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The Snerk Report, Vol. 2

dive 30

Mike is back in town and there must be a dive afoot, just so he can show us how to do it. No boat is 100% (starboard engines being what they are) but the Witchcraft is going at a steady hobble so we meet there for a trip to the Hole. Mike, Gordon, Brian and myself as divers along with Janetta, Nils and Malte as anchor pullers and general deck fluff. The Hole has a big red buoy marking it and Gordon has no trouble finding it. Nils and I throw the anchor and I hear divers splash before the anchor hits the water. I turn to see Mike and Brian are gone. Gordon and I take our time in descending, I am sure to give a final splash to the boat babes who quickly turn into water babies.

The water is clear and I have a great view of the Hole as I approach, all the divers have gone their separate ways so I stay high and play with the opelu kala for awhile with the vain hope of seeing a rainbow runner; nope, just two giant kahala cruising by. About 20 giant uhu swim by in a herd, Malte has special requested same, but I can't imagine what we would do with that much cerviche, so I say a little "so sorry Malte" and head for the sand and soon see a large school of weke ula circling about. They let me get close and I see there is a small uku in with them, well Mike and Gordon probably wouldn't bother with it, but it is big enough for me and I work it closer, I am really good at this part. Unfortunately, my shot is high and I miss him, the weke all hang about getting in the way as I try to reload, they are still there when I do the first rubber, but by the second, they are gone (story of my life!) Swim around working my way into them again, I approach the ewa ledge and see Gordon cowering under it waiting for fish to come in out of the sand. The two large kahala come by again and I usher them over to Gordon, I don't feel as they are helping with my quest for weke ula. They happily oblige and I get in the school, they are fairly small and I am looking for a larger one, find him and shoot, too low, miss... They of course help me reload again, just disappearing around the time I am ready. This goes on and on, I spend the dive calling and missing, swimming and missing, and just plain old missing! At one point I am on the bottom fingering the sand and a little moana comes over and barbels my fingers! All of a sudden, he saw me and darted away, now that is stealth! I see what could be a large mu in the distance, but never get close enough to be sure, it is getting dark, I can see Gordon hanging on the anchor line, his bag is out and is part of his silhouette, well at least he got something. Brian is still down, but heading toward the anchor, he is ready to come up, so we free it and start coming up while he tells me of the fish he shot and almost put in the bag, it swam out of his hands. He is a bit bummed, I can't figure out what kind of fish it was, just "not uku", although he saw a couple. We get up to Dr. Uku, and sure enough... two good sized uku and a papio! How does he do it? We pass the time playing jun-ken-po and he beats me at that too! Next time I will use dynamite! The water is a little cool, could be that it is dark and the last rays of dusk are disappearing. Back in the boat, Mike had scored a good size moana kea, making four fish for four divers... seems clear to me. As usual, I am the one to keep things balanced. We make use of our anchor puller and head in. Mike recounts the time he wasted stalking giant mu and trying to re-spear Brian's papio, Brian thinks that Mike should have been able to just stab it as it swam by so close to Mike with his unloaded gun. The evening is perfectly topped off with fireworks as we enter the harbor. The entertainment continues as Nils and Malte use the uku guts to catch an eel and proceed to fit it into Gordon's water bottle for Mike to take to Roger for his aquarium. Eels do not really like being squeezed into bottles like genies and a large audience for sailors soon develops. Success is reached and Gordon tops off our evening by providing an excellent dinner for myself and my house guests!

dive 31

Saturday, Roger the great fixes the Prince William and leaves it all ready to go for Gordon, Jane, and Myself. Also on board are crazy foreigners from opposite ends of the world. (Australia, and Germany). We head off for Marnie's rock, in search of adventure. Jane is armed with pole spear and is our designated sentry. We anchor early and Jane and Gordon go down. Malte wonders if we can pick them up on the depth recorder, but we miss them. I am sent over with instructions to act really big on my way down! I do my best as I descend through the top 40 feet of murk. It finally gets clear and I can see again. I can make out some big opelu kala forward and I glance back up at the murk line I can see the back lit outline of a really large shark. Well they should see that on the stupid fish finder! It is so big that it has to be tiger or hammerhead, I can't make out the head I can only see the back as it slowly undulates into the murk. I debate resurfacing and telling kids to stay in boat, but figure the shark to be at least 40' down and decide it is safe and head down to inform the other divers. Jane is at the anchor and Gordon is about to take off but hears me call and I relay the message that there is a large guy out there, and we should stay in sight of each other. The little friend of Gordon's shows up and I am actually glad to see such a nice small shark that can protect me. A group of small but friendly papio appear, and I shoot one knowing that I am well protected. Jane stands guard while I mess around putting it in my bag. Basically Gordon and I try to get as far from each other as possible using Jane as our intermediary. Poor Jane now is stuck exactly in the middle, out in the sand, unable to move in any direction without losing sight of one of us. She dutifully holds her spear and turns in circles. It is a great comfort but I think "Boy, that must suck! I sure was clever not to get stuck in the middle!" I am in with weke ula and am trying to take aim. But what I now think of as the "little friendly shark" keeps buzzing through scaring all of them. Then the big uku swarm comes to see me. I have not heard Gordon's gun, and figure I can really score on Dr. uku by shooting the biggest one (fairly large). Of course, having a school to choose from, I miss. They hang about while I reload, but then they are off. They probably went over to David's spot, but since I have already told everyone to stick together, I stay put. I am more fearless and drift further away, the little shark is now definitely two because I see them together. Well that solves that confusing issue. I go back to the anchor and hear Gordon's gun, sure enough he has a nice size uku and a small shark standing by. Jane and I act as protection while Gordon brings in the fish. NOW here is the good part, he signals that it is too much hassle to get out his bag, and we should keep the fish together. I let him put his fish in my bag! We don't really have any more problems, but nor do I see the uku again. I am a little afraid of decompressing back up in the murk so I signal Jane and head up a little early. She follows and Gordon waits in hopes of great hoards of uku closing in on him. I don't hear any gun shots so I am not too bummed. As the murk enfolds us, I loose sight of Jane even though I know she is really close. I wont be able to see this big shark until he swallows. I carry my gun across me so he wont know what to bite and hope for the best. The decompression is short as we discuss the fact that there are two resident sharks and how the uku came and went. All's well that ends well, we each got fish, the four boat babes were entertained by our tales and the Prince William flew back to the dock. My nephews thought it was much faster than the Witchcraft and would like to go out on it again.

dive 32

Go listen to Richard... go diving... listen to Richard... go diving. Maybe I should ask Richard to come diving... no... no... no. I'll send my twin to listen to Rich and head to the Hole with Mike and Gordon. (Who has sent stand-ins as well, I am not the only one.) Mike and I are both late and we get a late start. The Witchcraft has some minor engine problems just to keep us on our toes. Mike spocks out enemy boat anchored at the Hole from way off. Sure enough, boat is there, but diver has just come up. They are planning to bottom fish after dark and are going to re-anchor so that their boat is over the Hole. We are however invited to go ahead and dive there. As the light is low, this plan sounds good. The Make Mano's anchor is stuck and as we throw ours, Mike heads down to free theirs and set ours. The two boats are close enough that the Capt. stays ever ready in case of collision. I head down. There is no current and the water is clear. I descend outside of the Hole into a group of large uku. I get too excited, take a bad shot and miss. (I usually miss on good shots, so why I would even think I might hit is beyond me) Reload as weke ula surround me. They are scarce when I am ready. I hear Mike shoot and watch as he lands a weke ula. I know that big group of uku are still around and head out toward the ewa side. Sure enough the uku are here. Three big bangs bring in the three big kahala and they just circle me making hard to see the uku in the distance. There are so many, I feel confident and excited. Unfortunately the uku felt shy and quiet. They seem to always come in behind me and I even try laying my gun backwards and whipping around. (Did you ever hear uku laugh? Perhaps I am too narced for this sport) I finally get the perfect approach and for no good reason, miss again. Ahhhhhh!!!!!! It was sooo big and sooo close Ahhhhhh!!!

Gordon approaches empty handed but surrounded by kahala, (nice size) he drops off of the ledge and tries for uku. I figure he will disturb my uku swarm and I head back to the hole. I come across two mu (one big) and try to get close... no hope... move on. Then I see Mike has sent stand-ins as well, the guy from the other boat, with the camouflage wet suit shows up pretending to be Mike. Throws me for a loop before I figure out that he speaks with a foreign sign language and actually thinks that there is something wrong with my eye that I keep poking at it! Well time to head up as the puffers are sleeping and I catch one with my bare hands and barely wake it. Gordon tells me of his slow dive as we decompress and I realize that he never even saw the swarm of uku around him! They must have been just out of his sight range. We can see Mike standing on the bow and head up. Mike is the hero with the only fish. He saw all the uku as well, but failed to get them close. I pull the anchor as we head home in the dark. Mike finds out about Richard's lecture and is very disappointed that we didn't inform him, he really wants to go, but alas, diving is pretty nice too. He has a proposal to totally rewrite by Friday and figure this was his one chance till then. Gordon also is booked for the week and sulks about not getting out to Kahala, where never is heard a discouraging word and the uku and the antelope play. Put away the boat, admire Michael's perfect shot (right through the eyes) and since we have no dinners waiting for us, head out for some hot Vietnamese Pho to drown our misses in. Return home to get filled in on Richard's lecture, Nils says it was great, Richard was easy to understand, and funny to boot. Good job Rich... want to go dive?

dive 33

Surfs up, Roger is injured (attack of the tita naso), but there are enough die hards that a dive is planned 6 at the Prince William. Mike, Brian, Gordon and myself. We head down to ewa telling shark stories all the way. A good way to work everyone into full alert. There is plenty of light, so it is just the surf and the murk to keep us from seeing too far. Mike and Brian are in with the anchor, Mike had cleverly let Gordon take over as we approached (Mike is not sure of lineups HA!). Gordon ends up as captain and has to put up dive flag, lower ladder, check anchor etc...

