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The Snerk Report, Vol. 3

dive 51

Windy as all get out, Roger says "go down to the Mo'o around 4:30 and hope." I watch the ocean all day, could be hard to anchor, but the wind is dropping. Friday afternoon traffic during December serves to remind me what I like about small towns. The cast is Roger, myself, and the lava divers Richard and Gordon who have returned, defeated by gale force winds. Richard has his new "production" model rebreather and it definitely looks like an improvement, but this just might be because I have not seen him take it apart yet! It is smaller and lighter(ha). We head out to the hole and Roger tells Richard to keep an eye out for Fenner's gear that she dropped about three weeks ago in 140'. The wind is still blowing hard enough, that Gordon goes down with the anchor and sets it. The rest of us follow in due time. Roger and Richard head out the ewa peninsula where Richard plans to drop down and wend his way back toward the hole. The water is clear and there is a slight Barbers Point current. I dive down and roll on the down current side, not a fish to be seen. I creep up to the Diamond head end where I can see lots of small opelu kala practicing to be in an Escher sketch. They are equidistant from each other and relatively motionless... the shape of them slowly fades out over distance. I snake along the bottom fruffling the sand with my outstretched hand, trying hard to look like something that definitely doesn't eat fish. As I reach the bottom of the fish cloud, I stopped and watched. There were some weke ula, tons of little weke, tons of small opelu kala, and the ever braver lemon butterflies who were playing "I dare you" games by seeing who could get the closest to me with out getting swallowed. Up towards the surface there are 10 or so Kahala circling and flashing just to give the picture balance. I watched them, trying to make them into something better tasting and enjoyed the tranquility (between butterfly attacks) of the evening. My neck got sore, annoying drops of water seeped up my nose but the constant movement of fish, with no apparent change in the over all scene had me mesmerized. When I did check in with reality, I found that the weke ula were the ones doing the double dares. I picked one out that would feed Nils and myself and shot it. Both Roger and the kahala showed up. Roger helped me fend off the kahala until I got the fish in the bag. The kahala were swarming around me like I was the vortex of some unseen eddy. Only one of them really tried to eat my fish. But I sure had friends for the rest of the dive!! Roger was low on air, and headed up. Gordon came by and watched me trying to reload while being swarmed, I could hear him laugh as I got the string tangled around the rubbers. Finally managed it. I tried to act as if I could still hunt, but I felt more like part of a street gang cruising the hole and looking for trouble. The water felt cold (could be because I just lay on the bottom looking up and swam nowhere.) I could see Gordon's bubbles heading off ewa on the inside side of the hole. I looked out off the ledge and looked for Richard's bubbles... DUH! OK, OK... at least I figured it out! Well, might as well head up as freeze, my buddies left to go bother Gordon, as soon as I began up the line. Roger returns with another tank and heads up where I was. I hear his gun, hmmm... probably a Kahala... I am already at 40'... Gordon is coming up as well, he has heard the gun and thinks the same. I see no signs of the yellow backed turtle and figure it will be awhile. I am too cold to enjoy the decompression. What about this El niño thing? Stupid scientist in some warm office looking at satellite photos and telling me I am warm. The windy surface is not much of an improvement, but Richard and Roger are on their way, Roger has a nice papio, tales of great uku and Richard, the true hero, has Fenner's tank, back pack, regulator and computer!! It was just laying there for the taking at about 165'. Richard saw hordes of uku, and of course he was under kahala escort as well. It is always a good dive when I get dinner, (it was delicious, and Nils and I will get another meal out of it as well) I make new friends, and Richard comes back with another 8 hours or so of air!!

dive 52

Sunday morning 7:30, the deck of the Mo'o already is bustling with action. The scene smacks of big adventure, weird equipment of varying sorts making for a whole range of human submarines. There is Richard, Brian and Joe, not sure what they do, but they definitely originate from N.Y. and have military experience. There is Dave Pence, (good guy to know), Roger even shows up on time... very military all right... a definite expedition. Roger failed to get to the dive shop yesterday and now there may be no tank for me... never mind that there seems to be four to six tanks per person... I knew this on time thing was a fluke... Gordon has been on the Witchcraft getting line up books and reports that there are two tanks sitting over there. Well, at least my chances to sneak a dive in while no one is paying attention have just gotten better. I stuff my gear into the small corner, Tomas helps untie the boat, and we are off. I have been doing my part to keep things moving and so I am only getting bits and pieces of conversation. It sounds like they are planning to do ditch and recoveries at about 200'... O.K... sounds great. Maybe I could eventually find some use for the gear that gets left behind. We head for the hole, where we can anchor and all dive at once. The morning is calmer than it has been. Diamond Head is swarming with kayaks waiting to escort the swimmers on the five mile race. I hope there is no current for their sake as well as ours. I throw the anchor and Gordon is over and off to set it, Roger and I watch the aquanauts dive. Suddenly Richard has turned into efficiency and sleekness, he quietly slinks over the side like a get-away octopus. The rest of the group is prepared for every contingency... I do not mention the obvious kitchen sink thing, for fear Brian or Joe will not only have one, but will feel obliged to show me how it works at depths deeper than 300'! Well, the Conistoga wagons are finally sinking off into new territories and I get to get ready, I am taking my time as Roger has invited a boat load of Japanese tourist to tie up to the buoy and join the fun. He is hoping one of those girls will get confused and climb on to the wrong boat! Roger and I decide to head off Diamond Head and look for the ledge outside. The water is clear, the hole is covered with friendly divers, and friendly fish. Gordon is heading up with a nice size kahala, I am sure he got a surprise at the number of people swimming around. I follow behind Roger and enjoy diving in the light of day... you can see a lot more stuff. An eagle ray approaches from depth, he finally turns when he realizes, yes he has just found yet another one of those things... It must be like swimming into a different species of shark everywhere you go. Roger calls and looks and decides to head back toward the hole. I have a lot of air, and know I only have to go a little more Diamond Head to get into the nice area again... where we are, is at 120' with a whole lot of bat stars... I do see some eel cleaner shrimp, they seem to be a lot less common these days... I know Roger will worry, so I head up to shallower water and figure I will go back to the hole, but at least go the long way. I find a beautiful big Pele's murex, I wonder how big they do get, because this is the largest I have seen... I remember that I have two shells in my freezer and leave it to grow some more. I get back to the hole and see Roger drop off of his accent in order to shoot something. It looks like a weke of some sort, what ever it was, he missed it and he heads up. Dave is back on the line and is heading up as well. I notice a very edible but not too vicious size mu above the hole and make an attempt to back over near it. I try my best to look like a Japanese tourist, but I think my gun gives me away, as the mu continues to be a survivor and drifts away. I join Dave and Roger on the line. Dave seems to have as much stuff as he went down with, and looks like he survived what ever torture he was put through. We are about to discuss the dive, when we are joined by Gordon's fish carcass, it drifts through the opelu kala, with out bothering them a bit... they seem to feel " the only good kahala... " I watch the carcass waft its way to the bottom, no doubt to the delight of the nearest bat star. The last three divers are making their way back to the hole and Dave and I watch as they head back to the hole and start their ascent. There is still plenty of gear adjusting and high tech conversation going on. It looks like fun, but as the opelu kala rush by and ball up over the hole, I realize that I like being easily distracted, that's what makes it so much fun. Sure enough three large Kahala are on the charge and swimming beneath us. They buzz in from all sides, circle around and head out to let the opelu kala recover from the adrenaline rush, I think the kahala get a kick out of it as well, like little boys chasing pigeons on the beach, scaring them seems to be the sole goal. The fish soon recover and are once again feeding near the surface around us. I am getting cold and leave the professionals to do their buoy deployment on their own. More than one line hanging about seems to be an invitation for trouble, especially if you have your arms full of tanks. They all make it back to the boat with out loosing even a weight, so everyone is charged into raising the ante, and next week we decide that we won't even anchor the boat, and we could go somewhere where there is more current so they can use their underwater sailing equipment! It should be close to a full moon... I can hardly wait... all kidding aside, Richard, they are a fun group and I look forward to being semi included in your next adventure.

dive 53

Sunday morning, professional divers are off for a drift dive. I get to sneak along probably because I can move the hobbie cat out of the way. The Mo'o is under way with Dave, Brian, Joe and Richard... they have the usual assortment of tanks and gear. On the skimpy side there is Roger, Gordon and myself. The plan is the deep ledge off of Waikiki. 140-200 or so. The winds are fairly light, and the current appears to be going Diamond Head, so Roger drops the troops on the ewa end. Gordon gets dropped later as he has normal gear and limited bottom time. He drops in at an ulua hole that he and Shideler frequent. Roger drives the boat and I watch the bubbles. The current is perfect and they slowly drift down the ledge. Gordon has the shortest bottom time, about 15 minutes, then another 15 of decompression. The professionals, do about 35 minutes then a 50 minute decompression, where they each get to deploy floats. Roger and I circle back and forth and solve everyone's problems but our own. Gordon surfaces empty handed, had a beautiful dive, but saw no game. The high tech crew is still playing around, they almost loose one rebreather practicing some tricky maneuver... "flourishes are deadly" comes to mind. They all manage to get back safely, and we head for the little 100' hole so Roger and I can get in the water. I go down and set the anchor. The water is clear and I can see one small papio in the distance, but he turns tail and takes off. There are about 1000 kawela 'ai drifting around in the distance, just ewa of the ledge. They are beautiful as they laze the day away. There are two large octopuses holding hands and I watch them retreat into adjoining spaces I am petting one when Roger shows up and we head up the ledge.

Gordon swims by and the hope of me spearing anything seems to fade as the rebreather boys seem to be joining the scene. I head out to the peninsula, see nothing and go down into the sand hole and work my way back turning over rocks and visiting with little fish. The scene is very pretty but lacking in much adventure, I run across a few more octopus, Roger reappears empty handed and is heading up, I join him and we watch the others lumber along exploring the ledge. Gordon spent the dive at about 30' and is the last one in the boat, unfortunately he is still empty handed. Joe pulls the anchor with my encouragement and we head back before noon! Next week they are planning to head to the deep ledge off Black Point.

dive 54

Saturday midmorning, not the best spearing time, but hey the sun is out! Get to the Mo'o and Gordon and I begin to get things ready. Edward and André arrive at about the same time and have remarkably little gear for rebreather types. Richard is in charge of bringing the gear and soon there is the usual stream of large heavy objects being drug on board. Mike is back for the holidays and arrives at about the same time Joe and his black box of death. He is amazed at the gear and we keep telling him it is a "light " day. Rog arrives and the boat is ready, we get to visit as Richard is going over his equipment with Edward. The cool thing is that the computer keeps track of different divers, so more than one person can be sharing the rebreather and it knows who has done what. That's cool, but having a three digit pin number seems a bit much. These things cost enough, that I guess you can get a "time share" deal. I know how confident I would feel going to 400' after the other 999 owners had been fiddling with it!!

