The Aqua Safari Back in the Water

Engine trouble. Bad enough that the boat has spent a couple months on shore, one engine replaced and the other rebuilt. Thus it has been a while since I have been out diving, since late October! Had the weather been better shore diving may have been a higher priority. The winter weather has been rough, with high surf warnings a common item in the morning news.

Cave Entry
One of the many entries to the cave at Pentagon
Since the gear had sat for several months the first order of business was a good checkout of everything. The tanks only had a few hundred pounds of pressure in them, but enough to check the regulators and computer. The valves and buoyancy bladder in the BCD held pressure. I did need a new mask strap, solved with a trip down the hill to the Blue Wilderness shop. Purchasing two, one for the mask, one for the spares kit. Both of the tanks are due visual inspection, need to get that taken care of.

Arriving in the Makalawena area we found a dozen boats milling about. Only one thing would attract that may boats… Dolphins. The shallow water here is a good place to find dolphins and whales. Sure enough, there were dozens of dolphins about and pods of humans snorkeling between the boats in an attempt to see the dolphins in the water. The dolphins seemed intrigued by the boats and swimmers. A group came over to check us out and surf in our wake.

We tried to locate a dive mooring at Makalawena called LAX without success, we need to find some coordinates. Thus we decided to head for a favorite spot, Pentagon off of Anaehoʻomalu Bay.

It is easy to love Pentagon. There are some great caves, arches and overhangs to explore here. The site is quite shallow, 20-40ft depth despite being located nearly half a mile from shore, a very unusual situation on a coastline that usually drops deep quickly. We worked the wall between the Five Arches buoy and the Pentagon buoy. The eponymous Pentagon cave has multiple entrances and exits, more than five I think. With the shallow depth it is easy to make this a long dive, most of us made it over 80 minutes on standard aluminum 80 tanks.

It was the whale song that is the most memorable experience of the day. It was loud. As we skirted the reef wall the bellows and clicks seemed to be coming from just a short distance away. I could see everyone’s heads swiveling, checking the blue water off the reef for dark shapes sliding by. I was doing it too, expecting a whale to appear at any moment. They were probably much further out than we could see underwater, but they did pass along shore, the song slowly receding into the distance.

As usual we ate well. Mark and Patti brought various munchies, cheese and crackers, Sky brought a good salad, and I brought sandwich supplies from the deli. Our surface interval was spent eating and enjoying the warm sunlight. Perhaps a bit too much, my brow is a nice shade of red.

The second dive site was Garden Eel Cove, a relatively sheltered spot where Keahole Point blocks the south swell. We dropped down to see the eels at the base of the reef, over 80ft below the surface. Again spinner dolphins were visible above us, also taking advantage of this protected cove. Patti and Mark were on nitrox allowing a longer bottom time at depth than standard air. Patti was busily pointing things out to me at 80ft depth when my computer started beeping, I was at my NDL time limit and needed to ascend to some shallower level. Following the reef slope up to 40ft gave me more time on the computer NDL calculation.

The dives resulted in no particularly special photographs. I did not find any new species of fish or nudibranch to shoot. It was just nice to be back in the water, the conditions were beautiful. While cruising back to harbor Patti and I talked on the bow, we were both fully aware of how incredibly lucky we were to live in this place, at this time.

I am compiling material for another video, but for now I will leave you with one of Mark’s videos on previous adventures of the Aqua Safari…

Author: Andrew

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

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