Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dive Report for Saturday 01/09/2010

There was major rockin' and rollin' going on in the southern part of Honaunau Bay on Saturday. One major northwest swell was just ending and another one soon to arrive so Saturday offered a brief window for shore diving. Weather was beautiful, though with clear skies and a nice breeze.

I had my wife, Betty, as my dive buddy on the first dive which was really nice. Visibility was, as expected, pretty poor with lots of stirred up sand and a range of around 50'. Also a lot of surge and depths shallower than 30'. Above is a juvenile Thompson's Surgeonfish. Although plainly colored, this is a pretty little fish with a nice lyre-shaped tail.

Hawaiian Dascyllus are common around Honaunau. When they are young they hide in branching coral, seldom wandering very far. When they reach adulthood they swim about the reef and establish individual territories which they very defend very boldly. 

Photos Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

The Saddleback Butterflyfish is one of the most beautiful fish in Hawaiian waters. It is also one of the hardest for me to get a good photograph of. They tend to keep their distance and are very skittish. This behavior, coupled with today's water conditions, again kept me from getting good results. Usually they are seen in pairs but this one was by itself.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

I wanted to make sure Betty got to see the colony of juvenile Pyramid Butterflyfish on the slope drop-off. They're still there and doing well. i know that someday I'll come to this spot to discover they've left for steeper drop-offs.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

On the return leg of the dive we made a pleasant  discovery. This little fish is a seldom-seen hybrid of a Goldrim Tang and an Achilles Tang. These two species tend to congregate together and every now and then produce an attractive mixture of the best qualities of each. This fish was swimming in shallow water with heavy surge and didn't want his photo taken
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

After a surface interval I returned to the water. Someone reported a rope caught on the reef in the south end of the bay. I went over to see if I could retrieve it but with the heavy surge and poor visibility I couldn't even find it. This burned a lot of air so I didn't take many photos. I did see this Orangemouth Lizardfish resting in sand and coral rubble. It has multiple bands of small, fine teeth behind those fiery lips and preys on small fish.

It was another fine day at the beach. After rinsing gear and a little nap, we headed into town to do a little shopping. As we drove, the setting sun was spectacular. I was able to pull over in time to take a photo of its last rays as it settled between papaya trees.

A good day of diving and enjoying life in Hawai'i. As our hometowns shiver in snow and cold, Betty and I count ourselves fortunate to be here at this stage of our lives. It is amazing how life can lead you in directions you never imagined!

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