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The Snerk Report, Vol. 4

dive 75

Sunday afternoon, the surf is still huge, but Nils and I are happy to head back to Kaiwi point as we saw fish in broad daylight there. We put in at the pier and head out. Standing in the bow, skimming over the Kona blue water on a magic sled with flying fish lining our path like rose petals being tossed before us. For the moment we are truly kings. We tie up at the same buoy as the day before and make an attack plan figuring the fish to be in the same spot. Nils says it is too far to swim to the point, but the tie up is easier, because I don't have to get wet to tie up. Too bad for Nils, he can swim. We synchronize our entry to prevent the boat from rocking, like a well oiled machine we fall on top of the mu sitting under our boat. He has move away time while we rush to load our guns. I play around with a couple of rocks and catch a little crab and show it to the mu. He dives down and plays around with a couple of rocks to show me how it is done. While his attention is diverted, I gain a yard. He notices I look bigger and does it again to see if he was right; I gain another yard. This is not how it is done. He is still frustratingly close when the uku comes along side to help in the hunt. He is not as big as the one yesterday, but a good size. I turn and shoot from the hip. I miss. (Remember, this is BEFORE I got all the helpful advice from the uku masters... if I knew then what I know now... well it would be a different story I tell you. I certainly would have straightened out my arm, aimed behind the gill and pulled the trigger instead of pulled the trigger, aimed behind the gill, and straightened my arm.)

Nils had taken over on the mu and had gotten nowhere. The missed uku stayed just out of range and followed me everywhere. I figured to lead him into a trap. I went and got Nils and we headed off, uku in tow. I saw a big rock ahead and figured to quickly go past, turn around and hide behind the rock and shoot the approaching uku. I knew those old westerns would pay off someday. Nils suddenly starts yelling, the bear cub has just seen the uku. I nod my head and show him the plan, he must read German westerns, because he caught on right away. We lay in wait for our ambush. The uku approaches. At 20 feet, Nils does a sacrifice shot to attract him, (something we talked about in a different context... I guess Germany doesn't have westerns) the uku doesn't come into my range and we head off to the point. Nils practices on some large waha nui, but misses. I go into the surf and see a little papio with some moana kea, someone should study that particular relationship... they are too fast for me and are soon gone. Nothing but lots of big mu, I give up on them shortly and decide to chase them all into the rocks and trap them against the shore. Luckily I manage not to get washed up on the rocks, and it is always exciting when one can see nothing but white bubbles. I reach safety and see the herd has moved over between me and Nils. It is time to head back, so for fun, I do an old fashioned fish roundup and head them over towards Nils' bubbles. I sure hope he is facing this way... I manage the perfect drive and they pass right by Nils. He had shot and lost a nenue and was in the mid-reload phase of gun entanglement when he looked up and was charged by 15 giant mu. He was ready to believe my vicious stories were all true when he saw me chasing them! We head back to the boat, once again empty handed... fortunately, it was still beautiful Kona when we surfaced, and there was another day for diving still left.

dive 76

Monday, another day in paradise. Nils and I plan an early dive as we have homework and are heading back to Honolulu. We spent Sunday evening checking out a really cool speargun store. Edward, you and Andre would be in heaven, it has the entire walls of the store covered with assorted spearguns. The owners were very nice (they made the mistake of working late on Sunday night and let us in). I did get another dive bag, just because they had the good kind there. Worth checking out for anyone going to Kona. Better than anything I have seen.

We dive off of the Kailua pier. Setting down our gear inspires the centipede in Nils's snorkel to crawl out. (It has been rather dry on the big island) Needless to say,we check our regulators. I inform Mark that they always travel in pairs and leave him to inspect his jeep (evil snerk!). We have to forgo our guns as diving in zone B meant swimming through zone A and we could not posess guns in zone A. There was some discussion of having someone throw our guns to us in zone B, but there would be the return problem. It would be bad to spear an innocent bystander who had the bad luck to wander onto the pier at the wrong time.

We took off sans weapons and were immediately attacked by vicious biting dascyllus. Those bullies could detect our weakness. We headed out to an island Mark told us about in the sand off of the ledge. We found it. It was covered with fish and was the main cleaning station for the bay. I looked for uku (Mark said they were always there) but saw none. Nils was playing in the sand, he had found a neat speckled eel with a dorsal fin that starts on his nose. We had fun with him. I don't know if garden eels go in and out the same holes, but when there is only one eel and he can pop up in different places, it is cool. Once he put his gills under the sand and then he could make pretty little sand fountains. The weke would come over at the sight of moving sand and tickle his head with their barbels. We moved off and headed back to the ledge. We were forced to listen to loud whale noises. They were making many strange and different noises. One couldn't help but wonder what they were doing. I managed to hear Nils take a pretend shot and turned in time to see him shoot a big mu at point blank with his pretend gun. Nils was getting worried about our air supply as he got lost and missed a couple of turns we had made and figured we were a half mile away from our start instead of next to Thurston point, (spitting distance from home.) I thought his 800 pounds meant we should stray further. Our communications were cut short with the over head approach of the semi sub. It has two attached divers that the passengers cannot see. Their job is to disperse fish food. We waved at the tourists and played with the nenue who couldn't decide which people were better, the food people or the two of us. The fish were flashing in and out of color patterns that were amazing to watch. Just watching them made me flash on going back to school again. Yet another thing I would like to study. Well, enough playing around, we headed back to the pier. I dried my Aladdin off really well and did not pack it near my wet wetsuit lest it find out it was on a plane. I figured I could surely undo any airplane damage by joining Roger and/or Gordon on an evening dive off Oahu.

dive 77

Friday, about noon the wind stops, the classroom gets hot and the ocean flat. Having an ocean view is a mixed blessing. The last bell finally rings and I can start moving towards getting underwater. I show up begging and Roger lets me come along. Tomas and Mat are starters and the deep team of Gordon, Joe and Brian soon arrive. We load up and wait for the big cheese from Seattle to show. We go get gas, watch the Friday afternoon races start, return to the slip and await Mike. I narrowly miss falling into severe diet coke withdrawals, everyone gets to see me growl. Mike shows, steps on and we are off. Roger wants to catch aquarium fish. I volunteer to help in the venture. We head out. The spinnakers line the horizon adding vibrant color the blue sea. I visit with Mike while Joe and Brian show each other all the new stuff they have gotten since the last time they went diving. Another layer of wetsuits, additional lights, the usual. Mike looks around for a knife to cut the dangling cable tie on his mouthpiece. Every one seems to have a knife. Joe pulls out something that looks like special kitchen shears for cutting open lobsters, I refrain from asking, I am afraid his answer might make sense. I throw the anchor at the hole; Gordon and Mike are over the side before I tie off. Joe and Brian are next, they plan an hour or so. Joe riggs up and then remembers that he left the parking brake on inside the magic black box. He gets 90% squared away and is too itchy to get wet. He is over the side with one pin still loose on the accordion. (He plans to fix it later, while diving, when he isn't so busy.) Tomas and Mat head out and Roger and I go over what fish we are going to catch and where. We are planning to go to the inside little ledge and pick up wrasses and nasos. I take my gun just in case. I am thinking Roger will run out of air, and as long as I am at the hole... On the bottom is Joe trying to do the last pin adjustment on his box. It is always best to take something all the way back to square one. I think he loves it, he no doubt will shortly have pieces everywhere and tool kits out. I try not to look. I head off with Roger in the lead. It is sort of murky, and there is a slight Diamond Head current, Roger swims right by the little ledge in search of it. I call him over, there is some pleasant discussion about where to set the net, whether or not a psychhead is worth a set or not, etc. He heads off onto the hard pan, I follow; I am trying to catch fish while keeping up. I manage a small gray humu that bites me and gets away. I miss an orange shoulder, a naso with streamers and a zoster. I could have gotten the zoster too, if I didn't have to keep up with the net man. He finally saw a naso, we set and caught it like a couple of pros. We wander back to the hole with no more net sets. I catch one puffer and miss two. Roger is low on air and frustrated. I am sure he wishes he had brought his gun instead. The water is just perfectly murky, and there are opelu kala everywhere. He heads up and I quickly hand him the bucket. I am off to spear. Joe and Brian wander through the hole (with lights). Brian tells me there is a giant fish out there. I ask him "Where? What kind?" and he just chortles. I leave them and make my way out toward the car battery. There are opelu kala scattered out from the bottom all the way to the surface. Nicely spaced, no sign of predators about. Gordon and Mike probably shot at all the good stuff by now anyway. I see a big Kahala cruise by, that must be Brian's fish. That explains the chortles. Nothing in the way of uku. I move back towards Diamond Head and the rocks outside. There are lots of weke ula feeding around real close. I could get two and make a complete meal. Well if I spend too much time down here, I will get razzed for getting no dinner as well as no money. I head up the line and meet up with Gordon. He immediately chastises me for only catching one fish. I ask him what he got and get a mixed answer. He isn't bragging, he tells me that there is fish in the boat, Mike or Tomas must have scored. The dynamic duo swim by on the bottom, heading back to the anchor. They reappear at 15' swimming upcurrent to the boat, Joe is swimming upside down. He either dives too much or not enough. They seem to have had a good time. The cold drives me to the surface. Roger has the crew spell bound with a story, all true no doubt. Mike is the hero of the day, taking only perfect shots on papio. He has two in the boat. One shot just the way he told me in his e-mail. The other fish was shot from below, chin to brain shot! Show off! Send him back to Seattle I say! Tomas even got an opelu kala for his dinner. My only redemption is that I can make Brian and Jan jealous by mentioning that I will have to eat leftover beef basil and green curry with phad thai. Turns out Gordon, (who has been merciless on the missed fish remarks), mistook a kahala for an uku and shot it. The shot was low, he lost the fish. All I can say is at least I know what kind of fish I miss. The last divers are on board, the anchor gets pulled and we head in, meeting up with Glacier Bay Dave who has been getting uku on Molokai for his entertainment. We wash up the boat and enjoy the fireworks Joe thoughtfully provided. He goes all out, I must remember to be kinder to him... I'll wait for the next dive report.

dive 78

Sunday morning, blustery day, trades 15-20, cold and rainy. It is only because there is no one to snuggle with that I manage to get out of bed. I wonder if anyone else will show up for the planned dive off of the Mo'o. Roger, Gordon, Brian, Joe, Dave, and Athleen are starters. Michael has more sense and is probably sipping hot coffee and waiting to see the Mo'o head for the 100' hole. We pull out of the slip, Brian has been helping move the Mo'o often enough now that he can officially be promoted to crew first class. Here is a man who could "not my fault" his way out of his own thoughts. The Mo'o did manage to escape her chains and bound out to sea. Athleen and I played mind games with Roger. He doesn't mind forgetting school meetings, birthdays, holidays or even line ups, but there are some thoughts he still treasures. The thought that he had forgotten a memory that he wanted to savor over and over caused the blood to rush from his face. The techies were up to their usual antics. Joe was explaining how updated and redistributed the weight was. He went on with confusing high tech talk, then showed off the modification, which consisted of wrapping something with duct tape. Talk about someone who should be in the mail order business, I was expecting something that had lights, wires, two or three types of metal and double stitching.

