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The Snerk Report


5 o'clock witchcraft. Gordon, David, myself and plenty of sunlight. The Ala Wai is smelling particularly putrid, David notices that the smell seems to be everywhere. It smells like there is a dead whale floating around. We get gas, diet coke and head out. Gordon and I are willing to try for Hole in the Wall once again. David thinks that three failures is enough and votes for Ewa. Compromise is reached and we decide to stop by the Prince William and check line ups, with the plan to head to Marnie's Rock. We get to Keehi and it smells like there is a dead whale in the harbor, I say the dead fish is on our boat and David remembers the rock clam he was going to take home and eat last week. He is forced to toss it even though he wants to save the shell for a future necklace! Not only did we waste time getting line ups, now we are forcing him to give stuff up!

Off we go. Pass over Hole in the Wall, find it, figure now we know where it is.(HA!) On to Marnie's Rock. Ocean is calm and clear, anchor and jump in. I swim by the inside Ewa ledges, big opelu kala, opelu pass overhead. Not much going on, stop to play hide and seek with an octopus. She wins so I head out to the ledge I see some large uku in the distance, remember Mike's advice, lay still, throw sand. Uku start in and suddenly disappear. Sure enough, here comes Gordon. He has a papio in the bag, I tell him there are big uku and head over to the Rock. Four large uku are lured by my clever tricks and I get a good clean miss. Now there are uku all around me and four papio are daring the uku to get as close to me as they are. I am trying to reload with out scaring them off. I need practice reloading my gun, there are uku everywhere, the string is wrapped around my fin, I cant get the shaft in the stupid little hole. There are uku everywhere, it is impossible to load gun while laying down, the uku are trying really hard to help me any way they can. I finally reload, shoot and miss again!!! Uku are trying to give me helpful advise, one swims up to the fallen shaft volunteering himself after the fact. Goof around with the reload deal again, string around my head and regulator, shaft on wrong side of rubbers etc. etc... Gordon shows up with a bag full of uku, I help him get the one on his shaft into his already full bag. He offers me the bag to swim up while he stays to shoot another! Like hell, I just got my gun reloaded!! If he is staying after dark, then I will too. David swims by above with a bag full of fish and a large rainbow runner in tow, he heads up. One more try, miss again Ahhhh!!! I watch Gordon shoot and the fish just falls dead. Ahhhh! We are decompressing on the line, Gordon still has his dead fish on his shaft and is worried as it is dark, plus having seen large kagami earlier, asks me to reload. I am thinking that if I go through all the hassles of reloading, I might as well go back down and try again! I reload as the shark thought is in my mind. It seems easier to do when there are no fish trying to help.

We get in the boat and I watch the boys compare their Halloween bootie. It is a beautiful night and the boat contains 7 large uku, one papio and a beautiful rainbow runner. Now I have to learn the down side to spearing fish, I have to listen to excessive gloating and endless reenactments of the tremendous skill talent and oneness with their guns.

It seems that David found the uku in his spot and after spearing three, he went for the rainbow runner just for variety and got a solid shot. He tells of swimming down the fish, seeing an eagle ray gently crossing the path of the setting sun rays, checking on his bag full of fish and having the feeling of the perfect dive. He then graciously brought the uku over to Gordon and I.

Gordon tells of calling in the uku, just having one good shot after another, then seeing two large kagami glistening in the dark. He decided it was too dark and that it was their lucky day and brought the uku over to me so I could try and shoot one.

I thought it was a shame that I had the gall to even own a gun in the presence of such masters of the sea. Gordon even said to David as they were cleaning fish at the dock; "Wouldn't it be terrible if one of us did this well and the other of us didn't get a fish?" I debated giving the whole idea up but missing those uku was still the most fun I had had all day.

dive fkk

I realized in the light of day (dive reports usually being written at odd hours) that I had shorted Roger a fish and given it to David, I knew I would take a beating for inaccuracy but since I don't send these to Roger, I guess no one minded, You would think Shidler would aim for straight record keeping. But I did enjoy all the other email.

Yes Richard, we all kept up with your daily dives and enjoyed them immensely, your adventures were the topic of conversation. I am bragging that I know you personally. If you need a dive sherpa on your next odyssey, keep me in mind.

All this discussion about whether Jan should eat this or that, and potential health ramifications, is a bunch of crap. Pregnant women eat whatever they want whenever they want and anything about health is bull. The nutritional value seems to be secondary. I was sending all sorts of crack seed to Germany and who knows what sort of toxins are in those... all I know is that there can't be a store full of different jars that all are made up of plums, salt, sugar, spice. And it wasn't as if I could just go buy seeds, they had to be a certain kind from a certain store. The pickled mango is perishable and had to be overnight air! Then there is Shannon in Seattle, who needed a certain brand of Guava juice flown over regularly for nine months; I got to be an expert on frozen grocery transportation. Sarah had me finding ume plums in Pullman, Washington (that was no easy thing either). Brian, you will be in D.C., touring the Smithsonian aerospace museum... you will just be getting to something good like an extra powerful super tall rocket ship, when Jan will suddenly get an urge for something from Kailua, perhaps something that she knows is at the corner bakery, hopefully it will be something simple like Zippy's chili, so when you phone me, (forgetting all about time difference) at 4 a.m. I can actually get it for you without waking the neighborhood grocer also. If she feels like fresh fish, by all means, give her some, it will probably be 3 a.m. when she feels like eating it, but hey you can't have everything.

dive 1

Mon. dive report:

Roger is a no-show, David is a no show, Gordon and I head out to sea. We now have a depth recorder, so once again we head for what now we are sure is an uku filled paradise, "Hole in the wall" attempt number three. Having a depth recorder doesn't help if you can't even agree at what depth this uku spawning ground is. Gordon and I take turns grabbing the wheel and saying "here, you idiot, let me try", eventually the sun gets low enough and we have been driving in circles long enough, that the anchor is thrown in a likely looking area. It turns out to be a deeper version of our last attempt. I never saw any likely looking game. Gordon did manage to bag two lobsters (one spiny, and one slipper). I did get to roll in the sand. The ocean was calm and the city lights sparkled on the water as we headed home. I had the veggie burrito at taco time and pretended it was fish.

dive 2

Traffic is terrible: stuck three blocks from the Ilikai with Carrie in the car. It is Five and the car is going nowhere. The only good point is I have Gordon's dive gear, so at least he will want to wait. Finally round the corner, drive under the magic bridge and leave the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and enter the world of surfing, sailing, paddling and diving. Boat is ready to go. On board is David, Jerry, Gordon, myself and 3 boat babes, Barbara, Christen and Carrie.

We head off to the Hole, it is a beautiful evening, the sun is shinning, the boat runs good, and I have a diet coke in my hand. Anchor at the Hole and David goes down to set the anchor. I goof around on the surface splashing the boat babes with my fins and am the last to descend. Outside ledge-taken, Hole-taken, Ewa ledge-taken... so I head inside, go to the little ledge. I see a papio with some opelu kala, but they don't come close. Check out the ledge, see one of those little-kine slipper lobster and figure ah, just one, too small... I will have to tell David that I saw one and left it! Further along the ledge seven more.... hmmm... I need a bag. Swim back to the Hole, find Jerry and try to get a bag... miscommunication big time, I get him to take off his wet suit, but I cant see any bag. Give up... go find David, I am planning to give him the lobsters anyway... David has nice size papio in bag and thinks I am offering to take it back to the boat for him! Yeah right, how often does that happen? Back at lobster central I realize that my fear of eels is going to make this tricky. There are two big eels in the cave and as the ledge turns 90 degrees, there is another big eel right about where my head will be when I get these guys. I build a rock wall between us (kind of like a little kid with the cereal boxes at breakfast) then I use my spear gun to keep the other two eels at bay while I reach near them and get lobsters. The eels smell David's papio and are a little excited. Each lobster I get feels death defying, I am sure my ear is going to be bitten off by Mr. tell tale eel. After four lobsters I figure hey, this is a meal for those guys, enough is enough. Back at the anchor line, I look up to see our boat surrounded by swimming mermaids silhouetted in the sun light, stirring up those sunset rays that sparkle through the depths. Gordon is actually jumping off the boat and back in the water, that kind of good mood signifies uku on board. Sure enough Dr. Uku has done it again. We head in just as a red ball sun touches the sea. Guess I will stop by David's house around supper time tomorrow.

dive 3

Mo'o, Witchcraft, Mo'o, Witchcraft, Six people (Jerry, David, Brian, Gordon, Roger and myself), windy, hard to anchor, no parking at C pier. It seems the most complicated solution makes the most sense. Take Witchcraft over to Mo'o and load up. At least the Hobbie gets to move every once and a while.

Armed to the gills and talking about uku as if all of Ewa is swimming with them we head for the ever impossible Hole in the Wall once again. I am even certain that I will spear a fish because my horoscope said that I will have an exciting interaction with a Pisces! Well the engines are both running terrible and we turn tail and head for Waikiki. The pyramids are the selected sight, that way some people can go to the spirals and some can head over to the ship, Jennifer can get lost.

I am the last one over the side at 6:10, the water is clear and the opelu kala are balled up. Their gray bodies appearing black against a blue ocean. I swim through them but don't see anything else. Drop to the bottom, the fish are friendly and the weke ula let me get right into them. I realize that you can't miss a fish if you can put your spear against its head and I decide this is my technique for the future, no firing gun unless fish is less than a foot away. The weke are not very large and as I do have uku in my ice box at home, I don't shoot but continue to play. Two good size moana kea swim right by Jerry. I can see uku off in the sand but they are so far away it is more just an impression that they are there. I am not hungry enough to devote my whole dive sitting in one spot freezing so I head into the ledge leaving the swarms of weke to roll in the sand without me. I head over to my inside uku spot, but I suspect David will be at the spirals by now keeping them away. I pass over a slipper lobster walking around (it is too small) then I remember that Kawika actually takes home rock clams to eat, go back and pick up my new buddy. He likes my pigtail and actually hangs on for a second or two while I need my second hand to catch a leaf fish for David's aquarium. Now my hands are full, I really should get a bag or something. I have gun under my arm, fish in one hand and my hand on the back of the lobster that is clinging to my pig tail. I look too stupid for words, I figure some fish should come by soon, or worse, another diver. Try to second guess David, and let his leaf fish go in a new place. There is a pile of rocks that wasn't there before, should fill up with potters soon... I head back for the pyramids, the fish are still there and thick, but I see nothing unusual. I have been 40 min. and am down to 1000 lbs., time to head up. Roger is on the line, tells me to decompress, Brian offers me his empty bag, but by now I kind of like my pal. Brian takes his regulator out of his mouth and tells me something, HA! I have no clue. Gordon shows up with another empty bag, tells me he shot some sort of weke which swam around his head and by the time he got untangled, it was gone. I ask what sort of weke, but only find out he saw lots of big kahala.

Back on the surface at ten to seven and get to watch the sun set. There are no fish on board, David saw papio, Roger saw uku in the distance the whole dive. Jerry saw the moana kea, but since there were two of them together, he couldn't shoot one. Jerry the romantic, who would have guessed? If there had been one or three, well that would have been a different story!! Maybe fish school to appeal to predators sense of family.

