Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dive Report for Saturday 01/16/10

Today, Betty came with me to do a one-tanker at Honaunau. Once again , it's a case of hitting the narrow window of opportunity between winter swells. Conditions in the early AM were excellent with good visibility despite constant northwest swells throughout the week. Betty was breaking in a new wetsuit so we decided to go deep today to help crush some of the air bubbles out of that new neoprene.

We descended to 98' where Betty revived an old custom of ours, Seeking out a familiar coral head, she reacquainted herself with a pair of Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp who are only too happy to give her a submarine manicure. These crustaceans rid sea creatures of parasites and dead skin and will also clean the cuticles of patient divers using their small claws. While the service doesn't actually hurt you can feel the shrimp being vigorous in their work. 

Photos Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

In the past, I've been able to lure the shrimp into my mouth where they proceeded to clean in between my teeth. It's quite an experience. I'll dig up a photo of it sometime soon and post it.

Aside from the pleasure of her company, I like diving with Betty for her wonderful ability to find tiny or hidden sea life. This is a welcome by-product of her passion for finding sea shells. Today she spotted this Panther Flounder hiding out in the open on the sandy ocean floor.
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Flounder can change their color and pattern to blend with the surrounding surface, rendering them very difficult to see. They are extremely flat, lying flush to the sea floor with only their eyes bulging upward.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Flounder start life as regular fish with eyes on either side of their heads. As they mature, one eye starts to slowly migrate first to the top of the head and then over to other side. As this process goes on, the fish starts to lean further and further onto its side until it lies flat on the bottom, resting on the eyeless side.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

After staying deep for around 12 minutes we slowly made our way up the reef where we saw this Big Longnose Butterflyfish transitioning from light phase to dark phase.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Betty models her new wetsuit

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler
We happened upon the Great Barracuda that I saw last week. It was still hanging around the same area. I was glad Betty got to see it. 

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler
As I mentioned, Betty is great at finding little critters. This is a tiny Stout Moray eel she discovered sticking its head out from the coral.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler
To give a sense of proportion, here's the same eel with Betty's index finger for reference.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

As we prepared to exit, we saw this Green Sea Turtle cruising along the shoreline with the early morning sun on its shell.

We had a really great dive together. After we take our gear off, we go to a tide pool to get out of our wetsuits. This serves the dual purposes of making the suit come off easier as well as rinsing it of sand and debris. Today, however, we had a little company with us.

This small Green Sea Turtle had swum into the tidepool to feed on seaweed. We waited a few minutes for him to return to sea before we used the tidepool.

And that's the scoop on todays diving at Honaunau. Hope you enjoyed it!

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