We got to the hole and Gordon was over with the anchor. The boys with all the tanks were next, the plan was that Roger was going to take them out along the peninsula and let them try and get deep. Athleen and I were last. The water was clear and the current nonexistent. By the time I got in, Gordon was about through with his dive, he was crawling up the buoy line as I was floating down on the hole. He had seen nothing except the one thing that swam by. Nothing to spear really, just that one swimming by thing. It doesn't matter, I haven't speared anything in so long that I need something super spectacular to get respect back anyway. Athleen and I check out a passing eagle ray, I sure have seen him a lot lately. The chromis are nest building and fighting off all voracious egg eaters like lemon butterflies. They are so busy eating that I can pet them. Athleen drifts off toward the mauka side of the hole and I look out and see a school of distant weke ula. The biggest ones won't come close, but they are all a fair size. I am not going to get them close enough to miss, so I take a long shot and get the fish. It is not pretty, a low shot. Fortunately, Mike is probably having a morning swim, wishing he was diving and is not here to see this belly wound. The fish are gone by the time I can look up again. Athleen and I then head Diamond head to see if we come across anything in that direction. There is a large school of oceanic file fish which escort us to and from the hole. We can here distant whale noises, but see no game fish. The mu come over to tease me on our way back to the hole but of course I don't get close. Roger comes back empty handed and heads up with instructions for me to clear the anchor. Athleen finds something on top of the hole and gives me what she thinks is the perfectly obvious signal for whatever it is. It would make a great cuddle fish signal, and I briefly wonder if I am missing a once in a lifetime opportunity. The other guys return, and they understand Athleen's secret signal and check it out. Curiosity overwhelms me and I join them in bothering what turns out to be a small octopus. He is small and cute, and flashing brave angry colors at me. A two year old threatening to not be your friend. Every one is back at home base and my meter wants me to head back to the dugout. I free the anchor and head up with the rest of the team wandering in from the outfield. Decompression is spent marveling at the zooplankton, glistening bright blue little copapod things are zooming all around making magic star dust. The show is good, but I am reminded of the aura borialis for more than one reason and the shivering once again takes the stunning beauty out of the experience. Athleen and I head up. Joe soon follows, loaning Brian his mask, apparently Brian broke a strap and has had a one handed dive holding his mask on his face. Four tanks, umteen regulators, lights, liftbags, floats... no extra mask... amazing! Soon we are all on the boat except Dave who still is decompressing. The dive boat Rani with a boat load of tourists shows up and circles around wanting to tie up to the buoy. We hope Dave stays down as they tie up and pretty much are on top of him. Our anchor breaks loose just after we realize that there is no way we could pull it without ramming their boat. Fortunately it is Dave that is still on the line and we don't worry about him. He makes it back on board, Brian and Gordon haul anchor and we head back. Joe's duct tape didn't really work and will probably leave things sticky forever, Brian needs a new strap, Dave has boats trying to run over him, Athleen has a past, Gordon only got to see tuna and imagine, Roger is about to come down with oxygen ear, AND I SHOT A BEAUTIFUL FISH; all in all it was a success all around. Hope the wind dies down soon.

I know I promised to be nice on my next dive report; I lied.

dive 79

Almost dried out; you cannot call Friday's swim to the anchor line a dive just because I had a tank on. The weekend is ending, but then just in the nick of the bell Gordon is up for a Sunday evening trip to Kahala. We meet at the Mo'o iki, buy gas and head for Kahala. The land breezes are dying down and the evening is turning glorious. The diamond head buoy seems like a rock in a river as the water piles up on one side and eddies on the lee. Hmmm... strong current going towards barbers point. We pass a whale heading for Diamond Head. We head for Fantasy reef because I figure there is lots of area to hide behind. We find some road kill in the form of a child's life jacket. Then we cruise over the reef, the water is clear and I can recognize the places as we drift over them. I throw over the anchor and the silence of the lake is ended as the boat whips around and suddenly we are hung up in a raging river. Hmmmm... I throw over all the spare lines, Gordon notes that one cannot have too many lines. We are in no hurry as the sun is high. Gordon spits off the bow and the lugi passes the stern in five seconds. 15 feet in 5 seconds... lets see, that is 180 feet in a minute... times 60... now here; there is some divergence of great brains... (another great thing to study is how everyone does math in their heads). Anyway, we go crazy with numbers and while I tend to look to re-do the math when there is an obvious problem (ten knots), Gordon goes back to the actual experiment (maybe he can change the results to fit the math!) Anyway he spits again and it takes six seconds!! With a decrease of this magnitude, I gear up and get ready. We both head up current in search of fish. The current is not too bad actually, especially when you hug the cliffs. A large barracuda is high above me and swims off into the distance. I head up the reef on the inside, watching how the fish are also hugging the bottom. There are tunnels of no current as well as the pali lookout kind of places. I see a large papio and a small uku out to sea heading my way, I hide behind a rock and try to decide which one I want... well neither of them comes into range, the large papio shows interest but heads off. I note that the 20 mu that are hugging the sand are moving upcurrent and detect that Gordon is approaching from down current. He has not seen anything and heads off into the sand. I head up a little further, watch the mu wishfully, they are all right on the bottom, except when I get too close, then they move up and away. Well, the next good spot is a long ways up current, so I meet up with Gordon again and we head back toward the boat. Now the wind slots are really fun, and I fly at high speed and play with the current. I get to the sand channel and check to the inside. (There is no current at all in the sand channel.) I hear Gordons gun go off... I head back that way in case there are seconds to be had, or he needs help, but before I get very far, two papio come by, they are not coming close to me, but they head off towards Gordon's bubbles... some guys have all the luck. He swims into view with a nice size papio in his bag. I continue my flight going VFR flying too low through the mountains at extremely high speeds. I almost crash twice, but escape with only minor abrasions. I head past the anchor as I have lots of air (15 minutes going up, 2 coming back; zip) Gordon heads up and I am hesitant to get too far down current as it may be stronger near the surface, and it will soon be time to head up. Under the anchor line is the cutest little shark, a white tip about 2 feet long, he swims really sinewy like he is a large menacing monster. He heads under the ledge as I head up towards the sunset. The current has lessened and I am back up in time to catch the big orange ball sinking off to the west. The clouds over Diamond Head are on fire and once again I realize how great the world is.

Gordon is happy with his fish, I am happy with the sunset and the great dive. Gordon reaffirms his position as crew hand first class; but he does manage to pull the anchor. (Small consolation in this case, but I guess we can't all understand tricky words like bow line.) We head for home on the most spectacular ocean. It is lake like, with mama and baby whale lolling off of Black Point. The water surface is made up of blue and sunset orange circles making a psychedelic surface that would look fake in any painting. The Navatec wake offers relief in the surface, and we surf on all the little waves, frolicking like other sea mammals. The Mo'o iki pauses at the buoy and we reaffirm the lessening current and bother the birds who are planning to spend the night. Waikiki is glassy enough for ideal water skiing and we zoom back safely home. The weekend is redeemed and I play loud music and sing all the way home.

dive 80

Saturday eve... glassy calm, the world is just waiting for exploration. The Mo'o iki is full with Mac, Nils, Gordon and myself. With a full boat plus fooling around at the fuel dock trying to get gas, we are semi-limited in our dive sites. We are all opposed to diving the hole, but there seems to be no other options any more appealing. Gordon is so grumpy about it that we are all sure he is going to get some giant fish. Funny how we are so used to plot lines that we begin to believe that fact follows fiction. I have a cold and refuse to dive in and secure the boat to the buoy. Grumpy captain Gordon does the honors, announces that there is no real current, and we hand him his tank and gun. Mac and Nils are in next. I enter last anticipating a slow decent but sinuses have no problem and I am soon on the bottom. The water is beautiful, clear, little fish everywhere. Nils has left his gun in order to spend more time observing fish and fooling around with out feeling like he is supposed to be hunting. There is no sign of food fish, and I join Nils in a play dive. There are three little flounder fish and I spend time bothering them no end. I thought the two big ones were together, but one snuck up on a still one and bit it! A chase ensued and colors were flashing! Great stuff! I looked up to see a papio approaching... good size... I am out in the open and he remains aloof. It is now or never and I take a long but I feel perfect shot. Yup, perfect except the string is a wee bit short. Well now I can say "It was a long shot anyway" and be literal about it. Gordon appears and pesters around while I try and reload. He has shot a papio and lost it. He heads up giving me clear instructions to clear the anchor. We are tied to the float, so I have no idea what he means. He repeats his clear yet nebulous instructions. I figure what ever he wants probably isn't life threatening and go about my playing. Mac scares up a small octopus which gives Nils and I a new observation subject. He has dashed to a safe from us spot and upset a whole group of damsels who are most bothered by his very existence. They nip and harass him while he is trying to escape from us by hiding. I can't help but anthropomorphize as the octopus flashes colors and jabs at the irritating fish that won't be ignored. I leave Nils dreaming of tako poki and make a last survey of possible fish sighting spots. Mac is cruising high with the opelu kala and their combined outlines makes a great photo. My meter says quit fooling around and I gather up Nils whose air consumption is getting to be normal. We head up, Nils stops to play in a warm water layer at about 40'. I am forced into a deep decompression due to the great plankton display at 0-15 feet. Little stinging things galore. Pretty little jelly fish, fabulous stenaphoric shows, and tons of little things that look like snowdrop candies. I dodge the ones that look the most deadly and survive. Arrive on the surface in time for the green flash and quick trip home. Once again, we are saving all the fish for Mike.

dive 81

Sunrise Sunday, pink-orange light on a glassy smooth sea. I wish I was on my way to Molokai. March winds sure aren't happening this year. Too bad I have so much school work. Roger calls and while my mouth is talking about the work I have to do, I am looking at the lake called the Pacific and thinking how many days are this perfect? O.K., I haven't lost all my good sense. Meet at the Prince William. Get there just as the last tank is loaded, perfect. Gerry, Roger and I are heading for ewa in search of new spots and big money. I need fish for class (students have requested a large eel) so really this is school work in a way. Roger is pushing for Barbers point which has never proved lucrative, but could contain the Atlantis of aquarium fish cities hidden in the barren flat. (I think it is a Brigadoon-type thing that only exists on rough days.) We are cruising and searching as the water clarity matches the surface glass. Roger has a bunch of old lineups of potential areas that we jotted down on a day where the only difference was that I was 15 years younger. Sure enough, one of them, after deciphering lineups (lot less poles 15 years ago), looks great. We drop anchor just as we drift over a mooring. Roger and I both immediately look at our more recently used marks... we just discovered the pinnacles!! I haul up the anchor and we continue along in the same vain, we anchor again and find we have rediscovered Stanley's spot! Just shows, we have been diving this coast for a while, another reason to be on Molokai on days like today. Gerry and Roger take off and I am on my own, I have a little net, but I must admit I make the worlds greatest net set. I may miss with a gun; but I know exactly how they think. My net set is so good, I never reset it, just keep catching fish. I am particularly proud of the two male flame wrasse that displayed their way into my trap. After about 10 more fish, the one of the flames figures out the bucket door, and is out when I put in a yellowtail. There is nothing so deeply infuriating as an escape, especially when the fish is a flame wrasse. When ever they join the real world they hover and show off before taking off. This guy zips out of the bucket, and sits right above the door quivering his fins and taking in the surroundings before darting off. I would normally never spend a whole six minutes trying to catch one fish, especially when there are lots of fish around. I would almost never spend my last six minutes of bottom time on a fish who knows about the net, knows about me, and now even knows about the bucket! Well, I guess as I get older and have less female hormones; my ego is getting bigger; because damn if that stupid little bugger was going to get the best of me!!! Just as my little bell went off, that fish was bagged. I know it didn't pay, but HA, it sure felt good. Now I have no bottom time for my next bottle, Gerry and Roger are starting their second dive and I signal that I will be sitting one out. The sun shines, and I have surface entertainment in the form of akule fishermen complete with Cessna 152 working just inside of us. It sure doesn't look like the fish have a chance, as the plane spots and the boats encircle. Roger and Gerry are back after three quick sets (I can tell from their bubbles just where they went and how long their drives were). We move inside to 45-50' and head down. There were about five turtles on the surface, and that turns out to be just a tip of the iceberg, sleeping turtles are everywhere. I get one to help me drive a green bird wrasse and we do a great job until the last bit, when jumbo/dumbo fails to close and the speed demon escapes. The coral is scattered and I have great fun chasing fish one at a time all over hell and gone. My theory being that if your net is set well enough, the fish will eventually find it. Some times I have no clue where I am until I follow the naso into the net. Three itty bitty mu find my net, one of them will be in my class. I can study his every move and find out what their Achilles heel is. I manage to spend an hour on the bottom and have plans to clean up on my next dive. While decompressing, I make out bubbles in the distance... hmmm that's funny, they couldn't still be down here, they use enough air to fill a blimp, just yelling at each other. There is not enough air on the boat for them to do another dive with out using my air... Foiled again... it's like saving food for later if you have older siblings. The ____heads are soon back. We have done well. I have fish for my aquarium, got to visit with friends, chase after fish, and out smart mu! The ride home provides us with dolphin frolicking and fish flying. Still early enough to do school work, yahoo! While sorting fish into my bucket to take to school, Roger picks up the mu and he squiggles and jumps and makes it down the crack between the dock, we hear the splash and watch as he joins the Keihi population of fish who foil the shore fishermen!