Another beautiful dive without you Mike. Clean up, head home and have a exceptionally delicious dinner. Uku, rice and peas. Thank you David for the fish. Tonight I will eat uku again. Mmmmmm can't get enough.

dive 4

Last day of lobster season. Roger has an excuse and it is off in the power cat, looking for high adventure. Gordon and David just want to go to somewhere they know, and catch uku. Roger's original Barbers point plan is scrapped when he realizes that he doesn't know how much gas he has got, the ocean is rough, and no one is super enthusiastic. Roger gets out the line ups book and proceeds to drive around in circles and Gordon (capt. junior) helps out. David gears up for anchor setting and I sit on the bow, watch the ocean, note the cloud free day in the Waianae range, and sing! This goes on until I have run out of songs, David has taken off his fin and made a pillow to set his tank on, Gordon (who just wants it to be darker),and Roger are now taking notes on how far apart each of the Ewa spots are from each other. Finally drop anchor and David is over, Gordon follows and they proceed to swim from this lobster spot back to Menehune Wall and Gordon continues on to Roger's ahi spot. He sees lots of fish but comes back empty. Roger and I dive tropicals in some great fishless area and come back pretty near empty. David likewise is fishless. No heroes, no lobsters and everyone is content anyway. Another day diving when we could have been stuck in traffic or some sort of slow moving project. Any day I get my hair salty is a good day!

dive 5

Jane wants to give the power cat a real test. The weather is windy and the ocean is rough. A good test of hull design for Tribble's next boat. Plans are made and dive set up for 5:30. I only hear about it because I am at Tribble's ripping up flooring, I manage to invite myself along. Keehi lagoon at appointed hour finds a dejected Roger lamenting all of life's miseries. Gordon joins him (alone, turns out Jane wants to finish up some work) and then I show up with a bag of pretzels. I start the picnic and figure that the dive is canceled due to lack of the excuse to go diving in the first place. Oh, no, we are still diving, we are just sitting on the ground eating pretzels till it gets a little darker.

We head off toward ewa, I ask if we are going to Hole in the Wall, as we actually have Roger with us. Roger shakes his head no and says he is going to Marnie's Rock, where the uku hardly leave room for a diver to squeeze in. Gordon strongly believes that the later the better and the two boat captains play with hull speed and discuss design in Jane's honor. Cabins get built, fish boxes moved, weight distributions changed, but we finally anchor and get ready to enter the water at about 6:30. I am the last one over the side and enjoy my swim to the bottom. I charge down the last 20 feet just to see what I can bring in. Sure enough, there are uku out there but they turn away long before they come into range. Some small papio come by and let me swim with them, making circles and getting ever higher off the bottom. I charge down again to see if the uku will come back. Here they come, they have the same gleam in their eyes that I had when I said something sassy to Gordon while he was rinsing gear on Friday, I was standing next to Roger and knew that I was safe from the hose. The uku had that neener neener look as they swam by next to their good buddy George. I debated which was safer, shooting the fish in front of the shark or in back of the shark. I decided that it would not be a good idea, it is one thing to swear when you know your mother is in the vicinity, but quite another to look her right in the eye and say fuck! The arrival of the Marnie's Rock regular brought Roger and Gordon closer to home. The uku reappeared and swam by Roger, he waits till they are close before he shoots and gets a nice uku. I help him get the fish in the bag and watch over his shoulder for any moocher. I then watch him reload, he is no fast reloader either!! I head back to the rock where Gordon and I have trapped 3 large weke ula between ourselves, the rock and the ledge, we both slowly move in, I hope that he will chase the weke toward me, but we move so slow, they just stay there and begin to feed. Gordon gets close, shoots and misses! Ha! then takes forever to reload his gun. Double Ha! I see that he has already bagged an uku, so I can't get too uppity. The weke have dashed away over the ledge and I head out looking for uku again. I see the shark in the distance and am less than enthusiastic about killing fish. I play with the papio again and notice that it is really getting dark. It is hard to tell the difference between the palani and the uku as they swim toward me. Roger indicates he is going up, Gordon is still hoping for a second uku and stays longer, I keep him company, but nothing develops except night. We surface safe and sound, two uku on board and discuss boat hulls and scientific reasons why the uku were not acting the same as two nights ago. I think it is simply because David wasn't there to swim a quarter mile away, get the uku and bring them back to us!! Maybe if Jane had come then I probably would have gotten one.

dive 6

Friday afternoon Mo'o, cast of thousands. We leave the harbor with a dozen on board and slowly wend our way toward Ewa. Mo'o needs to have her risers reamed out again and Roger doesn't want her to over heat, we all have a good time visiting and anchor at Marnie's Rock at about 6ish. David and Brian are in the water like a shot, they are now setting the anchor as Gordon has decided that darkness is as much a key as being the first one in. Futs around on the boat getting gear on the visitors. Patty needs a mask. (She used to live on a boat nearby and was a surfing buddy of Jenny Cotton and a dream of every man in the Ala Wai has grown up nicely, and now resides in Colorado.) Michael Sames (son of Dennis), is wondering how much weight he needs with out a B.C. and with no wet suit. (he and his buddy are passing through Honolulu on their way to late season snowboarding at Whistler) Roger is designated watcher of guests and Gordon and I quietly wait for every one. Jeff and Terry get in, Jerry jumps in and then Roger and his charges. I go in leaving Gordon to be last. I load my gun and drift down current towards Barbers Point. I get to the bottom and see a large yellow spot being followed by a dozen small papio. I head in their direction and settle down at the inside Ewa ledges. I call them and all the papio turn and come, except the big one is no longer with them. The fish are real friendly, the opelu kala come right up to me and I manage to get myself in the middle of a ball of black humus. There is one large solitary uku and I call her in, she comes turns and comes again as I get what I feel is her closest pass, I wait too long and shoot as she turns away. I miss and immediately the papio are all over me. I reload in record time and try to focus through the papio on the uku who is still there. She won't come in and drifts outside and doesn't come back. I can hear Gordon and figure he probably shot her and wonder if "I shot at that fish first" carries any weight. I head out toward the ledge and see a large school of opelu silhouetted against the surface. I see Gordon swim up into them, he must see something, I am ready for anything as the opelu swim down to meet me. I don't see any tuna or kagami, I turn to watch them go and see the opelu ball up on the shark who is escorted by 10 uku acting as kahili bearers and announcing the arrival of the man in the gray suit. About this time the Gordon comes back down and I signal shark and uku. We both lay on the bottom and call the uku. They break away from the shark and do an outside pass on Gordon, turn and come in on me. I am glad Gordon is there to fight off the shark as I shoot and kill an uku. The shark doesn't come in and I add my fish to Gordon's weke ula. I head in after a large mu which moves like a rainbow. It is getting dark and I suddenly realize that the rock I am on has two large eels under it and I decide to head back outside the ledge where there is a nice safe sand bottom. I swim over to Marnie's Rock and come across Roger and we decide to stick together as I keep seeing the shark. Roger is going for some weke ula and I am playing with the papio. I turn around and Roger has turned into the shark. I head down the ledge toward some bubbles and see Roger in the distance, as I approach he turns into Gordon. I am ready to head up but Gordon is still hunting and as the shark is right there also, I stay around ready to fend off. Gordon decides that it is indeed a little dark and we head up. While decompressing, he tells me that he had to actually hit the shark twice with his gun. I of course ask about my fish, I thought I had left it in such good hands. He of course lies and tells me the shark ate it!! Actually, he gave them to Roger to take up. I got back in the boat to see Brian had gotten a nice papio and David another rainbow runner (small and beautiful) Mr. Mac shot a big blue uhu, there was Gordon's weke ula and of course the star of the lot was my uku!!! Everyone saw fish, David even saw large kagami. Pretty good, for cast of thousands. That shark is a problem, but luckily, so far it seems to have a preference for Gordon, (he had problems with it on our lobster dive two days ago at Roger's ahi spot.) and it has not stolen any fish yet... Every one congratulated me. David, who has taken to calling me "MISS" Herkes will have to stop.

dive 7

Diving tropicals with Gerry Devlin, Roger and myself. The power cat sure can handle rough windy days better than Roger. We get to a place marked good aquarium spot in book, line ups look like the place everyone is calling "Roger's Ahi Spot", jump in with my gear and certainly is the place I have always thought of as shark city, I think I will have to ask Roger about the Ahi and find out the story behind the new name, (I think most probably all the old guys that are going to be 70 in 30 years are feeling mortal and are trying to find a place in history, Roger probably thought he saw an Ahi here). As I descend, I travel through a large school of flashing opelu, they are actively feeding and are swimming in all directions. Instead of the usual flash, there is the disco mirror ball effect from the sunlight hitting all the different angles. There are fun to see and spend the whole dive over head feeding and flashing. I spend the dive catching the usual assorted fish, but am distracted by the large amount of naso tangs, which I love to chase and catch but am unable with my small old net. I see Roger and Gerry setting their big new net in a good locale and figure I will drive 30 or so nasos their way, and if they don't figure it out, I will probably still get 10 in the net and maybe we can catch 5. I head off at high speed, pulling my self on the bottom and swimming hard. I am looking down for hand holds, and over my shoulder to keep track of the nasos. I am not looking where I am going. As I am planning on intersecting the edge of the ledge and fallowing the terrified nasos back to Roger. I do glance ahead to see how close I am to my turn around spot. I look up and find myself right in the gang of sharks. They seem to be cruising the reefs, showing their colors and looking like they have erased their share of innocent fish. There is the shark I am now calling Gordon's shark, (I can't tell you species, but I know individuals!) there is one about twice as large behind him and three smaller ones with me. There are at least three different types, I am right in with them, but I am like a little fish that they are ignoring. They are not hammerheads, who I have seen in groups before. There could be more than 5, I am not looking for pieces of tail or dorsal in the distance. There is little more than a spears distance between me and the two nearest. They don't even look at me. I want to turn around and swim away really fast, but I am afraid that they might notice me then. I am going for the 'just ease my self out of the gang' method and hope they pay no attention. It works and I head back to hang with my gang and hope for the best. Roger and Gerry are not too bothered about my story of the 5 foot shark and it is only my general clingyness that makes Roger ask me if I am scared? Either that or am I now in love? I answer no, but I am staying with them. We all head up and fish the next bottle together, never seeing any sign of the gang again. The moral of course, is look where you are going, or you might not like where you end up.

The next dive is uneventful, Oh, wait, the next dive was when I had to buddy breathe Gerry back to the boat, that is what I get for fishing with those guys. Of course they caught more nasos than they ever catch, but splitting up the money was like pulling teeth, they think they suddenly just got lots better!! I am back on my own for the third and shallow bottle, brave as ever, although a passing eagle ray in sure gave me a flashback!

dive 8

Sunday, wake up, ocean looks improved, should go fishing with Brian and some single guy named Pete who owns a boat. Do errands and return to find message about heat exchangers and back ordered parts, Pete's boat sounds like the old Mo'o during the Snerk era. Guess I can work at Tribble's, Find Gordon wandering around his yard in a state of frustration and helplessness. Things have to be moved, this requires: 1. a place to put stuff 2. Having to look at stuff you at one time thought you needed; and owning up to the fact that there has been a pack rat running around unchecked for 7 years. I just moved, so I know what a bummer it can be. Gordon, just be glad you are not getting divorced, or you would be fighting over the old leaky shower head that could be used for an outdoor shower if you ever built one.

Roger calls, wants to dive for tropical fish...I am outta here....We are worried that the swell is too big, but compared to the current and the visibility problems, the swell is hardly noticeable, there are times when the current is not as bad, this coincides with the times that the sand is lifted off the bottom to add to the murk. The good news is that the fish cannot see the net, the bad news is: so what? We did three bottles, and never saw anything. (TAKE THAT LITERALLY - at 25', Roger would disappear) Eeked out some money and hauled a lot of water. The only good thing was watching Roger get in the water. He decides that to avoid swimming in such a strong current, he was going to enter off of the bow. He decided this after rigging up on the stern. He is carrying his net, (big one) pole spear etc. and wearing mask, fins, and scuba tank! This is the power cat remember. He finally makes it, his hand net catches on the bow as he enters, he comes up the ladder in the stern, like the creature from the black lagoon and repeats the whole thing!! You know how good I am at letting things like that go by with out some remarks.

