Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dive Log, April 16th, 2005

Another Dive and fishing combination trip today, heck, why not? The
fishing has been great lately.

We started with a dive at Turtle Haven where we saw turtles, tiger
cowreys and a rare eel that we couldn't identify. Karenza spotted it.
It wasn't pictured in the book, but I have seen it once before years
ago when I was snorkeling.
I must get another book to find out its name.

The fishing was fun, we caught an Ono. Idaho Dave was celebrating his
birthday and reeled it in. Tomorrow he and Karenza go back to Idaho.
We're so happy that he had such a successful trip and got to reel in
three different kinds of fish during this visit. But that's not the end
of this day.

On our way back we found a frisky pod of dolphins. We decided to go for
a swim around where they were hanging out and they swam around us and
got really close to a few of us. For the guys on the boat from Oahu, it
was their first time to see dolphins and they were stoked. We were all
stoked. It was another great day filled with many great gifts. Mahalo.

Dive Log, April 13th, 2005

We packed it all in today, and only got back one hour late! We started
with a dive at "Pipe Dream", the most western point on the island and a
great spot for the chance of a Big Animal encounter. Today the biggest
thing we saw here was a turtle. We also had the pleasure of spotting an
octopus and watched as it changed colors while trying to hide from us.
We headed offshore for the surface interval and found a big group of
pilot whales spread out over a mile. Of course, we couldn't resist
jumping in the water to swim with them. All were amazed by their
beauty, and all were thankful for the chance to see them up close and

On the way back in to our next dive spot we spotted a small pod of what
we thought were pygme killer whales. We came in closer for a better
look and confirmed our guess. As we approached they started spy
hopping, a behavior I have never seen that particular species engaging
in before. It was so cute to see their little faces peering out with
their big white lips... it looked like they were smiling at us. We
hopped in to get a look and they swam away. It turned out that we out
numbered them. They were only 4 and we were 6 in our group. Anyway, it
was time to go diving again.

We decided to head to Turtle Pinnacle and check out the cleaning
station, where the turtles lay around in their version of a bath house
as the tangs eat the algae off their shells. The dive site was still a
good 10 minutes down the coast, so we dragged lines along the way. As
luck would have it, we hooked up with a Mahi Mahi! So, we had to catch
a fish too before we could dive!

What a day!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Photo from April 10th, 2005


Here's Idaho Dave, Kona Dave and Tara with their catches of the day.

Dive Log, April 10th, 2005

Today, we did a trip for charity. We auctioned off a gift certificate
which was redeemed for a day of diving and fishing. We had a great
group on board made up of a few locals and a couple of their friends
from Idaho. The goal of the day was to have fun. No expectations, just
whatever happens, happens. It's so nice to be amongst people who
understand the meaning of "WILD life" and that everything you encounter
is a gift.

Give a gift, receive a gift. Today, we received MANY wonderful gifts!

We began the day with a dive at Manta Ray Bay. We showed our local
friends where to find the Green Hawaiian Lionfish and the Scarlet Lady
Cleaner Shrimp. The shrimp were really into it today and gave many of
us a thorough and much needed teeth cleaning. An eagle ray was parked
on the sand getting his grooming done by a couple of cleaner wrasses.
He was super mellow and so were we. We were able to hang out right next
to it for a long time. Tara and I noticed that it was wiggling its
snout around. Our masks flooded as we giggled underwater.

After this satisfying dive we headed off shore to see what would happen
next. We cranked up the tunes, cracked open the beers, put out a spread
of food for ourselves and toasted to the beautiful day. It was a love
fest. We trolled around for probably 2 hours and then hooked up our
first fish. It was a beauty of a Mahi Mahi. It jumped and shook and
wriggled and fought. It was the angler, Idaho Dave's fifth try at
fishing in Kona... and his lucky day. He expertly reeled it in with
Chad coaching, Mike on the gaff, Jeff taking care of the other lines
and Nikki on the helm. Everyone cheered in appreciation as the group
effort paid off we bagged our latest gift from the sea.

We decided that if we were lucky enough to hook up again, Kona Dave
would be our next angler, as it was his first fishing trip ever. As
fate would have it, he would get his try at reeling in a big one. The
fish came up, hit one lure, swam to the other side hit another lure and
was hooked. The line screamed as it took off. Then, another line went
off at the same time. We had ourselves a double hookup! Tara jumped on
the second one and started to fight it from the rod holder. Chad was
coaching the virgin, Dave in the chair, Nikki headed for the helm and
Mike got on the other lines so we wouldn't get tangled. Jeff jumped on
gaffing duty and Karenza put herself in charge of the camera. This
fight was long and hard. We weren't sure what we had, but they were
fighting like either marlin or big tuna. After about half an hour we
got to see the first fish, a beautiful, fat yellowfin tuna. Jeff gaffed
it on the first try and hoisted it into the boat. We estimated it to
weigh around 60 lbs. Tara then moved to the chair and settled into her
fight. Her's would turn out to be the biggest fish of the day. She hung
in there for the fight and it paid off as another beauty of an Ahi
(yellowfin tuna) joined us on the boat.

Upon weighing the fish at the end of the day, the Ahi were 80 lbs and
85 lbs respectively. The Mahi Mahi weighed in at 25 lbs. We all pitched
in cleaning the boat and then went out to continue reveling in our
amazing luck with more celebratory beers.

Mahalo Kanaloa, god of the ocean and all the creatures in it, for all
of our wonderful gifts.