We head out for the 100' hole, Richard has requested that Gordon spear a fish for his party, so we decide to drop Gordon and Joe at the deep ledge for a short visit. I remember last week, sitting on the surface for an extra hour, so seeing as there are lots of people watching for floats, I invite myself along. Gordon quickly seizes the opportunity to put me in charge of the float line. Roger gives us the perfect drop, and we enter just upcurrent of the cave. There is the perfect slight current and I am just cruising along the ledge, trailing Gordon and Joe. Gordon's gun goes off and I see him fighting a large white ulua. Joe is video taping and the scene is ideal. I know that there is probably more than one fish and I get ready. I think about the size of the fish, (here is my first mistake) and decide to help Gordon bag his first. (my depth gauge is pegged, but I know it is about 170') No sooner have I decided this, than a beautiful white ulua swims by me. Oh, well, might be some in the cave. We get the fish bagged and I stick it in my belt. Gordon is unhappy with this and makes me pull it out. I figure he thinks that it is not a safe enough place for it. Now I am holding the fish, the float line and my gun. Gordon then hands me his unloaded gun and takes my gun and goes off. I now have the fish, (still flapping and not allowed in my belt) a gun that has seen fit to play maypole dance with the float line, and the float line which is trying to get away from the gun by wrapping itself around my arm. I look over and see Gordon and MY GUN heading to the cave. Joe is just video taping this and laughing at me and my hopeless knot. I guess we are even. Gordon returns empty handed and helps me untangle. As we begin to ascend, I look over and see perhaps twenty beautiful white ulua leave the ledge and swirl back down flashing me with a friendly "y'all come back soon" good bye. While decompressing, Gordon tells me that I should have gone and tried to shoot a fish. He gives me a "you can do it" pep talk. Great! As we get in the boat I am just a dripping wet Tasmanian devil, much to the delight of everyone on board. Gordon is telling me that what he wanted, was for me to go shoot a fish, but that I was so poor at communication, that he gave up and took my gun. Joe, to his credit, wonders about getting a dive sherpa to hold extra stuff. (as if he doesn't have enough!) Well there is a large ulua on board and Mike is anxious to get in the water. We hit the hole and Mike goes to set the anchor. I improve my surface time and wait for everyone to drop over. Joe and camera are heading deep, Richard and Edward are going to do the 'between the cables' circuit, Roger and Andre are out to hunt. By the time they are all overboard, the current is picking up going Diamond Head. The water is clear and I can see that the boat is right over the little outcrop Diamond Head of the hole. I descend and look about, Gordon is out side, so I decide to head in and look for small papio at the little inside ledge. There is nothing going on and I head over to the hole. There are six kahala equally spaced in a line with Richard and Edward right in line behind them. The kahala are slowly idling up current and the two yellow turtles are crawling along towards the cable. I see nothing to shoot and figure to keep my bottom time light. I drift back by the hole and see Gordon going up. I stop just diamond head of the hole, close to the anchor and turn over a really cool looking rock. It is covered with colonial tunicates, sea anenomes, little crabs, shells, sponges... I hear a gun go off and look up. Gordon is in the hole with another large white ulua on his spear. I quickly go and ask him if it was the only one and he cleverly answers that it was, so I get out my bag and put the fish and his spear in it. The current is strong enough, that I figure I will leave getting the spear out up to him and he hangs on the buoy and works on it while I head up the anchor. He gets it squared away and joins me decompressing. He urges me to claim the fish to impress the others (he could be feeling a little remorse for the last dive). The water is clear and I am watching a flounder making its way up to the cable and then along it on the down current side and I wonder if it is avoiding current, just doing wall seeking behavior, doesn't like going over the cable, or using it as his marker on when to turn. Then along the cable comes the two yellow non bubblers. They get right below the boat and Richard explains this is the spot to turn to go back to the anchor, so we can get to the boat which is right over head. Edward looks up, sees the boat and either overestimates his swimming ability with a house tied to his back, or underestimates the current, and heads up toward the boat. Richard is duty bound to join them and Gordon and I just shake our heads as they swim steadily backwards. I figure they probably have seven more hours of air, so they can always crawl back. Then we see the black box of death doing the same thing! I am sort of disappointed in Joe-professional, when I realize he is actually swimming down current and has deployed some little hook on the bottom and is unspooling a reel in a rescue maneuver. That man truly has everything, I flash on Batman having that super belt which always has just the right tool for the job. Joe does the fabulous rescue and heads back to unhook his line at about the time the anchor breaks free. Chaos reigns and I surface to inform the surface crew that everyone is safe and the anchor is about to hook on the cable. Richard is sent back down to free it, the slow but steady turtle wins the race. Mike saw some papio but not much else and is howling about Gordon's two white ulua, that compiled with the giant Kagami that Roger shot the night before, he is ready for more diving!! Looks like the start of a great vacation, no boat is in dry dock and there are fish to be had!!

dive 55

Monday afternoon, abandon Nils at the dentist and join the divers at the Mo'o. On board is Mr. Mac, Mike, Gordon and Roger. We head off to Kahala in search of good hunting. It is rough enough that we keep having to stop Richards oxygen from getting away, no easy task given the the captain is holding on and doesn't see the need to slow down too much. We finally settle on the perfect speed for both the divers and the tank. The air is clear and I can see Molokai, Lanai, and even Maui lurking behind Lanai. The water is also clear enough that I can make out the ledge as we pass back and forth over it trying to find the shallow barge. Mike and Gordon are rigged and ready, Mac and I are sitting at the anchor getting splashed and Roger is driving back and forth. We pass a turtle and Gordon and Mike think that is evidence enough to throw the anchor and after a few more passes, we see the turtle again and toss the anchor. Mike and Gordon are over and the turtle is next to the boat and I can see that his eyes are fairly covered with tumors. It has come to relying on blind turtles to find spots... hmmmm. Mac has a short tank and figures on just doing a half bottle, rather than loose daylight changing tanks. Roger and I check the anchor and Roger signals that he will stay in the area. We are right at the turtle cave that is Diamond Head of the barge. I swim up to the barge across the flat figuring the ledge has been covered by Gordon and Mike. As the barge begins to emerge as a distant shadow I see that there is a large school of Mu swimming by. At first I thought that they must be parrot fish as there were 100's of them, but as I got closer they definitely were big mu. Oh boy, Christmas dinner.... some little papio try to get me to shoot them, but my eyes are on the trophy mu. They are everywhere except in range... Mike and Gordon probably have shot one by now... the mu move off and I head inside after them, I see the school and out of the school turning to come check me out is the tell-tale wiggle of an approaching ulua. I am going to shoot a big ulua! It is coming right at me! No chickening out! It turns, I shoot, the shot is high, a clean miss... AAAAHHHHH!!! I reload, see nothing and head back to the barge. I see bubbles swimming along the ledge I head over to see who it is and what they have. As I perch above Gordon, I can see he has a bag of fish. He approaches below me and I can make out one mu and another fish which looks like an uku. That rat... it is so unfair, I will have to listen to gloating experts again!! I turn back and there are all the mu again. They will not come close and I give up. As I head back toward the boat I let my mind turn the mu into naso tangs and I heard them back and forth all the way down the ledge, well I can decide where they swim! It finally occurs to me that I have probably passed the anchor as it is off of the ledge, I leave the herd to make their way and swim over to the ledge right at the anchor, well something went right... I free the anchor and head up the line. Roger is getting in the boat empty handed, Mac and Mike didn't go up to the barge and saw nothing. Gordon did indeed have a large uku and a large mu and was gloating unrepressibly. Well, at least he is working today, and I am off to go diving again!! Next time for sure!!

dive 56

Tues noon, Nils and I head for the Mo'o to get ready for a dive day. Nils gets hobbie removal training and Rog and I clean up the boat. The boat is covered with uhu scales, and I realize I omitted Mr Mac's big uhu from my last dive report; my mistake. Joe and Brian show up with their gear and soon Edward and André appear. Richard drops off his gear and goes over all of the recent changes that he has made to Edwards rig. Edward gets bravery points as it seem Richard has changed just about everything possible. He gives great instructions like "If that is not reading the proper depth, it all needs recalibrating, so just switch to the B system..." We bid Richard goodbye, he double checks that we have a phone and his number for any last minute questions about gear. We head over to the gas dock and fuel up. While there we meet up with Glen the tropical fish diver. He comes over to inspect and ask questions. He wants to know if you dive four hours at 100' with Richard's gear, would he still have to decompress? Joe is trying to explain that it would be a lot less, but he would still have to decompress... he declares "no good that one" any decompression is out of the question. He then finds out about Joe's Navy chamber connection and wants to know how much the charge per minute in the chamber is. Apparently Kuakini has raised their prices to $6.28 per minute and it is getting out of hand. Joe tells him that he couldn't use the Navy stuff unless he were in a real serious condition. It is military only. Now it isn't everyone who price shops for chamber use, but I got the definite feeling that the next time, he will do another dive to make sure he is in bad enough shape!! All of a sudden our crew seems like a real level headed and cautious bunch.

We take off for Kahala, heading for the shallow barge again as it has a nice ledge, and there may be a current. The ocean is slightly calmer and we anchor right next to it. Joe is over and sets the anchor. The rest of us follow, the current is slight, the water is the perfect murkiness level for fish. Alas, there is no sign of the fish that were there last night. Just a large turtle resting outside the cave, he is resting his chin on a rock and really looks quite cute. He takes quite a liking to Brian (those doubles are definitely the biggest shell) and they swim off into the distance together. I realize that I have no fish bag, as I gave my bag away last night when Roger lost his... I head off to see if I can locate the lost bag, show Nils the nice ledge and check out Mikes anchor stones he says he found. The swim down the ledge is beautiful, but there is no sign of any game. Little butterflies dart about fearless, and no one has ever seen a big fish ever. I get to where our anchor was the previous night and set Nils to looking for a bag... he can't figure out why I think I will find one, but dutifully looks. I spy the bag on top of the ledge and Nils is amazed at my power. I also find Mikes rocks... pretty nice Mike, lots of work around that spot! I see that the rest of the gang is also swimming down the ledge, so I take the inside ledge back, Roger follows and is amazed that I turned out to the barge at just the right time, like it was luck. Well, still no fish, recheck the barge and give up. I am watching the opelu feed overhead, when they suddenly ball up and a flash of silver shows itself. I head up to investigate only to find that every one else saw the same thing and there is an arsenal of guns aimed at some poor little opelu. What ever it was is no longer in the picture, I drift back down to Nils and we begin to head up. I spy a baby octopus but Nils can't find it so I go down to point it out, André and I harass the little guy for awhile and then head up. Joe shows up with what looks like a brand new anchor and chain.... he really does have back up everything! We all enjoyed the dive even though nothing was caught, (except Brian who always says it was the most beautiful spot.... he tries to act like he had a terrible time, but hey, I saw him and that turtle drifting off into the depths together.... I know he had a great time). We decide to hit fantasy for our second bottle and after sitting around drying off in the sun discussing... you guessed it... dive equipment, Brian pulls anchor and we head in, the water is clear enough, that we can anchor at the exact spot we want to and once again Joe goes to set the anchor. Nils and I head up the ledge toward Portlock, the current is negligible, and the area is truly beautiful when the sun is still up, unfortunately there seems to be no fish. Nils and I stop and play tick tac toe on the back of a sea cucumber and Nils looses... is it possible to be narced at 50'? It seems like a fair test. I spend the dive checking out little shells, playing with poor defenseless crabs and having a great time. We both see two good size papio at the same instant and I go into hunting mode, no luck, no interest. I wonder if my bear cub is to blame and turn to find him laying as flat as can be eating small rocks and trying real hard to not look up. His body language just screams with disinterest and "I am not looking, I am not looking"...of course there is no getting his attention so I wait until he finally side glances and sees that I have given up. He looks so sorry for me that I make a mental note to make sure he knows it isn't his fault. We head back to the anchor, I pick up a dive weight and scrape it clean on the anchor line. I have tons of lemon butterflies swarming around me. Edward, Nils and I watch a turtle leave the bottom and come by us on his way for a breath. Brian has either run out of air or he and Joe are just up to their usual tricks, they are trying to confuse me by switching gear and seeing if anyone would notice. Roger and André show up, Roger has a small mu but saw nothing else. We all make it back to the boat safely and decide to head home with great plans for our next adventure. Joe pulls anchor, boy it is sure nice having these guys that have to carry so much gear around, they all have ox muscles and eagerly pull the anchor like it was a fishing line. The Mo'o runs like the champ she is and we are soon back at the Ala Wai. We all wave at Nils's girlfriend as we know she is in one of the canoes full of girls that we pass. Roger threatens to moon the canoe just for Nils, but calm heads prevail and the Mo'o is soon back snug in her slip ready for her next adventure.

