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The Snerk Report, Vol. 6

dive 138

Monday eve, been doing school work all day. Mike the angel calls and invites me on an evening dive. Mike, John, Brooks, David, Roger and I are the crew. It is Brooks' last dive as he heads back to school tomorrow, we let him choose the site and he picks the hole because all of the fish. Mike and David set the anchor and the rest of us follow. Brooks is the next one in with the standard "see you at the anchor", Roger and I watch as John assembles his mask, it seems a little complicated. It is like that new hard top convertible Mercedes. It all fits together, gee what will they think of next? We all head in and move down the anchor line, there isn't much current. The water is murky and we are close before the fish loom into view. A gray swarm of opelu kala surrounds the rocks at the bottom. Roger doesn't see Brooks and heads off inside with John. I see Brooks on the other side of the hole and I hang around looking for fish. David comes by having been somewhere outside and ewa, he hasn't seen anything. There are lots of big parrot fish and they are swimming close, it must be the murkiness, usually they stay away from me. I watch a small lemon butterfly try to drive Brooks off of the top of the hole. Brooks is playing with it and looks to go cross eyed soon. The fish is as close to his mask as possible. It warms my heart to see someone enjoying the world around them. I saw an old Japanese woman with her pant legs rolled up running back and forth teasing the shore waves at Ala Moana beach yesterday, it is the same good feeling. My feelings change to a more sinister nature as I see Brooks attempt to swim through the cave; he doesn't look my way, and I guess he must not have seen that white tip in there yet... It is amazing what you can tell just from body language. I am quite sure I could tell you the exact moment of recognition. Roger and John are back having seen nothing to shoot. John and I head over to Mike who is coming back from the Diamond Head cable. Mike has a small papio. Well, the hole is a little crowded, so I take John to my uku spot. I can see uku out there but they are just shapes of distant gray unwilling to come close. I am going to point them out to John but he has left, I can just see his fins heading down the cable toward the 130' ledge. I guess with the reference of the cable he is pretty safe. I follow along to show him the way back. The first thing he does is chase a big tornado of opelu kala right to me. They are a solid mass and I am sure if I look hard enough, one will turn into a papio. Nope, opelu kala through and through. The fish shatter into an exploding fireworks display as John returns trapping the fish between us. He is low on air and worried about finding his way back to the boat. Well, any man that cuts his hair for me (a first), certainly deserves the fully guided tour back to the anchor line. I leave him on the anchor line, Mike is also heading up. Brooks and Roger are still hunting around. Neither Roger nor I have seen anything to shoot, but the fish density is so thick we keep waiting. I run into the resident mu who got confused in the murk and almost came into range. He scares himself at the thought and darts off. Roger resets the anchor Diamond Head of the hole and he and Brooks head up. I still have air so I figure to see if fish will show now that there is only one little harmless white tip snerk instead of a whole pack. I head out to the ewa side and call. There are those small weke ula and behind them what could be uku... yes, uku come in. I take a shot at a close uku, but miss. Just when I get my gun reloaded the bell goes off, and I hear the anchor go. SHIT! I am on the wrong side of the hole and I have experience with the Mo'o on the move. I put my new fins to the test and book back towards a disappearing anchor line. I hope David is up, I haven't seen him, but he usually goes deep and uses up his bottom time. I catch the boat and find Roger and Brooks still on the line and happy to see I made it back. I am on the surface in time for another glorious Hawaiian sunset. Diamond Head is pink purple and the Waianae range is haloed in clouds that have caught fire. Everyone is rehashing their dive. We all agree there sure were a lot of fish at that spot. Brooks and I seem to have a slight difference of opinion on the size of the shark, but I must admit that sharks definately get bigger as you get closer and Brooks was pretty close! Mike and David pull the anchor and we head home.

I manage to convince Mike that his papio is really a two person papio, and as he is currently a family of three, resources would be better served if he gave it to Nils and I. I didn't actually twist his arm, but he did give me the fish. Which by the way, I salty, crispy deep fried and served it on stir fried veggies with a sweet sour sauce. It was very good, thanks again Mike.


dive 139

Friday afternoon, I have not been diving for ages. Meet the gang down at the Mo'o. Dave, Athleen, Roger and Joe; we get ready and at 5:30 I am chomping at the bit. Roger holds out for the arrival of his beloved son and phones Mike to find him just racing out the door. This gives the sun a chance to catch up to my eagerness and for us to socialize about our great work week. Mike and John step on board in perfect coordination of the boat pulling out of the slip. We decide on Jennifer's Kagami spot as the best chance for fish. Mike goes down with the anchor and places it in a hole. The rest of us soon follow. I enter the water and look down right on the ledge. There is a big sting ray rippling his way up off the bottom and it seems rude to go down the anchor line and ignore his friendly gesture. We meet at 50 feet and even though I do my very best to look like a cute young sting ray... after our initial rondevous, he heads off toward the spirals. He is still the friendliest stingray I have ever met and I feel glad to be back in the water as I orient myself again toward the anchor. I go to load my gun and see that I have grabbed Roger's gun. I will meet him when he comes down the anchor line and switch. My arrival invokes some interest from several small uku, but all my attempts at loading Roger's gun are fruitless. He just put new slings on and I am not strong enough. Joe is at the anchor and I debate making him load the gun. He is slightly confused at my 'this is the wrong gun' tale. It soon becomes clear as Roger arrives with my gun. I can see tons of bubbles up in the Kagami area (the anchor is half way between the pyramids and the Kagami spot), and the current is going ewa. Joe was interested in seeing how to get to the ships so I signal (we pre agreed on the signal so we actually could understand each other) and we head off in that direction. I veer off to an uku corner, but don't see anything. The ship however has a lot of uku in the sand before you get to it. The uku are big uku, I line up on a smaller forerunner and miss. Joe leaves me in my fish calling and goes off to check out the boat. He does not want to get blamed for my misses, or he is afraid I might hit him. He is a remarkably quiet dive partner, the good news is the fish don't mind him, the bad news is that you can't keep track of him without looking for him. The uku keep sending in larger cousins to see if I can hit them. They will no doubt shortly be swimming the side of a barn by for me. At least it will fit in with the man made environment. Well after enough unfriendly shots they drift off. Joe has been off touring the ship and is coming to check on me. I am ready to head back toward the anchor and see what everyone else has got. As we fly down current I notice all the uku shadowing along parallel just outside the ledge. I think that they actually enjoy my visits and don't want to miss out on anything fun. They love to follow! We stop to bother a little octopus that was hoping I didn't see it. I wouldn't have seen him except his hormones gave him away as I came close. It is hard to hide excitement! Joe and I continue on and come across Roger putting another uku in his bag. They are the small ones that were near the anchor when I arrived the first time. Roger is heading up and says bye. I ask Joe if he wants to spend the rest of the dive at the pyramids or the kagami spot. We head out toward the pyramids and I see the uku again. We never even really get there when I have missed yet another one. I reload and Joe points to his meter. I still have 30 seconds... you never know... O.K. now it is time to head up. I swim back to the anchor and see Dave and Athleen still swimming around. I give pulling the anchor a miss and hope for the best. Roger is still decompressing and admonishes me for not pulling the anchor, Joe volunteers but I wait on Dave. No luck, Dave thought we had done it. Well I now do not really have enough air. Joe is willing and heads off to the depths no doubt to be surrounded by uku. I try to ask Dave if he took any shots, or saw any uku, but alas, it is just a game of charades... he needs more snerk training to understand my pidgin. Joe comes back successful, I thank him and promise to pull the anchor; he needs the same training. The Mo'o after sunset has four fish on board. Mike managed two MK, one really big one and a regular size one. Roger got two uku. Glacier Bay Dave passes by having been at the hole, he is empty handed like myself. I start to pull the anchor wearing my sexy swimsuit and by the time I have all the slack in, I have attracted a whole pack of men. I am surrounded by John, Joe and Dave, the latter of who actually pulls the anchor while we all cheer him on and Joe inquires as to the general health of his back. The sun has set and Diamond Head is just a dark shape against the sky, the white water on the waves at Ala Moana reflect the remaining light as we come in the channel. Roger is spending the night in Waikiki, Mike is heading off to Lanai and yours truly does manage to take two fish home with her... wow, I can even have guests!


dive 140

Sunday morning, Roger is on for a fish photo shoot with Jack Randall and a coconut island grad student / slave named Mark. I sign on as crew and we take the Mo'o to the little hole. Roger knows where these fish are, we are looking for blue tangs. I go and set the anchor, the others join me shortly. Roger knows just where they live, (on the outside ledge past the cable) and the photographers are soon going crazy. The good thing about photography is you don't know if you have missed or not. Jack was happy to see we brought guns as he needs a Chlorurus sordidus for a DNA sample. Well, my ability to get close to parrot fish - much less know one from the other - is nil. I figure if I see a big parrot fish in range, I'll shoot it. Roger says they are curious and I have to hide from them, then they will come over. I feel fairly silly, especially when it doesn't alter their behavior in the slightest.

