Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Dive Log, January 31, 2005

Actually, I'm combining 3 days here. We ended up going to Manta Ray
Bay three days in a row! It's just been so great lately! We saw Spotted
Eagle Rays on every visit. Day one we saw three eagle rays, one of them
was just a baby. The second day we saw one hanging out getting cleaned
by the cleaner wrasses. We were able to hang out with it for 10
minutes. The the third day we saw 5, a threesome, followed later by a
twosome. We may have to rename the site "Eagle Ray Bay"!

Another great highlight was the Flying Gurnard spotted by Mike Ho. It's
a very difficult fish to see unless it's moving. When it spreads out
it's pectoral fins it resembles a giant moth. But, when not moving, you
don't see it because it blends in perfectly with the sandy bottom.

We've been seeing Humpback Whales and Dolphins between dives. On the
29th, a pair came within 200 feet of the diver's bubbles. Just a bit
too far out of the diver's visibility. Then today there was an
unusually large pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins hanging around Turtle
Pinnacles. (my guess is 100 to 150 dolphins) We spent the entire
surface interval watching them frolic and spin.

We did our second dive in the Turtle Pinnacle area in hopes of catching
a glimpse of them... but they did not come close enough to see. So, we
just listened to them while we watched the turtles.

Mother Nature had been very nice to us lately.

Dive Log, January 27, 2005

Jan 27, 2005

Ever seen a beaked whale breach? How about a Couvier's Beaked Whale?
This kind of event makes even the most seasoned veteran say, WOW!
Imagine a 25 foot long mammal leaping 30 feet into the air like a
dolphin which, is less than half its size. Incredible! Fishing trips
can be very exciting.

Again today, no diving, but an epic day, nonetheless.

We headed out early, 6:30 am. The sky was like milk as the sun rose
above Hualalai's peak. The vog was so thick, you could barely see the
island just a few miles out. ("vog" is volcano fog, a phenomena that
happens when the volcano is active and the wind blows in a certain
direction.) We felt like 'Old Man And The Sea', because of the vog and
the fact that you couldn't see land, but also, there was a pretty good
rolling swell out of the Northwest. We were off on an adventure to see
what lurks in watery depths. Arrrye.

About 5 minutes later, we hooked up with a fish. Not much of a fighter
so we suspected that it was an Ono (aka; Wahoo). It wasn't, turned out
to be a small Mahi Mahi. The perfect eating size. It bit on the pale
yellow hootchie, attached to a bird. ( the hootchie looks like a big,
juicy, plastic squid. The bird, made of wood, skips on the surface and
serves as an attention getting device.) So remember that, all you
fisherman out there: Pale yellow on voggy days. hee. hee.

As we headed out further offshore we found what we initially thought
were a couple of young Humpback Whales. As it turned out, they were
Sperm Whales... and there were over a dozen! It was my first time to
see Sperm Whales but we really never got a good close look at them.
They were pretty shy. However we got to see some interesting behavior.
A couple times we witnessed tail slapping, where they wave their tails
back and forth, slapping it against the surface of the water each time.
Also at one point we saw a whale come completely out of the water like
it was thrashing. In it's wake it left something in the water. Was it
blood, was it poop? Nope, it was ink. It had been wrestling a squid. We
pondered how deep they were diving between breaths and how big the
squid may have been. The depth of the water there was about 6,000 feet.

Later we looked it up online and here's what we learned:
Sperm Whales dive to depths of 5 to 6 thousand feet and can stay under
for up to 90 minutes. Also, of interest, they will spend about 20
minutes going down and spend 20 minutes on the bottom, squid
collecting. Then they spend almost an hour coming up. Does this mean
our squid eater had that squid stuck to him for an hour and he still
had ink left after his long journey to the surface? Amazing.

As we headed back towards where we remembered land being, that's when
we saw the Beaked Whale breaching, It was just awesome. Once we got up
to the whale, he appeared to be alone. A full grown male and just an
amazing specimen. He poked his head out of the water to get a look at
us and then turned and dove.

The day ended with a Spotted Dolphin encounter. There were at least
200, all spread out over a half a mile or so. They were playing,
jumping and riding our bow and stern wakes. One particular dolphin
decided to come and leap about 15 feet into the air just ten feet away
from the boat. We were standing on the fly bridge and he was looking us
right in the eye. Then he did it three more times. What a character!

And what a day!

we had an early departure for a morning fishing charter.
We caught a mahi mahi on the bottom corner of 'the grounds' and
continued out to OT buoy. as we neared the buoy we began seeing whales
tail slapping and playing on the surface. we expected to see humpback
whales but were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by sperm whales.
we witnessed spy hopping, breaching, tail slapping, logging and
feeding. the feeding(we think) was when a whale thrashed on the
surface for only a moment leaving a large cloud that initially appeared
red like blood but may have been ink from a large squid brought up from
the deep. this feeding probably takes place near the bottom....over
4,000 feet down! on our way back to the marina we saw what looked like
a huge dolphin jumping out of the water. what we found was a rare
blainesville beaked whale.

by the end of the charter we had dolphins jumping next to our
outriggers and humpback whales cruising the coast but no screaming
reels to let us know we had hooked another fish. maybe we'll have
better luck tomorrow.