dive 57

Christmas eve... could do dinner with mom... then again what better time to be diving? The fish will all be side tracked with last minute details and I will be able to land them. Gordon gets power cat privileges and Nils and I meet him at Keehi at 4:30. The boat is ready to go and we head for Marnie's rock. The anchor lands at just the perfect shade of dusk and Gordon is over the side. Nils takes a pole spear and we enter, the current is slight and the boat is right over the ewa ledge. I can see Gordon checking the anchor so I selfishly head for the rock. I see that there are weke ula, but alas they keep their distance. We wander along and see two large mu in the distance, I call and work up the sand. They show interest and it is a long slow dance before they decide to leave Nils and I to our own digging and not get involved. They circle away and we head back to the ewa corner. A large school of what look like opelu or akule darts in. They actually look like small lai, but I have never seen a large school of lai like this. They are being chased by those large yellow ulua with vertical black bars. They are fast and not close but at least I know they are around. The weke pass again and I can see that all the big ones are far away, they send over the little guys to check us out. I try to get Nils to give them a shot, but his attention is under a rock, I just hope he is looking at the menpachi, and not thinking about those eels! I will definitely blame Andre if any eels are shot. He was going on about how it is done and how good they are to eat. I see a little papio and it is in perfect herding position, I deftly aim it at Nils and get Nils to look up. Nils thinks I am calling him over and takes off the bottom just in time to see that he has frightened the papio away. We head down the ledge and I can see Gordon out in the sand and the small bait fish are darting by him... he will probably get the ulua. Grrrrr. The little baby uku that has been hanging around (6- 9") comes over and says hello. I am very friendly, he will be big one day. Nils is running low on air and since the anchor line is over head I send him up the line while I hope those ulua come back. I get a distant glimpse of one, just a silhouette in the twilight and I know they are still there. I lay still on the bottom and hope. I am looking around and 6 papio sneak up on me while I am looking away. I turn my head and they are all dancing right in front of my gun. I pick the big one and shoot, but they are hard to hit when they are that close... Miss Herkes strikes again. Three papio dash off toward Gordon and I hear his gun go off. He soon appears heading up with a papio on his spear. I would go into how bad a shot it was, but I somehow feel it would just sound a little covetous. I am alone on the bottom, it is dark enough now that I can approach the fish and almost touch them... unfortunately, I am now staring real hard at flashes that eventually, after some intense study, turn into opelu kala. It is truly time to head up. I glance at the rock, just a dark shadow off in the distance, look up at the boat and divers on the line, take a last roll on the bottom, wish the fish a merry evening, leave the real world and head up.

dive 58

Friday after Christmas, big dive afoot with the professionals. I have to beg and weasel my way along because the boat is full and my expertise is limited with all those experts. It is agreed that I can pick up some food and meet the gang at Keehi... time passes and I am still waiting... the only thing in my favor is that Roger, the Mo'o and Pyle are involved. Each variable compounds the other so I figure I will wait another hour... The weather is windy and the ocean is bound to be rough... I spend my time working out... something that I haven't done since I got a real job... I finally can't do one more sit up or push up and decide to succumb laying in the sun. Joe drives up with extra gear and about the same time the Mo'o appears on the horizon. The boat pulls up and we jump on. There is very little room for my gear, in fact just to walk on the Mo'o requires stomping on someone's something. I am looking at the mess in total amazement when Brian tells me that they have figured there to be 39 assorted cylinders on board. They range in size from 'James Bond escape from the shark tank' to the oxygen bottle used on the Starship Enterprise. We pick up the line ups book from the Prince William and head off to Ewa. I pick brains about dive computers as I am going to get one. There is lots of discussion about what sort of diving I will be doing in the years ahead, it is nice to know some experts on equipment. Once it is narrowed down to two types, Edward opens up his gear bag, searches through all of the dive computers till he finds a nice $1000 dollar model for me to try out for the day. Now I don't have to worry about getting bent, I have to worry about losing this new toy. The plan is 1. Pinnacles, 2. Roger's Ahi spot, and 3. Marnie's rock in the evening. There are too many line up books on board (Gordon has his too) so we circle around, anchor twice and finally go diving! Gordon and Joe set the anchor, Brian and Jason (home for the holidays) follow suit. Richard slips over the side. When Edward and Andre are getting close, I jump in so I can make sure they find the right place. Richard is waiting for them as well, so I bail and head down and visit the garden eels by the anchor. I don't see any fish and I slowly make my way to the pinnacle. I come across Gordon low on air, yes it took a Gordon tank for every one to get in the water. Gordon has a nice papio in his bag, shot right trough the eyes. He offers me the fish in case I want to brag, I inform him that the papio is too small for me to have shot and head on my way. I join up with Richard, Edward and Andre and Andre and I search about for game. There is a large sleeping turtle sleeping at the base of the overhang and a small white tip is circling the rock. I always forget how pretty this place is. The water is murky enough that the beauty is more a foreshadow of doom with rocks looming on all sides. I leave the others and head off inside. There is very little game fish, even the ala ihi are not around. I head back to the anchor and decompress playing with my new toy. No wonder everyone has one, it is like TV. You can totally lock into gauges and not pay attention to anything else... well I keep my ascent rate slow and try to figure out what all the numbers mean. I do know that if you are supposed to be at 10' you better not go to 9'. Talk about picky! Roger and the turtles surface, Roger and Andre each have a fish, Roger's meter says he came up too fast, so he goes back to do it right! Those of us with archaic gear, re-rig and we pull anchor and head to Roger's Ahi spot. During the boat ride, Joe and Richard decide to switch gear. Things were getting too simple. Rich will dive with doubles, and go through some training hoops. Joe will try Richard's rebreather, this involves a 35 minute monologue by Richard going over what everything does. I can tell in 2 minutes that I am not ready for it. Joe just listens without interruptions or questions and apparently is remembering every thing Richard is explaining. "When the background color is... then that means that... and when the letter size changes... 18 red dots on this matrix means everything is O.K. but 16 dots means you are in dire trouble..." To top it all off, he ends the instruction with "well that is the stuff you really need to know, everything else you don't really have to worry about" of course Joe nods his head with "got it", and we are ready for another dive. I think Jason, Andre, and Roger sit the dive out and stay on board fishing with Constance, who has caught two giant humus already. I enter and check the anchor, we are too far towards barbers point and I swim up the ledge toward the spot. I see papio over by the trap and shoot one, biggest fish of the day, good work snerk. The fish is particularly feisty and manages to swim around me, the gun, me again, the gun ten more times and comes to a stop somewhere around my regulator. I have the fish in my hands, but now the fun begins. As I have my gear off, my gun floating against my head and a flapping fish in my hand, I wonder how Richard is doing taking his tank on and off in front of the instructor. I hope he manages. I finally untangle the giant knot and manage to reload. The fish have moved off toward menehune wall, and I follow up in that direction. The papio are all paired up, one dark and one light, for as far as I can see in all directions there are papio. They are ignoring me totally as they play. They do not react to any calling. Then I see three large barred papio coming over to check me out. I get a good shot and fight the fish well. Just as I touch it for the second time, the spear must break out through the top, I suddenly have no fish as he had dashed off. I sit there looking at my empty spear. One second ago there was total intense excitement and now I am just holding a stick in my hand in utter stillness. Well that bums me out, I reload, there is no sign of the fish, just the regular papio. One comes over and I shoot it, the shot is high and the fish breaks away before I even get a chance to become emotionally attached. Now I am really bummed, fish everywhere and I just seem to be going around wounding them. Gordon appears and tells me he saw my last fish and it seemed to be doing fine. He has just joined the papio swarm and defers the fish to me. There must be some first one to find them owns them rule... good... I approach, but my heart is no longer in it, for some reason, the fish seem to be staying a little further away from me. I give up at about the same time Gordon does and we head up the line. He is worried that he might have somehow scared the fish and ruined it for me, he is being contrite and doesn't turn off my air, rip off my mask or anything. I watch my new gauge as it says I am supposed to decompress 10 minutes, I figure that to be a ten minute saving from my usual. We have the perfect decompression entertainment as we watch the divers below us. Richard, Brian and Joe are playing around with their gear, take on and off tanks as they slowly drift down current. They swim back up toward the anchor and I see Joe has a question about his computer and shows it to Richard. Richard looks at it and responds with the same monologue that he gave on the surface, but now it is in sign language. I had the feeling Joe just wanted to know if he was going to live, not how the second computer fall back mode kicks in. My gauge says I can go up, (I am feeling very high tech myself) those guys on the bottom are pretty involved and I leave off my voyeurism over their tea party and head back to the boat with sad tales of lost fish. Everyone comes back alive and the discussion of gear continues on till we anchor at Marnie's rock. My bottom time is short, so I take a half tank and set the anchor. The papio are here as well. I can see pairs of them on all sides as I drop my gun and try to get the Mo'o anchor up to the ledge. The slack line runs out and the game changes to a less relaxed one as I just barely get the anchor hooked on a slab down near the ewa corner. I head back up to my gun and take a shot. Well at least it is a clean miss, no fish to loose.... I reload and linger a little longer, four large omilu are heading my way, I can see bubbles and I know the fish are being chased to me, I lay low, pick the largest and miss again! Time to head up, I come across Jason who is carrying an aquarium fish probe for defense. I figure I could loan him my gun, but I fail at getting his attention, he heads off up the ledge. I am going up the anchor line and run into Gordon going down, he asks where he should go. Well my sign language isn't that good, so I tell him that there are lots of fish everywhere and leave it at that. I decompress and watch the turtle crew heading toward the ledge as well. Gordon's shark passes below and I know that those guys will have an exciting dive. I wonder what the shark will think of all the new equipment. Getting in the boat first, does have its advantages, I raid the fudge, do a Goldilocks maneuver on the sweat shirts, picking out a brand new Christmas one, figuring who ever owns it won't be familiar with it yet. The others surface with tales of lost fish, sharks, (the white tip was there as well) and general excitement. I think Roger may have got another papio.... I can't recall with all the gear moving, unloading, and trying to be inconspicuous for fear of loosing a sweat shirt that was "just right". I reluctantly returned the dive computer to Edward who graciously had loaned it to me. It was nice to have, thank you Edward, although I tend to dive on the conservative side of it anyway. I suppose I will get an Aladdin, now just because I have figured out how to read one. The Mo'o ran like a champ and I was soon returned to Keehi, not bad, being dropped off and not having to rinse or put anything away. I can be such a luxury bee. Edward had invited everyone to dinner at the Halekulani, so I had time to go home, shower, try my best to look like I can eat with a knife and fork, and get my fish put away for future grilling.