Roger and I help herd the Acanthurus into photo range, but the guys are really pretty good by themselves and the fish don't wander too far from home. I remember a blue tang that lived in Kewalo Basin when the Witchcraft was moored there, and it stayed on the same pier for six months. I guess plankton feeders just find a home to work out of, and stay. This makes me think these guys got here on their own, it is a place filled with opelu kala, heniochus, and lemon butterflies, yet not right at the little hole, not too many divers come over this far as evidenced by Roger pulling lobsters out of the ledge and putting them in his bag... good sized slippers too! I guess it comes down to "Are they male and female?" Could be a bummer. Roger heads up and I hang around not doing much until my beeper sends me up. The guys with the cameras do not look like they are leaving the bottom anytime soon. (Their meters don't beep out loud, and they have big tanks) I have lots of air, and the water is clear so I stroll over towards the 100' hole until I can recognize the ewa ledge. I guess that counts as a work out, I come back to find the others off the bottom, mission accomplished. Roger graciously invites them back on Friday. Jack wants a picture of those oceanic file fish that are abundant this year, but he is heading to Tahiti until mid Oct. (I am jealous). The guys help me pull anchor and the Mo'o glides home with the sun shining and the day still ahead.


dive 141

Thursday, Roger can't make Friday and is planning to dive. Along comes Jack (those file fish are calling him and his camera, the same way the uku are calling me and my spear gun). Dr. Tribble is next to arrive, followed by Mike, John and Carl. We rig up and head for the Kagami spot (those weird file fish were last seen there). Gordon and Mike head off to set the anchor. The rest of us are soon in as well. I am going to show Jack the way around and hopefully see some fish. The water is a little too murky for good photos, but there isn't even a hair's breath of a current. I check out the area while Jack fiddles around with his camera. The cool thing is the lemon butterflies on the anchor line. Where the chain ends and the rope begins the tattered frays of string have been taped down using black electrical tape, creating a yellowish bundle of string with a black stripe. The butterflies are either so horny that anything looks good (I know this feeling), or they are considerate enough to include the severely handicapped in their group rituals. What ever the reason, the clump of butterflies bobs up and down keeping perfect time while the swell bounces the anchor line. Maybe the bobbing itself is the turn on... more fun experiments to explore.

The pile of chain has a turtle waking up and heading off, I get there just in time to see him twist his head around and take a hard bite on his flipper. His beak looks pretty formidable too. I guess they can get itchy arms, maybe he is nervous, I do that. Carl and John cruise by, they don't have any fish but seem to be enjoying themselves. One baby papio checks us out. Jack and I swim out to the pyramids where there are no file fish, but Gordon is there and tries to help me get the mu that is swimming between us. Gordon drives it toward me and I take the long shot before it heads off. I thank Gordon and he moves a little ways away, I am looking for uku. I hear Gordon's gun go off. Jack seems to be happily fiddling with his camera equipment, so I head over and see if he brought in anything besides myself with the dinner bell. He has a papio on the end of the spear but I don't see anything else. I head back to find Jack has moved off. Well, I am not going to spend too much energy worrying about what happened to him, he has a better chance of approaching that fish without me in the way. I check out each pyramid looking for uku, and plus I get to roll around and have fun. No fish; I head in and follow a sand trail (remember no current) hoping to find Jack, but instead Gordon is at the end of the trail and he seems to be on a papio killing frenzy; he has taken to getting them two at a time. I head off to the ship in search of uku. The ship is covered in fish, the biomass of small opelu kala is incredible. They darken the sky and use up available light for as far as the eye can see. WOW! The larger uku are there, I can see them, they cruise by at different altitudes, but never come real close. I work them until my meter goes off. A papio heard the bell and dropped in on me before the second round of beeps. Well at least I got a nice size dinner. I have plenty of air but no bottom time. By the time I put the fish away, reload (did it wrong), I have two minutes deco and I still have the anchor to free. Where is that guy with the black box when you need him? Some times I really miss you Joey. I stay close to the bottom and make my way back, little uku are all around, but I am girl on a mission and I don't tarry. I can see Roger decompressing on the line.

1. It is amazing that I can tell it is Roger from just a black shape at a distance, it is like knowing it is an ulua before you are sure there is a fish.

2. I have been down 40 minutes... must be Roger's second tank, he may have freed the anchor.

He signals me to free it if I have enough air and I do so. The friendly little uku are all around and I plan to take one out until I realize that one of my slings is entangled and I have to unload in order to reload. I play with the dangling shaft, like a maestros wand in an uku orchestra as I slowly leave the bottom. Roger is still on the line and we decompress, talking about the fish we saw, the file fish we didn't see and fish we have. Roger has an uku in his bag, says he saw many bigger ones when he was fighting the one he had. The sun is about to come under water with us, so we head up to watch. Everyone is on board, Gordon has a bucket full of papio, but I am quick to point out mine is bigger. He doesn't seem too perturbed. I wonder how Roger managed a forty minute dive. Turns out he checked his air at 20 minutes and had around 1000 psi, checked it again at 24 and had around 1000 psi. His meter showed time to head up, so he figured he had better be half way up when he took his last breath. Well, he must have decompressed for 20 minutes watching his gauge and waiting for everyone to come up. No current always makes the day last longer! The sky is beautiful and the sunset colors make magic island look like my image of Africa. Everyone rinses gear while I stand about and flirt with Mark Lidel (he does have a boat you know) who is passing by and wants to check the catch. I do get an extra final dip in the inviting ocean as the Mo'o iki, the Mo'o and the Kayak gang up on me. With the middle name of Grace, I compete in some sort of competition for spectacular fiascoes, and tricky balance maneuvers with only a simple towel to act as the spinning ribbon. I am not sure that anyone actually SAW me until the rather loud splash and scream, which was really at the end of the whole routine. The newcomers (John and Carl) actually came to my aid, unlike the old timers who found it way too entertaining to be able to do much more than double over.


dive 142

Friday, and Gordon and the rebreathers are planning a dive. I show up to find that Joe and Brian are to be picked up at the fuel dock. (La dee da) As we make our way across a stage full of dancing sailboats waiting for the bell, I can make out our fares. They see us and are going for the full cheesecake in order to get us to arrive sooner. Next to them is the reason they are showing off... the Grasshopper with Maggie as captain waiting also. Turns out she saw their dive stuff and innocently asked "Hey do you guys know Roger Pfeffer?" The boys eye each other, wonder silently who this wahine is (daughter, girlfriend, student, friend of wife?), and lay low. "We are meeting Gordon here at 17:15." "Is Jennifer coming?" Maggie innocently asks. Talk about a loaded question! Well the subject switches around to New York and they all have a fine time.

We load up and head out. The choice is Ewa or Kahala. Joe chooses no sharks and we head to his barge. I am greatly entertained by the escapades of military life. The trip out is as good as the dive itself in terms of forgetting my work week. Gordon puts us right on the spot and Joe tosses the anchor. (Told him it was too tricky and difficult for him to do... I know, I know, taking candy from a baby, etc., etc.) My gear is hard to find as it is hiding in Roger's bag. Who was the helpful person who put my gear away yesterday? It is O.K. for someone like Roger to have a bag full of holes, but some of my fish might swim out those holes! I am the first one in, there is no current, and the anchor is right next to the barge. I start to make my way to the Diamond Head Z's and take a warm up shot at a small uku. Miss. I reload and head further along toward the Z's. The uku of course follow along and try to beat me to where ever I am going; they don't know where, but they want to get there first. You have got to love these guys. I am planning to get some cover and then, working them in, we all head over as a group and I am reminded of the Coyote and the Sheepdog, off to start a days work. We get to my choosen fort and they circle out into the sand and make their first approach. They circle, turn right and I know I can get them back. I actually don't want to kill them. Those mu however, I don't like those guys. I decide to forgo the uku games and go for Mu (there are quite a few of them). I pick a new fort and take my stand. They watch my antics, and ever so slowly back closer to me. I really get into tossing sand and turning over rocks; yep, they are planning to back over me backwards. My gun is pointing the wrong way ( I had put it down as there were some really interesting rocks) and it is going to be close. I shoot one, and think now what? There is a big mad mu with a spear through his tail, tons of concrete Z's and the whole thing looks bad. I do manage to catch up to him and not to get bit as I stuff him in the bag. This stupid bag won't even close (there is some secret Roger trick no doubt) and the fish keeps swimming off with it while I try to reload my gun. The blood has brought all the uku back over and I figure to get one now. I take my bloody catch out to the bottom of the ledge in order to be in an eel free zone. The uku are wary and seem to be going down the ledge and coming back. I turn to head further up the ledge and find the rest of the mu right behind me. Well, I will try to shoot another one. I hit this guy perfect and he dies instantly. As I watch him twitch and fall I realize before I can do anything that he is falling right on a mean green eel. The eel is only partly under a Z and I can easily imagine the eel, my dead mu, my spear shaft and all my line in one hopeless mass underneath tons of concrete. Nearby eels no doubt showing up and making things worse. Well the lucky penny paid off as the mu landed thunk right on the eels head, startling and pissing him off in one fell swoop. Before he had a chance to realize it was a gold brick that had landed on his head and while he was still thinking it was my fault, I snatched up my prize and took off. As I stuffed the fish in the bag it suddenly occurred to me why Roger is so fond of this stupid bag full of holes that won't even close. (I have bought him a brand new one.) Hmmm, maybe I will keep the lucky bag a little longer. I only have time to load as my beeper goes off and I make my way back to the rebreather guys who are standing on the bottom talking to each other. One would normally be very impressed that they can understand speech so well, until you get close and realize that they are both talking at the same time! I leave them to no doubt talk philosophy as I head up. I decompress and swim around looking for Gordon. He doesn't appear until the rebreathers are on the line. He has two good size uku in his bag. He tells me he swam over to the deep barge, no fish. He then got the uku on his way back to Joe's Barge. We fill the deck with gear and compare dives. Joe pulls the anchor (he is such a hero, he can even pull the anchor with a sore back) and we head home. We are now obliged to drop off the kings at the fuel dock where their court ladies are waiting.) Gordon and I put away the boat and as I walk the mile or so to my car with a tank on my back, I am treated to the sparks of Friday night fireworks and to the admiring gazes of all who see my catch.