I slowly descend, loading my gun as I try to get my bearings. I am out on the flats heading in toward the rock. The bottom is stirred up from the surf and I zip along at extremely high speed. Surfing my way in to the anchor where I run into Brian, Mike and the shark. They all look fine and happy to see me, but there is just too much yang, so I head on by. Gordon is at the ewa corner, I head in to the inside ledges where I come across a school of big fat uku. We play endless surge tag. Throwing sand is ridiculously ineffective as each wave moves the bottom. They circle about me but I am being tossed around enough that I never seem to be able to get a shot off. This could go on forever. At what point do you give up? Do you ever give up if there are uku in sight? Well after a while, I figure, move on, swim away, and play hard to get. I head out to the ewa corner where a chain of large papio swim over my shoulder. By the time I am ready, papio number 7 is just moving out of range. Shucks, I turn towards the ledge and sure enough all the uku are there. I hear a gun, the fish vanish and I head over to find Brian wondering what happened to the fish he shot at.

Mike is about to head up with a small uku and papio, but he is bummed about either missing or losing an ulua. As I watch his body swim up the line, I see him go into full point. He is aiming his gun into the gray gloom. I hang about waiting for kagami or rainbow runner to come into view... nothing... then he fires and a large uku magically appears on his spear. How does he do that? Holograms? Maybe that is what all these mysterious trips to the mainland are for... high tech virtual laser fish... could be it is really a salmon painted silver, not an uku at all. Well, as he is in mid water, I had better be prepared to fend off the mighty mooch when he shows up. As I watch for the shark, I glance up to see if Mike has his quarry in the bag. The wounded uku is swimming right by me. I can feel the look of total pain that Mike is giving me as I try to get my brain and gun to work in sync. I am pulling the gun around and chanting "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." as the big uku swims slowly out of range. Well, my name is mud, I don't look back and head over toward The other guys, Brian just has lost or missed a weke ula, and Gordon and I leave Brian to reload and head over to the rock. We do the you go that way and I'll go this way plan. Gordon goes around the outside and the weke and I go around the inside, I pick the largest one I see and drop it. Gordon shows up and guards while I get the fish in the bag. We go over and I watch Gordon try to unhook the anchor from the impenetrable wana hole Mike has put the anchor in. Gordon manages not to get spined (no help from me). I am ready for one of those uku again so I head back to where I first saw them. Not a sign. I head back, signal Brian that I am heading up. I meander up slowly, waiting for another uku to magically appear. No luck, time to decompress, up comes Brian empty handed, I show off my fish... he isn't as happy for me and encouraging as he used to be, I take that as a good sign. I am waiting to hear Gordons gun go off as he is the only one left on the bottom. His bubbles finally appear in the gloom. The mighty Casey has struck out. He makes for boring decompression time as he just shakes his head instead of the usual long endless sign language gibberish. We all get back in the boat, Brian pulls anchor and we head back. We find the buoys in the dark surf infested waters and Brian points out the Waikiki fireworks as we wend our way safely back to shore. Gordon complains that no one would hang about close and work with him chasing fish. We all laugh at the thought and ignore him. None of us like the shark and we dream of all the lonely uku lurking at the barge in Kahala. Mike is heading off to the mainland again, (no doubt more spear fishing paraphernalia) so it is up to us to continue in his absence. Mike: I vow to try to spear as many fish as I can in your absence. Thanks for the dive Mike, sorry about your big uku... see you in a week or so... I am off to the Big Island on Wed. Will be back when school starts... No dive reports, but lots of diving. he he he

dive 34

Gordon and Brian are planning a late Sun. sneak out to ewa, but I manage to invite myself and my family along. We meet at the Prince William at six, load up and head out. Gordon thinks Roger's Ahi Spot will be shark free and crawling with curious uku. As I leave Janetta, Nils and Malte with a splash of my fins and look down, I see Gordon's line ups are perfect. It seems like forever since I have seen clear water and I am startled by the beauty that surrounds me. There is a large school of opelu kala circling the area. They are a random mix of light and dark bodies making the school look like an impressionist painting. I am happy to swim with them, but I see no sign of game fish anywhere. I come across Brian and Gordon, they pretty much have the area staked out, but I know of another good spot close by. I swim along the ledge, noting both slipper and spiny lobsters... (must come back in Sept). I know that the short cut to my spot is to take a left at the redtails. Sure enough, that smart psychhead is still there. He takes off on sight. I thought the uku at Marnie's rock were wising up, I think this guy recognized me! Well there is nothing but more opelu kala here. I hide and call, nothing... I will head back, Brian and Gordon must have moved on by now. At least there are no sharks. I swim along the ledge till I get close to the anchor. I come across Gordon who has seen nothing and wants to cruise ewa in search of something more. I have pretty much given up on any game and am turning over rocks looking for shells. Gordon is out on the sand flats, I am on the inside ledge trying to catch a four spot about the size of a silver dollar, no luck. I look up and see our old friend the shark coming along. I say "hello, what took you so long?" as I give him my nicest wave, he veers off inside and I am sure he will go by the inside spot and cruise over to Brian. Brian is alone and perhaps has shot a fish. I head over to tell Gordon about my return to the anchor. He is in the process of creating a sand tornado. This is done by first fanning sand with your hand then swimming in a tight circle kicking sand up with your fins. The act looks a lot like an Irish setter trying to catch its tail. Gordon plops down with a really pleased-with-himself expression on his face in the midst of what looks like a scale model of the Bikini atoll blast. I inform him of the shark and since I know he has no fish, I leave to check with Brian. Gordon reluctantly follows a ways back, in case 1000 uku show up to check out his sand castle. I am just wayfaring my way back when I cognize a nice size papio on the back side of a coral head. He is close and zigzagging toward Gordon, I turn my gun and realize that Gordon may not approve of me shooting at him as the fish is moving right in front of him. I yell at Gordon and point at the fish. He looks over the fish, who is chasing small fish around right on the bottom, and squints off into space. He is trying real hard to imagine 1000 uku appearing before his eyes. I yell again and finally he sees the fish that is almost too close to shoot. He shoots it and I help bag the fish, watching for the shark. I am thinking of how I should certainly get partial credit for this guy... Gordon shot this fish about the same way that my stove does all the cooking. Well along comes Brian who has not seen any thing but the shark and a too small papio. We head back to the anchor where I see the too small papio and think, heck, good enough for me... but alas he doesn't give me a chance as he swims off into the darkness and turns into an opelu kala. We all head up the anchor, Brian admires the fish I have in my bag, and I have to tell him who shot it, and why it should be mine. Nils must see our bubbles because he jumps into the darkness and dives down to retrieve the catch. Now that is what I call service, it will be a shame to teach such a good anchor puller to dive, I really like having my enthusiastic boat buck who willingly cleans fish, pulls anchor, puts gear away etc... etc... etc... Of course he needs his mom along to dissuade him from practical jokes while we are diving. We blast back to the harbor, without running out of fuel. Malte gets a lesson in tying up boats and everyone helps rinse and clean up, I will miss these boat slaves. Gordon generously gives me my fish and we graciously take it. Shangri-La restaurant agrees to cook it and we feast. There is plenty left over for dinner tomorrow as well. Thanks again Gordon, I wonder how many fish swim by you when you are by yourself??

dive 35

The luxury bee has been working for a whole week... nonstop too! Really need to go diving. Class room is sweltering hot. Roger has boat work to do, Gordon is too busy, Mike has reported total failure of the witchcraft... looks bad. I am lamenting greatly (almost whining) about the call of the blue blue depths, the sensation of drifting along observing. Where the main challenge is to breathe. Roger capitulates to a maybe and Nils and I go off to get tanks. Rog and I agree that Mike probably forgot to hook up the batteries and we meet back at the Ala Wai, Brian and David and Gordon have assembled. We have enough faith in Mike that we make sure the Witchcraft will start before loading her. (Although Mike I hate to tell you that David and Brian carried their gear. No doubt Brian did it just as a workout, but David, I feel did some sort of Witchcraft, Michael reliability comparison.) The Witchcraft starts like a champ (after some gentle coaxing by Roger using some nurturing words and an old anchor shaft), Roger is off to look at his engines. Brian and Gordon have to be peeled away from the nearby breast tattoo belonging to some nearby sex goddess decoy. At last I can taste the sea and we head for the 100' hole.