We are heading home at dusk and I see the Witchcraft anchored off of reef runway. Roger doubts that Gordon and David really went out and besides, the whichcraft is much bigger than that. I tell him that it is definitely the Whichcraft as this is usually how far away I am when I surface lost. (We are still on the ewa side of Pearl Harbor) We approach and note there is no dive flag so we buzz the bubbles that are around the anchor line. David surfaces with an uku and Gordon follows with small kahala, they are happy. I guess they finally found the real "hole in the wall" off reef runway.

dive 9

Beautiful day, light winds, glassy sea. Roger has the flu so it is Capt. Gordon on the Witchcraft. Brian, David and I join Gordon and head for Kahala. There is plenty of light so Roger Jr. spends an inordinate amount of time checking lineups and driving back and forth between Aina Haina and Hawaii Loa. The 8 window house looks different when you get close to it. Drop anchor and David and Brian jump in (that Brian sure has caught on to that "good man beats the anchor down" thing) Gordon and I follow and I see Gordon go off to check the anchor. I head behind the boat, the opelu kala are thick and fearless. I descend through a large school of heniochus butterflies and charge the bottom, they come with me but the only thing I bring in is a large Kala. Gordon had said that they taste terrible, and I can't recall ever eating one. He is awfully big, and if indeed he tastes bad....he will taste bad for a long time. I still have all that aku in my ice box from fishing (you are missing it!) I swim a long way Diamond head to a place I often see uku. All I can see is someone puttering along in the distance with white fins and a trademark kick. I decide to head in, stop and check out the colors of the shrimp on a different colored cushion star. Do they really have more variation than other types of starfish? I look up and there are those fins again. Change directions and head Koko Head swim back so I figure I am straight inside the boat, look up and there he is again!!! Any fish that even want to come visit me have to get by my personal sentry. He is obviously orbiting me. Probably some sex goddess thing that can't be helped. Now I see Brian and any thoughts that maybe I am seeing other people that look like David are dispelled. Well with all these people, at least I must be close to the boat, because by this time I have no idea where it is. David approaches and asks where the boat is? Great, we are all probably miles from the boat, I figure that Brian will know but he has vanished. I will now do the same dive in reverse and end up under the boat. I have not seen anything so at 1000 lbs. I head up to 30 feet in hopes of swimming with an ono. See nothing, finally get back to the heniochus and know I am close, yep there is David going up the line. We get to the boat, he has a Hawaiian sinker that is of medium quality that he has picked up in an attempt to bring back the hero reward. Well it sure beats my stupid pearl shell that I got for Mike. -do you still want these things?- David says he saw nothing but 3 uku in Gordon's bag. Gordon gets in the boat with three contentment size uku. Brian comes up with nothing but total admiration for Dr. Uku. Well you might feel that the hero of the dive would be at least be a happy soul. He runs through how he got the 3 uku in the first 12 min. then we had to hear the bad news of how he shot a white ulua and how it got away. We were all supposed to feel sorry for him. (he could be taking this Roger Jr. thing too far!) Then the starboard engine won't start and we realize that we will hit the dock at 9 p.m. The Capt. now experiences boat owner frustration. The sea is calm, the stars are shinning, the boat is heading home, there is a setting crescent moon and three of the four have wonderful wives sitting at their windows, waiting patiently with warm love for the return of their mates. We are planning, of course to all eat at Tribble's house, the Captain is still grumpy because he is hosting a party that isn't going to start till 10!! Later when he gets his beer, then all is better, great dives are remembered well into the next day. Next week, I will take beer and food with us, men are sooo easy, why are they hard to catch? I must have the wrong lures out.

dive 10

Saturday. Dive tropicals. It is calm and it is potters off Kahala. We find the spot with the usual -Roger on a calm day- circling. The water is clear. By the time I get to the bottom I am well behind the boat. It is a good day to be a filter feeder. The fish have to work. Roger is getting this jump off the bow thing wired and after the first dive, both Gerry and I copy with the usual "fuckheads go fishing" grace and style. I was laughing so hard that I missed the anchor line by about three inches and it took a full minute of kicking hard to grab it. Fishing is easy because there is only one way the fish are going to swim, there is only one way to set the net, and only one side of the net to be on. I out fish the fools once again, which is amazing because you could just set the net and watch the fish get smashed against it. We made it back with both engines running, which is good, because I was beginning to think that it was me.

dive 11

Friday finally gets here. It has been too windy and I have not been wet all week. Roger has a decoy van parked at the Mo'o but I manage to sniff out divers loading up at the witchcraft. Brian has scored 4 aluminum tanks that are out of date, so he has brought them to use up. We will be the high fashion and brightly colored dive team. Roger is last to arrive in new van. Looks like he got a great deal. We leave the harbor at 10 to six and head for the pyramids (too windy for anywhere else). There is a boat full of Japanese tourist bottom fishing on the ships, I am sure the sub. guys are happy about that! We anchor and Brian is down with the anchor. There is plenty of light and I have plenty of air. Get down and there is no sign of action. Brian is nearby and looking about hopefully, there is not even the faintest glimmer of game. I figure that maybe the boat at the ships is chumming and all the action is over there. I ask Brian if he wants to go cruise with me and off we head up the ledge. Find a good potters hole on the way to keep in mind for the next time we come here. ($50 if I get the flame too). Get to the ships and sure enough, the black humus are munching up a storm, then we come across Gordon and I suspect that I now know how he gets fish to come in. But even with his gross fish feeding technique, he has not seen anything worth shooting. He and Brian start discussing geology, the humus have finished off their free meal and I head back to the boat. Check out some more star fish, and their shrimp are color matched, I am going to move some shrimp from one starfish and see if they can change color. Science project for my next dive. Get back to the pyramids, roll about in the sand and then join the rest of the gang on the line. All are empty handed Roger saw two small weke ula and heard a whale. He does under water whale calls to entertain us. Fortunately I have brought chips and beer and both engines run, we even get back before the fire works.....probably went out too early.....

dive 12

Dive all day for tropical fish, my secret weapon of decoy fish, happily caught in the net has mixed results. One nohu sneaks up on the back side of the net and tries to eat my fake potter. Other than that, I could not determine the difference. I was not diving for potters, so I still have faith. What I need are more fake fish! Soon I will have so many fake ones in my net, I won't be able to see the real ones! Roger and Gerry out fished me by a long shot, but I still had a profitable day. We were down to the last hyperdermic needle for the fish and Roger broke it while bleeding the air out of a naso, so he had to learn to use just the end of the needle, holding it with a pair of pliers. I wonder how long before he remembers to bring a new needle. It was an uneventful day, I did get scared by a fast swimming shark that passed by twice, I went up from my shallow bottle with a 1000 lbs. psi, (yes Richard, it is possible to return to the boat and still have air). I saw the shark whiz by on the bottom near the edge of my field of vision at about the same time I saw Roger had dropped his stick and it was laying on the bottom of the shark infested sea. I had to talk my self into going back down for the recovery, but I managed. (such a wimp)

dive 13

Winds finally die down and dive is planned Sat. eve. A total of nine divers show up on the Mo'o for an evening cruise to Kahala. We anchor at the turtle barge and I go in with Peggy 's visiting nephews, nice kids, one has just got his masters in ocean engineering from MIT and has done 40+ dives off of Boston and Maine. (His thesis sounds like he invented a penguin boat.) He gets in the water, looks down and yells: "You can see all the way to the bottom!! Wow! the water is sooo warm!!" His younger brother, Mike gets in and we head to the anchor.

As I descend I see a dive bag on the bottom, I have been thinking that I need one to put fish in; so now I have one, no holes, no rust the good kind that you can't buy anymore...now I just need a fish. I have not have fish in so long, that I have taken to eating smoked salmon, but at least I didn't buy it! (so why does Gordon of all people have smoked salmon in his ice box??? You really get to know people when you hang out in their homes while they are away.)

We check out some eels, head over to see the turtles and come across David in a gathering mode...there is no telling what goes through some brains, he has filled his bag half full of rock clam shells...it is remarkable how many shells are at the entrance to this cave. Turtles have a secret life.

I leave the boys in Rogers charge and head down the ledge toward diamond head, see Roger shoot a Kahala (Brian size) and he has a good fight, David, Jerry and I come check it out...things must be slow, I feel like an uku coming in to rubberneck. Jerry who has by this time, seen a shark and shot and hit two large mu, tells me he shot at two uku...I head off to find his uku and have an uneventful second half of a dive.

Roger does shark calls while decompressing, I thought he was a very sick sea lion. He asks me what I saw and I tell him a whole school of Kawela 'ai and actually get the message across...charades...I went for the Japanese barracuda. Mac drops his weight belt getting into the boat and has to go back down, but to no avail...

Back at the dock, Jerry ruptures a disc in his back and lays on the dock suffering badly until the ambulance gets there, I spend the rest of the evening at Straub. He is not going to be diving on tonight's dive....four o'clock Mo'o.

dive 14

Weekend return of Michael, good reason to dive...off we go to Gordon's rock....Jason, his mom(Bambi), Mac, Michael and his boat babe, Sarah,Roger, Peggy's nephews (Jim and Mike), David and myself. Calm seas prevail and as we reach Diamond Head, we get to watch the sailing canoes come in from Maui, Timmy and co. are in the lead, Tonga in second and the rest are scattered across the horizon, I am sure it was a long slow sail with a lot of paddling. Roger and I go for tropicals, Michael finds an artifact collection, but just picks out two show off pieces. No one shoots anything. On the way back, (it is still early as Michael is hosting at Duke's and needs to be back) David and Mac drop in at the hole to see if they might have some luck there. The best part was hearing them plan the attack... (two people who are rarely in the company of others during a dive planning some sort of strategy!) ...they come up empty handed. No one got hurt and I traded two fish for a night on the town with David and Barbara.

Mon: Dive for dollars. It is so calm that we spend the morning driving around looking for new areas. First bottle next to the tanker anchorage at Barbers Point, 80 feet, current and few fish. Next is another new spot, much more interesting, and if there wasn't so much phytoplankton, maybe I could have gotten a better feel for it. Ledge from 65-55 lots of fish, I saw papio and opelu kala, caught lots of fish. Roger and Gerry saw a giant lobster and there was a discussion about calling it a table shrimp and getting it, but the law prevailed. On the second dive there, Roger and Gerry lost the boat, ran out of air, and who knows what else, they were safe and sound by the time I came up. We did a final bottle at some shallow islands that I have not been to for ages, lots of papio, I finally decided to catch one in my net (they were following me around) I almost had one, but I was to far behind him and when he reached the net, he had the split second he needed to jump over the top. I don't know what I would have done if I had caught him, but it would have been a good story and dinner too! I did well on that dive and that really got the rest of the crew, they seemed to have had some sort communication problems. They were some how outsmarted by a bunch of Naso tangs. Net location might have been a factor, it all seemed very vague to me.

dive 15

Wednesday dive, Brian, Gordon, David, and myself meet at the Witchcraft. Everyone approves of the great improvements to the hideaway, David comments on the incredible costs, Gordon can't wait to let Debbie see it. We head over to the gas dock for diet coke, lunch and to meet Roger oh yeah, we get gas too. Plenty of light and calm seas so it is off to Ewa to see the sharks, Marnie's rock is the spot of choice. The big news is that Brian has test results and we now know he and Jan are expecting a slightly deviant girl. Congratulations from all. Roger is in a talkative mood and we hear about every veteran from every war that he or any friends of his ever met.

