Sunday, July 26, 2009

July 25th, 2009

Morning trip was awesome! Saw a small pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins right off the bat. We had a great group from L.A. (shout out: so great diving with you guys!) We went to the crowd pleaser: Nai'a Bay and then to Golden Arches. Golden Arches was off the hook. Rose found a BLACK FROG FISH! It had a white fishing lure and white toes! ( well, the very tips of it's pectoral fins, that it uses like toes... or hands... were white) We also had mating octopus that we watched for over 5 minutes... mating. We also found another huge frog fish, grey, with lots of curmudgeony growths... awesome. We lost an Ono between dives, but caught one on the way home!!! Fresh fish for everyone for dinner! Looking forward to having you guys out again tomorrow!! (oh, Nai'a bay was awesome too: rays, eels, conchs, frog fish, cornets, box fish, brittle star, whip coral shrimp.........)

July 25th, 2009

Manta Ray Night Dive: One Manta. Light plankton. Lost an Ono to the Fishing Gods (again)

July 24th, 2009

Morning trip: Decided to do Mike's reef again, because it was so awesome yesterday and we also visited Turtle Haven. The highlights: Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins passed through the dive site while we were underwater. We saw about 6 Crocodile Needle Fish at a cleaning station,  a Milk Fish, the biggest Sea Cucumber Crab ( almost completely black with awesome white spots on the fringe of the carapace) Crown of Thorns Sea Star, and a Hawaiian Swimming Crab. On the way to the next dive, we hooked an Ono... but it got away. We decided we'll come back for it tomorrow.
Turtle Haven was awesome. Haven't dove there in a while and we found two Frog Fish!! One was a bright yellow, golf ball sized, juvenile, very similar to the one at Nai'a Bay. We found it right near the mooring. The other, we found in the rubble, on the bottom, on it's side!! Weird spot to see one. It was rubble colored and softball sized. Also found 4 Flame Angel Fish, 2 Red Stripe Pipefish, octopus, a big red crab and we got to watch a large, yellow Trumpet Fish with its mouth wide open as it got dental work by a cleaner wrasse... and the cleaner wrasse was way in there! too cool.

July 23rd, 2009

Morning trip: Happy Birthday Dee!! We went to the Birthday girl's requested site, Mike's Reef. The south swell was cranking, but up north, underwater was awesome!  Manta Ray, Reticulated Butterfly Fish, Oval Butterfly Fish (at 50 feet!), black Long Nose Butterfly Fish, and more. Sand Chute was the second dive. We saw a Fuchsia Flat Worm, 2 Spotted Eagle Rays, Teardrop Butterflies, and a Brown and White Dendrodoris Nudibranch, (my first!!)

July 23rd, 2009

Manta Ray Night Dive. 6 Mantas, light plankton. We hope this isn't the beginning of a slow period. We always get nervous when the plankton is light. The Mantas have been in such strong numbers since April. We're kind of due for a shift, but we don't want one! We love you, Mantas!! 

July 22nd, 2009

Morning trip: We went to Freeze Face and Nai'a Bay. South swell is picking up again. Freeze Face got surgy in the hour that we were there. Underwater, there were still lots of fun critters including; Flame Angel Fish, Dragon Wrasse, Huge Yellow Margin Moray, Bone Fish, Spectacled Parrot Fish, Star Eyed Parrot Fish, and a Devil Scorpion Fish. Nai'a Bay had the usual awesome critters. Spotted Eagle rays, Huge Great Barracuda (that Mike named "Spike") Heller's Barracuda, Frog fish. 

July 22nd, 2009

Manta Ray night dive. All were snorkeling. We had 9 Manta Rays.

July 21st, 2009

Another Manta Ray Night Dive tonight. Lots of Manta Rays (11) and another gorgeous sunset. We also saw a spiny lobster and a pimpled basket ( a kind of mollusk, buried in the sand in the day time) It was out cruising around, the slug like creature was completely out with its shell on top.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 19th, 2009

We went back out for a two tank afternoon/ night charter. We decided to go up to Garden Eel Cove for both dives, because it was still a bit choppy. On the way there we had an Ono strike our lure. It looked like a nice one, but it didn't stick. bummer. On the afternoon dive, we saw the Garden Eels and a Tiger Moray out and about. They look more like a snake eel than a moray, and they move more like a snake too. We got to watch as it slithered along the bottom. Also we saw a large White Mouth Moray Eel with its mouth wide open and a Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse in its mouth giving it a dental treatment. Cool. On the night dive we had over 15 Manta Rays, plankton was thick and they put on a great show! The ride home was smooth sailing, the ocean calmed down nicely by then. Thanks for the brownies with raspberries, Vicky and Becky! Everyone enjoyed them all day and night!!