Gordon and David head down to set the anchor while Brian and I wait to check the current before letting Nils jump over. The current is ewabound, but swimmable and we all head down the anchor line. We get down to the hole in time to see David assist Gordon putting a papio in his bag. I don't really think I stand a chance with my shadow, so we do the tour, swimming through the hole, looking around and trying to stay out of anyone's way. Nils still is over weighted, so he lays nicely on the sand as we call in a passing papio. The friendly fish comes so close, that I know I will have a bad shot by the time it turns, but I am scared of hitting it head on, so through the back it is... well, dinner is dinner, sure wish I had remembered to take my bag.... stuff this flappy guy in my wet suit as Nils laughs hysterically at me trying to zip up with a tail caught in the bottom. We get squared away, and Nils still has plenty of air, so we go looking for more game, maybe some Weke outside. We come across Gordon, he has added an uku to his booty, he went down with a low tank, so he is heading up. I haven't seen any game, Brian is over at the uku calling spot, the opelu Kala are thick, so Nils and I try to swim into them hoping to see something, alas we scare them off and come across David doing some mid water searching. It is getting dark so Nils and I head back to the anchor where we join Gordon in going up. I signal to Nils that he has too much weight, (as he sinks the anchor line!) he quickly tightens up his weight belt thinking I am telling him it is too loose! I then signal that it is getting dark and hard to see, he quickly defogs his face mask... we need to work on communication. Gordon, who thinks he has the only fish, is frisky on the line and tries to torture me with good diver exercises... what should you do when someone turns off your air, steals your mask and proceeds to attack your fins... fortunately, my gun is no longer loaded and though I debate stealing his mask to use as my own, I think better of it and go for the ignore him and he will go away theory. It works and I have the fun of unzipping my wet suit top and giving him the flash of sliver that covers my breast. Well, no tattoo could work as well as that!! Brian comes up the line, and I debate trying my new trick out on him, but as he tells his great tale of fish frustration I have sympathy and let it slide. After we left, he was surrounded by uku and papio, couldn't pick which one, shot, missed and was not given a second chance. I watch an empty handed David coming back to the boat as Gordon blows air through Nils's snorkel... I am sure this probably has some sort of important dive lesson as well, but I can't figure it out. I now have Gordon's bag as he and David head up. I plot with Nils to hide Gordon's fish from him, but we don't speak the same language and I still have no idea what he thought I said, I just know he never did come up to the bow for me to do the sneaky hand off. Well the boat started and we putted back in towards shore with a new moon and a lovely Venus in conjunct. Put gear away, watched fireworks, even got Gordon to give me his (smaller than mine) papio so that Nils and I could have yet another fish meal this week. We ate fresh fish and Nils made sushi for a late night feast... now for another week......

dive 36

Sunday, cruise by the Mo'o just when the last drops of paint are being applied. Perfect timing... recommend a dive for all the hard working painters. Off to get tanks and meet at the Prince William. It is 4:30 and I fail miserably at getting tanks, fortunately, Nils remembers Gordon's tank supply, and I catch him by phone and the tanks are on the way, the next obstacle is gas, that too takes some doing, but we manage to leave the dock around 6. Time is short, so we head for the place like the 100' hole off reef runway. David and Gordon are down with the anchor. A tired Roger realizes that he has left his gun in the car, I feel so sorry for him, I offer him mine. He declines and decides to go after lobster. Nils and I head in and tour around, the water is as clear as Mozart and without any current. The light is perfect but the usual action is not happening. Nils and I head in looking for lobsters under the lone rocks and find nothing but eels and some good size menpachi. We head over to the hole-in-the-wall and still don't see a thing. Drift back towards the anchor, Nils's air consumption is a lot better, probably because there is no current. Suddenly I realize the sand is moving and realize that the weke ula are very close by. I drop and aim, the very action of me becoming alert, scares them off, I probable could have turtled my way right into them! The baby friendly uku comes over for a visit, this must be the same guy I always see, I should start feeding him and train him to bring over his friends, he recognizes me as the idiot who can't shoot straight and doesn't worry. We see Gordon and Roger parting ways and we head over to bug Roger, he has a large spiny (David got it) and a small slipper lobster. In place of a spear, he is carrying a tropical fish probe, which Nils mistakes for a power head and gets on full alert for something big. As we head for the anchor line, a school of papio cruises by, we both drop, check air and head after them. They never look back, perhaps because Gordon has just shot one of the gang and they don't know about my aim. We give up again and meet everyone back near the anchor... we all agree that the anchor is close by, but it is a little bit on the dark side so we kind of wander out slowly like a group of ants searching for the main trail. We end up on track. I am checking every one out, keeping an eye on the decompression imp. I see David has a nice size almost headless papio, but it is in the bag, and it is more than I have... probably a good story there... David suddenly starts madly attacking his legs, I figure he has been stung by a man-of-war, not having much interest in getting stung myself I hang back. It soon becomes apparent that his arms and pretty much his whole body is causing problems, I guess I had better offer some assistance, I get up to him and find he is merely scrubbing off the bottom paint he has managed to sprinkle lightly on himself! Little boy blue turns back into David!! We head in without event, recounting the dive and thinking about the upcoming work week. Gordon donates his papio as he has lots to do before he heads home, Roger gives us his slipper lobster as David has given his large spiny over to Roger. (Yes, you read right, David has given up a lobster... what can you say... he's pregnant!)

As we head home, Nils wonders why I bother to spear, when we do just as well when I don't hit anything. He also notes "one down and eleven more to go..." We eat fresh fish and lobster. I have never seen such lobster eating... the front flaps are like ilima petals with lacy edges. If you use a toothpick, you get meat from the spines that run along the lateral edges, even those little tiny legs up front were fair game. Nothing left but gills, mouth and shell. He said it certainly was better than crayfish!

dive 37

Another week come and gone and nothing but work work work... the thought of a Friday dive gets me through the traffic to pick up Nils. He knows nothing about diving, just because Dr. Pfeffer is his teacher, does that mean he should ask? Might not the other kids suspect something? Well, home and get my gear anyway, phone David and Brian to find nothing but machines... I can feel the never dive again feeling sinking in when prince charming, disguised as a 60 year old Eyeore, phones and has some sort of dive convoy involving the Witchcraft and the Price William both in the Mo'o slip. Be there at five. I have just enough time to head for the bank and straighten them out on the difference between automatic deposits and automatic withdrawals. I don't know how they get on without me. The trip to the boat is traffic filled and I just hope the convoy doesn't leave without me. Find the Prince William, Mike, and a couple of archeology buddies. They are ready, and when the Witchcraft arrives, they jump on leaving Roger, Nils, Rob, his new-to-diving 12 year old son, and myself. David has made it through traffic and is also a starter. Roger wonders about Brian, I say I got nothing but machines and as it is now 5:30, we head out. Mike is going to the Hole, we get there about the same time as the power cat has a little more speed. We decide to let David join the big boys and he jumps in just as the Witchcraft throws her anchor. We leave the pros, and head for the ships with the B team. Nils and I head down against the slight Diamond Head current, the murk is perfect, and I can taste fish. We check the anchor and herd three large Mu over to the bow of the inside ship. We are actually gaining on them when a little papio, comes from inside and three large Moana Kea come from outside. I am lining up when all of the fish turn tail and disappear, I turn and find Nils doing some underwater antics! I guess we are communicating better, because with just one look, he spent the rest of the dive flat on the bottom about 20 ft. behind me! I gave up and we went over to the other ship, checked out the turtles, and cruised over to the bow. I couldn't see any action outside so we headed in. Some distant weke ula came whizzing by, but not close enough for me. Nils and I cruised about beneath a ticker tape parade of butterflies. So this is what it is like to live in a snow globe, this one has a little plastic ship stuck on the bottom. We are heading back toward the anchor when we see the disco mirror ball over head. The opelu are not practicing for the prom with out some strict coaches. There is a large rainbow runner training them, as we drift upward and closer, I see that there are at least 4 rainbow runner working the school, the only thing is they are actively eating opelu and are circling and darting at twice opelu speed, and I can move at nudibranch in jello speed. We keep running into each other, but never head on. They drift away and Nils and I head down current to the anchor line. I tell Roger of the fish, and we leave Nils, Rob and Chris on the line as we head out for a final hunt. I feel like the hired guns that have just rode in to town as Roger and I reload in unison and swim up the alley between the ships side by side 25' apart... look out Rainbow Runner!! Well the opelu are there, no longer in a ball and no sign of predators. We hang out for a while, we hear the Witchcraft pass over us, Roger debates going up and checking them out, but knowing that we are a ways from the boat, it is fairly dark, they will be watching the Prince William, and Mike is the Capt., he thinks the better of it and we head back to the boat. I am so happy to have gotten wet that I don't mind being empty handed at all. We head in, Mike and David both got to the hole, and each shot an uku. Mike's buddies, apparently did some Galileo experiments with weight belts and acquiesced from diving altogether. Mike gave me his uku as he was trying to make up for having not called, been playing on Lanai, going to Tahiti tomorrow... Knowing how to make the best of a good thing, having gotten one fish, I invited David and Barbara up for dinner, semi-forcing David to offer up his uku to add to the feast. Nils really wonders why I bother with this superfluous gun thing. Well, we are back in time to entertain an evening of American football and we debate between the St. Louis/Punahou slaughter or the Roosevelt/Wainae slaughter... well his school wins out and we watched the mighty Puns fumble around. Nils watches three bad plays in a row and says "maybe I could play for them too"! If you can't always win, the game should be fun.

dive 38

After the Friday evening dive fiasco, (Witchcraft refusal), the Mo'o and Debbie complications, I figured I probably wouldn't dive for a few months. But then, the light at the end of the tunnel, Tribbles want to go out on the Prince William, and Roger is too busy (maybe). I am invited down to the boat as a back up. Nils figures for a 50-50 chance, he will stay and work on his new skim board. (His first adventure with aunty Snerk's power tools, and first time with resin... almost as much fun as diving... ah, to be so young again...)

