Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dive Report for Saturday 01/23/10

Today conditions were really nice at Honaunau Bay with flat calm seas and clear weather. When I got there around 7:15 AM, a group of local paddlers said that a couple of whales had been in the bay a little earlier. The sun had not yet crested Mauna Loa but there was sufficient light to see dive without a torch, so I geared up and got into the water.
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

A Blackside Hawkfish sits on a coral head and waits for a potential meal to swim by. Hawkfish are poor swimmers and are named for their penchant of finding a perch and patiently waiting for prey to come close.
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

A tiny Whitemouth Moray peers out from a crevice in the coral. A mature specimen can be up to 4 feet long but this youngster is only a few inches in length.

Photo Copy right 2010 by Barry Fackler

Sometimes. diving in the early morning affords you an opportunity to witness seldom seen behaviors. Here, a Cone Shell Hermit Crab considers forsaking its cone shell for a shiny Reticulated Cowrie shell. As hermit crabs grow, they need to find bigger shells. According to literature available to me, this type of hermit crab rarely occupies a shell other than a cone shell.
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Conditions were so calm today that I got to spend some time very near to shore in what is often referred to as the surge zone. As the name implies, this is an area where the water is very rough and not really conducive to SCUBA diving. Incredibly, there are fish that prefer this wild environment and are seldom seen away from it. One example is this female Pearl Wrasse shown above. The species gets its name from the female color pattern which is evocative of pearl necklaces.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Early into my second dive of the day, I chanced upon this Sidespot Goatfish. There is nothing particularly fascinating about this fish but it does have a pleasant pinkish tinge to it that you don't see in many reef fish.

Photos Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

I know I've been running a lot of lizardfish photos recently but this pair was such a bright shade of red that they really stood out on the coral. More often they are brown or dull green and blend in more with the surrounding substrate.

Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Caves provide a good environment to find nocturnal animals during the day. In this photo a Red Reef Lobster peers out from the safety of his own little "cave within a cave". While technically a lobster, it's more like a shrimp on steroids. With a maximum length of 5 inches it would not make a very satisfying meal. It is interesting in having stiff hairs projecting from its claws and body. These hairs give them a heightened sense of touch.
Photo Copyright 2010 by Barry Fackler

Coming back to the Two Step, these Yellowfin Goatfish can be seen hovering about. They are so often seen by "regulars" like me that they hardly get noticed. They are nice looking fish and deserve a little recognition so here it is!

I had to wait around for an hour before I could go home so I just relaxed on the beach. I can't go straight home after diving at Honaunau because I live at around 1500' altitude and I need to let the nitrogen get out of my system before ascending. Anyway, as I sat on the beach, a Humpback Whale breached 3 times just outside the bay. A couple of minutes later another whale breached twice. It was a nice way to end the morning.

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