July 19th, 2009

On the morning charter we visited Golden Arches. We saw a Hammerhead Shark out swimming over the drop off. Then we spotted a Devil Scorpion Fish and a Leaf Scorpion Fish. We also found a couple of octopus and both White Mouth and Undulated Moray Eels. The wind kicked up and it got a little choppy, so we headed for protection at Nai'a Bay, and were we ever glad! We saw two Tiger Sharks. I'm fairly certain they were two different sharks. One had much lighter coloration than the other... and we were close enough to see their stripes! They were shy though, so as soon as we saw them, they slowly swam away. After that we found a large White Mouth Moray out swimming, 3 Horned Helmet Conchs, a pair of Red Stripe Pipefish, the same yellow Frog Fish, and Marcie found a couple very large Crocodile Needle Fish swimming above us. Sweet day... Hammerhead and Tiger sharks!

July 17th, 2009

Why do we keep going to Nai'a Bay, when we have so many dive sites to choose from?? Well, we heard it yet again today from the excited divers after the dive... "That was the best dive we've ever done!" We saw 3 Manta Rays getting cleaned by the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasses. They we're doing slow circles over the reef as the fish swam up to greet and clean them. Since we didn't spook them we we're able to sit and watch for 10 minutes! Then we saw a White Tip Reef Shark, a green Sea Turtle, octopus and a Frog Fish. At Pyramid Pinnacle we saw Red Stripe Pipefish, A Viper Moray Eel, a Divided Flatworm and a huge Porcupine Puffer swam over to check us out! (strange behavior for the usually shy puffer) No night dive tonight, so we celebrated our fun day with apres dive beers at the Kona Brewing Company. Cheers!

July 16th, 2009

On the way up to the Garden for the night dive, We hooked up with a pod of Spinner Dolphins. They escorted us for the next mile as we headed north. Conditions were ideal with a GORGEOUS sunset! The night dive was equally awesome with 20+ Manta Rays and thick plankton.

July 15th, 2009

We saw a Tiger Shark at Nai'a Bay! Not close enough to see the stripes, but  we saw the huge silhouette off in the distance. Out in the sand we saw a White Tip Reef Shark and then an odd thing happened. A school of Heller's Barracuda that was up higher in the water column dove down to the shark and started riding in it's wake. About 1/3 of the school started trailing the shark. Once it got a fair distance away, the barracuda turned and promptly joined the rest of the school back up in the water column. funny fish. We did Eel Cove second, it was super fishy and beautiful, although the visibility was a little below average.

July 12th, 2009

Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins!!! They we're so friendly today. I was teaching but I wish I was Torpedo Diving! They stayed in shallow over the reef the entire dive. And THAT, is why we call it "Nai'a Bay" (Dolphin Bay) So while I was teaching, the certified divers saw: a Barred Conger Eel, (very cool), a HUGE, male Green Sea Turtle, a Flying Gurnard out in the sand (so Awesome!!), Horned Helmet Conchs, a White Tip Reef Shark and a Frog Fish. Needless to say, the divers came up STOKED! Our second dive we drifted North from Thunder Reef. We had a perfect current, not too strong, but kept us moving along. The highlights were a Spotted Eagle Ray and Tom found a Blue Dragon Nudibranch. It was so nice to dive with you, Tom and Marni! We've missed you!!

July 11th, 2009

Today we visited Nai'a Bay and Golden Arches. The highlights were numerous... We saw Harlequin Shrimp, 2 Leaf Scorpion Fish, an Octopus getting cleaned by numerous glass cleaner shrimp, (awesome!) We found a Fire Dart Fish!!!! The first one we've seen since summer of 2007. Last year we had none... hopefully, we'll start to see more. I heard of another sighting recently at Pyramid Pinnacle as well. yay. Other higlights include, a Triton's Trumpet, a Flame Back Coral Shrimp, a big red crab, a Divided Flatworm, an Undulated Moray, a Zebra Moray, and a Spotted Eagle Ray. Another great day of diving in Kona!

July 9th, 2009

For the morning trip today we visited Pawai Bay and Turtle Pinnacle. We had a group of beginners on the boat this morning and they had some awesome beginner's luck! We saw a Manta Ray on BOTH dives. The one at Turtle Pinnacle hung around for a while, allowing us to get a close encounter. Conditions were especially beautiful this morning. Visibility was amazing and we saw so many schools of beautiful, colorful fish. I also found a Jeweled Anemone Crab in the sand patch near Turtle Pinnacle. Cute!