I now have too much really delicious fish and am having a dinner party. Anyone who reads this is invited: party, my house Sunday night. R.S.V.P.

For future reference:

Gordon's boat: drive down the 4 hundred row until you are near 435. Park and walk out on the floating docks. It is on the middle (C) dock (C24).


dive 143

Long day, would love to go diving but I think I might be getting sick so I head home. Walk in the door, answer the phone and agree to a "meeting" with Mike and Roger. 5:30 at the Mo'o iki. The world is ours and we can't decide between Marnie's rock, Kahala or Makapu'u; not enough gas for Molokai and the sun is rapidly setting so we head to the 100' hole. There is an ewa current and it's hard to get enough slack to tie off the boat. Mike is over first and Roger and I follow suit. I am almost to the anchor line when a barb of a spear gun comes into view and schoom hooks the line and Roger pulls it over to himself! A few more kicks for me! We pull down hand over hand to find that it is swimmable near the bottom. Roger and I approach the hole from the ewa rocks. He goes mauka and I am makai. The little shark is hiding in the hole. I can see the opelu kala moving by outside and I head over to check them out. There is what I first took to be a little shark but soon turned into a large rainbow runner mixed in with the fish. I see him leaving but I can follow the essence of the shape and I see it is staying with the school and circling back. I look over to see Roger at full point as well. Across the bay, over by the DH cable, Mike is in the same position. We basically have a triangle on this school of opelu kala. I don't want to make the first mistake and I lay still and wait. While I am looking up for the reappearance of the rainbow runner, five or six smaller uku dart by under my gaze. They are in a hurry and I guess that one of the other guys took a shot at them. Roger gives up and heads off down current. I move into his spot and while I see the rainbow runner a few more times, he does not come for an intimate visit. I give up and leave Mike to it. I circle around and meet up with all kinds of fish that want to go to sleep. They hide in the eddy behind little rocks and lay low, I wake them all up as I swim by. I hang out in the sandy area just ewa of the hole and roll around, I manage to get the opelu kala going but I don't see anything else. Mike comes by heading up, mad about the rainbow runner. He is empty handed, but I guess he lost one two or three of them. He heads up shaking his head, but points me back over to where he was.... maybe I will find dead rainbow runner before the shark does! I watch the opelu kala, they want to hide behind the rocks too. They are gathered around the rocks that are outside. I can't see anything to shoot and I am getting cold. Either winter is coming, or I am getting sick. Roger is cold as well; good, it isn't just me. He saw no fish and spends his deco time taking off his mask and making snot fish. He starts gargling with salt water and tells me he has a sore throat! Well judging from the quality of snot fish (related to comb jellies!), he is worse than I am.

We surface to hear about Mike's one inch too high, one second too late shot. The spear pulled out, but he had scales stuck on his barb to show us. We all admired the nice scales. He wanted that big Rainbow Runner for Lara's parents who are coming to town, it would have been a good start on the dowry! He was reliving the event as he pulled up the anchor and continued to relive it as he drove us back to the dock. We rinsed gear. (I only came close to falling in once!) Hope to dive Friday!


dive 144

Friday afternoon, Gordon, Mike and John are going to Marnie's rock to dive and bottom fish. I join the gang and pretty much yell at Gordon the whole way there. John is impressed with the new boat and periodically tries to lighten things up with compliments.

"How could you?? You jerk! You idiot! You Ass!"
"I'm sorry...."
"Hmmm....These are sure nice railings. The engines are very quiet."
"How could you?? You jerk! You idiot! You Ass!"
"I'm sorry...(I let you come along)."
"I have never been to Marnie's Rock, what is it like?"

Well now all our attention changes to telling John shark stories. Not to frighten him, mind you, just so he is aware of potential problems and knows what to do. Of course this gets side tracked to the biggest shark, the meanest shark, how many times we have each hit sharks... Fortunately he is young and eager to have some great shark stories of his own to tell. It is like learning to drive... remember when you hoped for red lights so you could rest and relax?
Mike has brought a boat warming gift of a pole and Gordon has another one that he got from David eons ago. He is set up to bottom fish, we instruct him to catch our bait while we dive. Mike goes down with the anchor and by the time John and I join him he has an uku in hand, a gun floating around and his tank off as he untangles the line that the fish wrapped him up in. He signals many uku over that way and points toward the rock. John and I approach, I see two small uku but they are far away. I head over to the calling spot usually occupied by a guy I used to know whose name starts with R and rhymes with Doger. Well I see nothing and look back at Marnie's rock lit by a ray of setting sun. There are three papio and a distant mu outlined right over the rock. The papio are posing for a Japanese fish rubbing and the whole thing grabs my breath. I stop and take a mental picture. I glance over to John and see he is being followed by a nice size yellow spot... if he only knew how close he is! I swim back close to the rock and get a good shot at the mu. I have been eating mu all week and I give her a miss and continue on.
I am feeling very melancholy and nostalgic. I head in to Brian's kagami spot and dutifully look up to see if I can see any incoming. Nothing but little uku, who are following along and growing in number. I glance down to find the evening wana convention is about to start. I swim a little higher off the bottom. I then psych myself up to go look in the ulua cave. I know the chances are slim, but the last time I was there I chickened out on the behemoth. This time I am ready to be dragged to the great abyss, but alas the cave is empty. The uku see where I am heading and two speed over and cavort about in the spot. Sassy. I head back out toward the corner and am passed by more papio. I am not in the mood and just enjoy watching them interact with the uku. The corner brings some larger uku into sight and I figure they should be circling the rock very soon. I see John heading up the line, he must be amused by all the uku I have following me as we pass directly under him. I soon come across Mike who seems to have more uku than when I last saw him. He is also heading up and I move in for a final visit to a special place. The uku grow in size and number with every pass and they seem to be making ever smaller circles around me. The damsels are spawning adding to the excitement. Enough romanticism; I shoot but miss. Now the uku are all around as I quickly reload and miss again. I just finish re loading again when I look up to see the white ulua approach. They are in a school of 8-9, all good size (15-20lbs). They pause over the rock and begin to mob the fish in the center. Pretty soon they are flashing their way up and spawning as well. I watch in total wonder. The serenity of the moment is perfect and I realize that I love all the fish too much to kill them. I look back down at the unsuspecting uku whose lives have been altered. They are friendly and eager, I look back to my gun and I see that it is pointed right at the mu. Well, if you insist..... more mu for the dinner table! The fish are swarming but it is getting dark, and there are fishing poles waiting for me on the surface. I head back to clear the anchor from the green eel hole Mike has set it in. I manage not to get bit. It is the little things in life, like outsmarting a moray that make the day seem perfect. It is almost dark and ever so beautiful as I head up.

The cooler is full of fish. Mike got three uku, John got an opelu kala (he shot a nice papio too, but he lost it). Gordon has been dutifully jigging feathers to no avail. We pull the boat forward to a better spot and set John to jigging. We sacrifice the opelu kala for bait. No sooner than Mike had reached the bottom with his bait he is hooked up and fighting a rainbow runner. John (who has been put to jigging for bait), is ready to switch over to bait also but we tell him he is doing a very important job and keep him jigging. Mike lowers down the next hook and catches quite a big rainbow runner. O.K., it wasn't a fluke, opelu kala make great bait! John is allowed to re rig his rod. The action slows, and our catch is limited to another papio (John), tons of Kali kali, and when we get our first Taape and Mike's high has worn enough to be feeling a little sea sick and we pull anchor and head home. I stand in the stern and enjoy the night view of Oahu. Diving does clear ones head.


dive 145

Sunday, went diving with Captain X and person Y. I brought little Z with me as well. We took an unnamed new boat. We went to Marnie's Rock, and caught the usual fish. We got some unusual ones as well, but did not have any fun. ( Y , Z and myself excepted.... we had a blast.)