Roger turns out to be a no show, and I am off to Marnie's Rock! I set up the boat, insuring my place in Tribble's "tools needed to take the boat out" list. It will be a bummer when he gets a boat that has no Pfeffer secret tricks. Gordon is extra grumpy about minor details, there is a beautiful rainbow over all of Honolulu, and all he can think is ..."probably won't see line ups"... pshaw... I am on the water, the sun is still up and Jane makes good company as we skim over the wakes of the returning fishing boats. I get to be the first one in the water (leaving David home for important social events does have some advantages). The water is air clear and I can see that I did not put out enough scope, but I can also see the uku milling about below me. I sink faster than I can load my gun and find myself in the mist of large opelu kala. The uku have moved off and I set the anchor and figure since there is no current, I won't bother with the more scope idea and just hang close for awhile. Jane and Gordon head off toward ewa and soon manage to scare the uku over to me. They are in no mood to check me out and head off toward David's spot. With no current, David's 300 yards is about 100 feet and soon I find some small papio. I line up a particularly dumb one, when the ulua swims into my view. He is coming over to us and my little papio is ready to be shot... maybe I can shoot both at once, what am I going to do with that big a fish if he puts up a fight? Indecision clouds my vision and they are both going their own way. I take a late shot at the little papio as he heads off over my head, but I miss and they are both gone. Reload and go looking for uku, see one good size one off a ways, a little papio comes into view then another from the other side... wait there are three... oh there is a big mu cruising by... four weke ula just materialize out of thin sand. In my small little field of view I can make out 9 good shots yet no fish has helped me make up my mind, as they all remain out of range. One second goes by and all fish have moved out of my field of view. I figure, the best eating ones are the mu and the uku and they have both gone over the top of the ledge. I know the mu is beyond me, I move over the ledge just in time to see tail of uku fading off into the shallow water... he will probable circle around, I glance down the line and see the mu is sitting right on top of the ledge looking interested. I head to the bottom, cruise along the ledge until I figure I must be close to the mu. I slowly snake my way up, briefly remembering that I had not checked for eels... there is Mr. mu right there! Bang... perfect... except he is mad and bigger that he needed to be... he bites the string as he is still fighting the spear. I am thinking: "wow, I never saw that before", just as he charges my mask. There is a loud thud as he hits me and then this terrible sensation as he has bitten my braid rather close to my ear. There is the shaft over my head, loops of string everywhere and a lot of thrashing on the side of my head. I keep repeating "don't panic" as my heart beats in time to the loud ear slaps. No one ever mentioned anything like this before. No one ever told me this was even a possibility. I calm enough to wonder how I am going to get that mouth open, but not calm enough to come up with anything better than getting spines in my fingers. Finally I have the brilliant epiphany to go for gills and manage to stop the main excitement. String is everywhere, the fish wont go into the bag without hooking teeth or fins... the whole process takes full concentration for a long time. I come back down to reality and look around for the first time in a long time. Fortunately there is no laughing audience, and I do have a fish. I head back to Marnie's rock and go along the inside where I meet four super friendly little uku. They circle around me, all of them staying in range at all times, but not holding still long enough for me to take a shot. A black papio swims by and disappears. I run into Gordon at the ewa corner and he watches me miss one of those little ukus. I am not really that interested in hitting another fish anyway. He has a good size papio and signals that he has seen some large ulua, one large uku and those same several small ones that I had just missed. I am low on air and head back to the anchor, I can still see the little uku, some weke ula as I head up the line. The boat is right over the rock... perfect for bottom fishing... a nice safe sport where you get to sit in the boat out of range of any potential ear bites. The sun has set, the water is still clear, no plankton to watch... Jane arrives, she has seen one ulua and nothing more. Gordon decides to come back to the boat having called in the shark on his last set. We decompress quietly, as the dark and cold slowly work into scene. It isn't until we are cleaning fish and Gordon comments on my fish being my biggest yet that I begin to feel a welling of self satisfaction and pride. It slowly builds as I head home, and by the time I enter the house I am some sort of invincible killer of her own dinner.

Nils looked at the fish and said: "Wow, it is big. Did it attack you?" I replied: "Don't ever bite me; I will eat you for dinner."

I would have called Barbara for her recipe, but I thought I would spare David till he reads this. We had Snerk style mu burittos with salsa, beans, and watercress; I really should be a cook.

dive 39

The Witchcraft rides again. Extensive battery charging pays off and we are off and running. Well, O.K. the steering is a little stiff but she is going forward (sort of) and the rain is subsiding enough so we might see that blue roof lineup for the Hole. On board is Captain Gordon, Long-time-dry David, Always too happy Nils and myself. I know with the two experts, we will find the hole no problem... There is a brief lifting of clouds and the anchor is tossed on the exact spot. There is a Diamond Head current, and Gordon and David are off to set the anchor. Nils and I follow, as I look down in the dark depths I realize that the surface visibility is poor and everything seems very dark. I can make out a diver below and see David swimming along the bottom, at least I think that is what I see. Nils is waiting at the anchor and we head off in search of fish. The clarity has not improved, and I can't see too far past the end of my spear. Everything is a beautiful grey green with sparkle dots of sand. I will stay near the Hole as I know it has a way of disappearing on days like this. Soon I see a small papio, there are more fish, weke ula on the close side, and uku a little further away. As they zoom in and out of my field of view I can not seem to aim at any one fish. There is a constant stream of Weke, Uku and small papio, They are driving me crazy as they are so close... the thing is that they only come into view when I should be shooting, and they are out of view before I can aim. I wonder how just randomly shooting works? I can not seem to do it as I keep trying to aim till suddenly the fish are gone. We swim over to the other side of the hole where we run into Gordon who is using only one rubber, and although I thought I heard him shoot, has no fish. I tell him there are fish everywhere and head back to see if they can find me again. David is at the other end of the hole (not a good day to venture too far). Nils and I bite the bullet and venture off to the rock on the outside diamond head end. Yes! We find it and hide behind it while little papio dance in and out of our lives. Nils has one circle his head, but fortunately I didn't see it. A good size uku appears, turns and heads off, I take a shot but miss, the papio helps me reload and I pretty much give up on trying to shoot magic fish. I spend the rest of the dive enjoying the current and playing in the surge, I am going with the theory that if you swim really fast, down current, with surge, then perhaps I can be the magic one, and appear in the middle of an uku tea party. I have no success at this game but it is fun being a Louis Carol character anyway. The light is running away also so we start our ascent. David has headed up with an uku in his bag, Gordon's bubbles appear in my face and I see him free the anchor as Nils and I head up the line. The line has a nice current-hum and I try to play a tune while decompressing... spacing out on anchor line in the dark with a current heading to Molokai... hmmmm yes it is good to be diving again. The boat starts like the champ that she is and we return in time for the fireworks... not a bad way to start a weekend... no fish, so Nils and I splurge and go to Mekong for dinner. They all miss the Napp's and make us tons of ice tea, they sure know how to make good soup.

dive 41

As I walk out of my classroom I glance at the ocean, Kona weather, grey but calm enough for a dive. Thank goodness for the ocean. Run Friday afternoon errands and get to Punahou in time to pick up Nils at 4:15; he is at the science club meeting... wait, wait, wait... I know he is having a blast but I am going to miss my dive, it is now 4:45 and I would leave the little stinker if I thought he had bus fare on him. I can't believe how dependent I am on a simple dive, I am so down about not being able to go... I really need to get more of a life! 5 o'clock and he shows up, all excited about the great lecture on quantum physics that turns into far east religion. (that's what happens to physics and math if you study them too much) We head for the boat so I can feel really bad as I watch them drive out the channel, Nils is not used to seeing me near tears and feels really sorry (At least I should be able to milk this for lots of house work). We arrive and find Brian and David waiting patiently for our arrival (I guess they do love me after all and I am overjoyed to be given the gift of a dive). Witchcraft takes out to the Hole, we are racing the sun, and with the clouds and rain, It promises to be dark. We anchor and send Brian down to join the uku in watching the anchor drag along. Nils and I are the last in and my mask just floods constantly, I turn it upside down, but it doesn't help at all. I surface and try to decide how desperate I am for this dive. Nils comes to my rescue and hands over his mask (there goes the house work) I am off, leaving him to look for a spare, or to figure out what is wrong with mine. The water is super clear and I know where I am and head down under the boat while keeping an eye out for Nils. I swim to the bottom hard, do a half roll and am surrounded by small friendly uku, but it is so clear, they can see just fine from where they are thank you and I can't convince them to get any closer. I look up from the bottom and I can see that Nils is sitting on the gunwale with a tank on....now that is clear water. I wait for him to fall in and watch him swim down the anchor line. He is wearing my mask, it looks O.K. I wave and he joins me in some more futile uku chasing. I can see them, but not close enough to spear, I hear guns going off and wonder who got what. We circumnavigate the hole, seeing uku occasionally and Nils gets to see his first shark, it is a very non aggressive baby white tip. Cute little guy, he scares off the uku, but they are soon back teasing me over to Brian and David who are at the hole, and both have no fish either. I remember that Brian wanted to see the hairy red lobster, and I debate going to get him, but I realize that I can barely see the fish, much less some small invertebrate under a rock. I watch the fish cluster around the hole and realize that not only have the others gone, but if it were not so clear I would not be able to dive by moonlight. We head up and loose the boat on the way, decompress and can still see the bottom, there is a murky rain water layer at ten feet and when I do surface, I can see that I am actually close to the boat, just didn't see it. Kawika and Brian saw lots of uku, papio etc... but did not manage to spear anything either (shucks, no scraps for me). David not only pulls anchor, but drives us home. My mood has improved hyperbolically; I feel downright wealthy when I call Minnesota and buy eight tickets to see Mick. All I need now is seven people to join me.

