A Dive That Went Wrong

Five days, a quick island hop to Oahu, our first time exploring the island. A major feature of the plan was a bit of diving. Oahu features a number of unique dives we can not experience on the Big Island, particularly the wrecks. Based on conversations on ScubaBoard I chose to book with Gabe and Kaimana Divers. The reviews and comments of this dive op have been uniformly positive. After some experience I can second that opinion.

Along with a few changes of clothes and the cameras, we packed two full sets of dive gear. There would be five full days, including two days of diving. The basic plan each day was a two tank morning dive trip, a deeper wreck dive, followed by a shallower reef dive. The YO-257, the Corsair, there are several sites to choose from. On the Big Island we do have the SS Kauai at Mahukona, but scattered bits and pieces are not the same as a large intact ship.

Walking across the posh lobby of a luxury hotel with full dive gear over your shoulder is fun. Everyone looks in your direction, you can only guess at what they are thinking. It was 7am, meeting our ride to the marina. We were looking for our ride from Kaimana Divers in a big black pickup truck. Already in the truck were a couple from Texas and another fellow, five divers total, a nice small group.

We met Drew, our divemaster for the day. Like all divers we introduced ourselves, Jeannie and Charles lived near the gulf coast, but traveled regularly to dive under better conditions than local waters offered. Our fifth diver was somewhat less experienced, with a dozen dives behind him. We were all looking forward to this dive.

Surf to Diamond Head
Surf and Surfers along the famous Waikiki breaks with Diamond Head in the background
Heading of of the marina we saw the first sign that perhaps not all was well… The surfers were out.

Dramatic breakers rolled across the famous Waikiki reefs, stretching from the marina to Diamond Head. There is an adage in the local dive community, if the surfers are happy, the divers are not.

Arriving over the wreck for the YO-257 there was a notable swell, while it was going to be a problem, it was diveable. Drew hopped in to secure the mooring line. Upon returning to the boat he reported a moderate current. We geared up and readied for the water.

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Island Hop

After five years of living on the Big Island we finally took a few days to hop to another island and do some exploring. The selected target was Oahu, a place we have never properly visited before, changing planes at the airport does not count.

First impressions… Oahu can be a nice place to visit, but the traffic is beyond terrible! The roads packed with cars playing by aggressive city rules. Even the North Shore and Windward were bad, not just Honolulu. After years of driving on the Big Island, where there are no interstate freeways and the driving is quite relaxed, it was an unpleasant experience. I managed, and we got around with little real trouble, re-learning the old skills of dealing with heavy city traffic. I am so glad to be back to Hawai’i and out of that traffic.

The Fourth of July is a pretty good day to visit patriotic monuments like the battleship Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum. This was the plan and it executed well.

Battleship Missouri
The 16″ guns of the Battleship Missouri in Pearl Harbor
I had wanted to visit the Missouri for some time, I love museum ships, such tangible remnants of the past. This battleship is simply big, everything about her was big, from the enormous guns to the massive anchors. The exception was the average crewman’s bunks, which were stacked in ranks throughout much of the first deck. There was a tangible sense of history here, the silent guns spoke of the fierce battles of WWII. A simple plaque in the deck marked where that terrible war finally ended.

For the Fourth all of the ships in the harbor were decked out in flags, including the Missouri, the many US Navy and foreign ships gathered for the upcoming RIMPAC exercises. Another treat was the Mississippi Lions All State Band performing pier-side the battleship.

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