dive 82

Midweek, sneak in a dive. Five thirty and Mac and Roger are starters as well. We head out on the sea leaving the hassles of life rolling in the wake. The trades are back and we figure to stay in Waikiki. The pyramids seem the most appealing. I have brought along a bucket and a hand net to pick up assorted invertebrates for school. The water is clear as we drop anchor. Mac puts out good scope as there is a fool moon rising and there might be a tad of a current. The current proves slack as I am first in with bucket, gun, hand net. I land in the mist of opelu kala. The boat is directly over the spirals so I figure the anchor to be dragging, but I find it sitting in the sand at 100' right between the pyramids and the spirals. It looks fine, and I head on towards the pyramids. There are the usual fish congregating on the site but I see no uku, there is one moana kea but I don't bother and head in to the ledge where I turn over rocks and catch small things. I find the perfect really mean eel, but don't have the means to capture it. I have gotten a lot more cautious with those guys. I have forgotten how much fun invertebrate hunting can be. Each rock is a potential treasure trove. Amazing little worlds with wonderful creatures. No wonder that NASA wanted to turn over a rock on Mars. I was just putting a little shrimp in my bucket when I noticed my six uku and one mu entourage. Faithfully following me from rock to rock. The uku were tiny, but I would eat that mu for a few days. By the time I got my gun around, he had drifted away and I was not going to spend any effort on that species!! I continued along and never saw much except tiny things to play with and capture. As I headed back towards the pyramids, I heard a gun go off. Roger was out in the sand, reloading with a good size mu in the bag. I gave him the shaka and he shook his head to indicate that there might have been a lot of luck involved. My meter was telling me to head up, (I still had 1200 lbs, this meter thing can be a pain) so I headed along towards the spirals. There are clear trails all over the bottom. I don't think I could get lost in this area anymore. (Wait till the first summer storm) Mac is hanging on the line empty handed and I decompress as the sun moves low in the sky. Roger arrives and we watch a giant cruise boat drifting not very far away. I get back in the boat and see the big orange ball leave Hawaii. The passengers on the cruise ship are apparently watching the sunset as well, our boat was just incidentally in the way. They head on their way at about the time Roger comes up. The moon is above Diamond Head shinning brightly, making me think lots of full moon thoughts, and I pull anchor while singing "Moon River." I have little creatures for class, Roger has a nice fish. He said it was a tricky shot as he saw the fish, swam straight up and while the fish was puzzling about it, he dropped down and took a long shot. It was a good shot. I will try this next time. It is probably a plot to start me doing all kinds of mu dances! Once again, at least I got to get wet, always an upper. Hope to get back out on Friday to celebrate.

dive 83

Friday finally rolls around and the ocean has remained uncharacteristically calm. I am anxious to get out there and spear something. Mo'o at five finds, Roger, Gordon, Mac and I ready to go. We wait for a bit with the hopes of company and at around 5:30 we head out towards ewa. The sailboat races are just underway, on a windless day the boats really pile up in the channel, we end up tacking our way out. We are heading along when we see an underwater feature covered with fish going from 200+ to 150 or so. We fail at refinding it and continue on with Mac on the stern wondering why we are going in circles but knowing too well not to ask. It is flat and clear so we circle around a bit before anchoring. Gordon jumps in and immediately breaks a rubber, fortunately Roger finds another for him and I get in the water while he is fooling around. The kala are thick and excited by our presence. It looks good, but I feel obliged to check and straighten out the anchor. The anchor is sitting in a pile of chain, boy it is not too often that a chain pulled around a pocillapora can hold the Mo'o. I straighten it and leave the anchor laying on nothing. The kala seem to have disappeared but I can see a few out by what Mike would probably call guard stones outside and Diamond Head of the Rock (the place Roger likes to hang out). I head over and behind the kala and high are a school of rainbow runner. They immediately come charging over and encircle me. There are big ones, medium ones small ones and tiny ones. I am confused by the choices and they circle once and disappear. My heart is racing, my mind is still reeling as I realize that I have missed my chance at a fish I have yet to spear. Total despair sinks in. I feel like such an idiot... that schooling thing really works! While I am debating burying my head in the sand, Gordon swims up and wonders if I have seen anything. Aaaaahhhhhh!!! He gathers that I am in a slightly bad mood and leaves me to wander on. The sand bar shark appears and heads off to the outside. I am still reeling and replaying the whole thing in my head. Roger comes over to "his" spot and I figure to head over to David's old area. Mac is heading up that way and so I am left going back to the ewa corner. I see Gordon's bubbles and realize I am trapped in the middle. I head outside, come across the shark and two smallish rainbow runners. I could partially redeem myself, except the fish are very close to the shark and I would be bound to loose them. The fish veer off and head up a little, I follow. I hear a gun and figure Roger had found the rainbow runner, I quickly go to check as the shark is heading that way. Mr. Mac has a papio and heads off while the shark swaggers in and circles around the ledge looking for the treat. Roger and I are watching this bossy guy when Gordon sees the shark and charges it . Well at least he is brave, the shark reacts but does not disappear like the rainbow runner have. The shark is feisty enough that I will stay in sight of someone before I shoot anything. Roger and I head off in search of a dinner but fail at our weke ula chasing. Gordon stays around the rock but sees no game either. We all head back to the anchor and I actually still have bottom time, so I stop and visit a little shrimp, turn over a rock for him to snack on. I come across a small octopus; I harass it out of its hole, but no fish comes over to check it out. Gordon is at the anchor and heading up, empty handed, Roger and I join him and head up. I take one last glance in hopes of getting a second chance, realize I will survive being bested and slowly head up. Mac is the hero with a nice papio in the boat. As we head back, Roger and Gordon actually console me, I expected advice: "You have to think fast, pick a fish, and shoot," instead I got a whole bunch of "We have all done that" and "Rainbow runner are like that"... I guess I really screwed up worse than I thought! I am about to take apart gear when Gordon points to shore.

Mother Nature takes a lot of the sting out of things as we watch the moon rise over Waikiki. She is blood orange and fills the gap between Diamond Head and the Ko'olaus. The fireworks go off in celebration of a new month and Luna herself shines a silver ribbon to guide us safely home. Simple beauty overcomes all and I can't help but feel joy in the evening. As I head to the stern, I face the dark sky and see Orion and the Seven sisters shinning brightly, reminding me of freinds far away in cold places. I smile and know there are more great dives ahead.

dive 84

Saturday, Roger and Gerry are diving tropicals and invite me along for color. We load up the Prince William and head for "Garbage Can Lid " off of ewa beach. Roger assigns me to catching potters while he and Gerry go for all of the other stuff. Roger tells me to watch for a bucket and bucket line that they lost about a year ago, I give him a look and he explains that they found it again about a month ago. I go with the don't ask theory and it remains a mystery why it is still there. We anchor in about 75' and I do most of my dive at 80-ish. It isn't the best potter spot, but I manage to maintain my reputation while the other guys did well chasing yellow tangs. I stay down into decomp time catching fishers and potters. Two giant fearless kahala come in just as I am heading up. They come almost close enough to touch. There have been schools of opelu overhead throughout my dive, no doubt it is what these guys are after. I show Gerry how great my computer is and almost convince him he needs one. We move the boat and head for some new area, wander around with Roger and I taking turns with the look box and yelling at the driver of the boat. Some things never change. We find a 70-60 ledge with not much on it (kinda like outside the hole ledge). There are some crevices and one has a trap with big spiny lobsters crawling around in it. Gerry is trying to figure out how to get them, while Roger sets the net for the school of red tails that are also in the crevice. I head on looking for a place to put my net, I catch two anthias who are lost and acting like damsels on a pocillapora head. I continue on and cross over the great algae bed and wonder about the hows and whys of it. I get back to empty hard pan again and come across evidence of science. Rebar pounded into the substrate every 10 feet or so, very strange place to study. I also come across the coolest Hawaiian stone, this one is for my front yard!! It is a very nice artifact, but it is too big for me to do anything but leave. It has been tied up with a too small string, perhaps someone else (one of those science guys) tried to rescue it at one time. I will have to show this to Roger... I move on and make out a swarm of fish, artificial reef? Pipe line? Yep, the outfall they buried out here about 20 years ago. It is swarming with lots of fish, including lots of small uku, lots and lots... I wonder how fast uku grow. I will keep track of the little ones at Marnie's rock and the hole and see when they get big. These are slightly larger, but not worth coming here for. There are too many fish for my little net, I pick up a fish here and there and continue to explore. I love a whole new area. The cap rock is dumped in dis-jointed piles making a row of reefs that I follow into 35' of water. I have covered a huge area and am excited by my finds. The area is spooky because the fish are so thick and excitable, the species change as I head in, but the atmosphere remains the same. I will need all my air to get back, like the little vole that I am, the only way I can find my way is to retrace all of my steps. I know there is a shorter way to the boat, but I stay high and swim from familiar rock to familiar rock. Pass over my artifact, the coolest thing, recross the science field, across the algae bed, boy, did I swim far! Back to the ledge, the same eagle ray is working over the sand. It gives me the happy close to home feeling. (The algae bed kind of makes you feel like you are lost just from the unchanging uniformity in all directions, no fish to recognize) Yep, home again and I note Gerry had to leave the lobsters for the rightful predators. I check their catch, not bad for one crevice. I get in the boat and use my excitement to get them to move the boat over to where I finished the last dive. More look box antics before we anchor in the perfect spot. We all work together to catch more fish than we know what to do with. It has been a good day's work for Roger and Gerry, and a good day of fun for me. I will be up doing homework tonight when it is too dark to do anything else anyway. We finish rinsing and loading and we get to watch the sunset through the masts of Keihi. Stop to pick up a drink, blast the stereo and head home.