dive 59

Sunday eve, should be on the big island, fiasco reigns and am stuck in Honolulu until further notice. Gordon suggests and evening dive, Pfeffers are on the north shore, so Nils, Gordon and I rent the Prince William and head for ewa. Most of the action last time was at Menehune wall, so that is where we aim for. It is rainy on shore and the lineups are hard to see... the ocean is clear and we manage to find Roger's Ahi Spot and throw the anchor. Nils has his "new" gun and has brought a target to practice with. I leave he and Gordon playing around near the anchor. (the shaft comes free as soon as you put a load on it... no wonder Gordon stopped using it) I make my way up to the beginning of the wall and stop to watch a large school of nenue circling overhead. Their movements are mesmerizing and I am soon laying on the bottom just watching the light laser show that is going on overhead. Nils and Gordon show up having given up on underwater gun repair. Gordon heads to the outside and Nils and I move along on the nearshore side. I see nothing... it is too clear, I figure to head back to an inside spot back behind the anchor, it often has fish or sharks there... Nils and I head off, we are making our way to the inside islands, when we hear a gun. Well, I guess we should turn around... could be something big... so off we head back to where we left Gordon. Gordon has shot a nice papio and has it pinned to the bottom. We leave him to put his fish away and head in. The first island we come to has antenna wiggling and I signal to Nils that we are going to catch a lobster. He is a nice size, but neither of us have gloves so it is a matter of convincing it to walk into my bag on its own. We are not too successful and it manages to wedge itself into a crack. Gordon shows up and with three guns, we manage to coerce it into my bag. All of the lobster noises fail to turn up anything in the way of game, and Nils is getting toward the end of his dive. I leave him at the anchor and go check my secret spot #43, nothing but black humus and swirling nenue. I meander back up the ledge, see Gordon's bubbles so to avoid getting in the way of his hunting, I shortcut back to the anchor where I find Nils still trying to untie his target from the anchor line! We get it and head up, Gordon reappears with nothing new. Can't complain, fish and lobster for dinner.

Monday dive, Mike, Roger, Gordon and I meet at the Mo'o for a quick trip to the hole. Gordon pushes for Kahala, but none of us want to brave the rough seas, nor give up our evening plans. Mike goes down with the anchor and he and the uku bounce along trying to set it. He saves the boat and doesn't get a shot. Roger has done his year end freezer clean out and has every fish head and carcass that he has stuck in the freezer over the past year. Most people put the heads out with the trash, but I guess Roger is more religious than he first appears, and wants to return them to the sea. While he is taking fish out of small plastic bags and putting them in his gear bag, I realize that I had better get in and spear what ever I can before Roger gets too established on the bottom. There is a Diamond Head current and I head up toward the inside stones, there are several uku there, but they quickly disappear. I head up the ledge toward the hole and see Gordon reloading his spear, but there is no fish in his bag, he is probably in a bad mood, so I quickly head on, I come across Mike who has a nice papio and is telling me that the uku are out there, but slow to approach and apparently I have just set him back for another five minutes of calling. I figure I had best be out of there... back at the hole is Santa Clause with his bags full of treats for all the good sharks and eels. Getting the things out of his sack and on to the bottom is more complicated due to the large numbers of spines, bones and general entanglements. He is getting frustrated and is using the brute force technique. Pretty much a screaming whirlwind of fish carcasses. I quietly head off for a last look inside, I see some papio, but not close enough to shoot. Returning to the hole, I see Gordon perched on top like an eagle overlooking his domain, he signals me and I fly over and land on the same perch. We are over looking the shark feed area. The sharks are taking turns and sharing nicely, I count three, they each swim upcurrent, just following the smell, until they pass over a fish, then there is a quick slam on the brakes, turn and pick up a meal and head off. The next shark then appears and does the same thing. There are two smaller I don't know sharks, and one larger sandbar type. They pay no attention to us at all, which of course bothers Gordon and he goes over and harasses them some. They still make off with a meal, only slightly perturbed. I half expected Gordon to take some fish heads for him self. We watched for a while more, the sharks just kept eating, and we finally left them to enjoy their New Years bonanza. As Mike said on our return; "The sharks probably have Roger as their amakua, they let him catch fish, and in turn he brings them great fortune."

dive 60

Tuesday, well it is vacation, might as well dive as much as possible, Nils, Gordon and I take the old reliable Witchcraft out for a trip to the Hole. The water is clear and since there was a good Diamond Head current last night, we cleverly anchor on the ewa side. Too clever for our own good, of course last night was last night, and tonight the current is going ewa! It isn't bad but the opelu kala are hanging out in a ball on the Diamond Head side of the rock. The fish are really thick around the hole, and there is nary a fish anywhere else. Nils has a pole spear and we have set up camp on the bottom and are watching the fish show. The first act consists of every fish madly panicking and racing for the hole... sure enough here come two big kahala, lording around and swaggering through. They are fearless and swim right up to Nils, they act like thugs, but don't eat anyone and head out. The opelu kala are in a thick school, and there are six or seven papio in with them, but it is amazingly hard not to loose sight of them as the school swirls and darts about. It is like trying to pick out one opelu and to concentrate on only that one. Plus the stupid opelu kala keep coming in front of them, so there is the danger that I will miss the papio and have two opelu kala on the end of my spear. The hole itself is swarming with small fish, they are not leaving the area. It is perfect for pole spearing, and that Nils is vegging on the bottom watching two peacock flounders change color patterns. I see three sassy weke ula just hanging about and I go and trade guns with Nils. I just have a blast, I nicked one weke ula and it went and hid so I only had two to chase around and miss. I also missed a small papio. It sure is easier to re-load, but soon my hand is sore and I trade back with Nils. He then has the idea and is on the war path. I head up to the opelu kala tornado and Gordon and I zero in on the same group of papio, our presence manages to move the whole group of fish away. I glance back down and see Nils has got an opelu kala on the end of his spear. Good work Nils! As he has no bag, I go collect the fish. The fish are still thick around the hole and they are fun to swim with as they refuse to go very far away. We head back to the anchor and up the line. Nils and I decompress and shiver in the cold clear sea. Gordon comes up empty handed but glad to get wet. The Witchcraft faithfully returns us home to another fresh fish dinner.

Thursday, the new year is here. The project for the day is putting the Mo'o iki back in the water. The whole adventure is full of Pfefferisms and the actual launch occurs very close to sunset. Gordon, Roger and I are so desperate to get out there, we don't take the time to take care of those extra little items like life jackets, lights, tools and anchor line. We do have our dive gear and our spear guns. We head to the hole as we have enough line to tie off on the buoy. We find the hole and Gordon dives down with a line and quickly returns it to the boat. Gear up and over we go, there is no current to speak of, and we all head off in our own favorite directions. I come across Gordon reloading his gun, a missed or lost fish... judging by his mood, I'd say he lost a fish. I quickly leave. I spend the better part of the dive on the ewa ledge playing tease touch with seven uku. I feel they have calculated exactly how far my spear will travel and are torturing me just for the fun of it. If they would just leave and go away, I would probably have more fun, finally I go for the charge and get it over with, they flee, I have nothing. I hear a gun go off and figure some one got one of those uku. I am swimming close to the bottom and come across a white tip doing the exact same thing and I decide that I do not want to be interpreted as a shark and spend the rest of my dive about 4' off of the bottom. I get nothing but cold and head up. Gordon is on the line and tells of loosing two fish, one uku and a papio. He reeks of disappointment, spending the day working on boats and driving into telephone poles probably had something to do with it. We get in the boat and Roger is very consoling, almost too consoling... sure enough, as we unload the Mo'o iki I come across a bag full of fish, Roger has a nice size papio and a good size uku. I greedily take the larger fish since I have new years house guests and am averaging about 8 people per night in my cave.

dive 61

Sat. eve, meet at Mo'o. I have not been diving all week (except one baby dive off the Mako which didn't really count except to get cold), so I was really ready for a dive. On board are Roger, Gordon, Tomas, Brian and Joe. The weather is overcast, but the ocean is fairly calm so we head towards Kahala with the tire reef in mind. Just off the Diamond Head buoy the aku birds are thick and Roger indulges me in a couple of passes through the school. As usual, all my wishing does not seem to have an effect on the whizzing of the rods and they remain silent. Gordon is pushing for diving before dark so we give up before I really want to but it is getting dark. Roger's marks are visible even with the rain and we anchor quickly, Gordon is over the side to set the anchor. Joe and his black box of death follows. I don't wait around, and am in as soon as I can get my stuff together. There is a Diamond Head current and I make my way up current of the anchor looking for action. The butterflies are all spawning and I realize that light is once again the limiting factor. There are some small weke ula and I look around hoping for more, I see a mu that isn't very large, but hey, I have certainly shot smaller ones! So I watch it, soon it is joined by two more of equal size and a fourth one that is quite large... I want the big one, he is vaguely interested and leaves the others to keep an eye on me... there are six to eight small uku crossing his path, once again, which card to discard... odds are for the flush, I want the inside straight... I stay on the mu and bust. Gordon sneaks up on me out of boredom, he has nothing and has seen nothing... but it is dark and I am not sure how good his vision is anyway. I head back toward the anchor and find Roger winning with a pair of threes, two large waha nui. Good ole Rog, I tell him where the anchor is and wander off. There is a lot of loud yelling going on, and I am in an aquarium fishing flash back... nope, I didn't screw up, it isn't even Roger... Joe and Brian are having some sort of communication problem and they both believe that yelling louder will surely solve it, or perhaps it is a way of staying in contact in the dark, some military thing where noise is used to stay within a certain distance of each other. Joe does have a light and I debate joining the guy that can actually see but figure that would be like admitting it was dark. It is cold enough and now I wouldn't see a fish unless it swam between me and the sunset so I only hang out a little longer before heading up. Everyone else seems to have the same lack of light problem and we all head up. Joe and Brian must see something because they head back down and fool around beneath me. Their light is bright and it is fun to watch the circle of vision move about below. I wait till I think Roger and Gordon are in enough to be able to give me a hand. (It is a critical timing thing, because if you wait too long, they get dry and start snacking and become very disinclined to help.) I managed perfectly, then we had to wait for Brian and Joe. They finally come up the line and Joe gets in the boat, shortly we begin to wonder about Brian, it is dark and won't be easy to spot some one on the surface. Several comments are made about Joe not leaving Brian his light... turns out Joe actually has a spare light, but Joe needs to have three of anything before he feels flush... well bye and bye Brian turns up no problem. He was simply waiting on the line for the rest of us to come up and it finally got so dark he thought "screw those guys" and came up with out us! Tomas pulls anchor and we head home. Putting the boat away is quick as we are planning a high tech dive in the morning. More diving more fun...

