Christmas Eve Diving

What else would I do on a Christmas Eve? Go shopping? Not really my ideal plan for the day. What about going diving? Not a bad idea at all…

Pete and I had already planned to go diving, but the plan had been to go shore diving somewhere. Then Dennis extended an invitation to join him on the boat, a gracious invitation we quickly accepted. As a result, the morning of the 24th saw us leaving Honokohau Harbor looking for a dive site to try.

Facing the Deep
Pete attempting to photograph garden eels at the base of the reef at Eel Cove
The surf was definitely up a bit, with a long swell rocking the boat and breakers hitting the rocks. Conditions in the water were pretty nice, visibility to near 100ft and just a gentle surge to be felt nearer the shore.

We did not go far from the harbor. First choice was a dive site called Sharkfin Rock just off Old Airport Park about two miles south of Honokohau. It is always a good sign when you can see the bottom 60 feet below through the blue water. Just inshore from the mooring a few surfers enjoyed the breaks along the park. Except for the one bodyboarder who was yelling at us to stop blocking his waves, as if a mere boat can have any significant effect on waves of any real size!

Strobe Effects
Pete imitating an old fashioned photographer with his strobe held away from the camera
The second site was a spot even closer to the harbor, a site called Eel Cove. The little indent in the shoreline that is right at the tip of the peninsula that protects Honokohau Harbor from the south. It is a very exposed site that drops off steeply. The cove offered just a bit of protection from the southerly swell and gave access to great diving conditions.

Eel Cove Profile
A typical Hawaiian dive profile, start deep and work your way up
The sites we dove this day allow access to deep water, we dropped to the base of the coral reef and explored our way up the slope. At Eel Cove there were indeed garden eels below 80ft on the sand slope. We dropped down to see them for a few minutes before heading back up the slope.

We found nothing truly unusual.. There were a number of nice encounters with reef regulars, some uncommon species of butterflyfish, a large day octopus, a young whitemouth moray. The second site at Eel cove was definitely one of the fishiest sites I have seen in quite a while. A lot of young fish to be seen. I expect the the more exposed site offers good feeding opportunities and less abuse from the aquarium collectors. I got a few good photos, particularly of the octopus. I have not seen what results Pete got from his efforts.

The day was simply a nice day to be out on the water, with good dive conditions that provided two nice dives. In the end I did do a little shopping. A stop at Costco was convenient as it is right above the harbor. There I grabbed a quick lunch and a couple things to keep our refrigerator stocked over the holiday.

Author: Andrew

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

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