dive 42

Sunday, Roger is diving tropical with Jerry, the weather is malia calm and I have a ton of work to do. Work ethic heritage prevails and I pass on the fun opportunity with the hope that there will be an evening dive. Roger says we should use the power cat, and take Brian out on one of his last pre-dad dives. I get about 80% of my work under control and meet Roger down at the Prince William. He has spent the day off of Kahala (I have not been there so long that there probably are two new barges), and judging from his catch, done a deep dive or two. It sounds like they had fun chasing Nasos around in shallow water off of Diamond Head. Roger informs me that there is enough gas and oil, but that Fred Casiano (an engineer mind you) has fixed the steering and inadvertently got it backwards! I keep this piece of information under my gear bag, as I know when Captain Gordon arrives he will want to be at the helm! Brian arrives with his friend from U.W., Matt, and Thomas brings his friend Matt. Gordon brings the tanks and we leave Nils going to a club meeting (party) and David stuck in a house hunting adventure. I push my way behind the wheel, as I don't want Gordon to ram into any of the expensive boats that have just finished escorting the canoe race. He makes a few subtle comments about my driving and mid channel I graciously hand over the helm. Gordon is containing himself with the new comers who are putting gear in all the wrong places and gladly takes over, accelerates and proceeds to go in circles. Well, that alone is worth the trip, I think I will send Fred a tip.

We head for Marnie's rock, Brian's friend pulls his homemade gun out of its travel case and begins to assemble same, it looks semi serious, and used too. We get there at about the perfect time and the Captain puts us on the mark despite backwards steering (which would be stiff if it weren't for the Witchcraft training). Brian and Matt are over with the anchor, in fact I worry that Brian didn't hit his head on it or get tangled in the line, he is ready for Australia... The rest of us follow shortly with me entering the water last. I look below me, there is that rock that had that slipper lobster once about 15 years ago. I will check it out, like the cat that once got a mouse there, I look hopefully every time. I know where the others most likely are and head off to approach from the inside ewa ledge. I plan to swim over to the ewa ledge out to the rock and over to David's spot, as a poor substitute just to keep the fish comfortable. The water is perfect, not too clear, no current to speak of. I am approaching my first inside uku spot, when I know there must be a diver outside my range of visibility, as all sorts of fish are flying my way. Hmmmm this could work in my favor... I see three large Mu come streaking toward me, I bravely act aggressively and manage to turn them away. Whew close call, I drop back to my hunting mode and see some sort of ulua approaching high in the water column, I can't convince it to come visit and when I turn my attention back to the bottom, I find my self at my uku spot with all sorts of small uku around me. I am trying to line up on one, when these large weke ula get in my path, hey, they are a lot bigger than these uku. I shoot one and put it in my bag just as the shark appears, I know that I am a little inside of his normal circle, it is just the blood. He sees me and heads back out. He is surrounded by large uku who are excited also. I can imagine that I see the uku turn and come back my way out in the sand while the shark continues along the ledge. Just in case I am right, I go wait for them to pull in at their usual spot. Just in time. I can't get them close enough, but Mike says shoot anyway. I shoot, perfect, except the gun has not gone through, I try to keep some slack but loose my first fish. Devastation sets in, not to mention I don't like to feed dogs that beg for table scraps. I try to reload quickly as the dog is part Rotweiler, I get the string in place and glance up for a quick look and see in the distance a ball of black humus, hmmm that must be my uku they are after, step on it and I might re-spear it. I charge off and manage to scare the fish under the safety of a ledge. He is just sitting there, once again years of chasing small fish under ledges pays off, I open my bag at one end (I try to ignore the possibility of my weke coming back to life and taking off) and use my left hand to try to grab the uku, he darts away and swims right in the bag. HA! Super Hero doesn't loose a fish after all. Well, I have more fish than I need and can't monopolize the shark all of the time, I will head back out toward the ewa corner and see what every one else is up to. I don't see anyone right off, but I know I am more in the regular shark path and I debate going back for more uku when I see the tell-tale bubble streak and I go visit my buddies. Matt and Brian and Gordon are all there empty handed. Matt has broken his rubbers and is out of action. I ask Gordon if I can hang about with him and he agrees. I don't want to be too close as he has no fish, but as soon as I get the right distance away, there is that pesky cockroach again. I hang close and see a big school of jazzy little papio, I herd them to Gordon, he does nothing... then there is that bunch of small uku, I herd them over... nothing... well, if he can't see those guys, he doesn't even deserve a fish, I will cease feeling sorry for him. The man is blind, it is amazing he gets anything at all! My bag is full, my air is getting low, the sun has definitely set. Time to head home. I signal and Gordon agrees to come instead of waiting for that one last uku. He is behaving strange, perhaps he has had a serious run in with the shark. On the line I ask him what his dive was like and he says, I quote "I saw one ulua, one rainbow runner, and one small uku." It all suddenly makes sense, sometimes I am so dense. Now I know why he didn't shoot those small fish, and why he came up... the same reason as I. The day that Portuguese mouth gives one word answers is a day I will never see. No matter what his dive was like, there is at least five minutes of half unintelligible sign language about how he chased, called hid, missed, lost etc., etc... He must either have a rainbow runner or an ulua in the boat. I could be a pest and ask him if he shot at anything, but I refrain. I will be careful to be humble when I surface. There is no need, the instinct takes over and I am not even in the boat when Gordon tells me I would have been the hero if it wasn't for his hero size rainbow runner and holds up a beautiful fish shimmering in the moonlight. My fish are plenty to be proud of and I feel plenty smug never the less, especially since I had one swim in my bag. Thomas and Matt got to witness Gordon's foolhardy shot as the rainbow runner and shark were side by side. Thomas has declared Gordon psycho. Gordon wants to know if that was indeed the shark he was hitting with his fin as he and the fish fought their way up. Thomas, says he saw Gordon shoot, everything went crazy, the shark circled tight and everything disappeared out of sight toward the surface. There is a good back up man, well, he has no gun and he pulls the anchor like a champ; no one is perfect. Gordon also had a papio in the boat, so he went home loaded with fish. I offered to give my fish away and people seemed shocked that I would part with any, I just seem greedy, I have never shot more than one before! We glide home, there is a half moon overhead, the city lights are sparkling in the fog. There is some scientific discussion about geology going on and my uku is resting his head on my foot. This is almost perfect.

dive 42a

Friday dive, Roger, Nils, Gordon, David and myself take the Mo'o on her second outing. She starts at the touch of a key, steers with a pinky finger and purrs out of the harbor, the sun is low and there is still engine break in to consider. We push for Kahala and head for fantasy reef. We get to the spot a little later than anyone would have liked, but the water is clear enough to see the bottom and we drop anchor, Gordon and David in the same instant. I tell Nils that is one of the most beautiful spots to dive, (when there is light) and we head in and swim down the anchor line. There is a current, but it is swimmable, and we head off up the ledge. We pass a spot that is where Mark took one of my favorite photographs and I briefly compare the picture in my mind with the one before me. The flash really helps. It occurs to me that Mark's photo has a slate pencil urchin in it and that Fantasy is shallow enough to see them. O.K. Mike, I'll see what I can do. I can't remember how many spines he needed, how long they have to be and how many different urchins can be involved. I get enough material to be able to send him a stinky bag, giggle to my self and head out toward the sand in hopes of seeing uku. Shucks, there are bubbles... Gordon is not in his usual spot, he hasn't seen anything and Nils and I head back in towards the inside of the ledge. One large and one smaller papio come over a rock and appear right in front of me. I have my gun by my side with my hand about half way down it. There is a mad dash of lining up, the big one is past and I shoot at the small one knowing that I have missed it. As my shaft falls to the sand, I watch as they swim over toward Gordon who must not have heard me shoot, because he hasn't turned to look my way. I yell and scream as the fish slowly swim by the back of Gordon's head. Nils and I get a laugh and continue up the ledge. I try to catch a sleeping Naso but it wakes before I have a good grip and darts off. We just cruise along hoping to see some more papio but nothing appears. I head out toward the sand for one last uku check before turning back toward the boat. Gordon's bubbles are in sight, he must have come up along the outside of the ledge. I hear Gordon calling fish as Nils and I settle into the sand. I am looking out into the darkness, a very large uku comes along the ledge and swims in front of my mask. My gun is not pointing at him, he looks like a biter anyway and he really is too big to shoot. He heads off and Nils and I start our journey back, it will be dark by the time we get to the boat. I swim over and tell Gordon that we are heading back, and I mention that there is a huge uku around here somewhere. Well it will be interesting to see if he makes it back before dark! We sail back to the boat down current, it is a great time to practice my superman flying as the current really picks up through the slots in the ledge. We get back to the anchor line and see David who has gotten a mu and not seen much else. Roger appears out of the mist and says he spent the dive chasing five mu around. Each one phasing in and out of range in a well organized mu frustration team. We head up and decompress and I wonder how Gordon will see well enough to find his way back. Soon enough a shape appears out of the gray, but the gun is still loaded and there is no sign of fish. It is a beautiful quiet evening and the surface is glistening with light. Nils is turning summer salts on the line, and I am watching the surface light patterns in perfect serenity, lost in the gravity free blue room. Suddenly peace is shattered by Gordon, who I guess no one was paying any attention too (my mistake), my fin gets ripped off of my foot despite my loud growls of complaint... Time to head up before I loose something in the dark, I guess I shouldn't have dunked his wet suit in the harbor before we left the dock.