Dive Log, April 7, 2005

Today's private whale watching charter was all about seeing if we could
find any Humpbacks left in Kona. Most have already headed back to
Alaskan Waters and we have not had a siting in over a week.

We decide to head south to Kealakekua Bay... the famous spot where
Captain Cook first landed in Hawaii. There is a monument erected there
in his honor and the bay is usually quite crowded with snorkel boats
full of tourists, so we rarely go there. However, today we were hoping
to find the pilot whales again that we saw yesterday and they tend to
hang out down south. We were also hoping to catch a fish so we thought
we'd swing by "VV" buoy on the way.

It turned out to be a great plan. We did not find the pilot whales but
we did find Humpbacks! Quite possibly we found the very last mom and
calf of the season. Right outside of Kealakekua Bay, they were just
hanging out with a couple of bottlenose dolphins. So, we just shut down
the boat and hung out with them. The calf was surfacing quite often and
mom was not, so we speculated that she was resting on the bottom while
jr. was going up and down. The water there was about 100 feet deep. At
one point after about a 5 minute wait, while we were wondering where
they would pop up next, we saw the baby right off our bow, slowly
coming up. It came over to check us out. It was amazing!!!! The water
was so clear that we had a great view of it from the boat. Then
suddenly Mom surfaced right under the baby pushing it off to the side
and away from us, as if to say, "C'mon jr, there will be no playing
with the boats!" She was huge. It was impressive. We were all squealing
with delight.

On the way home we caught 4 nice, small yellowfin tuna at "VV" buoy,
and later had a nice dinner.

Dive Log, April 6th, 2005

Once again today, it was all about the surface interval. We got a tip
that there were pilot whales off shore so we went to check them out.
When we got there, they were spy hopping checking out the two other
dive boats that were already there. I slipped into the water quickly
because I've only witnessed this behavior in the past from the boat. It
was an awesome sight to see through my mask. They were vertical,
bobbing up and down peeking out of the water.

We spotted another group 100 yards away so we decided to check them out
too. All of us slipped quietly into the water and just floated next to
the boat because they were coming right at us. They dove slightly and
passed just under us turning their bodies slightly to get a better look
at us. There were maybe 8 or 9 in all, including a big cow and her big
calf. My guess is that the juvenile was maybe a year or two old, but
still hanging with mom. Or was it an aunt? Because suddenly I looked
over just in time to see it briefly stick its penile unit in the cow!
What? I couldn't believe my eyes! However, that is definitely what I
saw. Could it have been sex education, pilot whale style?

Dive Log, March 18th, 2005


It was a short swim only lasting a few minutes but it was beautiful.
After all of the rain we've had lately, it was nice to get this rare
treat on a sunny day. The light rays were dancing on it's spots and
stripes and the crystal blue water was an excellent backdrop. It was
about 20-25 feet long with bright markings.

Thank you to the whale shark gods!!!!!!!!!!!

Dive Log, March 5th, 2005

We went up north for a three tank day. I'm super excited because it's
seems like forever since I've been up to these great spots. We
frequently see grey reef sharks and white tip reef sharks up at Shark
Ledge and Kua Bay has produced sharks, turtles and dolphins in the

Today, we didn't see any sharks... but we had some great Manta Ray
action. Twice on our first dive at Shark Ledge we had a Manta cruise
by. As I followed the ledge along at about 70 feet I found several eels
and nice big schools of fish. Unicorn fish, Trigger fish, Snapper and
many varieties of Surgeon fish were in abundance. I also spotted a rare
pair of Reticulated Butterfly Fish. The second half of the dive was
spent at 40 feet up on top of the ledge. It's a big flat shelf that is
loaded with big, beautiful antler corals. I like to call it
"Antlerville". I'm always inspecting the antler coral for cowreys,
octopus, shrimp, crabs and fish. Today, I spotted a fish I have never
seen before. It was a Two Spot Hawkfish. A nice specimen.

On our first surface interval we had a spectacular Humpback Whale show.
There were several groups in the area but one group in particular was
breaching, splashing around and putting on quite a show. It was

The dive at Kua Bay was lovely. The sprawling expanse of finger coral
is absolutely pristine and the interspersed white sand patches are so
fun to explore. The highlight for me was actually a macro critter and
something I've only seen out and about previously at night. So to see
it in the middle of the day was a real treat. It's called a Pimpled
Basket. This interesting little slug is speckled black and white with a
bright red spot. It is usually burrowed down in the sand but when it's
out and about, it carries its pimpled shell on top of itself as it
cruises along on the sand. It's about two inches in length.


Dive Log, March 1st

Well, this month started out with a bang.

We spotted a whale shark today on the surface... we circled back
around, but it was shy and dove before we could get our snorkel gear

The dive at Golden Arches was awesome! The water was crystal clear with
viz well over 100 feet. A river about 200 Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins
streamed right over the top of us. Later, we found a Tritons Trumpet
Conch and placed it next to a Crown Of Thorns Sea Star. This prickly,
green star with 13 legs started to run away, with the Tritons Trumpet
in hot pursuit. The Slug was almost completely out of it's shell with
its eyes on the prize as it scurried after the sea star. I put my dive
light in the path of the sea star to slow it down and watched as the
conch pounced on it and probed it with its proboscis for the perfect
spot to inject it with its powerful toxin. I was running low on air and
it was time to go, but I bet the Tritons Trumpet spent the better part
of the day devouring the Crown of Thorns.