dive 85

Wednesday 5:25 Roger calls and says "Hey, aren't you a diver?" He and Mac agree to wait as I get my okole in gear. There is still plenty of light as we head out to sea in the Mo'o iki. We head for the hole on the theory that it is equally bad everywhere. I let the masters enter the water first. The water is murky and full of plankton. As I sink, I can discern the guardian stones and I drop down while Mac and Rog check the hole. There is a good size uku out in the sand. He won't come close even though he makes several approaches high and low. The fact that he hangs around gives me hope and I continue to work on him. Four waha nui cruise by heading for the hole, where did they come from and since when do they live hear? There are small weke ula up high playing with the opelu kala. The opelu kala are divided into two groups, small guys and big guys. The schools are swimming through each other but not mixing. The fish seem to only key into the movements of similar sized fish... more cool ideas run through my head as the uku makes yet another not close enough pass. He fades into the shadow and comes back as a big fish. Three giant Kahala cruise in changing the nature of everyone's game. They are about 20 feet off the bottom and definitely swaggering. They circle around the hole and come back as four. Well, all the fish have moved over the hole and I take my cue and leave my post as well. Enough time at 90 feet, I head inside and cruise around. Roger and Mac are both empty handed having only seen kahala and shark respectively. The kahala keep coming around, with the small fish all announcing their arrival like trumpeters before the kings. Every time they pass there seems to be one more, we are up to seven the last time through. I go back to see if my uku has come back, no luck, then head up as the water is cold and my time has gone. I go check the anchor and the buoy cable that is on the ground as the buoy seems to have broken off. Hope there wasn't a boat tied up at the time! I guess the charter boats have a captain on board anyway. Well, another empty handed dive, no fish speared, still glad to get underwater. The Mo'o iki starts right up as we pull anchor, she serves her purpose well, even though she is not the Tiana (super luxury yacht especially built for rebreathers going to New Guinea! Not that I am jealous or anything; Richard luxury bee Pyle!!) we are back by dark and I still have time to run errands and do homework. Can't wait 'til Friday... the ocean calls.

P.S. Study hard Mike, you are not missing anything. (except I plan to go retrieve a really cool stone during the spring break. Lift bags, extra gear, cool artifacts the makings of adventure!!) Good luck on those orals!

dive 86

Friday afternoon, Roger, Jason, Tomas, Mat, Mr. Mac, and myself leave the Ala Wai and head for new ground. Roger takes it easy, and I get to be Captain. I head for Kahala, we check the DH buoy and the current looks Portlock, not too strong. Off of Black Point we head out for the ledge. I am going to be anchor setter, so Roger takes over, we mess around just long enough for me to think about taking off my tank and we anchor. I am as fast as Mac is throwing it, and I get a free ride down. Perfect, right on top of the ledge (65-75) and in a nice hole. I don't see anything but one small uku bolting for his life. The ledge is heading perpendicular to shore and it is undercut, full of eels, squirrel fish, and little slippers. Too many eels for me, just contemplating it got me stabbed by wana! I head out the ledge, there is a sand beach on the bottom of the ledge, but no sand anywhere else... hmmmm, must get some strong currents around here... I continue out what turns out to be a peninsula, reach the end at about 95 feet, pass an old trap, but not much else. I call, see nothing, and head back in along the other side of the finger. There is no beach on this side, and a steeper drop, occasional caves but nothing of great interest. I get back to where the ledge begins to run parallel to shore and see bubbles over by the anchor. Jason, Tomas and Mat are now heading out the same ledge I just went out along. Roger crosses over to me and I relay the layout and show him how deep I have been. We agree to travel together continuing up the ledge. It gets pretty steep, but there is not much coral and the opelu kala swim off away from us. Roger worries about the anchor and we head back. I short cut and beat him back. Mac is there and gives me the really big signal. He neglects to tell me really big what and he heads up and away. I sit and figure that I have been diving with Mac for 23 years. It is nice to have gotten communication down to such a fine science. Really big... ono? uku? eels? sharks? area? boat? wana? what!!! I figure that if had been important, he would have worked more on making sure I understood. (I hope.) I decide to take off along the ledge down current toward portlock. I first come to 8 redtails and a ton of easy to catch potters. I'll keep them in mind, but I still have the feeling that this place has some wing-ding currents. I come to another old fish trap, this one covered with Heniochus and near a point. There are quite a few fish, and I pick a spot and call. Sure enough tons of uku appear. They are small, but I feel like fresh sashimi anyway. I am trying to pick the biggest... (they are very friendly and are easy marks) when ten Naso tangs come along and I realize that the nasos are larger than the ukus!! Why are there so many small uku everywhere? Will they all be big by September? Or will it take a few years? My time is going to be up and I start the treck back to the boat. I get there at about the same time as everyone else. Everyone is empty handed. Jason saw the lobster, no one else saw much of anything. 10 minutes decompressing made me cold enough to be glad I brought a jacket. We surface just past sunset, (shucks). Mat does the heroic anchor pull and we head in and dock just as the fire works start. A great start to my spring break... I wonder how many days I can spend diving... mmmmmm...

dive 87

Friday night, it has been a week of windy rough ocean and I am ready to go diving. Nils and I pick up Tomas (he has lost his car keys ) and head to the Mo'o where we meet up with Roger, Joe and Amy. Joe has just had surgery and I thought they must have given him a reverse lobotomy as he had rather normal looking dive gear. He showed us his stitches, it looks like he is out a couple of lymph glands, but you can't rule out some sort of brain enhancement. Nope, he is his same old self, he has some kind of full face mask/communication device - an underwater walkie-swimmie. Get this, he is the only one who can talk, and his wife has to listen! (what's new?)

The Mo'o starts and there was no major water or oil leaks, so far our repairs look sound. We are heading to the spirals, but the wind is really howling and Roger is a little worried about anchoring, he decides to try the little hole; which pleases Nils, who is hell bent on trying out his new underwater octopus lure. Roger drops anchor in the perfect spot, I am down with the anchor and am way ahead of the rest. The water is murky, dark and full of opelu kala, (two sizes) kawela 'ai, and humus. The ledge is swarming with ta'ape and there are a bunch of uku looking at the anchor. I load as they circle, I know they are there, but I can't find them in the crowd and murk. My weight is off, I am too light, hmmm maybe chocolate whiskey cake is not the best breakfast after all. At least I have the ocean to tell me I am getting fat, it doesn't lie, well then again... it could just be saltier than usual!

I head out the ledge to see if there is anything hanging out in deeper water. There are a lot of small weke ula and about six small uku, I would shoot them but they don't come close. I figure Nils should be down and I give up, shore up my gun and turn around to head in. Two kicks and I realize that the good size uku were actually behind me. They split before I can think. I have to smile at all the times I have laughed at the same scene played by others. I can see the shape of Tomas coming down the line, followed by Nils. Perfect timing, well at least I can get some taco and have a blast watching Nils and his first octopus. We head in along the ledge there are no octopus anywhere... I can't believe it, this place has tons... I head Diamond Head on the shallow flats. There are none there either. I guess we will be forced to wait for the sugar cane to tassel. We head back out along the Diamond Head side, I know the trajectory will bring me to the other side of the deep hole. The uku come along and both Nils and I watch them swim by the outside of us and right toward some bubbles that turn out to be Roger. He gets a small one and offers it to me before he even gets it off the spear. I have my bag out instantly. His shot is low between the gill and pectoral fin and when he pulls out the shaft, out comes the full stomach and he hands me a clean fish. That is slick. Nils is playing with his great lure and is amazed at how well it works. (He does not see the fish guts right next to him.) I leave him marveling at his own great skill as Roger and I head back out to deep water. Roger finds a large canoe anchor but other than small fish we see nothing. I leave him, pass Joe and Amy, and note that it has been 40 minutes, time to head up soon. Nils has noticed that it wasn't really him the fish loved but has spent his time being mesmerized by circling small uku. There is a two inch mu feeding around and he suggests shooting it before it gets big and sassy. He is getting good at this under water communicating. We head up the line, and everyone assembles, Roger's fish is the take, oh yeah, Joe captured an old net float that some archeology types had left there. He figured it was part of an octopus lure, sure. We are up in time for sunset, everyone is glad to enjoy it. Joe is so full of effervescence that he keeps jumping back in the water, glad even to be cold. His mood is contagious and we are all equally happy when he pulls the anchor. Pulling the anchor in a strong wind is a job for heroes and he manages to fight the anchor off the bottom using shear muscle. We head for home while Amy regales us with how well the walkie talkie system worked. She heard loud irritating clicks that gave her a headache. The system needs work. (Joe didn't know how to turn the thing off. Lights were flashing when he loaded it into his car.)

The Mo'o did not seem to leak any oil and our repairs are declared a success. When all is put away, we get a fireworks show and it is time to head home to a fresh fish feast. Sashimi and spicy bones as appetizers, followed by fresh uku, rice, soybeans, and luau spinach. Eat while you can I say... the chocolate cake supplier has left the country anyway... I am bound to lose weight soon.

dive 88

Monday, windy, cold, need sea urchins for development lab... those big fat black ones with the short spines. Nice big eggs, lots of sperm. I manage to convince Nils that sea urchin hunting is really fun. We take the Mo'o iki out to about 25' off of Magic Island. Manoa is raining and we have a perfect double rainbow from Round top to Diamond Head. Once again the ocean serves as the great reminder and reality check. We enter the water simultaneously and charge after urchins. I only have five buckets, so I figure to get 10-12. (Get too many and they can't wait around to reproduce.) We get our quota and are out of the water having used 200 pounds. I debate heading out to the ledge for a look see, but Romeo and Juliet are already at it and I realize getting these guys up to my class while they still have some sperm left is going to be a challenge. I am not even sure if this merits a dive report, except I did manage to get my hair wet, and the two tanks left on the Mo'o are not quite full.

dive 89

My name is Jennifer and I am a diveaholic. Those tanks are not quite full and need to be used up. Gordon is passing through Hawaii for a day and is desperate to get underwater. Roger has plenty of tanks and is up for a dive. We take the Mo'o iki and head for the Hole. Gordon is amazed at how windy and wet it is and is happy to go to the hole. I can see birds in the distance and I am thinking this El Nino thing might pay off in terms of tuna. It is rough and wet and I am shivering by the time we get to the spot. Gordon is the first one in and Roger and I follow. I hit something with my gun and I hear/see it fall into the boat as I go over. I wait for some massive equipment failure but none is forth coming and I descend figuring whatever it was... couldn't matter too much. Roger and I spread out and both drop down outside the hole and swim inwards. I don't see much except the cloud of spawning butterflies over the rocks. There is that cute little white tip hanging about inside the hole, making a great photo opportunity. Then there is a fish I have never seen before. Hmmm, I wonder if dive operators are releasing weird fish here... probably the El Nino bringing them here... Hawaiian evolution... new species arrive in gangs brought about by unusual weather systems. Not the one new thing every 10,000 years, but in clumps... while my mind is wandering I see Roger approaching. I watch him to see if I can tell when he sees the new fish... yep... Well, he hasn't seen one either. I leave the hole and drift down current towards ewa. While wandering along the peninsula chasing humus, I happen to glance up to see the big white ulua out on the edge of the ledge. He is already leaving me and I try to call with a nearby stone. Bang bang bang. Then I hear Gordon with his professional stones. BANG BANG. I watch the fish disappear, certain that it will go over to Gordon (especially frustrating after the remarks about the fish I had shot while he was away). I head back toward the rocks, visit my fish again. I get him real close, he likes things under rocks. He eats good stuff, probably tastes good, weighs about 3-5 pounds. The dang fish will probably be some one of a kind thing, leave it alone. I spend some time sand rolling with weke until I see the tornado of opelu kala twist into sight. Roger and I are both hoping to find something besides opelu kala but alas it is a pure group. They are tight, perhaps being chased. I see nothing but Gordon and he has no fish either. I hate to admit I am glad, but I am. He shows me his new computer (Aladdin sent him a free replacement to his broken one), it is reading depth in deca-feet. He is at 8.2 while I am at 82. Well I always knew he was off by a factor of something. I leave him to watch his TV and make one last sweep before ascending. I meet Roger at the anchor, and we head up. We all creep up the anchor line watching T.V. I am cold and visiting is minimal during decompression. No one else saw the ulua, or anything else for that matter. Gordon is still puzzling as his computer is telling him to decompress at 10m for 1. Is that ten minutes at one foot? 10 meters for 1 minute? Well he is now just hanging out at 1.7 !