The Mo'o starts on a whisper and glides us homeward. We round Diamond Head like a song as the plankton dance in the dark and the stars tell us it will soon be winter.

dive 43

Sunday eve, Gordon, David and Matt from Seattle are going out on the Witchcraft and invite me along. Batteries have been charging all day, so the boat starts with out too much complaining. Matt just watches when Gordon starts whacking on the starter with the pliers, but willingly heads out when the boat starts. We head to the hole while David fills me in on his last two days of dive antics, the usual adventures of lost boat, lost diver, lost anchor and shark with attitude. I feel like I missed out on all sorts of fun antics... boy, being demoted to the "JV" team sure has its heart sinking moments. We get to the Hole, and there seems to be a bit of a current. David goes down with the anchor and the rest of us suit up. There is an ewa current and the boat is holding, but it is a long way from the hole. Gordon jumps in, Matt and I watch and see that he is making progress and we follow. The water is clear and I see Gordon returning and David's bubbles following suit. Get back in the boat and attempt to pull the anchor before the sun sets, the steering is stuck, the anchor is hooked and it takes three boat drivers and two anchor pullers to get it all done. Matt is just having the best time, he thought those dive stories that Brian had been sending him were obviously pure fantasy. We anchor again and David and Gordon jump in followed by Matt and myself. We are pulling our way down the anchor line and I am thinking that I will keep a close eye on Matt, show him around, etc... when I see a whole school of uku below me on the ewa ledge. I know if I dive straight down I will be down current of them and they will be between me and the hole where Matt will be, unknowingly acting as my backboard. Leave Matt on his decent path and dive down and roll, perfect, uku are rolling and acting friendly, they are nice enough to let me pick the one out that I want, then I of course miss. Two weke ula come and check out my spear shaft and I realize that I am at the edge of the ledge and where the current picks up, and I will need to reload. By the time I get my act together and swim back to where I was, no fish are to be seen. I see a small papio off in the distance heading for the Hole, so I follow and see what everyone else is up to. Matt is camped out in an eddy/duck blind, where he can stake out passers by. He looks like he might spear fish all right... he says he hasn't seen anything he knows are good. Gordon is up on the Diamond Head spot, so I head back down current, where I last saw something to spear. The current is strong, and it is getting darker... I see David heading up with a fish in his bag, papio. He had said he was going to make it a short dive, what with the earlier decompression dive, and yesterdays 90' bounces between long surface swims. I guess I didn't really believe him... he was talking about life insurance the other day too... hmmmm, this fatherhood thing could be interesting... I can't wait till he lectures me on some safety issue, like proper installation of car seats! Well, he does have a fish, and now it is so dark that the uku are just grey ghosts parading by like night marchers, you can't really see them, but you know they are there. Actually, they are not really ghost like, the water is too clear, they are more like electrons, you can only see them when you don't need to know where they are. As soon as you try to pin one down, then he is not really there, he becomes just a probability. Well, too much physics for my feeble brain, I crawl back toward the hole, all the fish are flush to the bottom as well, there is a palani dragging his pectoral fins in the sand, just like me. We swim together back up to the hole, Gordon is heading up, with an uku. Matt and I are empty handed as we give up and slide up the line. The current is strong. I watch Matt's bubbles and realize that they are going very horizontal. I turn and watch my own bubbles sail off to Barbers point, I can see them for a ways and they don't seem to be making much headway towards the surface. The ocean has turned to its nighttime blue, making decompression extra peaceful. Matt is still having a great time, he is heading into the current and watching his wet suit fill up like a balloon with the rushing water. He is having too much fun, lucky he is good looking.

We manage to clamor aboard, David and Gordon are happy to have fish, Matt is white water rafting on the side of the boat and I got to go diving again. The boat starts, the anchor gets pulled and general elation sets in as we putter home. Venus, Jupiter and Mars are all hanging around in the western sky, must be some sort of lucky conjunction... good omens everywhere, rinse gear and start another week off right.

dive 44

Gordon is diving, maybe I can sneak out to sea. Nils has fencing till 5, I inform him of the bus route and head down to the Witchcraft. No one else shows up, so we take off to buy gas. The Mo'o cruises by with the Pfeffer's off on a snorkel/boat test trip. We take off for the hole. The water is clear, we anchor up wind and as the boat drifts over the hole, I can see every rock and hundreds of flashing mirrors dancing about. Gordon heads off to check the anchor and I soon follow. As I enter, I am right in the middle of the opelu kala. There is not a breath of current and I am stationary as I load my gun. I let myself drift down, quietly drifting through the separate schools of zoster, lemons, black humus and damsels. The fish are particularly relaxed and let me come by without bother. I charge the last 20 feet and roll in the sand, the opelu kala come right over. It is easy to lay quiet and still and I watch the opelu over head feeding in a lackadaisical manner. Matt would not recognize this as the same place. This is the 100' hole of my mind, clouds of fish all the way to the surface. There are two mu, one large ferocious looking one and a smaller more my size one. Gordon appears on the inside of the hole heading over toward the ledge. He drives the mu closer, but they are high and don't come that close, they drift off back between us and are going to cruise the inside side of the hole. I feel if I act quickly, I can pull myself along unseen on the outside of the hole and head them off at the pass. I need to get over the fear of mu and convince my self that it is only the occasional one that attacks; I hope to get a shot at the small one. I am flying silently along and 4 or 5 weke ula are panicked up out of the sand right in front of me. I am almost on top of them, they are charging off while I am trying to get my gun out from under me. They escape while I re-gear my brain, of course the mu are only shapes in the distance by the time I think of them again. I head off towards Diamond Head, with no current one can travel far and use no air. I explore figuring it is too clear to lose the hole. There is a little uku circling and keeping me company. He stays out of my range but never leaves. At first he is too small and cute, but as he hangs about, I think two more circles and I am going for him. After 3 more circles, I have bonded and feel it would be a shame to kill a living organism that actually likes my company. We head back toward the hole, staying to the inside and come back out along the ewa ledge. The hole is visible from forever just from the fish; back lit shapes dancing in the wrinkles of the surface. I flash on the day when Mr. Mac and Roger stumbled on the hole, their new little Boston whaler bobbing along while they skin dove trying to land tuna. Suddenly looking down at the myriad of bottom fish and the rock below them.

My uku and I see some smallish weke ula that we pursue, but it is just too clear for an open approach. I roll over on my back and watch the opelu above and decide that it would be more fun to do this dive mid water, drifting with the fish, and hoping that some thing big might come in. I say good by to the sand, my new friend and the two rose wrasse that are tasting the rubber on my gun. Why does the rubber look more edible? Maybe it smells? I slowly drift up and I can see Gordon at the bottom end of his bubble chain. He has noticed me and is concentrating on all the fish, he must think that I saw something and is waiting for me to take aim. After a minute of watching me trying to pet butterflies he realizes that I have no clue and he disappears off in the Diamond Head direction. Alone at last, me alone in the center of the fluid glass paper weight. Little fish are fearless, relaxed and even the opelu are feeding in the most half assed manner. No hurried moves, they are spread out from the bottom to the surface, each fish a meters distance from the next one, no sign of a predator anywhere. I spend an endless 1000 pounds wishing I could stay forever when the fish announce the arrival of something off towards ewa. I am suddenly alert, ready for game when Gordon swims into view, heading back toward the anchor, he has not seen anything but the ferocious mu, a small papio which he thought about shooting for me, but figured I could get my own. I am missing my uku friend as we get back in the boat, even the anchor pulls like a dream (my dream, Gordon pulls it!) The sun has set and the clouds are fiery orange. There is a chill in the air as we putter home. I like diving mid week, it is a great break, I will be up late... a small price to pay for a half hour of perfect existence. And at least my hair is salty.