Throw anchor and Gordon and David are over the side. Brian is polite enough to visit a minute before leaving Roger and I to be last. As I descend on the inside ledge, the phytoplankton are thick and everything just feels like fish. Sure enough a friendly and large kahala meets me at the bottom, he wont quite let me pet him so I turn over a rock and try to feed him a brittle star. He isn't interested, he just likes swimming in circles with me, so off we go to look for game. We see a school of small papio but they are far away. My buddy gets bored and soon leaves, I head ewa, there are clouds of humus both black ones and bluethroats. I watch the opelu race by over head and see them followed by three large rainbow runner (hero size). I don't know enough about the fish, do you call them down? Swim up? Make noise? As I slowly rise off of the bottom, I realize there is no chance and head back down near the ewa corner. I can hear Gordon building something, what ever it is, it involves a lot of hammering. Maybe I should hire him to work for me on weekends. I dive down and roll in the sand and see the uku descend and roll too. I can not get serious fast enough and they head over to see what all the pounding is about. I meet up with Gordon, he has a papio in the bag and we watch Roger landing weke ula over on top of the ledge, he has two. Gordon heads toward the corner and I see Brian coming down the ledge, he has a papio in his bag..."Jokers to the left of me, jokers to the right and here I am stuck in the middle..." I head back inside.. I am mentally composing my dive report, knowing every one will have fish, I have seen tons of fish and not taken a shot...In the far distance,I see my redemption. Up high, silhouetted in the sun light I watch two ulua slowly oscillate their bodies, they are on a straight approach, so it is hard to tell but there is a definite sparkle and a relaxed swim that spells kagami. One large and one small, they are coming to see me but their flight path is too high and I expect them to circle in. They swim over me and dive down to visit! I am aiming my gun straight to the surface, they are about equidistant, one is so big, it will be a fight, the smaller one could be a little closer but easier to miss. Now they are getting close, I am not sure which one to shoot. I realize that they are not going to turn broadside as they are swimming straight down. I either shoot at the forehead or the chins as they swim away. The small one shows its chin and it is time to shoot, I take a shot that goes right between them and now have a spear shaft falling in my face! I reload, the fish have stayed down but headed out toward the ledge, I loose sight of them and hear a gun go off in the distance. I look around and see what I think are two kahala small enough to shoot, but they turn out to be two giant weke ula, Roger caught one off Kaena point once about this size, they are close enough, but they have come up behind me and by the time I turn they are out of range, I head over to the sand and see the uku again, they make a couple of distant passes then head high into the water column leaving me on the bottom with hands full of sand. I am wondering what species I have not seen and see the out of season slipper lobster family under the overhang. I head back over to Marnie's rock and come across Brian, he no longer swims, he is just gliding along with the tell-tale silver tail sticking out of his bag, some of the sparkle has definitely been transferred into Brian. I of course inform him that it is really my fish, since I shot at it first, he nods his head in perfect comprehension and agrees to give me other papio also in his bag. I think, this man is brilliant, he can actually understand me underwater, then I realize he is just swimming around nodding at anything and everything, I think he might have even seen him promise my papio to some inquisitive lemon butterflies!! I meet up with Gordon, he now has two papio in his bag and a small white tip circling around, it is a real baby and I want to play with it, I spook it and it goes off to find David. I straighten up the anchor and Gordon, Brian and I head up. While decompressing, Gordon drifts off while Brian hangs with me and understands every thing I think of to discuss, the passing opelu, the setting sunlight flickering through the waves like spotlights searching the stage before the main act enters. Gordon's gun goes off, I assume he is shooting at plankton but he soon comes back trying to both reload his spear and pull his pants up while holding his bag of fish. Turns out he was up to his usual fish feeding technique when he found himself surrounded by opelu, he managed to aim his gun and shoot a rainbow runner, but swimming with your swimsuit around your knees while holding a fish bag proved difficult and he was unable to land the large fish, too bad, I really would have enjoyed seeing him swim the hero sized fish back to the boat with his pants down, it would have added a whole new dimension to the fight... one strategic slash of the tail... I doubt it would have been right next to his body, plus the swimming itself could have been good, they say that I kick funny...

I surface just in time to bid aloha to the sun. On board lay 10 fish, a bountiful catch, Roger has two weke ula and a uku, Gordon has two papio, but is grousing about a lost uku and rainbow runner, Brian is the hero with his first ulua (beautiful one at that), and a papio. Kawika spent the dive collecting papio, three nice fish, one which is given to yours truly (that makes two I get to take home). As the Witchcraft heads home, plankton flash in her wake and all agree it was a great dive. Everyone saw lots of fish, Brian mostly just nods and shines, he thinks perhaps Kagami would make a nice name for a young girl. I am sure she will sparkle.

dive 16

Friday dive. Mac, Roger and myself are waiting around at the Mo'o. I have Gordon's gear and Roger has all the tanks so we know that Gordon and David will come get us. They stop to buy gas. At five thirty, Ebi (spelling?) shows up, 5:45, no sign of the boat, Mr. Mac smells fiasco, and heads on, he is planning to go running with some new girl. I figure it is time to go get the boat ourselves, David and Gordon arrive just after I leave... well, we finally all get aboard and Roger and Gordon play with the notorious starboard engine. Many tricks are tried and the co-captains jostle about coaxing her. It looks serious, and they eventually give up. We head out the channel (still playing with the engine) just as the sail boats are returning, so we can still experience near misses.

Our spots being limited, we head for the pyramids, a passing boat (friend of Glacier Bay Dave) signals us that there are lots of fish at the ship, and we anchor there. The plankton are thick and the sun is setting, giving the ships a ghostly appearance. Chills run through my body as I feel the cold water surrounding the shadowy relics. All the fish are high off the bottom, but I do not see any game, and I head in to the inside flats...you never know what you will find there. I check out 3 or 4 hollow tile piles and come across a giant double fluked anchor sitting out in the middle of nothing. I am beginning to think I will get lost when I see a familiar eel and know where I am. I head back toward the ships. I glance up and see a floating spear gun back lit against the surface, on the other end of the line, is David chasing down a kagami, he finally bags it. The skirmish is beautiful to watch as both David and the ulua exert great effort.. They are both just black shapes with occasional flashes of white fins. I think...gee there is fish here and I have been off trapping humus in hollow tiles! Sure enough, off the bow of the inside ship, I see some small papio jazzing about, there are also weke ula and then I see a giant lai..I mean giant, like hero size! It is moving too fast and I can't get a shot off to prove its existence, Roger thinks it must have been rainbow runner,....( the first time I saw a shark, he didn't see it and figured that I must have seen Bruce Marnie!!) David thinks it was probably a little larger than usual, and I just tend to exaggerate. I take no shots and drift slowly above the outside ship, I am surrounded by opelu kala and heniochus and try to act like I belong. "Don't mind me, all those funny bubbly noises are perfectly normal" . Three turtles take advantage of the lack of intruders and come up for air. I unload my gun and go join Roger and Ebi on the anchor line. Roger has a papio in his bag, before long, a large fish approaches below us, I think it is a giant ono...so big it doesn't even look like an ono. It is encased in large fast swimming rainbow runner like fish. This fish is so big I just watch in awe, then I see Roger load his gun and head down. I can't believe he is even considering spearing such a giant and I quickly load and follow after so I can either be in on the adventure, or save his life. Fortunately for us the wary giant barracuda swims out of sight and it is getting too dark to see much. I had no idea that barracuda got so huge..Roger thought 200+ pounds, all I know is that if I were laying on its back I wouldn't be able to reach my arms around it!!! The papa opelu makes its appearance. On board, we hear of how David chased this kagami for a long time before he got the shot. (a good one at that!). Gordon had shot a nice size uku, but it got off of his spear so he was a little testy about pulling up anchor and getting a move on. We chug in on one engine and unload with lots of admiring surfers checking out both Ebi and the fish.

dive 17

Dive plan; meet at Dan's at 4, alas I am stuck on Tribble's roof practicing skylight installation. Call Mat at dive shop and say "go on without me...in my best martyr voice" . It works, and Roger agrees to pick me up at the Ala Wai gas dock at 5:30. I love being spoiled. On board is Roger and dive instructor Lyle (who turns out to be really nice, despite his vocation.)

On the way to the little hole, I tell Roger that "Jack's book says biggest barracuda...87#" Lyle immediately chirps in, "No way, I have seen one at the ships that is at least 7 feet long, it is remarkably fat. 2-3 hundred pounds!!" He has seen it twice. As we approach the ships we stop to visit with Cully. There are birds going crazy just outside and Lyle and I are rigging up our pole as Roger is telling Cully about how he would have a world record if he shot it. Cully had seen a giant fish off in the distance that was too big to be an ono, he didn't know what it was, but it was really fat! Roger is yelling "World Record" and Cully is replying "I don't want to die!" so that is how big the fish is; a young buck doesn't want to spear it, it is big! Meanwhile I am trying to get the king of bullshit back on task, which is to head over to the birds. By the time we get over there, the fish are down and we get no strike. I could go for another pass but time is short and we head off to dive. Roger wants the depth recorder and I of course say, "At what exact spot do you want the anchor?"... I haven't forgotten how I spent Nov.!

The opelu are jumping just out side of us and I have high hopes as I fall over, leaving the other two to catch up. There is a lot of surface plankton, making it dark, but I am familiar with the area and recognize old friends. Don't see any game if you don't count the 25# white ulua that is in the trap. There are some small weke ula feeding high. I finally see the opelu and I get a little higher, just in case, it is a huge school, and they swim by for a long time, but unfortunately, nothing. Back on the bottom, I notice all of the dascyllus are in couples, laying eggs. I can't find any doing anything else, aren't there any single fish? I give up on spearing and decide to help Roger catch fish, I am not much help, I can chase them into the net really well, but them I let them go. Roger runs out of air and heads up. I come across a light colored cushion star and a dark cushion star in close proximity, and plan on science experiment #1...Do shrimp change colors in less than the 5 minutes I am willing to watch them? Well....I am out smarted by nature again....I spend 5 minutes trying to get a total of 7 shrimp to abandon their homes! "No way! We are dark shrimp and we live on this dark starfish." " We are whiteys and never leave the neighborhood!" There I am, looking like a little kid trying to make the nice starfish kiss...They are about as mooshed together as they could get....those darn little shrimp are zooming around and around and never leaving home.

I am the only one down, and I head over to the point and call a last time, maybe that ulua has some friends who visit him in jail....no luck, sun sets and I feel lucky to be here, another beautiful visit to the wondrous world of fish. On the surface, Lyle has an unusual artifact that he found at the rock pile near the trap. Roger has told him you are studying the area and will want to see it, he would love to hear about it from the expert and leaves it with Roger for you to look at when you get back. By the way, our line is still there, with floats, but only an odd piece of tape here and there.

dive 18

Power cat 5:30, traffic is bad, it will be good to get out on the water. It is Roger, Gordon, David and myself off to battle the sharks at ewa. The weather is nice and we discuss boats (Gordon), sharks (Roger), and sex (me). David keeps fairly quiet, except an odd "oh?" here and there. David suggest dropping in at the spot diamond head of Marnie's rock where occasionally swims to. (now referred to as: David's Grotto) We toss David over to find the exact spot, he comes up fairly quickly (we were close) with a rainbow runner and tales of exploding uku. We take lineups and throw anchor.

It is a beautiful spot that I haven't been to in a long time...We used to fish here when there was a lot more coral. I can also remember spearing once or twice. We are close enough to Marnie's Rock, that the tax collector in the gray suit joins us, there are two smaller white tips also in the fray. I study the lack of coral regrowth, stop at a shrimp cleaning station they refuse to clean me and the moorish idols get lots of attention. It is a great place for photogenic spots, and I mentally compose a beautiful National Geographic shot. There is an overhang with some whip coral whose green polyps are all out and feeding, next to some bright orange bryazoa it all has the blue background. Looking toward the surface it is extra perfect because all those papio shimmer in the background.....PAPIO!...Where is my gun? Pay attention! they are gone....You really have to hunt and stay on top of things. I swim toward the anchor and come across Roger and Gordon. Gordon has a large uku and a nice size papio in his bag. Roger is ready to go check out Marnie's Rock, so we head up.