I surface while the orange ball is still one minute away from the horizon. Well, Gordon notices that the key is out of the ignition... hey, that is what I heard/saw go flying as I went in... another lucky dive, the key landed in the boat!! Gordon pulls anchor and we head back in. Roger and I are talking about our new fish and Gordon knows it by our description. Oplegnathus punctatus, it sounds good eating according to Jack Randall. It is only rare here, common elsewhere. I figure that makes it fair game... the thing is toast!!

dive 90

Windy, rough, rainy... seems like good diving weather to me. Roger says he might make it, he is supposed to go to a funeral, but if Henry doesn't show, then he is a starter. Brian is a starter and we give up on Roger at 5:30 and head out. Brian is now an official diver and he talks of diving boot camp... I would never make it!

I am captain, so when I see all the fairy terns diving straight out the channel, I can head out after them. Brian politely gets out the hand line and drags it as we make a pass through the birds. By the time we arrive, the action has really diminished. It doesn't seem worth persevering.

We head toward one our standard dive sites. The ride is wet and the wind is merciless, I love it!! The rain has taken out a lot of line ups. We figure the pyramids will be fine. (I probably could have suggested anywhere and got an agreement from Brian.) It takes me a few passes and we throw anchor. The wind is strong enough that we waste no time in getting in the water. We land on a school of opelu darting about gobbling up the ample plankton. I load my gun and head down, the pyramids have the best sand and I see the uku below me as I come in roll and aim... oops, look at the cloud the anchor stirs up while it cruises along. I throw my gun down in a tantrum, (like the anchor will feel guilty if it sees that I am mad at it) and manage to hook it on the last pyramid. The uku are still about and I call them over and shoot right over the big one's head. Well, once they recognized me they came out of the cementwork and were all over me like a long lost buddy. I reload and try again, pick a smaller one (it picked me and I can't afford to be choosy) and miss it right under the chin. Now the big ones that were above my head come straight down and watch me try to load fast. Not fast enough, they are gone. As long as I am having fun, I don't really mind. I would hate to spend the whole dive and not go anywhere, so I head off toward the spirals (I think I saw Brian's bubbles inside, maybe he went to the ships). There is no current and I have plenty of air, I head toward my favorite papio corner and sure enough, just where he should be. I am not sure how I missed him, except he was small. The weke help me reload and there are hundreds of spawning butterflies over head. My bottom time is down to five minutes, time to work back to the anchor. The miter paths are in evidence all over the bottom. There has not been a swell for a while around here. I get back to the pyramids expecting to see all the uku again, but find only two tiny ones and one swaggering kahala. My bottom time is up and I am not sure about Brian, we had a 25 minute meet at anchor plan... I am a little late... I hook the anchor so it is freeable, but hopefully wont break loose and leave Brian in the dust. I look around and see his bubbles approaching. Good, all present and accounted for, we head up and decompress. He doesn't go into detail about what he saw, I told him I took shots and missed. The plankton are amazing and I spend the time tripping on small shrimp in the sunset glow. The opelu come by again, also tripping on the zooplankton. Flashing silver in a sparkling gold background... not bad for rough, rainy and windy. Surface into a sea of booze cruisers splattered across the sunset sky. Glad to have been under, where it is dry, time to head back to the rain. The Mo'o iki helps us to readjust to the rain by giving us occasional splashes as we blast back into port. Rinse gear, no fish to clean, stop by foodland and pick up some ahi poke and head back to my rainy cave not too defeated. Salty hair again - HA!

dive 91

Well, it is still windy, but it is Friday. Nils and I meet Roger down at the Mo'o iki. We head out into the stormy sea, Nils has declined to put on his wetsuit simply because I recommended it. (Teenagers.) The goose bumps are large, as buckets of water are being thrown at him from the sassy ocean. I see birds again, over inside the pyramids. Roger is not enthusiastic about my dragging my one lone hand line around. The diving birds and leaping fish changes his mind, things look really good. There is tons of bait in the water, birds are getting fat before our eyes. Unfortunately my aku jig looks nothing like the aholehole that are leaping out in front of the mahi. We soon give up, but I am happier for having tried; someday, but today is not the day. We are heading for the pyramids but Roger is too far Diamond Head and anchors on the ships. I am over with the anchor as the wind is wild. The anchor is amidships on the mauka side with the line rubbing on the gunwale. It takes awhile for me to get the mess moved off to stern. There is a Diamond Head current and I head up current between the boats. I come across an octopus and note the location to let Nils capture it (he has been chomping at the idea). I see the bubbles of the descending divers and drift back towards them. Roger checks the anchor and heads off, I want to just give a hint to the pig headed teen, but I now can't find the octopus and when I do I point it out. Nils debates going off to find his own, but gives in and goes after his first big hunt. We have talked about the general nature of octopus being a bit obtuse (Roger says they think like women and do whatever it is they think you don't want them to do). The trick is to shove them into the back of their hole. Well Nils's first touch brings the instant recoil as the octopus immediately grabs on. He decides to use a stone to shove against the enemy. I sit back to enjoy what I know to be a great show. The hole turns out to be larger and deeper than one would think and as Nils's elbow passes out of view, I am ready to give up and I head off to look for fish. Nils will wise up soon. I swim past the bow to the little point in the ledge, there is a small papio, but he is not interested in me. I would work my way up to the next point, but I am hesitant to leave Nils, he may get lost... venture off down current... I needn't have worried; as it turns out he was firmly embroiled in a who could be more pig headed contest. He is exactly as I left him, except his arm is now a little further along. I am about to tell him to give it up, when I see the unrolling tentacle moving up his arm. The octopus is on its way out. A second arm unfolds along the other side of his arm and over his shoulder. Hmmm, pretty good size. I wonder if I expressed upon him how strong they are, how they go right for your regulator and you have to know when to let go. The octopus emerges on the backside of his arm, and I realize that he doesn't really have it. I make a lunge, but it is too late and the bugger is off and swimming down current with the two of us in hot pursuit. It dives under a large hole filled ledge and I warn Nils about potential eels. We swim back up to retrieve our guns and return heavily armed. The octopus is moving out of our reach and deep into a hole. I nudge in my gun and loosen part of a large weird egg mass from its cave. While I am looking at it close up, Nils notices that a rock is beginning to grow and slide away. In a fit of "I'll show you" he spears it with the end of his spear. Here, I will interject the dangers of teaching anything besides yourself a lesson. My experience has been that no matter the situation, the lesson learned is often not the intended lesson at all. Beware.

Well the octopus did not seem to mind body piercing and moved down the spear and got stuck on the body of a spear gun. Two tentacles firmly glued down the length of the gun. Two or three tentacles with a firm grip on Nils's arm, and two embracing his face, exploring his regulator and creeping under his mask. All in all, if I didn't have the responsibility thing, it would have been funnier than it already was. Nils was working on one leg at a time with his only free hand. I felt obliged to get involved and pulled his face clear and we wrestled the octopus into a bag. Nils was bursting with the sweet wine of success. He is even proud at all the hocus along his arm. (I was laughing myself silly over the hocus all over his cheeks. I can't wait to see him look in a mirror.) 28 minutes have elapsed and Nils is low on air. We head up as Roger reappears empty handed. He has seen nothing but kahala. He admires the catch, and laughs at the hocus. We decompress and I really begin to freeze. I need to swim around to stay warm on these dives. The current is too strong to enjoy the plankton. We just hang on the line and shiver.

We pull anchor and head home listening to an excited strutting bull regale us with tales of his wit, cunning, strength, and bravery. There is no question who the hero is today! He is ready to take up subsistence living... I am ready for taco poke...

dive 92

Refresher course; Diving rules update for those who fall in a rut and begin to take things for granted.

1. Never say things like "we might as well go further... I mean the ocean can't get any worse."

2. Avoid making predictions of slack currents.

3. Do NOT open your mouth when people are telling shark stories and say in a know-it-all voice: "Gentlemen, on a day like today, I think I can guarantee that sharks will be the least of our problems."

General Life rule:

1. Be much more specific when brushing your teeth in the morning and making wishes like: "I just wish someone would look at me and think: 'She sure looks good; what a nice piece of ass that is.' "