dive 146

O.K. It is Friday, friends seem few and far between... guess I shouldn't have called Mike Daffy Duck. I figure to sneak out on the Mo'o iki before anyone else gets down there. Well, Dave, Athleen, Joe and Amy are waiting on Roger, but actually no one has confirmed whether he will show. Mike, John, Mac and Roger do show up. I get permission to steal the boat and I steal Dave and Athleen as well. It is always good to dive with someone else. They often have gas money. We filled a can and raced toward the Kagami spot. The sun back lit the distant sailboats with their spinnakers bubbling across the skyline. The Mo'o was at the hole, and our 'spot' was open. Athleen tossed the anchor and I headed down with "we will all stick together" being the last thing said. The anchor was ewa of the spot, but it was surrounded by lots of small uku. I was the biggest thing around the anchor and they were not coming right over to me. As Dave and Athleen came down the line, all the uku left the bottom and went up to see who was coming. Who is diving with me seems to be on everyone's mind! The nerve of them. Well they escort Dave down as he quickly tries to load his gun... boy I know that feeling. We head over to the ta'ape pile and I look for a better fort to nail uku from. The uku willingly come along. There are clouds of butterflies overhead, weke and ta'ape all mixed up with uku and six or so small papio trying to act like they are uku. I only get a shot at the smallest of characters, and I miss anyway. If we are going to go anywhere else, we had better go before it gets any darker. Dave and Athleen are lost in their own world. Dave is getting dizzy from the uku circling around him and there is no moving him. Athleen keeps an eye on me but is exploring the other side of the chain pile. I head off to the pyramids hoping I will be able to see my way back. I get to the ledge and find heniochus, opelu kala, and tons of small weke ula. The small uku come by once, but head back to check out their new friend Dave. I head out onto the sand and pick up a butter knife and debate its usefulness. The pen I picked up with Joe is still working great and I like all the growth on it, makes me think of diving with every paper I grade and each check I write. I am concentrating on this new find and not watching where I am headed. It is dark but I glance up to see if the pyramids are in sight yet. Much to my surprise there is a shark crossing my bow; not only did I have the right of way, but he made me jump out of my skin as well. Just a 4 foot white tip, but when you step on a snake, even if it's just a bull snake, it's a jolt! He darts off, just as surprised as I am (probably looking for that pen he lost). I am thinking about all the blood that will be in the water, but the pyramids produce nothing more than a big file fish. I head back along the brick line. It is getting dark, I cut over to where I last saw my buddies... nobody here, it figures, some people are hard to park. I know that Dave went wandering off wherever those uku took him, he was just putty in their fins. I hope I can find the anchor, the uku come into sight just slightly ahead of the bubbles. I free the anchor in case I can't find it again and join in the uku game. I miss again, wander over to hide behind a lone piece of broken pyramid. No luck, plenty of bottom time, plenty of air but something is definitely amiss. The anchor is a piece of cake to find as there seems to be a "grand opening" going on and there are two spot lights leading me right home. The lights are handy and Athleen is making a magic color wand as she brings color to my world. Well I don't have one of those things, I slowly head up and leave the deep ocean search rovers on the bottom. I can make out the gray school just behind Dave (hee hee) A few uku venture up to wish me farewell. Dave and Athleen come up and we decompress empty handed. We surface and trade experiences while Athleen pulls the anchor... the more I know her, the more I like her! We all seem to have had a good time. To top it off, they rinse and put away everything for me! (Am I spoiled or what?) Very sweet indeed!


dive 147

Friday slowly rolls around and I manage to leave campus before 5! I look at the ocean and get my gear. I head home and check my email, there is a very long piece from Richard. I mentally flash on his last message, "...three days of hell to get home." Well, he is able to write... no sense ruining my dive... I will check what he has to say later.
The sky is foreboding and gray, fish will be out early. I meet Athleen, and she fills me in. She has brought a copy of Richards email, and while we load the little boat and get ready to steal it, Roger is mesmerized by Richards tale as well as his great writing. Mr. Mac shows up, so at least Roger won't be left alone with just the Mo'o. Athleen and I take off for the little 100' hole. I manage to find the place and we drop anchor. The heroes line is straight off the stern and I convince myself it is the "little" hole and therefore immune from "big" currents. (As I swim in place next to the boat, I remember there have been some whipping currents at this place.) Athleen and I are keeping up, I can see the ledge, I know were we are. We decide to descend and crawl to the anchor. There are no food fish around and we head out along the ledge to the cable crossing. I pick up an octopus lure and want to show Mike, the shape is perfect coffee bean, but only the faintest of groove on the ends. I use it to call fish but see nothing. The fish that are about are laying low. Right at the top of the ledge there are sea urchins pretending to be at the Pali look out, leaning into the gale, with their spines flapping down wind. You wouldn't have thought a they could lean, sure look silly. The ones at the bottom still look normal and I head off the ledge to join them. As we cruise across the bay, there is a school of weke ula, but they dart off at our presence. Back to the ledge we swim on the lee and enjoy the eels and big parrot fish that are in the cracks. A school of small uku come by and visit, the biggest ones are still pretty small and they never come into range directly up current (hard to hold gun except in line with water movement). Hiding behind the ledge makes it easy and I pace up and down the ledge feeling trapped. Athleen is having a great time, checking out Hawaiian lobsters, fooling with shells. One of those people who just makes the best of it. I am creeping around the corners and constantly testing the wind tunnel (still there). We round the outside edge of the ledge and the current seems to be better. I can see uku, larger weke ula and two mu out in the sand. I creep up and hide behind one of the little islands. There is a large school of heniochus laying on the bottom all around me. I am in a small but powerful eddy, and I can lay still while the fish have to hang on. Yes, fish can hang on. They are just touching the bottom with the tip of their pelvic fins. I have not noticed the ones at the hole doing this. Hmmm, another science project!! Too bad it involves diving in a current. From my spot I can see distant fish, but none come close and I am happy in my eddy. I am sitting on a rock in the middle of the river, watching the world go by. The current is getting less, but it is still fun to zoom down to the anchor as we finish our dive. I struggle back into the Mo'o iki and help Athleen in, she is enthusiastic about the location and enjoyed the ledge. AC pulls the anchor and we head over to the Mo'o (at the pyramids). Roger and Mac have just come up, there was a strong current there as well. Roger saw some big uku, but only managed to shoot a small one. We leave them safe and sound and blast back to the Ala Wai. With the promise of a small fresh uku for dinner the evening looks a lot brighter.
The fish was delicious and Nils and I ate it while being entertained by my reading Richard's report. The bad thing being that I was now going to write a dive report with aboslutely no sharks, my biggest trauma being loosing my stone while playing with (of all things) sea urchins! Richard, you are a great writer (which might come in handy), and I have lots of thoughts for you, but I must hone them to razor sharpness and reinforce the steel before sending them your way.


dive 148

Thursday afternoon, Gordon is back in town and looking for divers. I tag along on a trip to Marnie's Rock with Gordon, Joe and Amy. Sunlight is going to be the limiting factor as we race toward the sunset. The water is clear and I can see the bottom as Joe throws the anchor. Gordon is the first one over and I am the last. There is no current to speak of, and I quickly leave the anchor line and head inside to uku corner. I do a fast drop in hopes of attracting some curious predators. No luck, I head shore ward, following the ledge to go check the ulua cave. I see a big spotted puffer, I guess Amy probably hasn't played with one before and I catch him, tuck him under my arm and head back toward the anchor. I see no sign of Joe and Amy. Joe has the rebreather, but Amy should be making some bubbles. I look up the anchor line (maybe they had a problem), no sign. I didn't figure they would get too far but they are not around, well I am proud of my catch and decide to hang on to him until I have to let him go. I head up to the rock and see bubbles. Gordon is there and actively calling fish. He hasn't gotten anything so I head inside slowly working my way back to the ulua cave which I never actually got to. Puffer is thinking that enough is enough and how long does he have to endure the shame of it? Unfortunately his chances of darting off at high speed are not as good as he would like. He is lucky to get to cruise over such a huge area with no effort. Now I see Amy and Joe visiting the eels along the ledge. I puff up my gift and take it over. Talk about worth it! I have never had such a good reaction, Amy literally squealing with delight while we play toss the puffer ball. No wonder Joe married her, she totally makes my dive! The puffer takes full advantage of being let go and makes a get away. I head off in search of more fun things and perhaps that big ulua. I am not yet to the ledge as I am approaching from inside when I see three or four uku. Swimming by at high speed. I let them know I am there, and we start a long game of hunt or be hunted. The uku want to check me out all right, but they are going to approach me fins first. I want to meet them head on and they are having none of it, they can swim faster than I can turn my gun. I have the great plan of carrying my gun backwards under my body but just then I notice a beautiful large tun shell on the bottom and of course I want to show it to Amy, especially when I see that it has a huge hairy legged hermit crab in it. I ignore the uku for the shell and it is more than they can endure, they all come over to see what I am up to. POW, perfect shot but he is quite alive despite the string behind his eyes and he makes quite a tangle of things. A big mu comes in to check the excitement, I know it is the same one I have worked on for a year, he never comes close, yet here he is hanging about in range while I try to get things back in order. The mu does not have all night and heads off. I load my gun and look around for the shell, can't find it. Finally go to the cave I started toward 20 minutes ago, it is empty. Off in the sand I see some smaller weke ula; well, maybe they are weke ula, it is rather dark. The parrot fish are looking like uku. The water is cold, darkness is being held off by water clarity alone. I make my way back to the anchor, Joe and Amy are practicing for Necker island by harassing a white tip with their flashlights. Gordon and I both arrive and check the anchor at about the same time, he has an uku as well (ok, ok... a slightly larger uku as well). We all head up the line together and I kick glow-in-the-dark plankton while the others get in the boat. The big guy pulls the anchor and we head back to the glow of Honolulu's lights. The stars are out and I notice that it is autumn. Hope I can make my wetsuit last the year.