We throw the anchor just about sun set and declare it perfect timing. Gordon and Roger change tanks. David and I go down with half fills. You would expect a certain amount of generosity from the people who had full tanks and plenty fish already, but alas, it is a dog eat dog world and Gordon heads over to my favorite uku corner and hogs it. He doesn't just pass through, he sets up camp and I know we will disapprove of close company...David is Diamond Head, and Roger heads off for his usual circle out from the rock. I wander inside and over toward the ewa ledges. Maybe that other Kagami will still be there. I see nothing but giant kala. Even the slipper lobsters have left. I head out toward Gordon and the greedy guy has another big uku! Then he tells me that he saw Kagami and points inside, hoping no doubt that I will swim off in that direction again. I figure, no way, enough is enough, I am staying here and looking for more of those uku. I wander over to the rock and am heading back when I see Gordon skyrocket off of the bottom. He is looking down, not up and I know instantly that there is an eel involved. It seems that as he lay out in the sand looking for still more fish, an eel, left the safety of the ledge, snuck up behind him and gave his leg a little nibble or two, just to get him off of the fish. The big green headed eel was now on Gordon's bag trying to have a pleasant uku feast. He would have had a peaceful meal except Gordon kept interrupting with his pointy spear. The eel was forced to take time out to chase Gordon away. I actually saw the eel about 2-3 feet off of the bottom with Gordon about one spear gun length above that! Then he would go back to what was now his uku for another bite or two. I could tell Gordon wanted some assistance from me, but I could see the picture all to clearly. Gordon ends up with his uku and bag, the eel gets a free meal, and I am out another $1000!! I lay low and enjoy the show from a distance. Finally even the eel gives up and that pesky Gordon gets his bag and fish back. I don't think the bag will hold his stones very well anymore. I better hang on to my bag even tighter. David and Roger are both still trying to actively steal my bag. David even got down right rude about it.... now I will have to watch Gordon also. I had better put some Hello Kitty paraphernalia on it. A pink bow perhaps.

I see Roger approaching and he is ready to shoot at something between us (it is a little dusky and hard to see by now) Suddenly I see all the papio coming. Roger shoots, and they all double their speed just as I shoot. We both miss. Roger has a weke ula and an uku in his bag. It is darker now, and I am getting short on air so I head back to the anchor and head up. The plankton are extra stingy so I stay a little deeper in hopes of avoiding further insults on my being. Roger shoots another uku, but some how looses it, he is not to sure what happened as it was a little bit pitch black by then.

It was fun doing two dives. Fortunately, they were close enough to each other, that we could save on the budget by using the same sharks for both locales. The trip home was pleasant as we all talked about our dive experiences. David describing an aurora borealis of papio, with streaks of shimmering light cascading upward, and Gordon trying to find a red spot that the eel might have made. Gordon is in an exceptionally chipper mood, going on about how he really is fond of that spot. (probably meant MY spot) Roger was feeling generous knowing that I can't dive tomorrow, he gives me his weke ula to take home....hmmm...I guess it turns out pretty nice after all.

dive 19

Meet at Witchcraft at 4. It has to be early because Brian came up with the excuse to go diving and it involved some scientific water collecting thing that basically fills little bottles with water and puts them in a cooler. Unfortunately being the optimist that he is, he owns a large cooler. There are lots of little bottles. The scientists do their jobs and soon it is time to hit the hole for a quick look around.

There is a current and it is windy, Gordon goes down to set the anchor. Brian and I both follow. It is one of those strange mega plankton days. I see a chain of large colonial tunicates cruising by, and stop to play with it. It is unusually firm and I can swim with it in my hand. The current is diamond head, but not too strong. We get to the anchor and are right behind Gordon who has been busy trying to get a good set. We all head over to the hole. Things look quiet, spawning butterflies are the fasting moving things. Gordon goes up and over the top while Brian and I go through. I hear the gun, and sure enough by the time I have swum over to the ewa end, there is the master with a papio on his spear. There is no sign of fish anywhere. I help him put the fish in MY bag and I head off on my own to cruise. I see a small lai. It comes really close and I decide against shooting it at the same time it turned and I saw that it already had been shot. I don't see anything in the way of fish and spend the better part of my dive watching a helmet shell ink the water like an octopus. I assume it is either eggs or sperm but it looks like dark purple smoke. I finally head back to the hole and see a couple of weke ula that are worth shooting, I follow them towards the hole, and see Brian's gun mysteriously appear from behind a rock. I figure we can corner them but the underpowered gun goes off and the fish swim off in a huff. I give up and leave Brian at the anchor and head up. I see Gordon get into the boat, and soon I see fish guts over the side. Since I still have the papio in my bag, I know the master has got another one. Brian never appears and I soon get tired of getting stung and head up. Gordon has another papio, ( bigger), the master has done it again. Speared two fish on a dive where I saw nothing. Brian finally shows up and we give him a bad time about staying down too long. Turns out that leaving him laying right next to the anchor is not enough. I guess next time I will make sure he is actually touching the anchor line. Apparently he can spot weke from a long ways off, but those big things that bury in the sand like the anchor, those things are hard to see.

Brian is empty handed and he helps me pull anchor and we head in. The Mo'o is anchored at the ships and we can see divers coming up, just as we approach. David has now seen the barracuda and says it is 5 and a half feet but guessed the weight at 45 pounds. Boy it must have been on a diet, I swear it was 100 at the least! No one on the Mo'o (David, Jerry, Tomas, Mac and Rog) had speared anything. Just to show off on how good a spear fisherman he is, our hero of the day spears the Mo'o using nothing but the bow pulley of the Witchcraft. A good shot too, good penetration, it could have been a bit further forward but the Mo'o is critically wounded never the less. Here is my chance to let Gordon eat crow, and boy did I feed it to him. He is feeling pretty foolish, so sad... not to mention worried about going over to the Mo'o to see the Captain. I take advantage of weakness, and get the small papio to take home. We go over to the Mo'o in time to hear that Roger will now be filing for bankruptcy due to the necessary repairs that the wounded Mo'o needs. He goes on about what a tender and delicate lady she is. I also find out that the little boat is slated for repair starting Friday. I guess Mike, you picked the perfect time to return to the lovely islands... I hope you weren't planning to spend time with Sarah, when you could spend it in dry dock.

dive 20

Brian calls me at work and says meet at boat at 5:30, drive over to Mo'o and pick up Gordon at 6. Limp out to what we hope is somewhere near the ships. Brian holds the electrical connection for the power, while Gordon and I change drivers seats while repeatedly turning on the depth recorder as Brian is alternating current on us just to keep things exciting. We finally throw the anchor, Brian is really on to this first one over thing and he and Gordon disappear. I go down and play around on the makai ship were I have not spent too much time before. It is really a nice place, I lay on the bow and a small (50#) barracuda approaches and hangs with me side by side about 20' away. David, you have regained credibility!! I now believe you saw this fish, nowhere near what I saw before, never the less he was fun, he slowly kept himself from drifting and exercised his jaw. He acted very much like a barracuda, he was of a shootable size, but not a shot I would try for. Brian came along below us, and the 'cuda stopped swimming and slowly drifted backward down current out of sight. I spied on Brian from above and watched him swim off. I felt that I should swim as the lemon butterflies were beginning to use me as a house. I cruised around thinking that if I ever get stuck being a ghost, I will definitely haunt an underwater shipwreck. Spooky, interesting and full of round the clock fun. Gordon swims by, he has seen nothing. He goes to the bow and calls. Nothing shows, he leaves and I swim out to the schools of fish that are hanging mid water. There are the weke ula, but when I get close, they dive to the bottom and I don't want to head after them. I give up and head to the anchor. Brian has seen 2 uku and had them circle and be interested, then a funny and loud noise happened and they took off. He really wanted one, but returned empty handed, we all got back about the same time...not a shot was taken. My big 'cuda is still out there, but with this other guy, maybe my verification is no longer valid. We will just have to go back again and again and again...

dive 21

Work is slow, toe is not healing, Jon is gone, Mark is arriving, all in all, I really need to go diving. Traffic is light, and I get there early, Brian, Gordon, Jane, David and of all people, John Chang, ( back from the dead, he is doing his residency in Minnesota) Roger and Mike are the last to arrive. There are gale force winds so we head for the 100' hole. David and Mike set the anchor, and the rest of us bumble in after. The moon is full and there is a current going towards Barber's point. John has not been diving for a couple of years so I agree to buddy with him. We head down the anchor line and he seems fine. On the bottom, he drifts off down current while loading his gun. I go to retrieve him and find that I am having to figure out which one is John out of all the divers in a group. John seems to have paired up with Roger as I watch Roger load his gun, I decide that there are all too many divers and I head off up current. I wave to Brian (the only diver on the mauka side of the hole). Unbeknownst to me, at about this time a whale shark swims by the group, traveling under the anchor line, but over the divers. David thought "whale!", Gordon thought "Tiger shark", Mike thought "Snerk!" and the best first impression came from Roger who thought "Gee, the Mo'o is close!" Brian was on the wrong side of the hole and like myself, missed the big excitement. I traveled over to the diamond head ledge where I spent the dive being teased by uku and making friends with heniochus. The butterflies were hiding under the ledge instead of fighting the current up in the water column. There were about 15 uku who stayed with me for the majority of the dive. They would make ever closer passes and just when I thought "O.K., the next time will be close enough, they would appear behind me. Checking out what I was digging up in the sand as I madly try to get my gun around. Then we would repeat the process, I once threw so much sand up that they came over right away, but of course they came up current through such a thick blanket of sand that I could barely see them. Of course as I lie prone facing down current, invariably the current gets under my fins and the uku get to wonder, "Hey, what's up with the backward somersault?"

I thought I had a great dive, even though I shot nothing, I figured that there were probably surplus uku on board and I might at least get someone's scraps. I returned to the surface to find David with a cup of champagne asking "did you see it?" In a voice too excited to be David. Then I learned about the whale shark experience, boy was I bummed, another great thing has passed me by. I have always wanted to see one and now both those young pups Jeff and Mike have seen one up close. I am forced to hear everyone's account of size, where they were in relation to it, what they thought and what they did. At least John kept quiet and didn't rub it in. Gordon and Jane are celebrating 10 years of married bliss and have brought a large surplus of alcohol and the stories are rolling as we pull anchor and head home. No one shot any fish but every one is in good spirits. Diving definitely adds a lot more to my life.

The Mo'o brings us safely back to port without incident. Back to the real world for me, I need to shower; thanks to my neighbors' ineptness, I do not have hot water in my cave. I am standing with the hose in my hand to catch whatever warm water there is; when the hose is usurped by Mr. anniversary who not only takes the warm water, but pushes me off the pier so that the cold water I will get later, will feel warm!!

The full moon rises as we rinse gear and watch the fireworks. As I head home I reflect that :

1. I missed seeing a whale shark.
2. Jane, John, Roger, David, Gordon and sucking Michael all got to see a whale shark.
3. Uku were all around me and I couldn't shoot one.
4. Michael thinks I look like a whale shark.
5. I was forced to swim in the Ala Wai harbor after dark.
6. I have no hot water.

I turn off the freeway, listening to the Dead play "I will survive", I look at my neighborhood and my only consolation is that with a power outage this large, they will no doubt fix it soon... I am ready for a second bottle...

dive 21a

Windy and the witchcraft only has one engine but heroes can't be choosy. David informs me that Debbie is suspicious and if I want to go diving, I should come disguised. I briefly debate the Muslim woman that scuba dives outfit. It is simple, but I don't think I could pull it off without laughing (a dead give away). I go for the simple cap and glasses. At 5:30 David, John and Mike show up. Mike then uses a cellular phone to call Roger who is standing by with his cellular over at the Mo'o. The coast seems clear, but I am put in the hide away as the boat heads out. Sure enough, everyone waves at the Pfeffer family standing on Magic island. We all debate the pros and cons of exposure, but fortunately for me (I like diving), it all remains hypothetical.