dive 62

Sunday, dive with Richard and the usual assortment of famous people with more gear than should be on one boat at one time. Fortunately, the Mo'o is no ordinary boat, and it insists on staying afloat even with the gear that comes with that crew. Joe and Brian are planning to put Dave Pence through some more torture, so that means that they bring extra tanks to carry around, even Dave was seen sneaking on board with bags full of fishing weights. (I think he just went through his van grabbing anything heavy he could find). Then Richard showed up, his poor pickup stacked to the gills with rebreathers. I think the whole island supply of cis-lunar equipment was riding in the back. Nils wondered which was worth more, the gear or the boat, seemed like a fair question. Roger was diving for tropical fish so Gordon was Captain, which of course meant we had to be neat, an impossible task with the amount of gear. We decided on Marnie's rock as a place were we could anchor and wait for Richard and his buddies to spend as much time on the bottom as they could. The cis-lunar designer got the halcyon indoctrination from Joe on the way out while the rest of us visited with Dr. Quark (first Nobel prize guy I ever shook hands with). The weather was calm but the cis-lunar couple are not used to boats, they like to dive in nice dark stable caves where there is no unnecessary movements at all. They were doomed to be sick, Richard tried to get them in the water soon, but alas there was the usual assortment of equipment malfunctions and mis calculations. I snuck over the side soon after anchoring letting Richard be the master of ceremonies. The water had just the right amount of visibility. Gordon was inside checking the anchor so I stayed on the ledge, there was a school of kawela 'ai making a beautiful silver circle, I left them for the rebreather crew to check out and headed up towards David's spot. Shortly I came across some more kawela'ai hanging off of the ledge, except this group had a definite misfit. The colors matched, but the profile of the kagami did not mesh with the rest of the crowd. I lay still and I saw that his curiosity would bring him right over to me. He had grown too big for the long beautiful filaments that were waving behind him, the perfect size/beauty ratio. I knew he would be no problem and was enjoying the game. Suddenly over my shoulder the end of Gordon's gun came into view, the rat is moving in on my prey! Then I realize that he was just sneaking up on me, and had not noticed that one kawela 'ai did not belong. He gave me the "Hya! What's up?, Didn't hear me sneak up on ya did ya?" I could actually tell from the general deflation of his body when he realized that there was a prize drifting away from the fools with the spears. He was muttering "I'm sorry, as he madly called and stirred up sand. Of course, MY kagami turned and came back right over to Gordon. End of story. He tried to tell me he was sorry, and offered to let me carry the fish around, such a guy... We cruised around inside of David's area and the current switched around getting me completely lost. Fortunately, there were two black and white angels so I just followed them along with no clue to where I was going, until I finally recognized a rock and knew my way back. Gordon had been following along a respectful distance behind me and later shyly admitted that he had no idea where we were and got completely turned around by the current shift and was very respectful of my amazing perception of the area. HA! It was hard to admit I followed some fish that looked like they might know where they were going. I returned to the anchor with out seeing any more fish, I could hear tanks banging together and watched the tank hauling crew make their way back from the ledge. I could also look up at the boat and see Richard working on putting weights on Barbara while another diver was waiting under the boat... that sure looks like I am glad I didn't hang around. I returned to the boat in time for Richard and Henry to ditch the sickies and head down with the agreement to be back at 2:30 or so. We hung around on the boat and tried not to talk about food too much till around 2, when Gordon headed back down for a look-see. He managed to bring back a beautiful weke ula at the same time Richard and Henry returned. I hung around being a boat babe, managed not to pull the anchor, snacked on chips and listened to brainy high tech talk. As we headed back, the Mo'o purred along with our two sickies still just hanging on, Barbara was now laying on the engine cover, with a terry cloth hat over her face as buckets of water kept sloshing all over her. Her worse half hung on in a crouch (perhaps in prayer), unfortunately he was on the wet side of the boat as well, and what ever did not hit Barbara, had been blocked by Bill. We were all happy to tuck safely into the slip and tie securely on to dry ground. Richard kept talking about tomorrow's dive, but I could detect a definite lack of interest in spending any part of their last week of vacation on any sort of a water vessel. Brian, Joe and Dave were up for an early morning deep ledge adventure so I agreed to drive the boat so Gordon could join them off of Diamond head... those ulua were calling...

dive 63

Monday morning, before sunrise, up and off to dive. Somehow an early dive always seems more tempting the night before. I drag along as all thoughts of getting to the boat early fade with the darkness. We show up at seven with the essential diet coke and a muffin, hair still unbraided but a swim suit on. Dave is already there, but he appears to be sleeping in his van. Joe and Brian soon join us and we are fairly quickly underway. It feels like an empty boat without the gang from the day before, even the black box of death is looking smaller and sleeker. (as long as I don't actually have to lift it) Brian is so good at hauling his double 80's around, it can actually look easy... I guess I am getting used to them. Gordon still looks a lot lighter as I deploy the group on the ledge, The plan is for them to all stick together, with Gordon heading up the float and leaving it for Brian to drag it around. The water is exceptionally clear with a slight Diamond Head current, they have no problems and they are easy to follow. Gordon comes up excited no end about the eight ono he decompressed with. He did not get a shot off, but he had something to contemplate as they hung about and showed off their teeth to him. He said they played in the bubbles of the other divers and he watched but did not get a good enough shot. One came close, but something must not have been perfect, although he did debate clipping his gun on the float line that Brian was innocently carrying around at 180' and then taking a shot. We laughed at the scenario as we waited for the gang to decompress. Of course it is a chance to deploy floats, goof around and write notes to each other under water. At least that is how it seemed to me after Gordon agreed to drop me at the hole if the others came up in time. All my anxious waiting was for naught as we had ample time and I quickly rigged. It was the perfect drop as I looked down on an ice clear picture of the bottom. There was no current, as I loaded my gun, I settled slowly down to the bottom. The weke and menpachi were all snuggled up tight in the cave and I realized that I usually dive here at dusk when things are different. That clever mu and his little buddy were hanging about and I thought I would dedicate my dive to entrapping him. We have crossed paths before and I knew no usual tricks would work. I went to the ewa end of the hole, lay down in the trough and waited perfectly still for five minutes. I had my new Aladdin dive computer, so I could sort of watch T.V. while I waited. Nothing like skipping over the instructions trying to figure it out at 82'. At least they made it fairly diver proof, and I had no problems. The rose wrasse began to get irritated that I was on their sand and a pair began to actively try to get me to move, the lemon butterflies agreed that I wrecked the decor and they two swarmed. The mu got closer but not close enough. I tried reverse psychology and moved away in the oddest manner that I could come up with, the mu followed, he stopped to get cleaned and turned himself from gray to black for the cleaner wrasse. He seemed unperturbed by me and fooled me into thinking I had a chance. He looked me over once from a distance and moved off for the rest of the dive, never out of sight, never in range. There were no other fish around to play with and the clear as ice thing had some other similarities. I moved up the buoy line and watched my new T.V. some more... I tried to get it to beep like the real divers do, but alas not a peep, maybe I won't have one of those irritating show off kind. The Mo'o glides by overhead and I marvel at the clarity, at 15' I am watching a poor damsel defend his nest of eggs against a barrage of butterflies on the ground 70 feet below me. The hole is sure a pretty place, but the cold is getting to me, too much staying motionless, I should start carrying some extra tanks along just to sweat more. The Mo'o looks inviting as it drifts by again, I come up and get in, no fish, but a happy diver heads home still early enough to enjoy the rest of the holiday. End up back out on the water with Carrie, the Mo'o iki, a boogie board and a handle, lots of fun, but my arms will be sore.

dive 64

Thursday eve, Roger and I plan to head out for a dive, Gordon joins us and we head out to the hole. They let me be captain in hopes of cheering me up, it works, I spray everyone with salt and pound the little boat to boot. We get to the hole (after Roger takes the wheel). As I toss the anchor, I can see the rocks below, super clear, I can see all the near by small rocks as well. Gordon and Roger jump in and I follow. Clear clear clear... I can see the whole lay out of the landscape below me. There is no current so I swim over towards the last out crop of coral Diamond Head of the cable. I figure the other guys will check out the anchor and be off in the other direction. I sink down and am on a collision course with two eagle rays. There is a big one and right next to it a little tiny eagle ray. It has about a one foot wingspan, super cute, the dive is made right there and I am not even on the bottom yet. I call and look about, there is a small school of opelu spawning above the near by coral head and they ignore me, but temporarily quit their antics as a large school blasts by over head. The little school drops out and works on mating again. The butterflies are doing likewise. I leave the scene and start towards the hole, by the time I get to the cable, the hole is in plain sight and I have caught up to the eagle rays again. It is soooo clear, as I approach I see my old friend the mu hanging outside. I try really hard to ignore him totally but find myself always checking anyway. Roger and Gordon are nowhere to be seen, they must have both gone deep. The opelu pass over again, shimmering beauty, silver, against a fake clear blue background. I finally see a distant shape of a papio, it comes in, but gets a good look at me long before he is in any kind of range, and off he goes into the depths. All of the fish seem to be spawning, even a pair of stick fish are at it. It is so nice that I find myself laying on the bottom and freezing again... Roger appears from off in the ewa direction, he is heading up, has gotten nothing, but saw five big things, maybe more. Well, something that can't be explained any better than that must have been good. He heads off just as I see Gordon's bubbles coming back up the ewa peninsula, he has nothing also but there were some swimming things that I should keep my eyes out for, something up high... he has been at 136' and is also heading back to the boat, I still have a lot of air and light, so I decide to stick around and look up. I lay on the bottom, watching a flounder approach me. I have never worked on calling one in, and am working on it while watching over head. The opelu pass and I am ready for bear, but nothing else appears. I am on the bottom looking at a familiar shape in the distance when my NEW Aladdin comes up with a really good feature. It beeps like mad when a shark appears... very handy... well behind the shark are about 20 papio, but they hang close to the man in the gray suit and I don't like shooting that close to sharks. They are all out of range and I am working on the papio when it occurs to me that the thing was probably telling me to go up! Well I still have 1200 pounds! This stupid thing.... well maybe I have been down for pretty long.... don't want too much decompression when there are big things swimming around up high.... I head back to the boat and join the other two on the line. There is no more information about anything, but they have both been swimming around at 15'. So what ever it is, it is a good thing. We get back in the boat and as I hear great tales of ahi seen, ahi chased, and ahi passing by, I can look past the two divers and watch all the birds off of Diamond Head diving like mad. For all this talk of ahi, I know the best way to get one in the boat and it has nothing to do with spear guns. Mike, since you are coming back Friday, lets hit it. The sun set was spectacular, I was allowed captain privileges again, and as I blasted back, surfing the waves I kept glancing out at the birds... I could do this everyday.