July 9th, 2009

We did a Manta Ray Night Dive at Garden Eel Cove tonight. It was awesome, an epic night with 23 Manta Rays!!! Thick plankton and we saw a couple Undulated Moray Eels out hunting. A good time was had by all!

July 7th, 2009

We did a night dive at Garden Eel Cove. We had about 6 Manta Rays. The plankton was fairly light. We also saw a Huge Undulated Moray Eel out hunting, a Devil Scorpion fish and a Peacock Flounder.

Independence Day, 2009

Today we did High Rock 1st. The highlight was a Zebra Moray eel all the way out cruising around on the bottom. He didn't seem to be concerned with us watching him and it was fun to see him hunting around. We also saw a pair of mating Scrambled Egg Nudibranchs on the side of High Rock pinnacle. We also saw a few White Mouth Moray Eels and an octopus. At Nai'a Bay for the second dive, it was filled with life as usual. The short list; A Lala Kea (our puppy's namesake, White Tip Reef Shark), Spotted Eagle Ray, A Scribbled Filefish cleaning station, where 2 were getting cleaned by the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse, allowing us to get a nice long look. We then saw an Uku (Grey Snapper) usually seen out a little deeper and shy due to the spear fishermen always hunting them, this one was curious, swimming a half circle around us to check us out. Very cool. We also saw 3 pairs of Lizard Fish in the shallows. The baby Frog Fish is still hanging around near the mooring and is still bright yellow, but is now the size of a golf ball. Very cute. Hope you all had a happy 4th! We enjoyed chili, cheese dogs, fireworks and friends!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 5th, 2009

Aloha! Today we saw a Lizard Fish hanging out with a Chromis in his mouth. And the Chromis was still breathing! The Lizard fish was working on the long, slow crush. We also found some Whip Coral Gobies (on a whip coral, of course), a Spotted Eagle Ray, a Tiger Cowrey, Octopus, many Moray Eels, a Frog Fish, a huge school of Cornet Fish (50-70 of them!!!) and Picasso Trigger Fish.... aka: Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, in Hawaiian. (the fish with a nose like a pig), aka: the state fish of Hawai'i. dived: Mike's Reef, Nai'a Bay.

July 2nd, 2009

 First time to Thunder Reef after the south swell. So amazing that our critter friends held up against some impressive waves. The big yellow Frog Fish was about 5 feet away from the last place I saw it, in 60 feet of water... you know that surge had to be powerful there.  Even crazier... is that inside the lava tube, which must have been a giant blowhole, all the Fellow's nudibranchs were in the same spots too... with egg sacks! I now realize that a nudibranch can make you feel, as out of your element, as a dolphin can. 
Dive two was at Pyramid Pinnacle. The biggest octopus we've ever seen in Hawaii. It's head was as big as Kea's! We also found the biggest, most curmudgeony Frog Fish ever! It looked like a rock... covered in curmudgeon. The Long Nose Hawkfish and the Flame Wrasses were also still there. :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 1st, 2009

Today we did a wreck dive called the Predator. We saw both the male and female Whitley's box fish there. Gerard saw an Ono hanging out with Opelu, or the other way around. (unusual, those fish usually are found in open water, not near the reef. Divine Pygme Gobies and about 30 Taylor's Dwarf Gobies in the engine hatch. Yellow Spot (Island) Jacks were hanging out under the craft. Both Gold Lace Nudibranchs and Raspberry Nudibranchs on the wreck. Next we drifted Kaiwi Point. Again, there was a lot of destruction from the recent waves, I felt like I needed sunglasses because of all of the exposed bright, white rock. Great dive though, nice current. It was very fishy with hundreds of butterfly fish. Pyramid Butterflies, Pennant Butterflies, Blue Fin Trevalles, Red Velvet Sea Star, (felt like velvet!), Sphinx Nudibranchs, 3 Tiger Cowreys together, a Sea Cucumber Crab and an unidentified spider looking crab.

June 30th, 2009

Today we went to Pawai Bay and Turtle Pinnacle. It was the first time we've been to Pawai Bay since the three week long south swell we've had. Viz was off the hook. I was struck by how bright it seemed underwater, and later realized it was because of all of the overturned rocks and broken coral from the waves. There was a lot of white. However, the fish didn't seem to mind. It is still one of our fishy-est sites. Lots of eels too, many out and about... overturned homes? White Mouth, Tiger, Undulated and white Stout Moray Eels. One White Mouth was swimming around and biting rocks! strange. We also found two Bicolor Nudibranchs, a rarely seen Nudibranch with a lame name. They are beautiful! Other highlights: Red Stripe Pipefish, Divided Flatworm, Banded Coral Shrimp, Peacock Flounder, a Red Spot Nudibranch ON a Sea Cucumber! Also a school of gorgeous juvenile Oval Chromis. They look like they have a neon yellow light inside of them.