We head for the ships and find the landing craft/ junk is fishing there. We go to the hole and find it occupied as well. We wander off looking for new areas and come across an interesting spot at 150'. David's mouth is watering, but the boat heads in and finally we end up back at the ships as the fishing boat has now left. We anchor and there is a beautiful rainbow framing Diamond Head. Mike has brought out flowers and we have a quick service in remembrance of the great diver who gave us the aqualung and opened up the silent world to us all. The sun is getting low and we all head down. There isn't even a breath of current and the fish seem to just be floating around the ships. I head over to my usual spot, see one too small papio up with the opelu kala, John and Roger are nearby, Roger shoots and instantly, a bunch of weke ula charge over to me, I am not ready and don't get a shot. I wander over to the sand outside of the ships in search of uku but see nothing. I play with a large male ostracion whitleyi, it looks almost like a cross with the blue box fish and I chase it over to Roger to have a look. He thinks it is normal. I have been hanging out in the deeper area, yet my tank is still full. I watch David swim by at about 50', he doesn't have anything, but perhaps he is chasing after kagami... My tank still has lots of air, maybe my gauge is broken, might as well take full advantage, and I head off for the pyramids. I stop at my potter spot and count all the money I will make when I get around to bringing a net with me. (I am much better at catching them this way.) I get to the sand area Diamond head of the Pyramids and see a large Mu coming my way, I get ready, and I see the uku coming over as well. I can't get any fish as close as I want them. The Mu moves on, but the uku hang around. I call them in about six times but I want them to come even closer. I know anyone else would have bagged one by now, but I don't want to miss. I turn towards shore and see a large tornado made up of opelu kala. They are so tight that I check to see if anything is chasing them... nope, some mating thing... they are just the perfect underwater funnel cloud spinning in a tight circle that is so thick it blocks the light. Back to the uku, I think that I can get them closer with a good sand roll, sure enough I get four to roll as well, one quite close but I still don't take a shot. Now I think that I certainly have had many good chances and have not done anything. Frustration at my own ineptness. It is getting dark and I still have to go back to the ships. I still have lots of air, maybe diving at 90' makes time pass a lot slower, I feel as if I have been down a long time. I get back to the ship, run into an explosion of weke being chased around the bow into me, I worry about what spooked them at the same instant that I come face to face with a large turtle. Whew, it is dark, I think I will head up even though I still have air, wonder where everyone is and head up the line. Everyone is getting into the boat, Roger comes over to tell me that I have been down for 40 min. I show him my 1000psi. and begin to decompress. It is an easy decompression as with out a current, one can just relax. I check my watch...7:40 p.m. aaah, the joys of summer....just bobbing along in the warm pacific, I see John go for an evening swim, obviously there is someone who has to go back to Minnesota in a week...don't take anything for granted...enjoy all of life's pleasures to the fullest. Hope to be back underwater on Friday.

dive 22

Friday dive: I can't wait to go, I slammed my pinkie with a hammer yesterday and today my pigtail waged war with an electric drill and lost. It is not entirely the pigtails fault, it was busy teasing the slow moving drill when it got bit. Thinking quickly, and practicing for this evenings dive, I pulled the trigger. The 300 r.p.m. quickly became 3000 r.p.m. and the pig tail became a hopeless victim. Fortunately, it was a reversible drill and all is not lost. Hair needs trimming anyway.

Witchcraft at 5, the first big swell of the summer is here and Roger and Mike have done the right thing and gone surfing. Gordon, Brian, David and I convince ourselves that with all the stirred up sand, uku will come in close. As I carry out gear, one tank is particularly heavy. I look down and see that it says "Pyle, 3000 psi" on it. I figure if I use this weird tank, I will probably be able to go to 300' and stay forever. I greedily grab it and rig up. We head for the hole and David and Brian set anchor, there is a lot of wind, and a big swell, I give it good scope. Gordon and I head down and he takes off toward ewa. My tank has 2000 pounds in it and is heavy as swimming a bunch of bricks around. It figures! I wonder how Rich can swim with his rig....probably why he stays down so long, he takes that long to get back! I only hope the extra weight keeps me from sloshing around in the surge. On the bottom I see David head over to the hole and hear his gun go off. I swim over to see him doing papio antics. The spear is completely through the fish, the fish is swimming like mad, David is standing on the bottom, with his arm stretched out over head, holding the gun and letting the papio zip about overhead. He is flying a papio kite...I can not figure this out, it is about candlelight dinner size yet he seems unable to do anything. Does he need help? Is he just spaced out, fantasizing that it is a great ulua? Should I go over and spear it again? Finally, he brings the fish in and I head off Diamond head to where I saw uku last Fri. No uku to be seen, I go a little more Diamond head till I am in unfamiliar terrain, and take a deep shortcut back along the outside ledge, the surge is no less outside and I am constantly being pushed around by the swell, banging my knees with this stupid heavy tank of Richard's! I pass the cable and angle in towards the hole, somehow, the hole disappears and although I see familiar rocks, and I know I am close, it is gone. (the surge moved me to the inside of the hole and I knew I was outside, so I kept looking in and never saw it) I know that I am past it, I feel like one of those shrews that Konrad Lorenz played with... "and now I will remove zee large object that zee shrew has been using as reference... see how it retraces zee exact path... again and again..." Maybe there is some kind of strange gas mixture in this tank. The tank is getting low, too much swimming. I turn around and head for the cable, swim along it till I know where I am and plan on heading for the hole again. I see bubbles and head over for reassurance... see if it is some one familiar... YES, it's Brian, I am too embarrassed to ask him where we are, so I just tag along after him. He is brilliant and finds the hole back just where it used to be!! Good, now I can head up... wait, where is the anchor? It used to be on the Mauka side set in a hole, there is no line, maybe the boat swung around, better go over to the exact spot that I last saw it... nope, it is gone too! I hear it break loose and then hear Gordon bang on his tank, whoever put the hole back, put it on the wrong side of the anchor and now the anchor is makai of the hole and moving. With this wind, I could loose the boat. I zoom over to the anchor line, grab on for dear life, give Gordon the eye, just in case he moved the anchor and head up. Decompressing I learn that Brian saw nothing, Gordon saw 15 uku far away and couldn't get them close, he even poked at an octopus with his gun and got it to ink, yet the uku remained wary, he finally shot, but it was high and he missed. Then an amazing tunicate (what I call all unidentifiable plankton with firm bodies) drifted by and Gordon retrieved it and we all played with it. It is shaped like a stiff condom with all sorts of neat texture knobs on it. I think that living alone is warping my brain, but then Brian gets a hold of it and demonstrates that he thinks the same thing!

Back on the boat, David tells of shooting a large uku and losing it. But he did finally bag his papio and gets the hero award for the dive. I learn my lesson about greed and will not use the heavy Pyle tank again. I still can't figure out how I missed the hole, I must have swam right by it... I went from outside Diamond head, to inside ewa... I was watching some weke ula mating... heck, I probably swam over a whale shark and through the hole... such keen observational powers... maybe that pigtail yank did have some ramifications!

dive 23

Super windy, heroes and fools only. Meet at the power cat at 5:30. Barbara and David show up and for a minute I think that Barbara is thinking it would be a good day for a boat ride, but she has more sense than that, she isn't feeling well and wants to be in perfect health when they take off for Vietnam! Roger, Mike, Jerry, Gordon, show up and make up the cast. As Roger and I take the boat over to load, he grouses about how he was bullied into going out on such a marginal day and how his own friends tick him off....we load up and head off to some where not far away. There is one fool fisherman coming in, and the only other boats are the coast guard and a large Navy ship leaving Pearl Harbor. I tell every one, how I had a dream about spearing fish, and how I loaded and reloaded my gun in my dream so many times, that I will no doubt be really good at it. Mike entertains us in Pfefferese, and the mood is brighter as the boat sails down wind. Jerry sits on the stern and gets soaked while the rest of us stay dry and talk about worse days that we have seen.

We come to the Hole-in-the-wall (the place just like the 100' hole off reef runway) and one engine quits and we drop anchor. Gordon is over instantly David and Mike follow. Jerry is next and Roger and I try to get our gear on with out falling down, or falling out. We enter together, my gun is hooked on a bungee and I straighten out the potential disaster as I fall over. My mask is off but I grab it, I take my second breath before realizing that I forgot to turn my air on. I flounder around getting my act together while trying not to get hit in the head with the boat. I manage to be the last one down, but there are still fish everywhere. Mostly opelu kala, there is some kind of convention going on and I come down in the middle. I look for papio but see none, there are clouds of white weke, I come across Mike, who has seen some weke ula but has none in his bag. I leave him and head over to my favorite uku place, nothing there but more weke. The opelu kala swim by again but this time there are 5 small papio with them, they are far away, and not interested in me (story of my life!). I come across Roger who has seen one small uku. We agree to cruise together, as he seems to think this will help me be more attractive, sure enough, as we round the outer point, we can see the uku, we both hide behind the ledge and do whatever incantations we can think of. I am thinking that I have to pull the trigger this time just for practice no matter what. I pick the best looking uku (a trade off of size and closeness potential) and run a bead on him. I am thinking "shoot soon" when all of a sudden, a spear goes right through him and every one does a quick turn. As usual, the spearing of a fish brings rubberneckers and I have a chance to get an uku as well. Unfortunately Roger's shot set off an opelu kala stampede. The Navy has now changed their steady ping ping ping of the sonar into a whale song of giant proportions. This din of sonic noises just adds to the stampede! I can see an uku in range, but there are at least four opelu kala between it and my gun and I don't take a shot. I follow after them but they don't come back. Roger bags his nice uku, and we head back over toward the boat. We get to the weke ula channel and there they are. David is driving them toward me he takes a pretend shot, just to let me know he could have one if he wanted, but they are too small for him. Well, they are not too small for me and I take a shot and miss, now I have David rubbernecking and circling around me while I try to reload with out laughing. I see Roger again as he is going up, he has shot a small weke ula for me... he thinks of his friends. As I turn I see a papio right next to me swimming parallel, I turn and shoot, it is real close, but I miss it. Reload in a matter of seconds and head back over to where the uku hang out, take a long shot in the sand and miss again! Reload in seconds and head on, I am having sooo much fun, I love diving here, the fish have no where to go and just hang out while I shoot and miss!! As I head back toward the boat I stop to swim in the opelu kala, they let me join them and we circle around. I have opelu kala at arms distance on either side, I can't see what else is there because they are so thick. They soon out swim me and I continue on. There comes the cutest little uku, curious as can be he swims right up to me without hesitation, I have to scare him into turning and I take a shot and MISS! Yes I can now reload my gun really well and the stupid (or knows a bad shot when he sees one) uku comes right back again! MISS, now I am down to five hundred pounds, I can hear the anchor dragging. (Secret way to get MISS Herkes back to the boat) But I know I could shoot a few more times... well I will quit entertaining the Pisces and head back to the land of gravity and lurching boats. Back on board, there are fish everywhere, Roger and Gordon both got nice ukus, Mike managed a Mu (one can hardly imagine Mike being stealth enough for a Mu.) I think he throws so much sand in the air, pretending to be a sting ray, that the Mu sacrifices himself just to preserve the natural environment. And of course, my weke ula, which turns out was quite a battle, Roger landed it and was putting it in his bag, he had his hand firmly in the gills, when the fish swam off, leaving a puzzled Roger with a complete set of gills in his hands. Figuring that the fish could not have gone far, David went one way and Roger the other, Roger managed to find it about 30 yards away.