dive 65

Saturday, I miss going out to dive for $$ with Roger by about 15 minutes, one of these days... Well, there have been birds off of Diamond Head both times out last week, I decide to take the Mo'o iki out for some fishing come evening. Gordon phones and plans on taking the boat out for a dive. We both compromise and agree to meet at four and do both. The wind is out of the west as we head out to the buoy. There is not a bird to be seen. We head off shore following one likely looking distant tern. Gordon is not impressed with the whole idea but basically has no choice. The birds pick up, and soon they are everywhere, diving, squawking and moving from spot to spot. There are great gobs of spray splashing me and I am at the rods waiting for a hit. Getting the lures through the activity is always harder than it seems, and for what ever reason, there are no bites, the birds are in a loose school and never seem to feed where we are and we finally give up and head in for a dive. I am completely wet and cold as we come in off of the Kahala Hilton. Without a depth recorder, we aim for the shallow new barge on the ledge. There are some tropical fish divers who are close and they tell us where it is. It is clear again and we anchor right next to it. Gordon goes around the Portlock side, while I head Diamond head. We meet again at the turtle cave and have not seen anything. Gordon begins to call and I am so cold, I figure to keep swimming and head down the ledge. I come across two cleaner shrimp actively cleaning a large orange shoulder and I stop to watch. I am too cold to stop, and am unable to lay on the bottom. This is ridiculous, I need more body fat, or a thicker wetsuit... well, the body fat would probably be cheaper, but the thought of eating ice cream is most unappealing. I continue to swim till I think I am about half way to fantasy reef, and then turn and cut back toward the barge. I have not seen any fish to shoot. I feel like I am on my fifth bottle and it is hard to enjoy my self. I get back to the barge and make an outside sweep looking for uku. Nothing, well it has been thirty minutes, I will just head up even with light and air!!! Back in the boat I see Gordon on the line and I can see he has more than one fish in his bag. That rat, well at least he will be happy. Sure enough he comes and tells me about the uku that came in right after I left. They were so willing, he shot at four. Got one good sized one, lost another, and missed two. Even I would have been able to shoot one, and he wished I had been there to help. The uku finally left and he swam over to the other shallow barge where he had tales of shooting the large omilu, having it take off into the barge and loosing his rocks and bag somewhere on the bottom of a dark eel infested wreck. He got his bag but lost the rocks. Of course these tales of heroics took until the Diamond Head buoy to hear all the details, I will leave out each gun reloading episode for the sake of brevity; needless to say, Gordon was a hero, and the two large fish in the boat were his doing. I was so frustrated, I actually turned down the offer of the omilu and went out to commiserate till three in the morning. I have since recovered and am ready to head off in search of game again... the ocean is really calm today...

dive 66

Sunday eve, supposed to meet Roger at five. I see a potters angel swimming in the rocks and figure he must have been by earlier. I load up and wait around, there is the depth recorder from the Witchcraft along with installation instructions. I figure Roger wasn't going to make it and thought he would leave me a subtle hint as to how I could spend my now free time. Fortunately for me, there were no #12 ss screws around. It was past 5 on a Sunday, and of course subtle hints like that... pah! Why do you think I like diving? It is a time when you can look someone who has just given you two minutes of instruction, right in the eye, shrug your shoulders, look confused and swim away. With no direct order, I definitely do NOT see the transducer waiting to be mounted. 5:40 and I just take off when I see Roger's car with boards on the top. He must be planning to surf with Mike. I turn and go back I refuse to give up possession of the Mo'o iki, but am willing to drop them off at threes and pick them up after my dive. We wait for Mike till the sun is lower... Roger rants about having to wait for unreliable people and gives up and tells me to take advantage of the light. Well, no need to offer twice, I am gone. I see Glacier Bay Dave has his boat at threes and feel badly for Rog as I skim over the surface at great speed. I get to the hole and it is too murky to see anything, so I just throw the anchor and hope for the best. It hits bottom (a good sign) and I jump in. About 20' down I can see from the anchor line that there is going to be a strong current on the bottom even though there was none on the top. The anchor is right next to the hole... whew, always makes me happy when the hole is actually where it is supposed to be. On the bottom there are fish all around me, there are two moana kea that are close enough to touch, and the white weke are in my face. Well here comes Mr. Kahala and I understand why everyone is hanging tight. I head out to the outside and look for uku, see nothing and head back to the hole where the opelu kala are super thick. There is a large sand rolling party going on and they let me get in on it. They really let me get right in them, too bad I can't see any papio in the group. I leave and head out the peninsula, it is always fun in a current. There are more opelu kala out there also, but no uku. I call, wait, and get to watch the courting of two big spiny puffers. They are really cute, they never loose skin contact with each other, most fish usually aren't into caressing like that, spiny puffers get to move up a notch on the fish value ladder. I am feeling glum about no fish, I can't remember my last fish, or even the last time I took a shot. I realize that I have eaten most of the species here, and I guess I could bring home food if I had to. I turn to go back towards the hole and am there in one kick, I make braking noises to my self as I try and stop and turn. I do a Charlie Chaplin turn and see a papio right in front of me, well I miss... too close. I reload and swim back towards the hole again. I am moving along the ocean side right along the under cut. I am only arm length away and there are about 40 opelu kala right next to the rocks. I look at them and realize the one next to my shoulder is a papio. I stop kicking and drift behind and some how can't tail which tail is his. I can turn the fish with my gun, but none of them are papio. I haul myself out to the ewa end and see an uku. I have a nice bead on him, and am following him with my spear, suddenly my spear is off to one side and is hit broad side by the current and I strain my wrist but there is no making the shot as the uku makes his turn and heads off. My meter gives the shark warning but there is no shark around and I figure I am supposed to go up. I see another papio and call him in and miss again. Well at least I am taking shots, now the uku are back to see what the fuss was and I reload with a perfect half clove hitch around one of the rubbers. Great, now I am down current again and have to undo it all. Well that beeping is haunting me and I feel that I should go up even though I have 12 hundred pounds of air. I am not sure about this computer, it is cutting into my dive time. I head up, redo my gun and hang about on the line. Now I miss my dive buddies, no one to have two totally different conversations with. No one's air to turn off, no masks to steal, very lonely. I can't see the bottom yet there is no plankton to watch. Well here comes a boat too close, I hate those tour boats... oh, it is the Mo'o coming out to visit. Well I head up and of course have Mike and Roger watch me try to get in the boat with a strong current. I give my back pack a mighty hoist as just to show them how capable I am. I kick hard and my one broken fin, (Gordon's fault) kicks off and I miss getting my pack hooked by centimeters. I finally manage to flounder into the boat with Mike wondering where my ulua was. Well, they don't call me Miss Herkes for nothing! It is good to have company while I pull anchor, I feel better about putting the boat in gear knowing that I have a couple of surfers to give me a bad time after I fall over. Well the Pfeffer armada blasts in and I bounce around like puppy snapping at squirting hose as I surf the wake of the Mo'o back to the Ala Wai. Glacier Bay Dave checks in to see what I speared and to make sure I got back, he says he has some new dive spots and promises some diving next week. I feel like since I got to see fish, I am on an upswing and can't wait to get back out there.

dive 67

Monday, down to the boat to mount the transducer. Roger is there and soon Gordon shows up to supervise for ten minutes. Mike shows up as he and Rog are planning to go surfing. Gordon leaves so we put the transducer on. Mike is thinking that the winds might be too onshore, and they debate diving instead. I don't have my gear, but hey there is a lot of stuff scattered about. I get Mac's back pack, mask and gun. Roger has a regulator in his car and I find some winky little baby fins in the forward cabin. I have a tank with only 18 hundred pounds, but hey, with no wetsuit I will be ready to quit. We head off for the hole. It will be Mike's last dive before returning to Seattle, so we give him first down privileges. Roger and I follow. I feel like a fly stuck on the wrong side of a window, kicking like mad and going nowhere but down. Mac has his weights right on his pack. I am trying to load his gun, well I am no Rockaway lifeguard captain and I fail miserably. I see an uku come in right behind Roger and try a Sheera, queen of the Amazon yank on the rubber, but am still unable to get it. The uku is gone, I swim over and am vindicated as I watch Roger strain to load it. Well at least it will really go when I pull the trigger. There is a little white tip inside the hole he is agitated by me and I figure I am not the first one to bother him. I am a little heavy and my fins just make me laugh. Two baby 10 inch uku swim up to me but I don't see anything else. I go visit the opelu kala, hoping for a papio. It is a pure school. The kahala gang cruises in and several small weke ula are my best buddy. The kahala soon leave and I am back to my high speed fluttering. I see the mu out in the distance, I know there is no chance so I chase him off out of spite. There is a beautiful miter shell on the bottom and as I need to collect mollusks for class on Wed. I pick it up and figure I can be ahead on tomorrows last minute collection. Mike heads up empty handed. I am beginning to get a headache from a mask strap that isn't super loose. I know it will bum out Mac to have his gear altered, but hey that is what he gets for letting me find it. I get back into the world of vision again and see three little papio on the hole. Too small, I circle around and join up with Roger who has nothing and is about to free the anchor. I realize that I won't be able to unload this gun and need to fire it anyway... One of those little papio isn't that small... my fry pan is not that big anyway... well I go get the 'big' one and head up. I loose my shell while I am trying to get the spear out of the fish, it is complicated by two things. 1. swimming up is not what these fins do. 2. Mac has a preadjusted waist strap on his pack, it doesn't stay closed and I have to sort of move carefully. Roger sees my predicament and I hand over the gun for him to put back together. He and Mike both saw the kahala and not much else, Mike debated on the small kumu and the papio that I had, but had passed them up. Getting in the boat turned out to be my hardest task, my fish hook necklace that Nils made was not tucked into my wet suit as usual. It got caught on the pack and the pack could not go over the gunwale without choking me. I could not just hold my tank as my pretend fins did not do the trick, the current was sweeping me by the boat as Mike laughed himself silly at the thought of the headlines. I grab the stern cleat and wait for a rescue. Mike takes us home and I find that my papio is too big for my pan! Nils and I did finish it, but we are both very full, probably the most perfect size. I really like diving everyday... As I sit here grading papers late into the night, my hair is still wet, I am still slightly cool, and of course I must get some shells tomorrow afternoon...