dive 45

Everyone is diving from the Mo'o. Gordon, David, Michael, Roger and Mac. I am not sure if I am welcome, I show up late and beg, O.K. jump on and we are off to Kahala. Roger has been diving for tropical fish all day, but we all enjoy diving with Michael when we get the chance. It sounds like he is still working hard and trying to pull off the business man, archaeology combo. The Mo'o runs great and we tackle the rough seas rounding Diamond Head. The biggest problem is trying to see out through the spray, she seems happy to be back in the water, and is playfully trying to start a splashy water fight with the wind. She can toss water all right, but most of it ends up back in her own face. She doesn't know she is losing and continues on til we get to Fantasy reef. Mac and I toss the anchor and David, Gordon and Mike are over when the transmission hits neutral. Mike seems to have forgotten to take his gun. Turns out it got caught in the outrigger and he had to let go. After Rog hands him his gun, and he leaves, we find the little string retainer, a small but important part. We feel for him and delight in the thought of him trying to reload quickly. Mac, Rog, and I are getting ready, Roger is talking about selling boats. Mac and I are making helpful suggestions. It is just like old times. As usual, we decide to all stick together like the three musketeers. Well Roger and I go check on the anchor and continue on toward Portlock. The water is clear and the current is slight. Roger heads off to look for sea urchins for Mike. What a good Dad. I can see four sets of bubbles to the outside and figure no fish will find me from that direction and I wander to the inside. Off in the distance, mid water, the radiant gleam and sparkle of Kagami. I had spent time over at Brian and Jan's, playing Aunty Snerk with their little Kagami, and as I watched her soul sister approach I thought there really is no fish as beautiful as this one. I called her and she came, dropping down to my level, slowly slivering closer. The undulating mirror growing ever larger til I realized not only was I going to be allowed a shot, but that she was huge, and I will have to fight for her. I like my fish to roll over dead, I am not fond of being attacked. I am afraid, I turn to see if Roger will be at my side, to save me from who knows what. He is slowing moving the wrong way, I yell and signal for him to come over, but that is when I should have taken the shot. I now am not going to get her back, as she returns to mid water and eases out of my vision. Well, now I feel really stupid... I can just pretend that I was so overcome by beauty, trust and little Jennifer's obvious ocean soul sister, that I refrained... no that won't work. Well, if I see it again, I'll go for it. I hope other people get lots of fish, but I have not seen anything else. Well, I hope no one else gets her... Well, at least they can't call me miss... I spend the rest of the dive going over my fear, and not enjoying the beauty that surrounds me. I see Mike on the line and he has nothing, I see David head up with nothing, Roger is heading off Diamond Head, Mac and Gordon are Portlock and outside. It is beginning to get dark, and the bright sponges on the bottom have lost all color. Divers return to the Mo'o, they are all empty handed, everyone has to chase the boat down as she sails back and forth on her tether. I am the last one in and since I told Roger my story, I surface to harassment from my dearest friends. Having been the only one to have a good shot and to have chickened out is apparently a call for help, and every one rallies for a round of advice. Hopefully there will be a next time. I don't have to be the hero every time we go out do I?

dive 46

Saturday, vow to do no school work. The ocean is glassy, Roger is on his way to catch tropical fish. I meet Roger and Gerry and we head out. Roger has no orders except for tinkers, angel fish, and good wrasses. But we are ready to dive anyway, so we head off to Kahala in search of fishers and potters angels. We anchor in some good ground (for potters anyway). The water is clear the ocean is calm and the new moon current is smoking. I spend most of the dive dealing with one rock which has 15 potters and one big eel. I have all these fears these days, I must be getting old. I manage to catch four potters and a fisher. Well, I will pay for air and gas and not much more. I head up making sure to be up current of the anchor line before leaving the bottom. Decompress with the bucket at 30' then let go and fly over to the bucket line, catching and clipping off the bucket. As I clip the bucket, my feet fly by and I have made the perfect turn and am kicking my way back to the boat. I know if I hang on to the line, my drag will pull it higher and the fish will get bent. Roger comes back in the water and he bleeds the fish. This means we will be moving the boat, good. I didn't want to do another deep one. I hear the hiss of the surface and look up to see the raindrops smashing into the ocean with wind whipped determination. Great day. A cabin sounds real good. I remember the good ole days when Peggy used to bring hot tea along...

We see Glen is anchored inside, he is fishing too. We go and chat, he complains about the current and the rain. There is a third boat diving for tropical fish, I watch them go over the side, they are using one 8 gallon bucket. Hmmmm... glad I am not trying to swim that around. I had enough trouble having to retrieve my little yellow bucket on the last dive. We finally anchor in about 65' inside the barge and jump in. The current has picked up! I chase Nasos around, they are super brats. They let me chase them from way far away and stay right on track all the way to my stupid little net, and then choose to miss my net by 6 inches! Just enough to keep me hooked for 5 more nasos. I finally realize that this is futile and give up. I leave my net for any naso that accidentally might come and investigate. The current is so strong that I just take my hand net and go catch potters. Meanwhile, Roger and Gerry have set their net on a ledge and chased a school of menpachi into it. Three eels (big fat ones) come out of their holes and try to steal the menpachi. The eels are wiggling, tearing and thrashing, Rog and Gerry are poking, chasing and thrashing. There is a strong current and more eels than people. I swear, all of their dives should be on video!! Finally, Roger, a chewed up net, 10 menpachi and one determined eel head for the bucket line. The eel changes his mind at the last second and stays with me on the bottom. I head back to my net and catch one oh so careless naso. The only good thing about my four potters and one naso is it looks good compared to the competition!! The surface feels like an inch of glacier melt covering the world, we get to rinse off instantly! We call it quits and head home. The north wind of winter howls against our ears, time to get out the long sleeve wetsuit.

Shore and home prove to be a disaster all around, I look back at the morning dives as a great success. I sometimes feel that underwater is the only place I can make good decisions. Mom is driving me crazy, George cancels our date. Nils, my bear cub, is enthusiastically making a disaster out of my cave when my savior known as Glacier Bay Dave calls and invites me out for an evening dive. As I look and the spaghetti noodles stuck on the side of my stove and refrigerator, I hear myself say "sure thing, be right there". We head for the hole and lo and behold there is a current!! The wind is blowing from the north so we have to anchor twice before it sticks. He loads his gun (it does have a safety) and jumps in. I follow, the current is going ewa. The water has just the right amount of murkiness to it. I let Dave check the anchor and drop down on the outside. The current isn't too bad on the bottom, and I head for the ewa sand and look for uku. Nothing. Go back to the hole, see Dave and don't want to get in his way. I am using his aluminum tank, so I have tons of air, might as well take advantage and I head off to the Diamond Head side where I last saw that little friendly uku. He isn't there, but 15 of his big brothers are. I drop off deep and call them right in. Perfect shot, or so I thought, I am unable to get this stupid uku off of my shaft. The shot went under the top of his gill plate (no entry hole) and came out his eye. I can not get it back through. Brute force proves ineffective and I am sure quite comical to the other uku who have taken great interest in my ridiculous antics. Put feet on fish head and pull on shaft, hold on to fish head and pound shaft on hard pan bottom, it finally comes more from luck than anything else (after 80 tries, one is at the correct angle). Unfortunately the uku have gotten tired of waiting and finally have left, I still have 1500 pounds, but am probably over the limit... I guess my underwater decision making could use some help because as soon as I see the 4 rainbow runner I forget anything else. They are jazzing around in the tornado of opelu kala, but I am unable to ever get close enough to get a shot. The swim parallel theory doesn't do jack. Probably those guys just happen to see the fish coming close and shoot. Calling them over and approaching them both seem ineffective. I need to learn more about these fish. I hear a motor revving over head, and head back to the hole. There is no sign of Dave, but since I still have 1000, I am afraid to free the anchor and leave it as I head up. The motor is a booze cruise making his turn. The sun sets, and the current has died away. There is a fleeting sense of calm as I decompress in the dusk. I watch a myriad of plankton drift by. I think of at least 8 different planktonic metaphors too smaltzy to actually put in print, and head up. Dave is dry and has hot coffee. I know I impress him greatly with my uku, (boy if I had that Rainbow Runner!) he has gotten a nice weke ula. We put them on ice (half of the cooler is for fish, half for beer... wow what a concept, a cooler!) He asks where I got the uku, and I ensure my return by answering, "you know, that uku spot over on the Diamond Head side, where they usually hang out" I am real nonchalant as I put my gear away and pull the anchor. The cabin is cozy but the boat doesn't ride as well as Roger's cat. This one really goes from hull to hull. But those four stroke Honda 90's sure purr nicely. We tie up, rinse gear and I head home for nice sashimi dinner. I clean up spaghetti that was overlooked and Nils and I head for a movie... keep away from reality until absolutely necessary... there is always tomorrow.