Dive report:
Saturday morning, Roger and Gerry invite me to go out to catch tropical fish. We meet at the Prince William and look at the raging sea. Make the usual only heroes and fools noises as we load the boat. Roger and Gerry are discussing school politics and I get to be Captain. Sure glad I don't have to steer home from Molokai today. The boat is handling it quite well. We see another fish diver who dives alone and he is trying to pull his anchor. As we come about to talk story and see if he needs help, we are drenched by the sea. There is a better understanding now of how rough it is and we realize what it will be like heading home. Roger (who is not sea sick yet), makes a suggestion that we go down to the sewer pipe again as there were so many fish there. I can't believe he even suggested it and I question his state of mind, as it would add several miles to our journey. This is when he made the "ocean can't really get worse" statement and both Gerry and I thought that certainly was true. HA! Luckily, I am wallowing the boat around while we discuss this and Roger's stomach knocks some sense into us and we choose to go somewhere close. The depth recorder seems to have no power and a temper tantrum ensues as I try to work on it under, let's say marginal conditions. Finally one of us accidentally hits the tone button and we realize that it is working fine, just with no brightness, Roger is slightly sheepish. If you can't throw a really good tantrum among friends where are you? We toss the anchor and as the boat comes around, we get another wake up call on sea conditions. I crawl around, get my gear and slink over the side as quickly as possible. The water is super clear as I struggle toward the anchor, I debate surfacing and correcting my current predictions, but we certainly have seen worse. Besides, it makes the net set decision a lot easier. I mean it takes five minutes to choose the perfect flavor at Baskin Robbins and here every minute counts. It will be a Kaunakakai ice cream store. "You want ice cream? We have vanilla." Still forty feet off the bottom I know where we are, dove here before, lots of nasos, diving with Roger and Peggy. Well, there are still tons of fish and I am doing really well. The biggest problem is the hoards of stick fish constantly attacking my net from the wrong side. I am right by the anchor and never see any sign of the "professionals." I am thinking about heading up so I can get back in the water before those bozos finish their second dive. I know Roger is not going to wait around on the surface today. I have all my gear together when my morning wish is answered... a nice piece of ass takes on a whole new meaning. This cosmic humor thing gets you every time. Sandbar sharks only get to eight feet by law, so he must not be bigger than that. (Pushing his legal limit here). Well he sure is fat! Maybe she is a super pregnant female with morning sickness, not interested in anything like food. Drifting down toward what I hope are other divers, I come across a dead stick fish... Great, Roger teaching something a lesson again... well there goes the not hungry idea. How does a shark get this big and fat? I do not think that one measly pretzel is going to do the trick. The shark is totally unconcerned at my presence and is in no hurry to leave the area. Looking for more snacks. I act equally unconcerned and head up, back to the boat. I re-rig, and am debating some surface interval as I only have 4 minutes of bottom time. The boat is rather on the wet side, not a constant splash of the Mo'o iki underway, more like the "my face is almost dry splash" that fills the boat with water every forty seconds or so. Well, five minutes on the bottom is better than this. I have no buckets and am not excited at fishing alone. I see bubbles and join Roger, Gerry and the new guy just as Roger and Gerry decide to head up. I have a chance to do a size comparison and eight feet is a minimum, maybe it is some other kind of shark, the dorsal isn't real large could be a galapagos, but it does have the white horizontal bar that the sandbars have. I hang around decompressing as the shark stays right under us and makes great entertainment. There is a little pilot fish and it seems to surf the bow wake of the shark, or perhaps just hanging out in the blind spot. I surface in order to still have a usable tank. Who said the ocean couldn't get worse? The sea is just pure froth, a layer of spray that is at least five feet three inches is keeping me from feeling too dry. The boat is impossible to move around on and stuff either falls, rolls or blows on your feet constantly. Roger comes up, recognizes the "it can't get worse" mistake right away. We console ourselves with the seaworthiness of our craft. Roger is ready for home. Gerry and I feebly try the 'it can't get much worse' but a good Captain knows the difference between a hero and a fool and we head home. The power cat does its stuff and wet, bouncy and disheveled, we run with the engines at 3,300. Not too many boats could do that. Our return finds white caps in the harbor, it is still too wet to remove a wetsuit. No more major events except rescuing some Navy guys out for a fun sail on a blustery day. They had engine failure just leaving their slip and quick as a wink found themselves across the harbor. Blown on to the sand bar. We sure made them happy, as there were not too many other water craft about. We tied up, happy to be on dry land, the salt spray turns to sand, dirt and pebbles! At least there is still paint on my car. I am even happier to be back in my nice snuggley cave. I love grading labs, I promise never to venture out again. HA!

dive 93

Labs all day, class looks like some sort of tornado hit it. The tornado went through a corn and lima bean farm first. Off to get Nils, Roger is up for a dive. I hem and haw not wanting to put undo pressure on him. He looks me in the eye and says "You mean you don't want to go?" We meet at the boat and plan an early dive at the pyramids. It is still windy and those birds are still there. There is a beautiful rainbow over Manoa valley. My latest theory is pretty anti-rainbow, I first noticed that I have been seeing them on pretty bad days. (O.K., so every day is pretty bad, but don't confuse me with facts.) Everyone knows that rainbows are just giant buckets of luck and the amount of luck in the world is finite right? If one person finds a $100, someone else is in a bad mood. So where are these rainbows getting their luck from huh? Ever think about that? I notice that sometimes they get brighter just while I am watching... big mistake!! I quickly look away from the luck sucker and concentrate on the diving birds. It is a big pile of aku birds and even though Roger is refusing to head for them, they are right outside the ships. There are big fish jumping. He gives in, but two boats beat us to them and we see the action stop before I have put out much line. We abandon the project and get ready to anchor. Mark Lidell is anchored on the ships, hopefully they have chased all the fish our way. We anchor and I jump in to set the anchor. The small uku are beneath me, and they are heading off as I see the cloud of sand from the anchor. I set the anchor, turn, shoot and miss. My shaft is laying in the sand and a half circle of white weke immediately start walking their barbels in the sand. A perfect line up of fish faces. They are so cute I stop to enjoy them and slowly drag my shaft along the bottom. The band leader to a troop of marchers. I notice the uku are still around and figure I really should reload if I want to pretend to be an ukukiller. Roger comes down the line, and heads off towards the bend in the ledge on the Diamond Head side. I hear his gun and figure he has got an uku, they usually hang over there. I decide against the spirals as there was only that one papio last time. I head shoreward to see what new junk is laying around inside. I see lots of opelu kala inside and move in their direction. Roger is in the distance moving parallel. He has no fish, must have missed the uku as well. I search the opelu kala for a misfit, there, way off, the motion of a fish coming straight toward me. It is pretty much just a line with an ulua wiggle. It is so thin, it must be a kagami, but all I get is the idea of a tail powering it toward me. I absolutely cannot hold my breath any longer and I try to slowly ease the air out hoping it is quiet. The fish is unfazed and continues the bee line. I realize that I am going to get a shot at the same time I realize it is a big fish. Good shot, now what? I swim up the line, get to the fish, the first touch sends it off again and I am glad the line wasn't wrapped around me in any way (something else to think about). I get to the fish again and see Roger on the way to aid me. I manage to get the fish just as help gets there. Wow, these fish are strong, why don't we use them for propulsion? Getting the thing in the bag is another task, it doesn't really fit, and tries to swim off with the bag pulling Roger. We manage, go retrieve our guns and I see some larger uku swimming around in the blood soaked sea. Roger doesn't see them and wants me to get busy and reload so we can get back to the boat (this thirds rule again). We are soon decompressing, me hugging my fish and watching plankton. A perfect coral banded shrimp floats by, it is time for him to quit acting like larvae. I rarely see larvae that I actually recognize down to the species level, this was an easy call. Fully formed and still floating. We surface and the sun is still high, the birds are active again, but Mark has just pulled his anchor and is going to go try to catch something with his hand line! We head back to shore, Roger is just as excited as I am, like a proud teacher. I show off to Travis and Rene. I regret putting the fish in the trunk, because now I can't show it to the people in the cars next to me at stop lights. A police car pulls in astern, and I debate being drunk, so he will pull me over and I can explain my excitement... you know, SHOW him my fish. Too late, he is gone. I need to stop and buy film. I imagine how many non-film stores I can walk into and ask about film, explaining how I have just shot a magnificent fish, hinting that it is in the car. I decide on my local 7-11, being an addict does put me on first name basis with the employees. Well, just my luck, two new recruits, and the manager is in the back. I am wrapped in a towel, shivering and buying film, but they take no notice at all. Another typical customer, no clothes left, going through withdrawals. Well, the cat at home will be awe struck! (Especially since his real owner has had him on a diet.) Nils uses up the film on me, the fish and the sunset. I make points with all the neighbors, making sure to give the biggest piece to the guys with the hot tub. (I backed into his Lexus last month, he wasn't impressed with the ole "that's what bumpers are for" line.)

Fresh fish for dinner. Superb. If Brian had tasted this fish, he would be buying two guns from Joe. Well, it is late at night, the city is sleeping, and I still want to brag. Well there is always a dive report, someone might read it. If you have read this far, read it and weep, because little Miss Herkes has shot the fish of the year. Top that!

dive 94

Good Friday, show up at the Mo'o and hope someone else shows up. Figure on maybe Mac, or Tomas... they have more sense. Brian shows and brings his girlfriend Christie. We load up the Mo'o iki and head out in search of big fish. We have all of Waikiki to ourselves. Hoping to find the hole, but my rainy day marks are pretty questionable. The wind has been blowing so hard for so long, that the swells have some good size to them. Christie is on the wet side and is just getting drenched. We are taking on waves over the bow, the boat is ankle deep in water and conditions are as marginal as they could be. Of course we are all making cheerful jokes to convince ourselves we not afraid for our lives! Well I should say that Brian and I are making jokes, Christie is keeping to tentative giggles. I approach from inside (just in case). The marks are not good, wish I knew what Gordon's blue roof does... oh well, we are close, circle around toss the anchor and hope for the best. We are over the side like rats leaving a sinking ship. By the time I reach the anchor line, I know where we are... good work Snerk, anchor's on the mark. We all head down and I see my spotted Nenue hanging inside like a menpachi. I will get him later. There is no current and conditions underwater are a lot nicer, the water even feels warm. I swim around along the ledge, but see nothing of interest. Back at the rock, I stop to bother a flounder, love watching their skin. He is not into my antics, (I think he recognized me) and he swims up about 4 feet off the bottom and swims away, not bothering to land on the bottom while he is still in sight. Wow talk about over reacting! The kahala gang comes by, 6 or 7 big guys and one so-so. Well at least Christie will get to see her big fish. I figure that things are slow and head to the inside ledge. I come to the heniochus cloud, and see uku out in the sand. I drop call, no luck. The little white tip swims by and heads toward the hole. Well another good thing for Brian and Christie to check out. No sign of uku so I turn to head in. Let me rephrase, no sign of uku 'in front' of me, three buggers are on my tail wondering what we are trying to call in. We manage to reenact my great hunt, and this time one uku comes in. The small one of course. I fire and miss, just scratching his dorsal, he high tails it while his buddies check out the spear shaft. They are such worthy opponents, that I have to laugh. We shake hands at the end of the game, and I turn my tail homeward as my time is up. Then I see the tight ball of silver fish near the bottom and inside... well I still have plenty of air. They are not opelu as I first thought, but kawela 'ai in a tight bundle. They are swimming almost with full body contact. Very unfish like, I am ready for whatever is feeding on them, but nothing appears. The fish spread out a little and I feel that I scared off their predator. The ball is spectacular and I wish Brian and Christie could see this. I am a ways from the hole and chances are slim. My meter has told me that I should be on my way so I high speed back to the anchor, all the fish get excited at my charge and I feel like a child with 500 pigeons in the piazza. Just for the fun of seeing waves of reaction.