Hey Rich, thanks for the dive report, it's great. I am really glad that you managed a good boat experience.

dive 68

Afternoon car is fixed, but cannot get ride to Wailua, still stuck with sad country music, might as well go diving... Gordon is going and if I can get there on time I will join him. I am late, but he is waiting. He has taken the last two tanks off of the Mo'o and I note that he has rigged the tank that had 1900 when he had checked it on Sunday. My tank must have less than that, oh well, I have been getting cold. Turns out he has forgotten and I have no mercy and keep the full one. Giving that guy air is like giving me fine jewelry. Of course we want these things, but the returns are better in other banks. The depth recorder from the Witchcraft is now on the Mo'o iki and even working most of the time. There are no limiting factors, the weather is fine and we opt for Kahala. It is a bit wet going around Diamond Head, but I am looking forward to some time in the real world. The water is clear and I can see the barge as I anchor. We are at the shallow turtle barge, as Gordon did so well here the other day. I am in charge of the anchor and Gordon heads up to the turtle cave and calls. I join him there and count five turtles in sight. I don't see any uku, so I head up the ledge toward the other barge. I don't get far because of the large school of large mu too far away. I try to attract interest but no one is giving me the time of day. I am with them my whole dive, they are the unattainable dinner of my dreams. Out there lest you are able to forget they exist. Just to give me hope... well being human, it works and I am working them the whole dive. There are a few weke ula as well. But all remains too far for a shot. I eventually chase them back toward the barge and Gordon in hopes that they will swim right by him. He never sees them and has spent the better part of his dive chasing after uku who keep out of his range. I pull anchor and we head home, it is dark and as we round Diamond Head, the lights of Waikiki glisten on the calming sea. Nothing ventured... Besides it was fun to give Gordon all kinds of advice on what he needs to do in his life. It is truly amazing the clarity I have when looking at someone else's problems. It is like hearing so clearly when someone else sings flat. I am now heading down to the boat for a Friday adventure... hope to go along.

dive 69

Friday after work dive. There is Roger, Gordon and two guys from Dan's Dive shop. Dennis and Jason. The weather is calm there isn't a cloud in the sky, all and all a beautiful evening. We head for Gordon's rock just because we can. The Mo'o glides effortlessly along; the week's hassles are dribbling off the engine cover into the wake. It is flat so of course Roger takes advantage and we find the deep ledge off black point and all admire it on the recorder. Jason and Dennis' presence dissuades us (unknown divers). We find the spot, I take great new lineups (I always take great line ups when there are no clouds, and I never write them down and promptly forget them). Gordon is down with the anchor. We talk about the large surf (40' Waimea) and the effects on marine habitat. Roger reminisced about the swell in '46 and another in '64 when he was surfing and they all had the good sense to go to Makaha and he surfed '25 waves that day... He talked of using the best board Dick Brewer ever made and how perfect it all was. I would have loved to stay and hear more... the ocean called and I was over. The water was clear and the ground was covered with fish. That spot is so rich it always amazes me. I saw lots of mu in the distance and got angry. They were going to try to ruin another dive of mine. There is some sort of mu conspiracy against me. I vow to ignore them and to pretend I have no gun and to simply enjoy a nice dive. I notice that there are two beacons of light coming up the ledge behind me. I move off to the out side and travel towards the trap. I see bubbles and Gordon ahead... shucks. I check in with him to see what he has seen. Nothing, leave and head back towards the bay in the rocks where you can hide and call fish. I see Rogers bubbles... shucks. I check in with him to see what he has seen. Nothing. I head back over to the anchor which is near an inside spot that has fish. I see something stirring up sand and riffling along, the big sting ray looks remarkably like Mike. If he only had bubbles... I see the two flashlights doing a opening night act as they approach. No wonder I haven't seen any fish. I am in the middle of people, no fish could find me without passing an armed guard or running through the search light zone. I am in Alcatraz and there are probably tons of fish trying to rescue me. I escape the search lights and make a break toward Portlock. I feel free enough to stop and watch some orange shoulder tangs fight over a sleeping spot. Too much time wasted, armed guard approaches, Gordon still has not seen anything and I head off to the sand channel as a place no one would check. Sure enough, suspicion confirmed a large group of papio on my left shoulder. I can choose a fish, and I even choose the shot (first for everything). The fish, even with my nice head shot manages a reasonable job of fighting and by the time I stick him in my wetsuit (mustn't neglect to bring bag) the school is no where around. It is dark and my little bell has recommended I head up so I start wandering toward the anchor. Since sight distance is a little on the short side, there is great difficulty telling where I am. I know the area fairly well, but not by the square meter! Let's face it, I can loose the 100' hole! I am just wandering around the bottom like a millipede. I wonder if millipedes are looking for something in particular. Time to head up and decompress regardless of anchor line. Alone, in the dark, in the cold, with a fish tail sticking in my face. Bummer. Suddenly, in the distance, like the lone 7-11 in Washtucna Nevada, there is my savior, the warm brilliant glow of sunshine. Having a dive light while decompressing is a great idea. I am not sure what it is shinning at, but I am delighted by it. I head up the line and Gordon is cleaning fish on the line. He has two papio, but he is using Rogers bag, I add mine to the pile and he cleans it and gallantly admires my nice shot. He must have shot the larger one. I ask Roger and he claims the big one; too bold, he is lying, he got the small one. Spooky how well I know these people.

I surface to see the new moon over the ocean. Diamond Head is back lit by city lights. The water is so calm, each splash breaks the silence like moving in the bath tub. The four guys on the boat are all recounting their dives at the same time making for a happy din of comfort. I get stung by some water creature and quickly get my fat okole on board. Gordon pulls anchor and we get back in time for the fireworks. Perfect, wet hair, fish and still 30 minutes to get to the opera.

dive 70

Sunday eve, Roger is doing the right thing, but Gordon is ready to dive and we get down to the Mo'o iki early to increase our range. There is a bitter cold wind coming out of the North making the seas foamy. We load up, turn the key... nothing. Battery problem of some sort. Start simple and switch out with the Mo'o. The Mo'o only has one battery that would fit in the space provided, it has the terminals reversed... It doesn't help. Gordon begins to go from the mild shaking of head (if this were my boat...) to getting really fed up. I had recently taken off the battery switch box to add the depth recorder... so we take that apart... all looks good. Meanwhile Gordon pulls out the borrowed battery and finds it has screw on terminals that are loose. The sun of course has not decided to wait for us to play musical batteries and is continuing on with out us. Gordon yells at no one (Roger replacement) in frustration, scrubs the dive and goes off to use the restroom (you know things aren't right when Gordon uses a restroom!) I quickly do the standard number one rule of mechanics; put everything back together and see if it works. The boat works perfectly and we head out. The wind is cold cold cold and I cower behind the captain like a small child on the first day of school. Gordon gets quite wet and is still a little on the grumpy side, so when we realize that someone is at the hole and we will have to hook up the depth recorder there are more expletives yelled to the heavens. The depth recorder cannot actually be hooked up because yours truly neglected to put the negative wire back on the battery as I didn't really believe it would work. Now the wing nut is unmovable because I did such a good job, and carefully put the tools back on the Mo'o. (more expletives from the king of grumpy) We go by best reckoning and drop anchor right on the pyramids. There are two little uku hanging about, really cute but so small even I can't shoot them. Maybe if they acted a little cagey, but they are oh so friendly, curious and close. I roll in the sand, this place has some of the best sand. I see my friends the uku over head and get them to come straight down on me, lots of fun, we are great friends now. I can't decide between the ship and the spirals and choose the ship as I have been goofing around long enough that air/time is a factor in my usual spirals route. I head up to the ship, pass over my potter spot. They are still there, still ripe for the taking, glad I have a job these days... I head up to the ship, there is quite a few small uku coming in for a look see. I look behind them to see if there are any big guys with them. Nothing but little guys, big enough I guess, but I never really want to shoot small uku. I look to the side and see a small papio closing in. Now papio have absolutely no minimum size. As long as it is definitely not plankton. This guy is a respectable size anyway. He chooses not to come into range and the uku are also gone. I head back down the ledge. Gordon is working something in the sand, probably the same uku. I give him good clearance and swim inside to rejoin the ledge near the turn to go back out to the pyramids. The uku come back in except there are a couple of large ones now. One is trying to disguise itself as a long tailed stingray by using some sort of dark fishing line. I shoot and miss, of course they all come over to tease me and Gordon shoots the one in disguise. The uku are still around and I am reloaded and hope to get a shot. Gordon yells for help, he has his line tangled around his pack. He seems to be otherwise fine, get a smooth pack I say and turn my attention back to the uku. They are still there and coming in. A gun bangs me in the leg and I realize that I am not going to get away with the usual. "you said something?" and I have to put my gun down and untangle Gordon. It wouldn't be so bad if:

1. He hadn't been so grumpy while we got the boat to work
2. He wasn't the very one who constantly turns off my air, pulls off my mask, and generally tries to keep me an alert diver.
3. He hadn't shot the very fish I had just missed.

I turn my attention back to the uku to find the larger ones vanished. My timer bell rings and I head back to the pyramids, I still have plenty of air and the anchor will need unhooking anyway. As I approach, I see the opelu kala in a super tight ball and I can tell they are being worked by something. I drop and watch, a black storm of opelu come out of the night and surround me. They are moving fast and are also tight and being chased. I see large uku turn away into the dark I am excited by the prospect of topping Dr. Uku and strain my eyes and call. The opelu kala in the meantime move close and the super large kahala appear out of nowhere moving around them. The uku are gone. I will have to head up empty handed. I head in and free the anchor, I hope Gordon is on the line above me. I remember hearing the beeping of him going up too fast so I expect he is decompressing. It is night and I have 12 frigging freezing minutes of decomp time. Well, I almost got an uku worthy of hero... Decompression isn't too bad as I can see the surface is wind whipped and know Gordon is freezing cold waiting for me. I do my 12 minutes and see that Mr. Aladdin is not counting the 5 minutes done at 9 feet and suggests that I am soon to be dead. It is so nice to have a computer that cares. I suppose when they find my dead body, my trusty Aladdin will be reading "be careful; could get hurt here". I almost feel sorry for it as it faithfully reads S.O.S. for who knows how long. The weather is frightfully cold on the surface and we waste no time heading home. My toes and fingers are mainland cold and a hot shower is going to feel good. Cold, empty handed, living in an SOS situation, and G.O.G. (good old Gordon) has some helpful tips for me. "I saw you shoot, and thought that your arm wasn't fully extended." "Your gun also looked underpowered; you should consider new rubbers for it." Fortunately, I have a fresh fish in the fridge, and a hot shower to boot. I refrain from dropping gear overboard.