June 29th, 2009

Had a great day at Mike's Reef. A close encounter with a friendly Manta Ray. He hung out for 15 minutes or so. We found a super rare (but not that rare at Mike's Reef) Male Whitley's Box Fish. The females are common, why there are so few males is a mystery! We also found a Red Spotted Nudibranch, a Sponge Crab, 5 pom pom crabs cruising in the rubble patch!! Too cool! 3 Tiger Cowreys, One of the most beautiful and perfect Triton's trumpets, I've ever seen, an Octopus, Corn Kernel Nudibranchs. I actually call them "Cyclops" since they only have one rinophore. They are the size of a grain of rice, to really get a good look at them you need a magnifying glass.

July 28th, 2009

Afternoon  fishing trip. FUN! We found a school of small skip jack tuna. Caught a few of those and used them as bait to try to get something a bit bigger. About 40 minutes of live baiting produced a strike. We hooked up about a 300 lb. Pacific Blue Marlin. After about an hour and a half fight, we released it. Way to go guys! Great to see you again Jen. Great hanging out and catching up with the Radwick's. 

June 28th, 2009

Nai'a Bay, and Kaloko Canyon. The swell is going down so we could get into Kaloko, yay! Lots of cool critters and 3 firsts for Nikki today! 3! All at Kaloko. 1st was a Sherif Badge Sea Star... it looks just like you'd think. 2nd, a Decorator Crab. It had the most fanciful hat! He was a tiny little guy that collects bits of this and that to disguise himself. This guy had a hydriod on top of his collection that looked like a feather in his cap. We found him on the rubble bottom drifting around at the mercy of the surge. 3rd, we found a Psydellic Wrasse in the middle of it's change between female and male. It was with a few other females. It had the spots of the female but the orange head of the male. I was stoked!! Other highlights: We found two Viper Moray Eels sharing a home. At Nai'a Bay: Spent about 15 minutes with Manta Rays getting cleaned by Cleaner Wrasses, got a manicure by the Scarlet Lady Cleaner Shrimp, the white Frog Fish was still hanging around (still don't know what species it is), Corn Kernel Nudibranchs, Hellers Barracuda getting cleaned on the reef... and more. Awesome Day!

June 27th, 2009

Spent the day in Keahole Bay again. Can't remember the last time we had a south swell this big. The water has been so strange. Warm currents, cold pockets, crystal clear water, and then these green, murky pockets. Very weird. Anyway, we did Garden Eel cove and Sand Chute. We found a Hawaiian Lionfish at Sand Chute! cool. Other highlights include, A female Long Fin Anthius, a Triton's Trumpet, an Octopus, a Peacock Flounder and a Zebra Moray Eel all the way out just chillin' and letting us hang out and take lots of photos! 

June 26th, 2009

We went and hid from the south swell in Keahole Bay today. Great conditions at Hoover's and Sand Piper. (Wash Rock) On the way there we caught an Ono! It was about 30 lbs. There were Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins in the bay, and between dives everyone got to see them. On the dives we found: A baby Commerson's Frog Fish, a huge White Mouth Moray Eel, Teardrop Butterfly Fish, 4 Saddleback Butterfly Fish together! We also found the largest Cone Hermet Crab I've ever seen (maybe 3 inches) They are gorgeous with bright yellow and orange stripes. We found 2 big Spiny Lobsters. Sandpiper is a beautiful dive site with so many huge Antler corals, some of the nicest anywhere. On the way home, we caught another Ono!! about 20 lbs. With so much Ono... looks like I'm going to make my famous Civiche! A great day!

June 25th, 2009

WOW! What a day... we saw so much cool stuff. Still had a south swell today, we had surge at 115 feet at Pyramid Pinnacle! We also went to Nai'a Bay again, with the protection from the south swell it is one of the best dives right now. Despite the swell, the viz was great. Out at the point at Pyramid we saw a Giant Trevalle getting cleaned by the Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse, and Opelu getting cleaned as well! (bait fish) Both are unusual to see on the reef. Down at 115 in the Black Coral we found a large Longnose Hawkfish, at 85' we found Flame Wrasses with a male in full display... a real treat! Continuing along, we saw a Tinkers Butterfly fish, a Banded Angel Fish, a Devil Scorpion Fish, a Leaf Scorpion fish, an Eyespot Shrimp, 2 Saddleback Butterfly fish, a Dwarf Moray Eel, a Slendertail Moray Eel (very Rare) and a giant Porcupine Puffer. That was all on just the first dive!! At Nai'a we found;  a juvenile Peacock Razor fish, a half a dozen juvenile Domino Damsels living in the thorns of the Crown of Thorns Sea Star (too cute!), a baby yellow Commerson's Frog fish, and an all white Frog Fish, (Commerson's?)  