No sign of anyone, but I am the late one. I set the anchor on the other side of the hole, forget about my spotted dinner and head up the line. The others are getting in the boat and that is about the only entertainment while decompressing. I can watch the churning sea above and know that I have the best spot. Another coral banded shrimp floats by. This is probably some sort of big year for them. I was hoping for a big tuna year and I am going to find coral banded shrimp on every rock! I surface and don't even stop to enjoy the sunset sky. It could be that whipping wind, water in my face, has effected my capacity to enjoy nature. Just so you get the right idea here, Christie elects to leave her mask on. (I am going to like this girl, not only beautiful, but smart too!) Brian yanks up the anchor and we surf home. It is always a good day when you get back alive. We convince ourselves that we had fun and that it was much better than being snuggled up warm somewhere. I will call Oklahoma tomorrow just to get my perspective back.

dive 95

Saturday afternoon, still a bit windy, (howling) meet Roger, Mac down at the Prince William. There are now two pretty red flags flying, probably for Easter or something. We wonder if we are being foolish as we haul our gear out to the boat. Roger has new scrubbers with him. Time to clean the hulls, yahoo. Nothing like getting wet and cold before we get out there. I grab a scrubber just as Dr. Tribble shows up, so not only am I swimming in Keehi Lagoon water, scrubbing toxic paint and causing small shrimp to find a new place to dwell (like my ears for instance), but now I am being tortured from above by an ever playful puppy dog. I think about hitting him with snorkel water, but I really don't like to get blue paint shrimp water too close to my mouth. I take the abuse, knowing that as perfect as his new boat is (he is super excited, as is Roger), it too will get dirty hulls. We get the job done and since we are all cold and wet (except Gordon), we no longer have any qualms about the marginal sea. We head out for hole-in-the-wall. Roger puts us on the spot and Gordon is over to set the anchor. It is too rough to sit around and the rest of us are soon in the water. There is a lot of scope and I can see the ledge beneath me. The water is full of plankton and is murky to the bottom. Moorish idols feeding on the top of one of the tables are the first things to come into view. They each are circling in their own little area and the effect is of some sort of synchronized swimming extravaganza. Good conditions; a slight ewa current, fish everywhere and low visibility. I see Gordon so surrounded by opelu kala, that I thought he had shot something already. False alarm, he is empty handed. Roger and Mac are soon in the vicinity as well, and I figure I will cross over to the hole in the wall and leave them to explore the Diamond Head side. There are small uku and papio mixed in with the opelu kala. I am hoping for something more MY size. The sand channel is swarming with white weke, as I approach, part of the school leaves the sand and swims by me. It is like looking up at falling sleet. Having passed me, they then return to their sand feeding. The whole picture must look like I am a big bump, squirming my way under the weke carpet. I get to the hole in the wall, it is covered with weke as well, I call and check out the uku spot. Weke everywhere. I check the trap, look for lobster and head back across the sea of weke. This time there are opelu kala above and I see Roger in full point. He shoots at one of the opelu kala that turns into a small papio. He promises me the fish as I look for his brothers. I am too cold to stay in any one place, and head off to another uku area. It means leaving the land marks and using some dead reckoning. I am proud and relieved to find the spot in the murk. Alas no fish, back down current until I am back on the ledge that will lead me to the anchor. There is Roger on another chase, I hear his gun and see some larger papio in the opelu kala, Roger has an opelu kala on the end of his spear. I am not sure if that was the fish he intended on hitting. I leave him to it. My dead reckoning powers being so reliable, I decide to wander around on the inside rocks, I have gotten lobster twice on a rock pretty far inside. I find a few of the rocks, but not the one I am looking for. My powers are only good in one direction. The anchor eludes me on my return but I finally find some familiar territory and retrace my kicks to the anchor. Gordon appears out of the fog and we free the anchor and head up. He didn't see anything but the small fish also. About 15 feet up the line, some large uku have the audacity to swim right under us, I drop, but they don't turn and I am soon ascending again. We know Roger is in the boat getting seasick so after five minutes we surface. Roger has added a small uku to his collection. He said the larger ones came in when he shot the one, and I should have hung around instead of heading off. Gordon has tales of some weird artificial reef made out of a large cylinder with holes cut in the sides of it. 3 foot diameter and about 15 feet long. Holes cut into it to reveal a baffled interior. Something new to look for. Roger waits for no one as we quickly get under way and once again the Price William does what it was built for as we blast home under fierce conditions. It is windy and cold and everyone is thinking or talking about Gordon's boat and how nice and warm it would be. Hey, Gordon, do you have a name yet?? (You don't have to tell it.)

dive 96

Wed. afternoon, anyone can plainly see that the wind is dropping... Roger, Gordon and myself take off for a Waikiki foray. Roger suggests "Jennifer's secret kagami spot", (he can be gracious) and Gordon is up for that idea. The seas are much improved from last weeks little boat adventures. Since there is not buckets of cold water being thrown in our faces, we actually can converse; the subject of the day is ukus, and of course, Gordon's new boat. He is surfing the net for boat accessories!! We anchor inside the pyramids and since Roger and Gordon are both heading off to check the anchor, I turn out towards the pyramids in hope of an uku. They are about the size of my shaka sign and skittish to boot. I decide to make a "Snerk gets lost dive" out of it and head inside to explore for new things that might be added to the collection. I solo searched the great desert stopping at familiar man made objects to visit old friends. No fish, a few small mu (I have actually speared this one man, one meal size, but I still have plenty KAGAMI in the freezer.) I don't find everything I know to be around, but do manage to get back to the big chain pile. It is much easier to fly VFR when there is no crosswind, especially when puddle jumping the great plains. I can see Gordon near by, he has no fish and I head back out to the ledge and over to the ships, a small weke ula is seen but no shot taken. I have been swimming non stop and covered a lot of ground. The perspective is different when you have been jogging around the park, instead of sitting in it. I head back to the anchor thinking I should have lain on my back and made careful study of the opelu overhead. The others are swimming toward the anchor at the same time. I stop to pick up a bat star for school. (He is now named Hoku, and his little symbiotic shrimp are named itty and bitty... he spent the last day doing starfish aerobics in the form of righting him self when turned upside down.) Check the anchor, which has been freed. Decompressing is a lot warmer when you have been on the move. Gordon tells of one big goat fish and a fair sized uku inside, and the group of five small guys out at the pyramids. Roger tells almost the same story and has nothing either. Well my little bat star makes me the hero (once again) and we come up to a brisk evening and a lovely sunset. Hope to get out tomorrow.

Hey Mike, in da fust place, how come you neva wen call wen you stay coming? an den wayah my Fiji info stay?

Hey Rich, are you back from New Guinea yet?? Do I get to dive vicariously?

dive 97

Friday afternoon rolls around, the wind is better and we are ready for adventure. Gas up the Mo'o and head out! Roger, Gordon, Joe, Brian and myself. We head for Kahala, Joe wonders if we found the barge he sunk a couple months back, promises to get the numbers so we can find it. We decide on the cement z ledge. The conversation revolves around how to fill tanks and listening to Joe and Brian carry on about being ladyless. Sounds like the sweethearts have been gone for months, turns out they left port yesterday. (Hard to sympathize, but I surprisingly manage to keep my mouth shut.) The Mo'o purrs along and we are soon on the marks. Gordon and Joe are over with the anchor and by the time I tie off the boat, Brian is ready and gone. Roger and I watch him and note that there is a Diamond Head current. I am next, the water is fairly clear, the current is swimmable and the anchor is in the perfect spot. I don't want to head down current, so I head for the swail where Nils and I were surrounded by uku. No uku, lots of mu. The mu look close enough to tempt me. They are good sized. I begin the campaign and the only one that comes close is the great grandaddy mu who comes in range. Why did it have to be the really big one??? What about all those good size ones just near by? I hesitate in hopes of another fish and loose my chance. Soon Gordon appears on the other side of the swail, he is the reason the mu are leaving. He probably thinks he is helping me, chasing them my way or some stupid thing like that. I decide to move down current away from his intrusion into my space. The opelu kala zoom by and I realize that Roger is equidistant on the other side. I will never see anything! I give in and abandon the ledge. I head up current for the tires to see how far I get. I swim along at a good clip still pouting about why I have to be the one to leave? Entering the ethereal world of tires and pipes I forget my troubles. The area is mine alone and I weave around in a directionless pattern enjoying the sharp turns into unseen territory. Pretending to be a snake in a junkyard. I come across an unsuspecting eel, a perfect candidate for the clothes pin on the tail experiment. Unfortunately (this is arguable) Nils and I never actually put the clothes pins in our gear bags as planned. I am having a great time but am in the outfield, time to head for home plate. The swim back is going to fly, a down current slide. I short cut into the sand and try swimming watching the ground beneath me for a new visual sensation. This is akin to watching the ground beneath the tires while biking down a hill, you run into the most interesting things. Sure enough three big weke ula explode into existence in front of my face. I am not ready but they have to move away to get in front of the gun, I take a shot and miss. I look up to find myself near the anchor, I can hear breathing and look to see who saw me miss. No longer is my last shot a GIANT KAGAMI, it is back to miss Herkes in less than a thought. The noble creature who escaped doubles back to let me know it is just for fun, (and it sure is fun). The bubbles turn out to be Joe and Brian. (Yes, bubbles.) They are overhead beeping their way back to the anchor line. I never saw Joe get ready and he has a spear as well as a full goodie bag. That bugger!! It is just a pole spear too, this isn't fun, this is humiliation! He probably has a big mu and will innocently ask : "Say, is this any good to eat?" I still have air and time so I plan to return to my original spot. There is a trail of gills and fish parts. Well, someone has been here. See Roger in full point, well if I circle around and come at him from the other side, I will chase the fish right to him. I am not really intruding, I am helping. I hear his gun and figure it is now fair to head over, he is putting a small uku away to add to his two opelu kala. He is excited about a lot of big uku, he points out the area but is low on air. I look, debate staying for awhile, but I know the anchor is a problem and opt for joining Roger. If I head up early, I will be sure to know that Gordon is behind me and leave the anchor unhooking to him. The anchor wont be easy to free as it is bound to be pulled into a whole pile of concrete z's. Luck is with me and I run into Gordon, he has a large weke ula but is on the make for uku. I tell him about the anchor he gives me a maybe sign. What the hell is that? Maybe I will get the anchor?? Now I have to wait at the anchor for his arrival. No way do I want to come back down later, nor do I want to be the one who gets to carry it over the top of the pile, unhooking it over and over. Well Dr. Maybe is making to hit the anchor line about 30' off the bottom when I reinform him of my plan. He is grumpy about the whole ordeal, nothing to do with not getting the uku, mostly just because I did it on purpose. (Never mind what, moot point.) We decompress with no chit chat, just watching the waves and hanging on the line. Surface to find that Gearman didn't really have a fish, just more gear. The spear, he found (Roger is claiming he lost it... has anyone ever found anything that wasn't really Roger's first?). They had gone up current and outside and found the new barge. Being the true hero and eagle scout that he is, the barge is now nicely marked on the surface with a large deployed float. The young bucks pull the anchor and we head off to rescue the marker and to take marks for the next time. The float rescue is a smooth operation with the captain sidling up while each of the four of us all leaning as far as possible over the side get to quickly touch the magic marker before it gets sucked under the boat and all four of us run to the other side, only the actual owner goes the extra inch (too far) and pulls off the rescue along with an extra salt water rinse. We are happy to have a new place to explore, Roger and Gordon both saw large uku and are certain that they are being created in the center of that new spot!! Fishermen are the same the world over. The Mo'o takes us home in the dark, the stars are getting closer to summer as Bootes is high already. The evening is pleasant and the banter cheerful, rinse gear, catch the fireworks. Good dive, wet hair, great friends, marinating KAGAMI waiting for the grill, extra diet coke, the radio in my car works, another perfect Friday evening.