dive 71

The new fish shower curtain is not working... I need to go diving, have not gone diving in eons. O.K. O.K. so some people won't think three days is an eon, but when they live my life for three days they will know... I show up late, but alas, Glacier Bay Dave, Lost gear Fenner, and Roger are still impatiently waiting. Dave lost his anchor off of Kahala at one of the new reefs and we are on a rescue mission. We see Cully out there looking for ono, they are also looking for line ups and come over and "chit-chat" to check out the spot. Roger and I are also taking notes as to our locale. I make up for being the last one there by being the first one down. Dave lost not only his anchor but all the line, it is an easy find. The place is new, lots of fish, but no growth on the concrete to speak of. I see a large kumu and stalk it but it heads off towards Dave and he takes over. I know right at the start that I will not find the anchor again, so I figure on exploring and getting lost, decompress at 15' and surface to find the boat. (no current) I swim toward Portlock and eventually the area turns into the Diamond Head side of the tire area. I see no game, an occasional moana kea far away. I turn around and head back on the outside of the main debris. There are opelu kala, and three big kahala come over and give me the once over. I come across a school of twenty red tail wrasse that have never been chased. I still see $$ when I see those fish. I figure I am now close to the anchor. The bottom has a whole bunch of pipes. Roger is over head and he signals that there are BIG uku. I spend the end of my dive looking for them but never see them. Roger is decompressing over me and I know the boat must be close. Sure enough I find it, Dave and Fenner are decompressing so I go deal with the anchor and come up. We have two anchors to pull, so it is lots of fun. No fish are on board, although Roger says that the uku were big. He hid in a pipe and shot at one, but his spear fell short, the fish was further away and bigger that he thought. Dave and I never took shots, Fenner is allergic to fish and she is not into spearing. (I guess it could be worse, allergic to ...) We head back into the westerly swell and I am glad for a boat with a cabin. We talk about how the boat rides, Dave wants more power, and we redesign the cabin, anyway it got us there and back and it is always good when you come back alive.

dive 72

Friday, no dive partners, cold and windy... skip it... Saturday, mad at myself for whimping out and am ready to go diving. Roger is diving for tropical fish, and I manage to tag along. We meet at noon, and I fill the boat with tanks. I can tell there is no way we will be back at the supposed 4 p.m. I have a carnival shift at 8 and inform him that if I am late, I will have to park in his front yard, in order to get there quicker. I am certain that I will be back on time now! We anchor at the little islands that are inside of Marnie's rock. There are fish there, but our order is selective so we have the usual frustrating dive. I have not been fishing with anyone for along time. It is fun to have a captain to make all the mistakes. Also extremely frustrating to give it your all with net sets that I know don't have a prayer of catching a fish. The water is clear the fish can see us, our nets, and they are cold and in bad moods! I do see a few small uku come in and scare the fish on a near by island, it will probably be a great evening at the rock. While we are diving a wall of murky water moves in and it is a little warmer, our last net set is successful and we head up feeling victorious. The murky water is only on the bottom 20' and we are back in the cold for decompression. By our second dive it is all clear again. I decompress for 20 minutes or so and wonder about my meter. I have the feeling that once I am out of decompression time, it would rather I am on the surface. I don't think it gives me credit for a long decompression and I loose surface time which it does give me credit for. Well that is not the way MY personal tables work. Someday I will read the instructions and find out. We head into shallow water for a third dive. I ask Roger about the bilge pump he has to pump water into the garbage cans full of fish. "Can you leave it over the stern and run the boat?" "No problem" he answers. Well the prop really did a number on the thing and we spend a half hour replacing it with a new one. It is three o'clock and Roger is really worried about getting back 'in time'. This works really well, any important thing I need to do after a dive with Roger, will have to be close to his house! I tell him there is still plenty of time and I agree to come up when he does. It is about 40 feet and we are mostly after wrasses and nasos. My favorite fish to catch! Lots of fun and we do pretty well too! As we head up I see a beautiful male naso with long streamers below us and I know I can catch it with just my hand net so I dash back down. Roger is pointing at his watch as I descend on my prey. Sure enough he goes right under the rock he was hanging out by. I sneak up and put my net and face over the opening from above. It is amazing how after two full years have gone by, this eel bite thing still has left mental scars. The moray that charged me wasn't unusually large, but that hooked jaw coming right for my face sure got my heart pounding. I never even saw the naso, I am sure he was having a good laugh at my expense. Probably lured me down with this nefarious plan! I return to the surface and we take care of fish, pull anchor and are on our way by 4:30. At the dock by 5, rinse and load fish in good time. I visit with the net fishermen who had a big catch. Roger gets antsy, I swear, such a precise and prompt guy. No need to worry, got there with time to bum a malasada. (I had to park far away though)

dive 73

Sunday eve, Roger phones from the boat. He is sitting on the boat wishing for dive partners. Nils and I have tons of school work, so we are able to quickly assemble gear and jump in the car. The weather is so nice, we stop and buy gas and head for Kahala. The surface is lake-slick, perfect reflections of the sky as I skim the boat between clouds. We check the buoy and there appears to be no current. Because it is so calm, we spend time off Diamond Head looking for a spot that Roger and I remember, but only have one line up to. A school of spinner dolphin splash, jump and spin just out side of us. They all disappear and the next thing is the surface erupting with jumping opelu. The porpoise re emerge looking innocent and continue with their surface show off antics. We give up on the spot and head over to the new pipes that Dave took us to. Lake Kahala is even calmer and only our boat disrupts the surface. I can watch our small wake travel all the way back to black point. The three quarter moon has risen in the saddle between Koko Head and Koko crater. It will be a beacon when we surface. My line ups coincide with Rogers and with my head in the water directing, we come to the spot. The boat drifts in the time it takes for me to throw the anchor and chance takes us to a new spot. Nils and I head down the anchor line, the anchor is off the ledge in the sand. The ledge is the same one the barge is on, it runs from 95' up to 80'. Right on the top of the ledge and spilling down it lay a pile of concrete 'z's. There are lots of large mu coming to check us out, they turn before I get a chance to hide and the huge school of uku that are following them head over our way. There are a lot, and they come slightly closer to Nils, who has his new Christmas gun (Gordon's old gun rebuilt). This is the first time Nils has REALLY seen uku swimming by. I know he is excited but the uku remain out of range. I am sure he will shoot anyway, and I am hoping they will come in to laugh at him, I am hiding behind a Z in wait. Nils is a careful boy, never too hasty... the uku turn away and Nils figures he needs to hide as well. I am about to concentrate on my target when I see Nils heading off to a distant rock. Stupid bear cub. I know he has not looked at his gauge, he has no idea that we are deeper than he has been, nor does he think about the fact that the rock he is heading to is deeper still. My gauge says 100 and he is below me, I have to abandon the hunt and retrieve the whippersnapper. Fortunately he hears me call and he spends the rest of the dive back in bear cub mode. Following close behind. We head up to the top of the ledge but see nothing but small weke ula. The nice thing is the slabs are new and have no eels underneath them so you can get close with out risking limbs. I wonder where the pipes are in relation to this spot, because this is a really good spot. We swim in and come to a rock undercut ledge at 75' to 70', it is nice as well and could use some further exploring, I do not see the pipes that I saw from the surface. We make our way back to the ledge, Roger has moved the anchor to the top of the ledge. He saw the uku when we saw them, but he never got close. I leave Nils near the anchor to shoot and reload his weapon and head back to where I last saw uku. The mu are there again, raising my hopes. Alas, no uku and the mu are wise. My meter starts complaining and I head back knowing how quickly it goes from one minute to 15 minutes of decompression time. Roger is also heading up empty handed and Nils is on the line, having successfully reloaded. I swim around looking at the bottom realizing there are lots more interesting places near by. I can look up from 15' and feel the moon beams shining down on me. It is another new spot for me, always exciting, lots of big uku that I really wanted to shoot, and a night of surface perfection. I get to drive the boat home at full throttle, the wake from other boats being the only thing rippling the surface. Dusk is like summer, it is long and lingering, the city is aglow with lights, but there is still plenty of light. We run into Glacier Bay Dave and Mark heading out for an evening cruise. We remark on the perfect weather and lament our lack of fish. Our laments are more of the "it could be slightly more perfect" variety. Like sitting in the jacuzzi at the end of a hard day. Holding a glass of wine and looking back up on the snow covered mountain you have spent the whole day skiing on and thinking now wouldn't it be nice if there were a few more clouds in the sky giving just the suggestion of yet another foot of new powder by morning.

dive 74

Saturday, Nils and I have escaped one reality and headed over to Kona for a weekend of diving. The surf is giant, it makes for limited diving. At 1:15 in the afternoon, I got to pull-start my engine and leave the pier heading towards Kaiwi point. It is protected from the surf, and spearing is allowed. Mark is our captain, but is recovering from a cold and is laying off the diving. It is afternoon and most of the charter boats have gone (one left). We tie up to the inside buoy with the idea of swimming along the drop off to the point which tends to have more big fish. Mark notices an open cable tie in the bottom of the boat. It is off of my mouthpiece, but is too short to reattach. I figure I will just dive without it... no big deal. Nils and I jump in and while loading my gun, my regulator immediately falls out. Of course since the mouth piece stays in my mouth, I cannot really tell. Great... one of these dives... it takes two hands to put the mouthpiece back on. I have to be really careful, keep one finger on my regulator if I am moving my head. We drop off the ledge to about 70 or so and head along the ledge. It looks like the surface is about 40 feet away, Kona Klear. We see tourist-eco diving slugs ahead of us, they are drifting along above us and Nils and I power by below. We try not to attract attention, but I feel like a couple of big black guys with chains walking down the sidewalk in Darby Montana. The whales are providing some good Shaft music to make up the soundtrack. We get to the point, there is a large outcropping with 3, no 5, no make that 8 big mu. (I have only lost the regulator twice) I make an attack plan with Nils, he understands perfectly, we are approaching from both sides. We split up. Out of the mu heading off of the ledge, swims a white ulua heading by me... I can see Nils's bubbles on the other side of the 'rock' waiting patiently... so sorry... I turn around and attempt to call the ulua. Behind me for who knows how long, is a giant uku (20 lbs). The ulua swims off and the uku comes right up to me. He is big. I am going to die if I fight him. I have to kill him, I can see his teeth, he is really big, this stupid regulator is going to kill me, I have to be prepared to loose my gun to make a great story. This fish is really big. I must get a kill shot, he is 2 feet from the end of my spear. Must kill, I can't believe I missed!! Lucky thing, because I lost my regulator twice while trying to reload. It was a mistake anyway... the uku is still here, he can't figure out what kind of antics I am up to. "you must be from Honolulu; I heard you were bad, but I had no idea" Out of nothing but pure sympathy, the fish dutifully stays close. I wonder if I should cock the gun as I now realize how dangerous this is. I figure I will pull the rubbers back in order to save Nils if he shoots a fish this big. I have no intention of firing my gun again. The uku is still close, I wonder if I can call him over again. I fan the sand. Lo and behold. An unused cable tie floats up before me, crawling out of the sand like Adam himself. Just the right size. Granted it has some coralline algae on it, but one mustn't look a miracle in the mouth. This is a sign from the heavens, fish are meant to be gotten. I put down the gun and fix my regulator. Marveling at how it just fits in the groove of the mouth piece. I tighten the cable tie in my teeth. This is too much weirdness for the uku and he makes one last pass and leaves. I go check on Nils to show him my repair. He has shot at a big uku and missed. He shot at the mu and his gun came to a halt just before reaching the mu, the mu was unfazed. He is excited and happy that his gun works, and that he can reload it well. We head over to the shore and check out the wave action. We are at the point, and it is impressive, there is a papio in the white water, but he darts away. We are getting low on air, and head back toward the boat. Nils is now focused on waha nui and practices all the way back. We got nothing, but both feel lucky, and want to come back. On the boat ride back, Nils designs a mu fish attracting device, he can't wait to start building it. We drop off tanks, leave a hello message to Ming, and plan to dive again on Sunday.

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