dive 149

Friday rolls around and I am stuck at school measuring the enzyme catalyzed rate of H2O2 Decomposition. As the students finish up, I step out the door and scan the ocean. Not bad, Nils should be home and ready by the time I get there. Well, my dive partner must have gotten side tracked (other 18 year olds have a higher rank than old spinster aunts). I figure to go on my own, Maggie comes by to pick up her pack, she would join me except the only gear she has is a new back pack. Down at the Mo'o I am happy to see Mac, he is hanging around to see if anyone is diving. I told him the others took the power cat and we have Waikiki to ourselves. We head to the hole (there was such a strong current last week that I reason there can't be the same thing a whole week later.) We anchor and note that I was right; last week the current was going Ewa, and this week it is blasting toward Diamond Head. We throw out some hero lines and head over. The water is clear and I can see the Diamond Head cable below the boat. I am looking at the anchor line and see the snap move up the line as the anchor breaks loose. Mac and I get to the bottom in time to move the anchor the last foot to the cable. We approach the hole from either side in hopes of finding fish, but things look vacated. I crawl forward to find the opelu kala huddled against the ewa side of the rock. Mac and I both head up current, I cross to the outside while he heads inside. I see two very small uku but nothing else. I feel light headed and stop, relax and watch the opelu feeding over head. They are all spread out like they have not seen a predator in days. Silver metal filings being scattered in front of a fan. I hear Mac's gun go off, I drift over in hopes of finding fish. There is a ball of little fish with bubbles rising out of the center as well as a floating gun. Mac is buried in butterflies! He has a nice papio, no others in sight. I leave the hoards and continue to drift. I see a small barracuda mid water, nothing else. Mac heads up, I have lots of air so I make my way back up current along the inside of the hole. I see a humu come out of his hole. There is a crumpled beer can near by and I move the can to block the front door. I have to partially wedge it, so it will stay. I move away and wait to see my work pay off. Talk about setting up a great photo opportunity. Well the humu goes right over to the place where the beer can was and nibbles around. I wait patiently and another humu comes along and grazes on my fins! I know I don't go diving enough to have anything growing on my fins and kick him off. I turn back to see my Bud drinking humu celebrating Friday afternoon. Perfect. The bell rings and school is over, time to leave. I have to stay on the bottom to clear the anchor but I see nothing but lots of big parrot fish, they keep their distance and I head up. The current has picked up and there are lots of stinging things in the water. I decompress at 25', the four minutes takes longer and I wonder why there is no "all clear" bell. A simple digital playing of the imperial margarine ditty would be good. I look at the boat and notice that the bowline, and both stern lines are wrapped around the prop. More proof of the innate perversity of rope when left alone. Luckily the boat is small enough that passing to the stern does not put me too far from where I need to get in. Mac pulls the anchor and we head toward home. I know our gas tank is low and we joke about where exactly we will run out. Even knowing it would happen in the channel, while the sailboats were racing to the finish line, near the surf and just after we zoomed past and nearly swamped several one man canoes did not make us the least inclined to act prudently and switch cans ahead of time. As Richard would say, it was almost funny. We did not, however, get the asshole award as we met the winners 25' short of the fuel dock. A 40' sailboat sadly out of fuel and now really blocking the finish line. We tried to make things more lively by stringing a rope across the ala wai in order to tow them to the dock. The good part is the boats we upset were the same ones we had upset just a minute ago! Lucky for me they do the races on Friday so there is an underlying good mood beneath the competitive edges. (Think it was planned that way?) We make it back safe and sound, cheating death, defying fate, and bringing home dinner.

Side note for Mike: As I drove home I noticed that there was a really large party in our neighborhood, unusual as my neighbors average in at about 70 years old and large parties usually end early (those retired types start parties around two in the afternoon). Well talk about flash back to Michael... the party seemed to be at my house! About 50 kids undecided as to where to go and what to do! Luckily I am experienced and just started telling them (individually or in small groups) that everyone was going to Zippy's and they were all going to meet there. Worked like a charm. By the time I got to the door, I looked at the ten or so that were raiding my kitchen (the ones who know me better) and I just said "hey, everyone outside left and went to Zippy's. Do you guys want to hang out? I'll fix some food." Thought I had lost my touch? HA!


dive 149a

A hot Saturday afternoon, the ocean is rough. Gordon and Brian are heading out to Joe's barge for spearing and fishing. Nils and I join them. The ocean is choppy, but the water is clear and currentless. The barge is right below me as I head down to set the anchor. Perfect anchor drop. I am met by many small uku while I descend, I load my gun and a pig tail manages to sneak in between the rubber and the shaft. Just when you think I have run out of ways to load the gun wrong. The anchor needs attention and the uku hang around while I fix things up. Nils comes down and is most happy with his pack. He loads his gun as we see Brian heading off towards the Koko Head Z's. We circle around the barge and head towards the inside ledge across the sand. There are some larger uku that I am watching. Nils points out a large helmet shell right under my hand while I point out the uku and papio approaching us. He takes a long shot at the biggest one, but misses. The uku counts coup on Nil's shaft and then comes over to me. I miss it also and it goes on his way looking smug. It is 100' so I want to head up to the ledge. The uku and the jazzing papio come along with us. The papio are many, they are circling us constantly. They are beautiful and about the size of my hand span. I am trying to pick out the larger uku in the group of 20 or so that are hanging out with us. There are two bigger ones, but it is hard to see with the frenzied papio. As the papio pass in front of my mask once again, I notice that three of them are much larger papio, just passing through. I am not ready and was not watching, they make a clean get away. We are so surrounded by fish, above are opelu making for a column of fish from surface to bottom. Another incredible dive. I hear a gun and turn to see Nils fighting an uku. (His first... welcome to uku killers.) We put it in my bag and play around in the Z's calling fish and missing them. There are some mu, but they hang back from the two of us. Finally Nils has only about 1000 psi, so we meander back to the anchor stopping to observe a large stick fish, call uku, and poke at some smaller MK. At the anchor, the uku come over again and we watch for a shot. Nils has 600 psi and heads up the line, I follow the uku over to the start of the pipes, and play roll in the sand with them. Another dive where I am surrounded by uku and not brought one back. I shoot one and the bottom time bell goes off. I fight it as I head up the line, Brian and Nils are on the line, Gordon is hunting below, no doubt surrounded by uku now that we have all left. Brian has a nice mu and is very happy. He saw them and uku. Nils and I compare to see who has the bigger fish (they are so close in size that it is a fun underwater exercise. I can still hear Gordon calling and I leave the anchor line to watch the hunting from overhead. I can't see the fish on the bottom, except Gordon seems to be surrounded by palani and opelu kala. I watch him for awhile, but he moves very little and I don't get to see a shot taken. I have been decompressing for 5 minutes, no sign of Gordon leaving the bottom. He must have decided to accumulate deco since he was going to decompress anyway! I know there are poles on board and it is rough enough that we might abort fishing when he gets up so I surface to start fishing. I clean up, put away gear and change clothes and manage to get the hook on the bottom before Gordon surfaces. I get a bite instantly and Brian is amazed, he thinks I am faking it, or it is Gordon playing a trick. He shapes up an gets the net when he sees the color of the uku on the line. Gordon surfaces in the middle of my fight and announces that the anchor broke free as he was decompressing. It is now hooked on the barge. I put on Brian's aluminum tank which has 900 pounds left. I take my gun.... just in case.... it is fairly dark as I go down but I can still make out the barge in the gloom. I remind myself how pretty and light it will be when I turn around to go up. But I refrain from turning around lest I scare myself more. As soon as I can make out the bottom I feel better, plenty of light to see our anchor chain hooked on the side of the barge with our anchor hanging in space over the bow of the barge. I get things squared away remarkably easily and stop to observe the hordes of uku that are charging around. There are perhaps 100, and they are a lot bigger than the ones we saw during the dive. They are perpetually charging by me, ignoring me except to keep their distance. It is like being in a school of charging akule, except these are big uku! I wonder about just shooting into the crowd and try to focus on one that is racing by as I pull the trigger. Good, it will be fun to come up with yet another uku! I surface to find that two more uku have been caught in my absence. But I missed Gordon getting bit on the toe by an uku! (Sooner or later, toe biters get a taste of their own medicine.) We fish a little longer, but I don't want to push it as I left the anchor just up wind of the large barge chain that is laying on the bottom. Brian pulls anchor while I sit on the bow getting wet yet again! We head in with a boat load of uku. Nils and I compare how breathtaking the fish were as they let us be part of the group for the time we were there. Our trip home is slowed as we stop to pick up yet another toy for sweet Kagami. A ball that once belonged to Michael in # 48D. (I thought it might be a lost swimmer....ha!) We cleaned up the fish and boat and got home in time to fix a fish feast... Nils's uku was by far the best uku ever!


dive 150

Monday afternoon and Gordon is going out again (the good thing about him not spearing too many fish is that he goes right back to it). Mike and John are also starters. They show up with a gear-carrying sherpa. Between the dive gear and the fishing gear, Richard and Joe are looking pretty sleek. The wind is down and we head for Joe's barge as Mike and John have not been there and I am not inclined to search for Z's that we know are there but are not sure quite where.
We anchor and head in. Mike is first and John and I follow. The anchor is right on, Mike has set it next to the barge in about 95'. He is exploring the Z's that are inside and Diamond Head, just where Nils and I were playing the other day. I leave John in the same general area and head off to where Gordon had been on the outside Z's. When I last saw him he was picking up and still had a T-shirt on, so I figure I got some time before he shows up to claim territory. The first thing I notice is that the uku are no bigger than his slipper! (he had been complaining; Nils and I thought he was a little fussy about fish size, but now I see.... there are two separate groups of uku.) There are however, some large weke ula. Two large ones are fighting over territory and are ignoring me. I am disguised as a little gray uku cloud, but I still can't get off a shot. Gordon is approaching and I take it as a sign to leave and head off to the pipes. There is no current, and I have my whimpy summer wet suit so I figure to cruise. I check on the black coral tree that is growing in a pipe; still there, still beautiful. The fish are worried about my marauding around in their area and all the opelu kala, zoster and lemon butterflies drop out of the water column and surround me. Fun time, but no food fish in sight. I head across the desert toward the tires. I can go from the tires to the pipes because I know where to turn, but to go from the pipes is just guessing. I am in nowhere land when I see the large silver body undulating in the distance. It turns into a large lone kahala coming over to check me out. I am lost enough to follow the fish guessing that he will head to the barge. Good guess, I can see the barge at about the same time the uku welcome back committee shows up. I assume that John and Mike have headed up and make my way over to the Z's that have the larger uku. Sure enough the uku, the papio and the mu are all there. All but the papio are shy, the little zoomers charge right over and dart away at the sign of bubbles. Once again I am amazed at how fish can make something as hideous as a piles of concrete staggeringly beautiful. I mouse around with the uku, the big ones approach only when shielded by little guys. My beeper sounds just as I get my shot... I miss and head back to the anchor. I know Gordon is still down so I leave the anchor and move up the line. I decompress for awhile and know Gordon should arrive soon. I think I see bubbles at the anchor, but I hear a gun go off. He probably has to decompress anyway... so you know, make it worth while... I can see baited hooks going down and fish coming up into the boat. I surface to find Mike has already caught two weke ula. I waste no time and catch one myself while Mike switches over to catching uku (2) and a small kahala. Gordon decompresses well into darkness while we work on fishing. He surfaces with three uku, they were around the anchor as he was coming up... stopped to shoot some. We head in with quite a collection of fish on board, the team photographer meets us at the dock and once again, history is made.