June 24th, 2009

We are having a rather large south swell, so viz was not the greatest today. We went to Nai'a Bay and Golden Arches. Here are the highlights: Garden Eels, Tiny Sea Hares ( we couldn't find them in the ID book, so we looked them up online and the species name means, 'small') There was a colony of maybe 6 or 8 of them. They were about 1/4 inch in length, black with a blue ring on top. We also saw an Octopus, Spotted eagle Ray, a huge Yellow Margin Moray Eel and the Magnificent Sea Star was still hanging out in 80' of water! yay! At Golden Arches, we saw: a Shortnose Mantis Shrimp, 3 White Margin Nudibranches with and egg sack under the north archway, a Triton's Trumpet and a Flameback Coral Shrimp.

June 19th, 2009

Morning two tank dive at Nai'a Bay and Skull Cave. It's such a great time of year for Nai'a Bay, we've been doing it regularly.... and will continue to, it's so "critter rich" in the summer time! Anyway, here are the highlights from today's visit to Nai'a Bay: Green Sea Turtle, Spotted Eagle Ray, White Tip Reef Shark, Viper Moray Eel, Horned Helmet Conch, Tiger Moray Eel, Whitemouth Moray Eel. At Skull Cave, we saw a large, beautiful Levaithan Cowrey on the wall of Suck Em Up lava tube. In the rubble outside of Skull Cave we found a Pom Pom crab! It's a small crab that had stinging anemones in place of pinchers. It looks like it's carrying around little pom poms... too cute!!

June 18th, 2009

We had a snorkle charter this morning.  At Mike's reef, we swam with two Manta Rays that were getting cleaned by Saddle Wrasses! It was very cool! We also swam with a very friendly pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins. They hung out with us for over an hour. They were very frisky displaying lots of social behavior including ariel jumping, where they would spin multiple revolutions in one jump! In the water they were quite noisy... chirping, whistling and clicking. Another epic day in Kona with Manta Rays and Dolphins!!

June 17th, 2009

This morning we did Nai'a Bay and Turtle Pinnacle. The highlights were MAGNIFICENT! We saw a Magnificent Snake Eel and a Magnificent Sea Star. The magnificent Sea Star is a very rare find!! Usually they occur much deeper than divers go and rarely do they wander into shallower depths. This one was spotted at about 80 feet, we noticed a star pattern in the sand and swept away the sand to reveal the sea star, then we watched for the next couple of minutes as it reburied itself. Awesome! We also saw a tiny, baby Commerson's Frog fish,  3 Spotted Eagle Rays, 3 Tiger (Divided) Flatworms, 3 Whitemouth Moray Eels and 2 Redstripe Pipefish. 

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

June 17th

Manta Ray night dive tonight! On the way to the dive sight we had a pod of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins escorting us. They were playing in our boat wake, surfing and twirling. Next, we hooked up and landed approximately a 35 pound Ono. It was a beauty! Everyone got to take fresh fish home to bbq. A beautiful sunset as well. On the night dive we had 8 manta rays , a beautiful pink Decoy Scorpion Fish, and some Marbled Shrimp. A great night at the garden.

Friday, July 10, 2009

June 16th, 2009

Aloha All! Mike and Nikki are doing great and still enjoying Kona and it's amazing ocean! Giving another go at the blogging. So each day we will try to give you all the highlights of our day. That way when you've had a hard day at the office, you can relax and unwind with our daily diving, fishing and snorkeling log! Can't wait to see all of you out here again! Please feel free to comment or post your photos of your day with us.

June 16th, 2009

Black water night dive. 2 miles due west of Honokohau Marina in Kona. Depth 2000+ feet. 2 Hawaiian sea horses! They were about 1-2 inches tall. We usually find them near the surface but we found these at depth. One at 70 feet and one at 40 feet. Many squid were attracted to our lights. The biggest siphonophore we've ever seen, at least 50 feet in length. Lots of salp chains, gelatinous mollusks, and critters in their larval stages. Very cool, as usual. You feel like you're in outer space, but really, you're in inner space and everything around you is glowing and pulsing with light. A high adrenaline dive for sure.