dive 98

Saturday morning, Roger and Gerry are planning to catch fish and they invite me along. I could use some new fish in the class and a day at sea. 12 full tanks, a following sea and we can do no wrong. We head down past garbage can lid, the water is clear as mud and we circle around and toss the anchor on a nice wave. I know they will do two tanks to my one if we get in at the same time, so I jump in while they get all their equipment ready. I sink like gold through the gloom and vaguely wonder if I might have the wrong net. Well it was tucked in my hand net so it must be mine, I have become so weak from not working out. I hear the anchor and there is a current so I have a good swim before anything else. Square away the anchor and decide to work up current in case it gets worse. It is fairly murky (can't see s---), but I can make out a spiny lobster, no two, three, ok at least fifteen. No bag, plus they are all over the place and by the time I got one there would only be one. I debate setting the net around them, but I still have no bag and I did have the one swim out through my scoop net once. I try to take note of location and swim somewhere else, get them later. I set the net, whoops, wrong net. I am in major big trouble, thank goodness for lobsters. If I don't find them again, they will think I made it up! Now to see if I can locate the those pros, they will be hopping mad at having my net. The most obvious place should be down current of the boat. Yes, there they are chasing 10,000 fish hoping they will hit a wee little square of a net, I join the drive and make sure Roger does catch one so he wont be too mad. I quickly signal that there are hundreds of lobsters (which there seems to be as I came across four more separate ones on my search for them.) I get my net but fish with them as there are a lot of fish and they will do better with my help. We end the dive having seen a couple more lobsters and ignored them. Gerry and I surface and plan our lobster attack, we figure half dive on fishing and half dive on bugs. Roger surfaces in a fury, you can hear him yelling out of his regulator before his head is actually out of the water. Seems the free flowing decomp regulator, the mask that kept leaking and squiggling fish in a strong current, caused him to loose the needle. Of course it is the only one. One problem at a time, I look at his mask, the rubber has worn through on each side of the nose like the heals of five year old rubber slippers. We have an extra, one down. The regulator leaks, but we have a spare, needle is a problem, finally Roger does dig one out of the rust in the bottom of a tool box. Getting the rust out of the tube is no easy task. Infinite patience, and Snerk ingenuity save the day and by the time Roger has the fish dealt with, we are back in business. Of course we all had to listen to how if it wasn't for the rest of us, (wives in particular, and one uncle who makes you waste two hours at Chucky Cheese) he would have the needed time for proper maintainence and preparedness. I figure to fish with them the second time because I don't want to miss out on the lobster chase extravaganza. Gerry is always good around lobsters, he gets the glaze over his eyes and becomes a demon, but with the added determination of lust, he often looses common sense. (The inverse proportions of these traits should be studied) We descend into a different world, there is no current and after the first ten feet, the water becomes clear and Roger suddenly sees the antennae beneath us. A big female, but we are in lobster mode now, Roger and I are designated catchers and Gerry (must have learned from past, or perhaps saw the twinkle in my eye, has opted for bag man). With clear water and no current things have gotten smaller and closer. We find the gang and Roger takes no time to plan, just goes for one. All lobsters scatter, I finally get my Easter egg hunt! And let me tell you, it is a LOT more fun when the eggs switch hiding places while you aren't looking! The ocean is alive with squeaking and creaking. My second male gets away and cleverly dashes into Rogers waiting hands. A perfect pass. We have six, we come across another bunch of five, but they are all too small. Two bags full, and we start fishing, we do great but Gerry and Roger are out of air. I am stuck with the big net still set, three hand nets full of fish, a bucket, and one lobster bag. (the last item is my own doing as I thought that there still are those other four I had seen. By the time I have everything in order, I am into decomp. (Here is diving logic for you.) Well, since I have to decompress anyway, I might as well spend some time looking around... Luckily I find nothing as I make my way and have plenty of time to decompress as Roger deals with the fish. They plan their next dive at 50' and I figure to sit it out as we are short of air. (we always bring 12 tanks and dammed if I ever get more than two or three... hmmm, I had better pay attention when we divvy up the bugs.) I have a diet coke and play with my dive computer and sun bathe; such the princess! They have a junk dive but Roger does report he saw some harlequin shrimp (didn't think of getting them for me). We then do our last dive close to the Pearl channel in about 35'. I am on my own at last but I am frustrated by fish that are too stupid to figure out my clever net sets. One yellow tail wrasse was particularly dumb and still didn't get what he was supposed to do after I gave him three chances! The stick fish brigade that showed up as soon as I got wet suggest they are familiar with tropical fish divers. I had five of them in my net before I could even start a drive. They faithfully followed me every where even when I kept bopping them on their flat heads. You would think three good bops would make you want to find lunch elsewhere, nope, just makes them more sure the meal is going to be really good. I guess they are more human than I gave them credit for. The dive gets worse when I hear the anchor call. I had found it in a knot, and having no close spots, set it on an idea of a ridge. I wasn't too worried because there is no ledge, however there is coral so I head over and fix it. I see the other guys in the distance, then the shadow passes over... to slow to be an airplane (which I for a long time thought were sharks that swam so fast you never saw them), I look up like checking a mouse trap, not wanting to know yet having to look. There above me, twelve feet, mouth open, a gorgeous manta feeding like mad. There are also opelu in a massive feeding frenzy, in the midday sun they are a new years sparkler at midnight. I stand on the bottom holding my net and buckets and watch. There is a second manta and they are taking turns passing through the opelu. A large baraccuda is on the outside trying to still his way into the opelu unnoticed. They avoid him with out ever showing it and the whole picture captivates me for the rest of the dive. Roger bangs on his tank and signals they are going up, he can see me doing nothing and wonders if I am OK. I don't know if my excited manta sign makes him feel more or less worried, but he is out of air regardless. He has knocked me out of my trance and I hook off my fish, dump my gear on board and go play in the game. The opelu let me get right in (I guess I am less threatening than a baraccuda) . I am in a ball of shredded tin foil, each piece gulping like mad at invisible treats. The mantas are still taking turn circling through, but don't let me closer than 5 feet or so. I have never seen them feed by daylight and it is fun to have them do more than swim by. Roger and Gerry decline my invitation, work work work... they must be getting paid! I practice being a manta, I need expanding webs for my wetsuit. The new hero, manta woman! O.K. I know I am weird, but I am splashing around in the ocean and I do have lobster for dinner!

dive 99

Sunday morning up at the crack of dawn to catch a dive with the heavy hitters. Brian gets usurped by his job while Joe and Gordon show up for what will now be a regular dive. The wind is down and the ocean is inviting. We head out for Ewa, Joe finally has the nerve to ask personal questions that have been puzzling him. (So now he is twice as confused!) We analize everyone and solve no problems, I brag about lobsters as we try to find either Menehune Wall, or Rogers Ahi spot. We split the difference and anchor. Gordon and Joe make noises about feeding the fish and I figure on heading away from them! The water is thick and murky, but at about 15 feet, it gets clear and I can see bottom. There is a ledge remnant and a tell-tale block that tells me I need to head Diamond Head. I head off towards the spot. I am soon in familiar territory, I always see sharks at this spot. No fish, just shark city, well I soon come across a beautiful giant angel fish, some kind of imperial or circling one, certainly not from here. I don't know if it is found near by and might have arrived by barge, or is from the Atlantic and was a definite "let go" from someone's tank. It is pretty far from shore and it is a big fish, not a cheap or common one. It is super cute, I figure I will show it to Gordon because he probably knows where it is found. I head back to find Gordon and Joe. As if my very own shark thoughts have the power to produce the goods, the man appears. It turns into a hammer head. I am pretty far from the anchor and I don't know how far from the nearest other diver, but the shark moves on. Shortly followed by an all too curious papio. I shoot the papio and am very happy to see Gordon coming up the ledge. I signal shark and ask him to keep an eye out. We get the fish put away and I take him to show him my really cute angel. As we get closer to the spot Gordon gets more excited about the opelu kala, the darting opelu and the look of murky action. That combined with my fish, makes him very disinterested in my super cute find. He thought I was going to show him papio or something. He is off to look for game with only a nod at my really sweet fish. Well, his behavior leads me to believe that he had no clue where we were at the anchor and probably spent some time in the desert. I figure I should go tell Joe about the shark and bring him over to the spot. I head back to the anchor (fourth trip). I don't know why I think that Joe will be sitting at the anchor taking his tanks on and off, but he is not there... well it has been 25 minutes, perhaps he has gone up, actually he could be anywhere as we had no plan at all. I head back up the ledge (fifth trip), this is getting to be a bit repetitive, I think about heading to my inside spot, but I don't want to run into any more sharks. I figure that by now the sharks have figured out my normal patrol pattern and are avoiding the Snerk runway. Back to my angel fish, boy is he cute. I find a cool little rock which I bang the junk off of it to clean it up. I am looking at how nice I have made it, when I realize that I have called over two more papio. They have finished checking me out and bug out before I get a shot off. Well, time to head back (trip six). I am hanging on the line, hoping Joe is in the boat when Gordon shows empty handed. He saw a different shark, (shark city). Joe is up, having spent most of the dive trying to figure out where he was and where he had been. I think Gordon led him astray, then doubled back to the spot. Joe, ever cheerful, pulls the anchor. He is new to the power cat and as he stands on the bow, I wait to see if he is going in or the anchor is coming out. (You can never tell with that guy!) The engines fire right up, and Captain Gordon takes us home at good speed, thinking about his future boat, comparing features. Planning his day at Kilgo's and West Marine etc... I am happy to have yet another dinner from the bountiful sea. Neptune has glassed down to a whispering wind and gentle rolling sea. We watch the Navy doing some man overboard procedures with a giant boat. (It is nice to have a translator along, they sure looked lost!) I am sitting on the box, half listening to boat experts, looking at the sunshine spots reflected on the water as the waves rise to the boat. Not bad, vow not to complain for the rest of the day (that one didn't last long). Back to school tomorrow!

dive 100

Long day in the trenches. Having committed what now is an obvious error of using both the words Homo and Erectus in the same lecture. I am definitely ready for some salt water "cleansing". Roger is a diver and we meet at the Mo'o at about 5:40. Roger is hot on the Kagami spot, so we anchor inside the pyramids. We enter the water in synch and each drift our own way. The water is murky and when I set the anchor, there is no sign of Roger. The anchor is near the ledge, and I head inside to the chain pile. Fish come from every where to meet me, I am reminded of the finches in my class. Someone is definitely feeding these guys and who ever it is, has something in common with myself. I am surrounded by opelu kala, butterflies, and humus. There are some small weke ula, small mu and a small kumu. The kumu is at the real tasty size, perfect for the pole spear, but it is hiding inside some artifacts. The hordes of fish give up on me and vanish back to their usual distant outlines. It is cold enough that I choose to keep swimming, and head off to the pyramids. As I approach, I hear Roger shoot and arrive to see him reloading. No fish. He tells me of uku at about the same time as they show up. I call them over and miss. Three come in on my shaft in the sand when Roger sneaks up and fires at one. He just nicks the fish and we are both empty handed. Our shafts laying crossed in the sand, with uku all over the top of them. We reload and Roger takes off. The uku return and I swim along the bottom watching them approach. I miss again!! Now I just sit in the sand and freeze. I am surrounded by friendly weke but I see nothing to shoot at. I head back to the ledge and do not take note of which pyramid I left from. The ledge all looks the same in the murk, and I am not sure if the anchor is Ewa or Diamond Head. I figure to travel up current until I reach the anchor or the ships. I eventually see some potters I know and turn around, as I am on my way to the ships. I am searching through the menu but see no hearty eater items. A smallish mu is ever friendly, but I figure to be nice and harmless so he can tell his buddies what a great gal I am. I am searching for the anchor and find myself with no bottom time and no clue. I know it is around here somewhere. I am zig zagging along in search of anything like a land mark. I finally see a pile of bricks, and know I am close, it is a nice relief to be able to climb up a familiar rope. Decompressing in the middle of the murk is always unnerving, especially with no reference points and a current. Roger is on the line with an uku and an uhu in his bag. It is even better to see a familiar face after swimming around in a fog. He tells of a big uku he saw, and three others he shot at before getting the one. He also got an uhu for someone that I know. (I have no clue). He then tells of looking for the anchor, getting lost, scared and swimming around mid water with his heart pounding in search of the boat. Either it is pretty murky, or we are two lost souls (the truth is in between). We surface, the sun has gone behind some clouds and we head for home. It is always nice to go diving, and I am thankful for the stolen opportunity, and even more thankful for the uku that Roger gives me. Fresh sashimi for dinner... life looks up.

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