dive 47

Sun eve. Mo'o heads for the hole with a full crew of hopeful fools. Never mind the howling wind whipping across the sea. There is Roger, David, Gordon, Mr. Mac, Nils and myself. We drop Gordon and David with the anchor to make sure the Mo'o gets hooked properly. Mr. Mac practices casting his new rod and reel while the rest of us get ready. The sun is low as Nils and I fall over the side. There is a current moving toward ewa but it is swimmable; we hit the bottom and are soon joined by Roger who has a humpback cowrie he gives to Nils. We head up toward the Diamond Head side of the hole, David is inside swimming parallel to us. There are no fish to shoot and Nils and I head back sliding down current, semi out of control. I spy an octopus watching us and we set the brakes and fall around and swim back up current to harass him. He is not interested in Nils's cowrie, perhaps I should not have poked him first. He gives up on us leaving him alone and takes off, of course we now have something to chase and we follow him around. He aims for an eel hole, changes his mind and goes under a rock, the eel thinks it might be worth the risk and swims out of his hole and uses Nils for cover. I drag Nils out of the action at about the same time he looks away from the octopus and notices the eel wrapped around his fins. I decide that enough is enough and we head back toward the hole (we have gone past it in our down current chase). No one seems to have seen any fish except one large Kahala that has made the rounds. Gordon swims up with something, he has our octopus and asks us if we want to eat it. Well, we hadn't thought of it, but it is a good size and will make a good meal. We gladly take it. I still haven't seen any game, and it is rather cold, we decide to head up and meet David, Mac and Roger coming up the line. No one has caught anything, Gordon joins us decompressing. The current is moving perpendicular to the anchor line as the strong north wind is holding the Mo'o seaward. We all hang on like a string of flags flapping in the breeze. Roger entertains us with what he later claims to be the perfect underwater song. "Help me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys, it certainly resonates well, but I really didn't make out the tune. We surface to a whipping north wind and I am glad to have a towel and a cabin. Nils is fascinated by the octopus and is glued to it all the way back to shore, he then cleans it and is equally fascinated by the inside of it. Our whole discussion on the way home revolves around color change, mollusks and cephalapods. I get home and realize that I have no gun... back down to the boat, no sign of it... deep depression has set in. If anyone knows anything about it please let me know.

dive 48

Flat calm, not a breath of wind... should be going to Molokai with Glacier Bay Dave, but I am grading tests. Roger calls, he really needs to dive, and is going out at noon; well we can all fight over healing powers of the ocean, but there is plenty of water to go around... I figure I can do two bottles off of Kahala and still get my work done. Roger, Gerry and I take off in the Prince William and skim over the surface; the sun is shining, there is some sort of canoe regatta going on, and the sea is littered with canoes. The ones that have sails are prettier, but not very fast on this windless day. We discuss life and death and general philosophy, note the river flowing by the DH buoy, and find that Kahala is ours for the taking. With the attitude that fate should not tempt us, we anchor in 90', decide that the Portlock current is never as bad as the Diamond Head one and fall over. The current extends to the bottom and we crawl along to a small ledge that is loaded with potters. I have already seen four octopus, so that gives you the general idea of the terrain. The ledge is little more than a bend in time, but it is enough to accrue lots of potters. I help Gerry and Roger, then go off do do my own thang just up wind. It is easy fishing because there is no second guessing how or where to set the net as the strong current makes all the decisions. I seem to catch one in every 10 potters, and still catch 20 or so. Roger and Gerry have sucked up their air in what appears to be a fiasco, but is really them working in perfect sync. Roger has come over to give me advice and I note that he has 500 pounds, his net is still set, and there is a strong current... wow... he must be really efficient to be able to pull that off. I look upon him with new admiration and respect. They tumble off toward the boat just as a swarm of opelu kala move in. I am sure out of boredom they stop and help me by swarming my little net knocking it down for the passing potters. I give up on fishing, hope most of the fish will untangle themselves without my help. I look seaward and see a school of uku stopping by to say hello. They are not very large but there are a lot of them, and if I had some more gear down here, like a gun, I could have dinner. Well, I am out of time and I need about 1000 pounds to get back to the boat... as I head toward the anchor line, the first thing I see is Roger's fence net left in a knot, then the buckets seem to have been left as well, now I know why I need so much air to get back to the boat... I am the clean up committee! Fortunately the current is slacking off. As I decompress, I watch three ono appear at warp speed and come to a halt when they get to me. They are like train cars pulling in at the station. They are all close and one would be in range if I had a gun, my hands are full as it is and I am not sure if I would shoot one anyway. They are obviously lacking in better things to do as they hang around for no good reason for about a minute. They finally take off again just as Roger gets back in to decompress the fish.

Once in the boat, I see the ono return to the bucket line and watch them circle and head off again. We rescue a Barney balloon (we thought it was some really cool float), and re-anchor in 60 feet. The current is completely slack and as we get ready we can feel the boat start to turn around. Our window of no current is small, and we all scurry back down as quickly as we can. By the time I get to the bottom, the boat has swung away, so I have gone from being right under the boat to being way up current of the anchor! Wow, good deal! Well, unfortunately there are no fish anywhere and I spend the dive chasing fish I normally would not waste my time on, across huge expanses... well it always evens out. I chase a hawk fish for 20 yards!! Of course the current just keeps getting stronger. I head up and hang on the humming anchor line at 30' because as soon as I hit the bucket line with my fish, there will be no going back. Well at least I managed to out fish Laurel and Hardy. Just making it back from the bucket line to the boat without dragging the fish to the surface is a feat. There are tons of plankton in the top 15 feet and I marvel and the strange wondrous organisms that zoom by as I swim for all that I am worth. I can hear dolphin urging me on, and when I surface, Roger and Gerry tell me that they are all around. Sure enough, there is a large school idling about. They hang about slowly making headway against the current letting us watch their glistening backs break the surface in unison. It is like a dorsal fin grid rising and submerging around our boat. They move away as we get ready to head home.

The ride is smooth and there is little evidence that we are riding on a raging river of ocean, except we did pass a tell-tale eddy off black point that any river runner could recognize in a flash. The Sunday boaters are all out in Waikiki, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, jet skiing... those tourists probably think it is always like this!!

dive 50

Friday afternoon, Roger is changing the oil pressure sensor on the starboard engine. The problem is solved, Jason is in town for Thanksgiving and is eager to get in the water. Gordon arrives with tanks and practically demands a trip to Marnie's Rock, as there is plenty of light and the number of available uku evidently is inversely proportional to the number of days that Gordon has not been in the area. The Mo'o takes pity on Roger and realizes her potential. (Or maybe she just wants to safeguard her grip.) Jason is so enjoying being out on the water, his appreciation makes me all the more appreciative of the chance to go diving. Roger recounts his day of paperwork having to do with his Father, and I realize that the dive will becalm more than just myself. The ocean is so generous. We arrive at the spot and I toss the anchor and Gordon is over with it. There is an Ewa current, the water is super clear, and I can see we are anchored on the rock and I decide to drop down and crawl over. I glance in a nice big hole, and see the coolest little fish. It looks like a dark pipefish, but it has the greatest display going on. It bravely swims at the entrance, using only his pectoral fins and has his body bent around so that his full display tail is also facing me. The tail fin is unfolded into a complete circle much like a paper centerpiece you buy at the Hallmark store and fan open until it is a circle. It is brightly colored and stays open the whole time. I bother him for a few minutes and wonder whether he can actually fold up this tail if he wanted to. He is only two to three inches long, and his tail is larger than a dime, but smaller than a quarter. The tail is mostly bright blue with a rim that could be red... So where is Richard when you need him?? Probably some real common fish that is there for the looking, seen by all but the blind. Well I can't find any others between there and Marnie's Rock, so that is a good sign. Roger and Jason arrive and head off upcurrent and outside. I figure with no David, I will swim upcurrent and check out his usual spot. The water is clear and empty, it is unusual to be able to look up at this spot and not see a myriad of fish overhead. Today there was one black humu insight between me and the surface. I head over to the ledge and realize that the little gray fish swimming around me is actually an uku. He is somewhere between 6 and 8 inches long. He would be a perfect pet. Unusual fish everywhere, I will keep an eye out for any opah swimming by. I fight my way to David's spot but see nothing. I turn and take the inside ledge back. Two little papio swim by but I manage to miss my shot and they head on their way. A third really small guy swims under the ledge near me and I figure; "hey, I eat anything..." He outsmarts me and will live to see another day. Sailing down current I spy bubbles and head over to see if there are fish in other peoples bags. Roger and Jason each have seen nothing, I head down current and figure I will go check out some small Moana Kea, but my mind is heedless when I see three Rainbow runner come by. They are the first ones close enough to shoot, but alas, I miss and it is time to head up. Especially when Roger goes to unset the anchor and bounces by me hanging on for dear life. Gordon has reappeared and I bang to get his attention as the Mo'o is sailing off. Gordon glances up, observes Roger bouncing off into the distance and goes back to trying to call in some uku figuring that Roger will get it set soon!! I know enough not to be upwind of an unset Mo'o anchor and race after her. I pass over my hole and see my friend still showing off his tail. Catch the line and bounce along. I look over the ground and see Gordon coming along and he seems to be making progress against the Mo'o's two second stops. He has gotten a large slipper lobster which says was just out wandering around over at David's spot. He missed a couple of shots and also saw rainbow runner; not an uku to be seen. Roger and Jason saw nothing but some small papio. The fish were definitely not there...

The anchor is easily pulled and we head home in the dark. Jason is still so ecstatic that he actually revels in the salt spray that is raining on the boat. Roger is so pleased that his boat is running perfectly that he is ready to spend Christmas break darting back and forth between islands! Gordon has his lobster on ice and I have a bag of pretzels, and a fish I haven't seen before to look up... contentment for a short while. By the way Rich, it isn't in Randall's new book. Gordon says you guys are off Lava diving again, I am sick with envy, I hope you have calm seas and an active Pele. Please report on your escapades when you get back. (Helpful Hint: When the little needle gets to 0, put away the camera)

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