dive 151

Finally a chance to go diving... hope I remember how. I meet the only dive partner I could roust on short notice and Mac and I head for the 100' hole. The weather is cloudy, dark and foreboding, but the winds are light and the current looks slack. The usual line up marks are rained out, and I am happy when I jump in to see the boat directly over the hole. (Thanks Mr. Mac!) The ocean is clear near the surface and the hole is surrounded in opelu kala. Mac and I forget about the anchor and sink slowly as we load our guns. We approach the hole from both sides as it seems to be full of fish. There are parrot fish slowly flowing out of the cave from both sides, but nothing else to shoot. Mac swims through over to my side and we part company. He heads out while I go check the anchor. There is a current, but it is oddly heading straight out to sea and it isn't very strong. The anchor is in need of attention. The chain is wrapped on a coral head, as I move it around, 3 curious uku come to see who is anchoring, but they do not come into range, nor do they stay. I am so happy to be diving it doesn't much matter. The hole is just swarming with a big school of large opelu kala, but nothing else. I head out toward the ewa peninsula. A whole cloud of opelu dart by overhead, not the usual small group, but truly a whole cloud. The beauty is astounding and I am feeling like I am in a perfect underwater movie. The stage suddenly clears, not even a heniochus in sight as I head out across the dessert. Now I am feeling like the movies as three silver shapes weave their way into my perception. Just like the movies, it is a false alarm... too much foreshadowing... be patient. I don't see a thing, call a few times and follow the ledge back toward civilization. As I move along the crest of the ledge I feel more than see the uku outside high above the sand, almost equal with me. I am almost right outside the hole by the time I am sure. I stop and simply wave my hand gently over the sand, creating the smallest of disturbances. (the theory is I don't want anyone to hear me opening the cookie jar, just quietly unwrapping some candy.) The plan works and I am instantly swarmed by large uku. Well, that was easy. I have the fish in the bag and am reloading when Mac shows. I point to the gray smoke out in the distance, but he sees nothing. I head back along the ledge and call them in again, but this time I miss, they don't stay long, but a small kahala comes over to watch me load my gun and give advice. I would gladly eat him as the last one that Mike gave me was quite good. By the time I am ready there are no fish. I swim back along the ledge and can still see the uku. Just when I know it will work and I will get another shot, my meter tells me that I am out of bottom time. Well, I have lots of air, there is no current... but then again I also have a nice fish and no real important reason to stay. I head back up in the most dilly dally way possible, talk about fin dragging! Like a kid leaving the carnival just because he is out of money. I decompress over the hole and am surrounded by brave black humus. I vainly wait for passing big fish and am happy when some opelu dart by. The fish action below entertains as the koko head current begins to pick up. Time to head up. Mac is empty handed, having seen nothing, and is sorry he did not bring his camera to take a photo of my catch. We measure the fish against parts of the boat so later on we can say things like, "...as tall as this here console she was..." Mac cleaned the fish (another octopus inside) and pulled the anchor. Glacier bay Dave was coming up from a dive at the ships so we passed by so I could brag.

My ego was growing by the second and by the time I stopped at the gas station on my way home, I was ready for those guys. Sure enough...

Attendant #1: "Eh, Jennifer, you were diving again? Where's da fish?"
Me: "I get, in da trunk, big uku, like see?"
#1: "Ah, no need. The gray one yeah?"
#2: "How big?"
Me: "Yeah, the gray one, makes good sashimi. Big for me... I don't know."
#1: "Yeah, I like see."

Bingo... I will get my tires checked from now on!


dive 152

Friday, windy and in search of dive partners who are not carving pumpkins. Mac holds true and we agree to meet at five. Nils has a change of heart, then Gordon figures he can make it as well. The Mo'o iki will be full, but we charge on out to the hole in search of more big uku. Gordon and I are the first ones in, there is no current. Gordon sees me head for the anchor (inside of the hole) and heads to the outside. I see no big fish in the hole and swim over to set the anchor which had just broken loose. I set the anchor, I believe fairly well since there is not much scope on the line. Nils and Mac arrive, the water is so clear it suddenly feels crowded, and Nils and I head off to the inside shallow ledge leaving the big timers to the real stuff. We play around, find a beautiful miter shell, try to drop rocks on an eel's head, check my lobster spot, then head out to the Diamond Head uku spot. There is a distant school of large parrot fish but no uku. We head back towards the hole. The fish hanging above the rocks mark the spot like the good year blimp over the stadium, can't miss on a day like today. Mac's and Gordon's bubbles float up in the back ground. A little uku comes by, small but delicious size... too cute, let him go. I hear Gordon banging on rocks, he must not be seeing any uku either. Maybe I should have gone for the little guy. I glance to check the anchor and my heart stops... no anchor... I race over to see if it hooked further down wind... no anchor this side of the ledge, and there would be no stopping it after that. NO!! NO!! I am making a rapid accent banging on my tank. Signaling Nils and Mac. Cursing myself for not having replaced my snorkel holder for the last six months. I know it is windy, the boat would be free floating quickly. How far will I try to swim for it? The temptation to not loose Roger's boat will be strong... I am trying to pre- decide so it will be a more rational decision. My mind is racing... does Nils swim faster than I? Surface, drop gear, make decision; either leave Nils and swim for the boat, or hang out and wait for the others. Keep a level head.

Things to be happy for:
1. There is no current
2. I have a replacement whaler
3. Gordon can buy us all dinner at the outrigger.

Mac has heard and seen me, but is ignoring my action, the man has no clue. Nils thinks I have seen a really big fish "Wow, I am lucky to see this smooth operation in action, Jennifer swims up fast, signaling all the others. This is how they do it, with her directing from above we are bound to spear this monster. Boy how exciting."

I glance up to check my depth and I see the boat! The beautiful bouncing little happy boat bobbing along on the surface!! I visually follow the anchor line down to outside of the hole. Strange but happy day. Rejoin Nils and the baffled boy gets his first clue when I kiss the anchor and he notices: "hey, that is not where the anchor was." I stop to let my heart rate stop scaring the nearby fish. Nils and I have more air than bottom time so we head out to see if there are any uku on the ledge. We are next to each other when I see some distant fish shapes. Could be uku, could be parrot fish, could be opelu kala what ever they are, they are not coming any closer. I send Nils further away, and he heads back to the hole. The fish are gone and I head back myself. I am now playing with a sassy lemon butterfly who did not like my hand in his life and bit it. I bopped him but he is still persisting. Gordon passes high overhead and gives me the anchor signal, he must be doing the same thing I did, I point in the direction of the anchor line as he joins Mac on the line. My beeper goes off and Nils and I head over and clear the anchor before we head up. Gordon has a papio, but didn't see any thing else. He asks me about the anchor and I shake my head no and point up to Mac who has just gotten in the boat. Gordon gets a bummed out look and I realize he is asking me if I freed the anchor from the hole it was in. AH HA! He must be the one. Imagine the nerve, first taking the anchor and going through the trouble of hiding it from everyone, setting it in a hole; then spearing a fish and not freeing it himself! I ease his mind and tell him I did free it. Our underwater communicating breaks down at this point and we let his fish entertain us. Gordon has cleaned the fish and it is on the end of his spear, the muscles are contracting and the fish is swimming the spear around. I feel like we are kids watching a headless chicken, or some sort of primitive native children who always seem to be torturing small animals in "practice" hunts on those National Geographic shows. We surface and exchange tales, I am the only one who had the pure terror experience. Nils had an uneventful dive, except for the part when we were all going to catch the monster fish as part of a group effort. Mac went to the 130' hole in search of more big uku, but saw nothing. Gordon had some sort of ridiculous tale as to why he took the anchor from one unfree-able hole and put it in another some distance away. It was probably really one of those training things; well, it worked, I will be mounting my snorkel tomorrow.