As we pull anchor and the power cat does what it is good at, Roger with an uku under his belt comments on how great it is to be able to go out on days like this, There is nothing like uku to change perspective. I had such fun, it is more fun when you actually get to shoot the gun... I am ready to head out again... Wednesday looks good to me.

dive 24

Prince William 5:30. Roger, Mike, Gordon, Brian and myself. David says he is too sick to dive, we all wonder about this... Mike and I recall river rafting with David. We would stop for lunch and David would stumble out of the boat, vomit, curl up into a shivering ball on the hard rocks and claim to be fine... David would never admit ill health... especially if there is a dive... hmm... it is probably baby making day and both he and Barbara are claiming to be sick. We will check tomorrow at the party, look for a vacant look in Kavika and an exuberance in Barbara... hey wait a minute, that is how they always look!

Well we take off and Gordon gets to be Capt. It is not as rough as Mon. and we head for Marnie's Rock, the discussion centers around boats. Fortunately, it is Tribble, not Pfeffer who is thinking of buying. As we approach the dive site, Gordon suddenly forgets the marks and lets Roger take over while he gets his gear on and gets ready to go down with the anchor! A captain of convenience... he and Mike are over with the anchor while the rest of us suit up. I enter the water and it is one of those crystal clear days that photographers love. The boat is right over the rock. Roger and I check the anchor and head up diamond head, we can see Mike so we follow the inside ledge back toward Barbers point. Soon I see two weke ula and I stop and try to get them close... no luck, catch up to Rog and we head out. I hear two guns go off, I haven't seen any fish at all, then a third gun... wow, I had better head out to where the action is. Roger and I pass Gordon, I ask him what he has in the bag, (if it is uku, I will head out, if it is weke, I will head in), well that was a mistake, he throws the bag at me, and with out looking back, swims away. There is one uku and a weke ula in the bag, I see Brian and he has a fish too, but I certainly am not going to ask to see it! Gordon did have the eel attack right about in this spot, so maybe he is frightened. Well, let me see if I can fill this bag up. I call and muck about in the sand, trying to get the weke to come over. I hear another shot, well if it is Gordon, he will have to come find me. I am outside the rock and just when the weke get close, I am distracted by all the opelu, they are feeding from the sand all the way to the surface. Brilliant flashes in random directions, as I look up in wonder and see Mike back lit against the surface, as the opelu approach him, they fall into line and swim by him in perfect alignment, leaving a perfect oval around the diver. It looks so beautiful, I contemplate just lying on my back and watching when it dawns on me that I am very close to the weke, PAY ATTENTION Jennifer! I look at the weke ula and they are in pairs, one atop the other and the top one is tickling the back of the head of the lower one, using its barbels... well I can't shoot these guys, I look through the school and find a large single one, well that guy, I can kill, I approach and shoot. I think that I missed, but he is swimming funny and fiddling around with his dorsal fin. I guess I must have hit his fin, I wonder if this is what they mean when they say "oh I shot a ____, but I lost it" I reload and watch Brian stalking a fish, he shoots. I don't see a fight, so I figure he missed, I look for uku, glance back at Brian and he appears to have a fish after all. I look again and he doesn't. As it turns out, he got a weke ula, and lost it but he went after it with just his shaft, and got the wounded bugger. A trick I will keep in mind if I ever wound a fish enough so it has to slow down. I go out further and leave the bottom and swim out where the big school of weke ula are. They are making stripes and tickling each other like crazy. They pretty much ignore me, it is getting dark and they let me get in close. Like an Escher lithograph, as the weke get farther away, they turn into large uku. I hone in on one and we both sink to the bottom, he comes right over and I hit him right through the dorsal fin....it couldn't have hurt too much, because he came over to nibble on my shaft as I drug it through the sand! I was planning to go up but since I still have 500 pounds, I reload just in case... I head up slowly, and I can see lots of uku down below me, I slowly drag myself up the line shuffling along like a 12 year old boy walking to school when the surf is up. Back at decompression central, Roger informs me that I have to stay for seven minutes, well I only have air for four minutes, which will do. He decides to go up and rig me a second tank. I am having this conversation with Roger, but Brian is between us and looking at me not Roger, I am answering Roger at about the same time Brian has asked me something else. I can see Brian is totally puzzled by my responses what ever he was saying I must have answered really wrong. I try to clear it up by pointing up at Roger, by the time Brian looks, Roger has dashed off on a rescue Jennifer mission, leaving his fish clipped to the anchor line (two nice uku, the rat) Brian turns and sees that I have been having a conversation with a lone bag of fish... now he is really puzzled... "how did these get here? Can I keep them?" (he already has a weke ula and a small moana kea) He is in no mood talk to me as I have gone crazy and he heads up. Roger returns and we do a tank exchange... now I have a full tank and I can still see the rock below me... hmmmm... nope, I will get in real trouble. Here comes Gordon, he is going to dive down and get his fish... no doubt so he can clean them as I decompress alone in the dark. Well I have grown quite attached to these guys, I have been hugging them now for 40 minutes, they are like underwater teddies. Maybe I will hide them and pretend I don't know what he wants, with out air he can't bother me too long. Wait, no doubt everyone on the boat is talking about my fish. Well O.K., I will give up the fish. Now I am truly alone, and Roger has taken my watch with my gear and left me with his silly T.V. set. I can't find the light switch and it is hard to read in the wrong light. I figure out which one is the time and give it four more minutes. I get into the boat and find it full of fish, Gordon has another uku, which he had to stuff down his wet suit. Mike just seemed like he spent the whole time decompressing. He apparently jumped in swam the 300 yards to David's Japanese anchor spot, and speared a nice uku. He spent the rest of the time being entertained by the antics below him. As we head in with captain Tribble at the helm we recount our great deeds, enjoy the stars and salt spray and agree that we went in too early and plan on being later next time. We get back to Keehi and unload and clean fish. Brian has to take off because he foolishly predicted our return an hour earlier and his sweet wife had now been waiting and worrying for about a half hour, hopefully she wasn't standing out in the rain somewhere. As he took off, we wondered if we will ever see him again. Then, since the one nice guy was gone, the remaining three decided that spearing tons of fish was twice as good if you had Snerk to kick around and I was the butt of many a wise crack as each tried to outdo the previous remark. Having family, loved ones, jobs and really good fish just isn't enough. Yeah, just kick her while she is down, luckily I had just had a great dive.

Party info: Six at Tribble's. There is lots of fish, I will bring green salad, crackers and cheese, and almond cookies. See you there.

dive 25

Meet Brian and Jan (who comes along as boat babe, gear sherpa and snack provider) and head out for Waikiki, Glacier Bay Dave is back in the water with the new improved boat and we kapu the hole. That is before we knew that the hole disappeared again. The seas are rough and the boat is wet. We circle around on what I think are the hole marks, but it doesn't show on the depth finder. There is plenty of sunlight so we keep looking. All the while Brian is asking his usual polite questions: "Is this why they call you Miss Herkes?... I wonder how this will read on the dive report?... How many times have you been to this spot?" But with every circle, I am improving my chances, after the first circle, (when the Star of Honolulu was off of our port bow and blocking the notch) I remembered to put the transducer in the water. On our second try (when the Star of Honolulu was blocking St. Louis Heights) I remembered some blue roof thing on Diamond Head. On our third try I figured out that when your depth range on the finder is set for 300', not much shows up as a change from 90 to 70 feet! Well, now it is getting darker, and we come up a ledge, see fish and throw the anchor. We agree that if it isn't the spot, we will come up and go to the little hole (Dave is anchored on the ships). There is a strong diamond head current so the boat is wallowing in the wrong direction and we give Jan instructions on running the bilge in case the boat starts sinking. Get to the bottom, it is a small ledge with a lot of young new coral on the top of it, better than some places, but definitely not the hole. We come up, fortunately, Jan is there to hold my tank, because I find I can not jump in the boat with an aluminum tank on! Brian gallantly pulls anchor and we go to the little hole, where I can choose exactly where I want to drop the anchor. Because of the current, I try for hitting the scuba tank on the ewa side of the ledge, I miss again, I am about 15' away!

We no sooner set the anchor, as I hear Brian shoot... Gee a second ago, he was loading his gun and aiming his gun at me! I turn and see the second rubber!! He seems to be having trouble loading his gun. The second rubber won't stay on and keeps snapping off. He gives up, and goes back to one. He hunkers down by the islands and begins to call, I head out for the cable, as I am swimming along the ledge, an uku approaches from ewa, it is heading over to check out the noise Brian is making. I aim as I begin to exhale, the uku, who had not been aware of my existence (I don't think I have ever been that stealth!), suddenly sees me, and does a quick 180 and never comes back. (I guess he didn't recognize me) Some weke ula swim by and I shoot and miss as they head over to Brain. I hear his gun go off... figures. I look over my shoulder to see a Mu swimming along side, I think, "Michael, take this" and shoot it. It is small, but bigger than lots of fish I have eaten. Rejoining Brian, I see he has made a new friend in my absence, a rather large kahala has taken a fancy to him and he is trying not to have to shoot in self defense. I scare it away and I see he did not get the weke. I tell him about my mu, but he doesn't know the cow horn signal and thinks I must mean uku. We head out back to where I saw the uku, the weke ula swim by on Brian's side of me and he chooses to ignore them. We hide behind the rock on top of the ledge and call, but nothing turns up except the opelu swimming over head. We give up and head back, I cruise the ledge, see a whole bunch of slipper lobsters, notice that the fish have their sleeping colors on and I figure it is time to head up. Jan reports that it is rather dull sitting topside by yourself, we need more deck fluff to come along.

As we turn our bow towards home, the sliver of the thinnest crescent moon materializes in the twilight over Barbers point. Jan has brought fresh watermelon and pineapple and we have a post successful docking celebration. I take some friendly chiding about the small size of my fish ( it compares to the size of my water bottle), so I decide not to invite them over for fresh fish dinner. Which was lucky, because I ate the whole thing myself. It was a small but delicious Mu, and all those that are still out there, had better beware!!

dive 26

Sneak out for a windy Wednesday sally down to Marnie's Rock before Gordon gets back. He gets wind of it and shows up in time to join Mike, Roger and myself for the venture. We lament that Brian can't be with us, Mike has many quips about the "after the stork" meeting and we are all in stitches as Capt. Gordon takes us down to Ewa. We arrive at the perfect time and Mike goes down to set the anchor. He is the only one in the water and sees a very large uku, which he shoots, but the spear doesn't go all the way through, and the uku swims away. I am the last in the water and as I descend, I hear and see Roger shoot. I load my gun, dive to the bottom and see a beautiful kagami swimming by along with a school of small pesky papio, I ignore the papio, my eyes are glued to the shimmering radiance that is before me. Ever so slowly it swims like a silver windsock oscillating in a slow summer breeze. Naturally, such beauty has me glued and I follow behind like a child and the pied piper. I try all kinds of attention getting devices, but I only succeed in slowing her down as she gently waits for me to finish my game playing and follow. We are swimming off the bottom, and I feel like beauty incarnate is going to lead me off into the sunset, I try one last time, and dive to the bottom, throw sand, and don't look up. When I do look, she is long gone and I am free to return to the rock. I come upon Roger who wondered what I had been up to, I told him about MY kagami, he nodded and said he saw the three kahala too! He had two weke ula in his bag. I get back to the rock and see Gordon and Mike putting fish away. Gordon is keeping the shark off of Mike while he puts his fish in the bag. Everyone seems to be shooting fish while I have spent my time chasing rainbows and dreaming of pots of silver. I figure my fish will circle around and one of those guys will get it. I swim over and inform them that the kagami is MINE. Gordon looks puzzled as I have no kagami in my empty bag. Gordon has no fish either. Mike has two papio and a very large weke ula.

