunately, I couldn’t load the larger version of the frogfish image – the dreaded error 404…
    -Dean

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