dive 153

Sunday morning, I am invited to join Rich and his crew (Tony, Joe and Calvin) for a daytime dive at the 100' hole. Richard is starring in yet another film thing. The weather is nice and we glide along discussing the merits of dive insurance (DAN), Rich says there are two categories, with 130' being the cut off depth. I figure I am deeper than that about once a year, (how would they ever know?) and now that I don't dive for $$, I rarely even get more than 5 minutes of deco on me. I decide that I am too low risk, the $25 is better spent on a real preventative safety items like sunscreen. We get to the spot and can easily see the rocks below as we toss the anchor. Joe is showing off the net that he made, it isn't really new, as it has already caught fish. The gang heads off to the deeper ledge, leaving me on my own. There isn't a breath of a current, the kind of day your air lasts forever. There is a trail of stirred up sand heading along the Diamond Head cable, so I head over to the ewa peninsula in case they send some big fish my way. The mood is serene as I glide along. There are lots of sponges to squeeze and I wonder if anyone is watching the two new species of sponges that have gone from rare to common in the last five years. There is a beautiful big helmet shell making his way to the ewa cable crossing, I wonder if he will turn or go over it. He seems the master of inactivity, maybe I shouldn't have checked his shell for discoloration. Maybe they are nocturnal, those heart urchins are probably a dime a dozen after dark. I head on my way and check that eel cleaner hole where I once got a big lobster... nope. I check my gauge, 129, the cheap insurance is still OK. I don't see any signs of dinner except a half pint papio cruising along by himself. I cross back towards the hole seeing nothing but a small school of opelu darting over head, they come down to investigate me. Now there is a sure sign of no action, that is like me giving my mother a call. I come across a great find, a new dive knife, well, new to me. Lucky those other guys didn't get it first. I stick it in my belt and look around for a shark to pull it on. I get back to the hole and decide to swim in and spend the rest of my dive in shallower water. There is so little current I feel like I could go to the little hole and back, I cruise along the cable, it has collected quite a collection of Japanese anchors. The pocillapora is thicker than I ever remember, but it finally dies out. My computer surprises me by sounding off even though I am now only in 75' of water. Plenty of air, I have to decompress anyway... I turn around and head back on the ewa ledge. I soon have 2 minutes of deco, and decide to swim back at 20' to be safe. I am joined by the opelu again, being surrounded by opelu always makes me look for a predator, but alas, nothing but opelu. As the hole and anchor comes into view, I drop back down to see how much bottom time I have gained. 3 minutes, not bad. Tony is at the hole, but he is zoned out. He finally notices me, he hasn't seen anything for me to shoot in my absence. I signal that I am heading up and do so. I swim out to the drop off and find the opelu scattered above the ledge feeding on phytoplankton, I am getting stung by things in the water and head back to the boat. The others are all decompressing, they saw nothing but a small papio, Rich found a cool graphite pole spear and we compare it with my new knife. We are both happy with our finds. The ride back is uneventful as long as you didn't have a phone with you, one could enjoy the following sea and the cloudless Ko'olaus. I came home to find out that Roger had called to tell me be sure to get gas, as he went out yesterday, and there was no longer enough gas on board... (maybe there are some other safety things to get as well, a gas gauge would be good).

Later the same day: working hard on boats all day... okay, maybe not all day, but I did take lots of things apart... fuel filters, running lights, gas lines etc... Gordon wants to do a last chance dive before heading off to live underwater, (where it won't be diving, but stepping into the back yard). Hey, who am I? The man wants a last dive... sounds good. Leave Roger to put things away and switch boats. Gordon is providing boat and air, good man. I bite my tongue about the low fill. We head out to Marnie's rock. The water is clear there also. I drop the anchor right between the ledge and the rock. We gear up and head down. There is no current and the mood is benign. I leave Gordon and head up the ledge, stopping to look at all the coraline algae balls that litter the bottom. Why are there so many here? They are like those little candies... snow something... little chocolate hemispheres with white balls on the curved part. I haven't seen those in years... hey, that is a rainbow runner watching me! As a general rule, they don't seem to ever take interest in me. I line up and shoot. Miss. He is most offended and takes off, no hanging around watching me reload. I have never even gotten close before, so I am happy. I load in time to see a whole school of fish coming straight for me... I wish one would turn so I could tell what they are. It turns into 15 or so small papio jazzing and glimmering around me. There is one larger one but he doesn't come close enough for me to shoot. They head back up the ledge, no doubt to go visit uncle Gordon. I get up to David's hangout and see nothing but a small uku. I head back along the inside ledge, knocking the black humus out of the sky. They get so worried about me swimming below them they are compelled to dart down to the safety of their homes. Harassing the flock is fun and I swim aggressively along. No longer the Shinto 'blend with nature' diver I imagine myself to be. Now I am She-ra Queen of the Amazon and ruler of the sea, charging around sending everyone flying in all directions. I glance over and see the mu next to me has just turned away and is quickly moving out of range. I can't get my gun around fast enough and he moves off. Snowcaps... that is what they are called... master memory too. I knock a striped urchin off the edge of the ledge. He looked like he wanted to practice jumping. I head all the way back to the ewa ledge in this manner, but it does not seem to attract too many fish. I mosey back up to the anchor where I see Gordon is empty handed as well. I signal that I am going up. As I decompress I notice the water is getting colder. Winter time. Soon we are up and on our way home. The water has gotten calmer and the bright moon is making a silver sidewalk for the boat to hop scotch home on. Not too bad a day. Students will be bummed that I didn't write that test yet.


dive 154

Weeks have passed, the straights (reverse bends) were sub clinical the first week, my symptoms being limited to general malaise, lethargy and an almost imperceptible dip in temperament. Which was not noticed by myself, but pointed out to me by some of my more astute students. Lately however, severe damage began to be incurred from the lack of regular compression. Some of the typical symptoms began to show up with hallucinations (flat calm glistening ocean) and common paranoia as I realized that was a well orchestrated plot to keep me out of the water. First it was a conspiracy set up by people, Nils needing to be some where at 5 every day, Mom, just being mom. Parents wanting to respond to those nasty notes I sent home, "Could we meet at 4?" Divers going to extreme measures: leaving town in groups, going off on "training missions", hauling out their boats, then taking the legs off the engines just to be sure. Some divers canceled dives (with me) so they could go work on boats (when does that really ever happen?). The paranoia worsened as the inanimate objects began to get in on the act. My car took up the habit of breaking down on my days off, never giving me an excuse to miss work, yet taking away any free time. Well, when the small household appliances began to kick in, I realized that if I did not compress my brain soon, it would be in danger of exploding and turn me into one of those straights victims you read about. Today was a holiday, so of course the car wanted attention. I checked with Roger, he had just been diving... great time... so calm... maybe Mac would dive, but his gun is broken after that big ulua in the hole... I vowed to make diving a priority and got to the power cat at 2:30 (get there early to install lights and insure that I actually go diving). The ocean is flat calm and I can go anywhere. I finish with boat work, (or so I thought), and set about to find a dive partner. Well three pay phones later I find that the phone company has gotten involved, (paranoia is pretty bad by this time) the phones were actually fine, you are now required to put two coins in the slot. 35 cents (Hey! side track- there is no cent sign on my keyboard! And they say there is no inflation!). Lara informs me that Mike is a possible... she has just been diving herself, love the pack... flat calm... really nice... yeah, yeah... just call him at work. Getting another dime is a job, but Mike will try to meet me at the Ala Wai gas dock (I need to get gas). The power cat starts right up, the port engine runs just long enough to get me out of the slip. The starboard engine refuses to shift into gear as I drift across the harbor. The Hawaiian fishermen who have been watching me work for the last two hours begin to perk up and actively contribute ideas to my ever worsening plight. Port starts and will run if I squeeze the gas bulb, (out of reach of the steering wheel and throttle) starboard begins to shift after a little magic LPS is squirted around while chanting magic incantations (words not meant for regular ears). I tie up to the end of the pier, manage not to run aground (miracle) and get things working. I finally head off (cheers all round) then chicken out when the port quits several times mid channel. I return to the slip (more cheers), land perfectly and spend the next ten minutes trying to tie up the boat, the weighted lines always staying out of my reach by inches. I am near tears but yell at the world, " I just want to go diving!!" (More cheers, I have now endeared myself to the fishermen as the perfect conversation piece. They can now talk about boats, engines, rigging, women, and fishing... is there anything else? Oh yeah, cars... just wait...)

My automobile senses the fine line between fun and a good thrashing and magically fixes itself. I race over to the Ala Wai, hoping to catch Mike and some daylight... if not, I am walking off the end of Magic Island with a tank on my back.

Mike is there and ready for a dive as well. We compare notes on our straights (he believes he is in a similar situation as he can't get out diving because all sorts of good things keep happening to him).

The sun keeps us in Waikiki even though the smooth ocean is yellow brick roading us along. We anchor at the hole and I can taste the feeling. I might actually get in the water. It is like driving along the freeway needing a rest area for about 75 miles, I am now not only parked and outside, but the stalls are in sight. Things could theoretically still go wrong, broken doors, no TP, dirty stalls, etc., but things look good and we've passed the point of no return. I will get wet.

Mike patiently waits as I put my regulator on the right way this time. We drop in on the hole, there is a slight Diamond Head current. The water is ambrosia and I savor my descent like 12 year old scotch. Mike sets the anchor and goes and spears a papio... waste not want not. He bags the fish and loads his gun with remarkable speed. Well practiced I'd say. I look for any other papio, but he is mostly surrounded by blood thirsty lemons and heniochus. The water has perfect fishing visibility, and I head out toward the ewa ledge. A school of 10 or so small kahala come by, but not close enough for a shot. There are some small weke ula willing to come close and I see one uku hanging outside. I am so happy to be in the water I spend some time listening to the sound of my bubbles, propelling my self along using only my feet, then only my hands, then only my spine, isolating muscle groups and noting the different motions. I manage to skin my knee (while going up current walking on my elbows) and am even happy about that. The kahala pass by again and I get a glimpse of a school of uku outside and far away. I drift sideways down current back to the hole. Mike tells of pairs of mating papio and some kind of fantastic tale about one in the hole, but I don't get the details... only that he is having just as good a time as I am. I leave him and hear his gun go off again as I get back out to the uku. I almost get a shot, but they veer off and refuse to come back until they hear my beeper. Now they are coming in. I still have more than half a tank, it will no doubt take a couple of minutes to get back to the anchor. I am pretty happy, unless the fish get kinky, I really could not be having a better time, no sense waiting around for disaster to strike - I head back. I meet Mike on the anchor line and we are just in time to catch the most awesome sunset. The smooth surface of the ocean is spotted gold orange above us. Mike has three nice papio in his bag. They are just the excuse, the dinner bonus from a visit with mother nature. There is a glance of perfect communication between us, the sunset is too beautiful. A great dive, absolutely no sign of the straights, complete recovery.