The papio are back again and this time I pay more attention to them, take a shot and miss. I head over to where I hope the kagami will reappear and see some papio in with the opelu kala, but I can't get close. I work my way back along the ledge and see four large ulua swimming under Mike who is now decompressing on the line. I try to get up to where they are but they swim off out of sight before I get there. Fish are all around me and I have not got one, the weke ula are constantly letting me swim with them and I decide that I had better try to shoot one of them, so I at least have something. I pick out a large one and shoot, a little guy jumps out and takes the bullet for grandpa, leaving me with a gift size weke to take home. Well at least I got something. I am still longing for the kagami and am always looking for it. Hoping she might come back and give me another chance. I take another shot at the weke, but this time I miss. It is rather dark, so I head up toward the boat. Roger is decompressing and we compare fish (he has a whole bag of weke ula) and watch Gordon stalk and miss the school of weke below us. He is surrounded by them, but they all are equidistant from him. He looks like a magnet with weke ula acting like iron shavings around him. He takes a shot, and every weke in the circle shoots away, creating an image reminiscent of fourth of July fireworks, weke arcing away in perfect symmetry. A dejected MISSter Tribble finally comes up the line, shaking his head in disbelief. Yes to be outshot by even a Snerk. Oh the shame of it... Eight fish on board as we pull anchor and head for home, all of us recanting our tales while Gordon just mumbles "I can't believe I didn't get a fish..." over and over. The stars are out and Mike admires Maui's fish hook and tells us about his Lanai adventures. When all of a sudden Mike and Gordon both get a look of pure fear on their faces. A daredevil flying fish has charged the boat and just misses my head as it flies directly at Mike and Gordon, they duck and it dives back into the sea, no doubt collecting on bets with its buddies, and receiving the gold medal in the flying fish steeple chase competition. You never can tell what will happen when you are at sea.

Well, it is always a good night when you can bring home dinner. Even though I didn't get the fish of the year honors, I was happy to share part of my dive with the idea.

Big dreams + small fish = good dive

dive 27

Mo'o, Rogers birthday dive... 14 people head out for Marnie's Rock, eleven divers and three boat babes. The light is perfect, sun is setting, there is a rainbow framing Diamond Head as we anchor. I had a bad day at the office, and can't wait to get underwater. I am the last one in, so I head out side, it is murky and I see the weke ula school below me as I sink into them. I lay very still on the bottom and soon I am so surrounded, that I am carefully sizing them all. A larger wounded one moves into range, I am tracking it when I realize that a shark is swimming over my shoulder. I grab my gun and swing it into the side of the shark, he jumps sideways as if his knee just brushed an urchin, he is not too concerned but respects my gun. I am now in the full adrenaline zone. I have never actually touched a shark before, even that one that was going to eat me, didn't get this close! Of course here comes an uku to check me out, I can still see the shark in the distance and I don't make a lot of effort for the uku, he sees me and dashes off. I am surrounded by weke mixed with the occasional uku, they come in real close just when the shark swims by. 11 people down here, and this bugger isn't leaving my sight, and it isn't as if I can see real far either. A wounded uku swims by out of range, he is not to fond of people, and I can't get close, nor can the shark. Finally the shark starts to come and go and I get to spend quality time chasing fish without having to watch him. I think I won't spear any weke, I will hold out for variety in my diet and if I don't have anything by the end of the dive, reconsider. Roger and his two Japanese mermaids come by and I do what I can to head the weke over his way. He shoots, but I can't tell if he got a fish, I figure he is safe from the shark, since I am keeping him safely with me. I am looking for uku as I see Mike head up with one in his bag. He signals me that I am surrounded by fish, and I should shoot one. He just wants decompression entertainment and I ignore the idea as the shark passes again. I decide to head inside and deal with eels and look for papio, leave the shark out on the sand. The plan works, except I see no papio, visibility is poor enough that it is not a matter of seeing a fish and working it in, it is more like fish appearing and disappearing before I can do anything. I see Brian and Gordon outside of me and I figure I am safe to shoot. I see a big mu and another papio, but nothing I could get a shot at. I hear Brian's gun go off and I go over to render aid, he has missed whatever he was after. I am recharged with nerve, and head back out to the rock. I see another large wounded weke ula (different wound) but I am unable to get close. It is rather dark so I think I will stay close to the anchor, I see Brian out by the rock and decide to join him in one last weke ula game. It is dark but I don't see any uku, just weke, Brian already has one so I suggest heading up. Gordon is going up and we join him. Decompression is an entertaining underwater dive report from Gordon, he tries to convince me he had a frustrating dive, as he tells me of kagami and rainbow runner, he does have a nice uku in his bag so he isn't getting my sympathy, especially now that I know where those wounded fish were coming from. He goes on in great detail, including what techniques he used etc. etc... trying desperately to convince me he had a frustrating dive. Even the fish he got was a battle, it came off, and he had to pick up the shaft and go after it, recapturing it in mid water. I get in the boat to find every gun has brought back fish... three uku, a large uhu, and weke ula all over the place. Everyone wonders at my ineptitude. Well, I did hit the biggest fish, and I didn't even have to pull the trigger. No one is impressed. All of the heroes recount the tales of their dive as we head home. The gear is rinsed, fish are cleaned and a makeshift birthday party for Roger ensues. Mike and Sarah have brought beer and cake. I am still grouchy about being scared, I wish David were here, sharks like him better...

dive 28

Desperate to dive. Windy and rough. Heroes and fools only, except it is so rough, that the heroes have come up with all sorts of excuses to not be divers:

I would rather be in Cambodia (David)
I would rather be at an Olomana concert (Roger)
I would rather be at a "after the stork class" (Brian)
I would rather go deeper, besides you guys use plain air... no flavors... (Rich)
I would rather be in Seattle, studying, besides I still have sooo much fish to eat (Mike)
I would rather wait for a painter who might show up... Jane and Jan!

This leaves only the fools... Gordon and I. We figure no one has been to Kahala for weeks, we will go and scoop up all the lonely fish. We can just drive slow and take our time rounding Diamond Head... Yeah, we will show those guys... We load up, Gordon complains about the boat hook some fool has left on his boat, why do people leave stuff too large to fit in the locker? A conspiracy no doubt.

Fuel up, and fantasy here we come! ...Fantasy is right, after passing the DH buoy... The weather started getting rough, and the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Witchcraft would be lost. Fortunately, we had the good sense to see that is was very bad and we should turn around, unfortunately, it was very bad even in following seas, either bury the bow, or have whitecaps pour in the stern semi-swamping the engines; make that engine. About this time, just after I have said "sure glad we are not coming back after dark," I saw the birds, all thoughts of rough seas and bad weather are gone out of my head... tons of birds... tons and tons of birds... active piles everywhere... no fishing gear on board... this has to be rectified soon! While I am staring off into the distance, jumping up and down, the Capt. says "oh oh, we have got trouble." I look to see an overturned one man racing canoe... that stupid idiot, what is he doing out here on a day like today... then I realize there is no owner in sight, the boat is blowing down wind at a good pace. We rescue the boat, no easy task in rough seas, but luckily we have a boat hook to catch boats.

All the while we are looking for the missing boat owner... he is doing the big swim. We ask a tour boat to inform some authorities about the potential missing paddler, convince ourselves that he has no doubt made shore by now and head toward the hole. The birds are getting closer, I can see 5 active piles of 50-100+ birds each... these guys will still be here in the morning... I can come back out... Gordon takes us to the 100' hole and we drop anchor, at this point I have to laugh because as we loaded the Witchcraft, Capt. fastidious made a huge point of HIS gear on HIS side and my gear on some other side as if two people was a big crowd that required NASA style precision. Well now it turns out there is a large canoe lashed to HIS side (where I have been banished from). I generously share my bit of gunwale and we head in. There is a Koko head current and I vaguely worry about the paddler trying to swim to shore. Those guys usually are good water men, they travel in groups... focus on spearing those uku now that Mike is not here to chase them away before they get to me.

I see Gordon check out the anchor and an octopus. He heads outside of the hole. I goof about, find what Mike would call an anchor stone, turn it over to discover a really really cool crab... I have never seen this type, be good in David's tank, too bad he isn't here. I play with the little guy for a while and see a bunch of octopus ink drifting by in the current, I wonder what that Gordo is up to, I have not heard a gun, and I saw him by pass the first octopus... maybe it is some secret fish lure. The current is strong enough that I head up current of the hole and go out the peninsula, David isn't here to hog this area. I wait on the bottom and soon the opelu kala pass by, with them, at about 50' is a rainbow runner. Is it worth swimming up 50'? It is bigger than the one David shot, (no not the big one David shot... the small one David shot!) O.K. I figure I will try this, swim parallel and see if I can get close... not getting close, I try my 'come play with me' move that works on papio. The rainbow runner turned from one small guy into 3-4 big guys! I draw them in mid water, I can't believe my luck! When the first guy comes into range I remember Mike saying "you can shoot them a lot further away than you think". Well, that may be true, but one must be able to aim! I miss! I reload, sink to the bottom and find I am back at the hole. Now I start the process all over, except this time I lay on the bottom staring up watching the opelu ball up as mister giant kahala swims by. No sign of rainbows... I am staring up at these back lit shapes, watching the patterns of the fish against the blue. Darting opelu, mixed with stand still humus and circling butterflies, it is like tasting Mekong food, different flavors moving at different speeds, yet a perfect orchestra.

It is the same mistake those greenhorn cowboys make, sitting around staring into the campfire, they are unable to see the hordes of Indians waiting to count coo. I finally look around me and sense that I am surrounded by uku but by the time I circle the wagons and can see again... yep... them thar is uku tails disappearing into the hills. I guess I should mosey on back to the anchor and check on how many scalps my partner has got. Well he is skunked as well, seems he spent the dive watching distant uku that wouldn't come close, he even went to get the octopus to see if that would help, no luck... Back in the boat, he says he just went to look for the octopus, and it was gone. Why there was octopus ink drifting by will remain a mystery. (It was probably sending smoke signals to the uku; got us a greenhorn here!)

Pull anchor and head home, tie Gordon's new boat to the roof of Jane's car and send him on his way. Gordon did call me later to report that the owner was safe and sound, had to walk from Diamond head lighthouse to Mcully, was very glad to get his brand new boat back and will pick it up and share sea tales with Gordon tomorrow. Gordon's sleek racer came and went without a chance to use it, I had visions of Gordon racing down to the outrigger every eve after work and canoeing out to the buoy and back while the rest of us poor suckers chased after fish yet uncaught and adventures yet to be had.

dive 29

Well I was still pouting after not being able to go diving on Fri. Yes, it is true, on the previous Thurs. Debbie caught Roger and I right in the middle of the act of taking the starboard manifold off of the Mo'o engine! It was as red handed as one could get, I was fully greased up, and had my hand was full of nuts. There were lots of S & M toys around too... wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers and a hand sledge. The bad news is that the Mo'o needs a new engine, and I need some new friends. The good news is that everyone felt sorry for me and brought me fish! They had an epic dive and Gordon almost got bit by what turns out must be my amakua! Teach you do leave me standing at the dock!

Well today, Brian, Gordon and Roger met and smuggled me out on the Prince William. Roger and I dove for aquarium fish while Gordon and Brian speared fish. We went all the way down to Garbage Can Lid, off of Ewa. There were lots of tropical fish and swarms of opelu kala all around us. Diving with a fishing partner after diving alone is difficult, some one else got to decide where to set the net, and what to catch! And it turns out to be a blind man at that! We actually did quite well for just one dive. I saw papio occasionally, and knew that the other guys at least had a chance. Gordon came by with some large Moana Kea in his bag, three to be exact. Brian came up with nothing, although he saw uku. No shark was seen, what a relief. Well, I made some money and had fun catching little fish who thought they could outsmart me. The starboard engine on this boat is having trouble with the starter, so we came in on just one engine. The large full moon sent a glistening path for the boat to follow, and we made it safely back to the dock. Smuggled me to shore, and Gordon generously gave me one of his fish.

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