Mark is having too much fun underwater. While I spent the weekend painting my lanai. The summer dive season is nearly upon us, need to log more dives!
Dennis likes to go out on Sundays… I go when and where the boat goes, no complaints! Any day on the water is a good one.The plan was to dive Touch of Gray, an excellent dive site near Makalawena Beach. This is a deep dive site, so looking to maximize bottom time we loaded up on Nitrox for everyone. Our info also placed a number of gray reef sharks at the site recently, a good reason to go.
I also had a new toy along, a Sola Photo 800 dive light. I am really interested in improving my underwater video, thus looking forward to using this new light.
Reaching the dive site we encountered a problem… No mooring to be found. We had the correct coordinates, but multiple passes with everyone on the bow failed to spot the ball. Thus we dropped Mark in the water to take a look, he spotted the cable lying on the bottom, the mooring ball was gone. Off we headed for another dive site.
We ended up diving Carpenter’s instead. Not a bad choice, this is a nice area with a lot of topography to explore. Large coral pinnacles reach from depths of 40′ to near the surface, with a few canyons and shallow caves to add to the terrain.
I can not say I found anything unusual or new. Just a nice dive with lots of fish. It appears to be a good recruitment year, a lot of juvenile fish about. This included several dragon wrasse to chase through the coral rubble with the camera. I love how they swim, somehow going in the direction they desire without appearing to move. Seeming to just drift like the piece debris they attempt to mimic as camouflage.
Despite the shallow dive site we dove the nitrox anyway, the tanks were rented and needed to be returned full or empty. No nitrogen lethargy after these dives! Everyone was ready to go for more, nitrox really does keep you from feeling the after effects of the dive.
Trying not to take it for granted just how good we have it here on the island. As we cruise back to harbor we are enjoying the sunlight on the bow and talking about life. The conversation turns to just how miserable life can be in much of the world. We look about and make a point to notice… Life is good here.
There are quite a few well known, but undescribed species found island reefs. I have noted a few of them previously here on DarkerView.
Undescribed means simply that… The species has never been properly described in a scientific publication such that a species name is assigned. These do exist, and are more common than many people realize. Some marine biologist with expertise with related species needs to spend some time to capture a few, and do a proper description, an exercise that takes more effort than you might think.
I ran into another one recently. This anemone was quite common on the sandy slopes below the reef at Garden Eel Cove. There was a individual every three or four feet amoung the garden eels at 80ft depth. They are apparently an undescribed species of the genus Mesacmaea. More information can be found on Hoover’s update pages. This one should really be added to the next edition.
They were quite challenging to photograph. Quite small, less than an inch across, and quick to disappear into the sand when approached too closely.
Puako is a very popular place with divers and sea turtles. No surprise, it is a really great reef here. Patti and Mark spent a day with the turtles recently, and Mark has produced another video…
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.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.
Some great dive video from Mark, a fellow Keck engineer and dive buddy…
Trumpetfish are stealthy hunters, using their oddly shaped body to strike unsuspecting prey. They are also known to follow large creatures on the reef, turtles or groupers, to take advantage of prey flushed out in their passage. This trumpetfish was using me for the same purpose, hoping to strike whatever the big, noisy diver scared up. The fish hovered quite close to me, not even moving away despite several bright flashes from the strobe. The cave is a very popular dive site, this fish may have learned to use divers to find an easy meal.