I think planing a Friday night dive is a good idea. Thanks for the fish Mike, it was delicious.


dive 155

Rainy Friday afternoon, I head down to the Prince William to work on the port engine, and hopefully have it ready to go by the time Athleen shows up. Well, dream on. I fixed the first problem, but alas, it has not really helped. The rain has me pretty cold, wet and in my wet suit. Athleen arrives complaining of stopped up sinks and holiday season traffic. One engine should get us to the Kewalo pipe before dark and away we go. Athleen is the master at finding the spot and we anchor right on it. The ocean is clear and it feels good to be out of the cold rain and in the warm inviting sea. A few little papio come by followed by some larger ones, but they are aloof. We swim down the ewa side of the pipe admiring the coral growth. I cross over to where there is a stake that marks an uku calling spot. A small mu responds but he is only big enough for one not so hungry person. We venture up to Brian's uku spot and I roll in the sand. One, two, three, four the uku come along side and roll in front of me. They circle back and have fun seeing if they can get me to take a shot. The dodge ball game is on and more and bigger uku come along when the first miss is heard. Light is getting dim and I figure to move around to catch the fish back lit so I can actually see them. We head over to the first island and come back on the sand. The problem is that it is dark. I can see gray uku shapes but Athleen's light tells me it is time to call it quits. We cross over the pipe and are faced with the dilemma of which way is the anchor. Athleen figures to bow to my superior judgment, but what she does not know is the way I find things is not unlike a little shrew. I simply retrace my path back to the place of origin, short direct routes are not usually part of the picture. I swim down the pipe till I find my path... gray humu house is the land mark that tells me I have been here before. Now we can turn around and find the anchor. Air isn't a problem so she follows along not realizing how much sense it all makes. (I think she is more of a salmon type.) We surface to the cold and dark real world and shiver our way home. The driving rain making the trip in the channel particularly painful. We skip the cold beer and I head home with the heater on (that seems to be working).

Addendum: As of this morning, the Prince William is in fine working order. (Except I accidentally stripped the threads on one of the cool new battery connectors, sorry Rich). Congratulations to you Randy, the average education level obtained by the average ukukiller has just increased significantly. I feel smarter already. (I know it sounds sassy and not appreciative, but I figure since you are a real PhD and most of us ukukillers are wanna-bees, you can handle.)


dive 156

Tuesday: windy as ever. Gordon is back from science diving in Florida and ready to be captain again. Dave, Nils and I jump aboard for a trip to Ewa. Gordon and Dave discuss dive rules from both sides of the equation. Then they discuss boats. One of those guy subjects (stereos, sports cars). Dave mentions a boat doing doughnuts at 20 knots in just triple the OA length (such a practical way to measure a boat). The sun is setting Ewa a long way off, and the fish are no doubt wondering about the carnival ride on the surface. It is comforting to know we will not need to look for a wide space in the road if we have to head back, I feel a lot better as we head on our way. The plan is to dive at David's spot but we don't have marks. Gordon figures to pass over Marnie's rock at an exact speed and count off 40 seconds as we head along the ledge. We anchor and Dave heads down to set the anchor. I soon follow and I am happy to see that I recognize the spot, about 2/3 the way there, where the ledge first starts to break up. Not bad, I will compliment the captain and take back all the things I said about the idea. Dave has headed off toward Marnie's and I am playing with the opelu mid water, trying to act like I am pelagic (HA!) Nils is in and I drive to the bottom scaring all the mid water fish into a rush for the ledge, but there is nothing to shoot among the opelu kala that surround me. Gordon checks the anchor and heads off to David's spot. He probably does not want the bear cub and I along. Nils points out an exceptionally large sponge crab, we finally get the guy to open up his claws at us, but he is very slow and we head on our way... I am debating my over all antagonistic tendencies as we head ewa along the inside. Looking at shells, pick them up and replacing them a few feet away, feeling omnipotent as we toodle along. A papio comes charging straight toward us and we both instantly drop as if the incoming missile was deadly. The fish took the change as a sign to skidaddle and he turned, (on a dime I'd say) and left us. We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and headed on. Nils and I are both ready to get something and we decide to go for one of the many parrot fish that are cruising along. We spend the next 10 minutes chasing fish between us and trying not to shoot each other. Nils took a perfect- but his line is a foot too short- shot, and I couldn't actually bring myself to shoot the one that came close to me... very pretty, not to mention those teeth! We are at the ewa corner and sure enough there is an uku in sight. He is feeding along like he was an opelu, but can't resist checking out what Nils and I are feasting on in the sand. Uku for Thanks giving, now I can say that I spent all Tuesday afternoon getting dinner stuff organized. We don't see any more as we head back. Dave is heading up the line and we pass beneath him, he has no fish. We visit the crab again, this time offering up some uku but he is not interested at all (any one know what they eat?). There are a bunch of small uku outside of us, but they look small and we are getting cold. Time to take our shivering selves up. Gordon soon arrives with a nice papio, he shot at another one, but just nicked it. The water is cold enough that I am in danger of not having fun and I surface. Nils and Dave hoist the anchor and we are happily along our way. The crescent moon overhead does not light the rough seas, the feathering white caps suddenly make the swells visible as we make our way into the black holes. The boat is a hybrid of a little rubber duck that merrily bounces along without consciousness of the seas around her and the sharp bowed destroyer escort making her way, unfazed by mere waves. An unlikely combination. We fill each other in on our dives and Gordon tells of his strange shark incident. Shortly after he bagged his papio a shark comes along. Gordon watches as this shark moves away from him, yet then proceeds to, at a distance, spiral around going upward, as if almost making a threat display. He goes on about how odd it was, while Nils and I laugh thinking of this shark thrusting out his chest, smiling and doing doughnuts at 12 knots in less than twice its body length. Now, that is some fish!!


dive 156b

Sunday morning... heading out with the big boys. Well, Rich and John are no shows but Joe is desperate to get wet and we head out to the ships. There is a dive boat there and the Capt. figures it will be 20 minutes before he is out of there... we notice four or so divers that although they are in the water, have not yet submerged. 20 minutes seems optimistic. The ever patient Capt. Joe blasts in and offers to buy gas for Roger. There is a tour boat fueling up, the ever patient Capt. Joe nuzzles us in and figures on saving time by paying ahead of time... the Ala Wai fuel dock does not yet have that McDonalds sophistication of taking money from ten people in line before starting to get the food for guy number one. We manage to get gas and get back out to the ships just as the dive boat is departing. We tie up to the buoy and head in. There is no current and the water is nice. Lots of opelu in the top layer followed by butterflies and humus. The sandy bottom area is covered with sleeping weke and I try not to wake them but to just drift on top of them... no luck, they are all up and acting like weke should long before I am close. Joe is going to fine tune his butterfly catching skills. I leave him to it and scope the area for game, one small papio off in the distance, nothing else. I go and check on Joe. He is in full attack, smoke coming out of his ears and I can almost hear "come back here you varmint" as the long nose sails off into oblivion. That's no good Joe, you must remain calm, become one with the fish, don't scare it. I watch a few more attempts like watching someone trying to open a jar, certain I can do it but being the good and patient teacher that I am... when Joe has reached frustration level 8 and longnose have been scattered far and wide, the master steps in. Now THIS is something I can actually do, I average $25-$30 with just a hand net. He is happy to hold my gun as there are a few longnose he wants to teach a lesson to. I carefully explain to Joe how to keep calm, relaxed and just watch the master at work. "Hey... hey! Hey you! Come back here you varmint" Sassy speedy longnose refusing to take refuge, darting under the ship into holes that go back 15 feet! I find myself crashing into eels, the bottom and my tank makes a nice ring when I roll into the side of the boat. Well that longnose was too big anyway, and that other one had a flopped dorsal, and that group over there, well... there is something suspicious about the whole group. They look like devil worshippers. This net is no good, the pocket is not deep enough, the poker is way too short. I graciously give Joe back his stupid net, he is most anxious now that he has seen the master at work, no doubt certain he could at least have caught that one big one. We swim between the ships and come upon a blue box fish. Master Joe sweeps it up with a flick of the wrist. Confidence restored he is off after the butterflies once again. He has the perfect set up with two coral heads and blows it, I could have caught THAT one... give me that net! Why, I have been catching longnose since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. So the dive continues 'til our bottom time is up. Joe has bubble problems and looks like a normal diver. We head up the side of the ship and Joe finds a little octopus in a hole. The submarine full of tourists show up just in time for us to give them an octopus show. Joe goes over and tries to catch the tourists in the sub. I am sure they will remember the diver doing the hand net hula and the beautiful mermaid eating an octopus (those windows don't look all that clear). We ascend into the opelu layer, sardines on all sides, their silver flashes sending the message of no predators about. A few brave lemons come all they way up to see us and Joe is ready to catch them... never say die. I glance up at the happy hull... hmmm, who forgot to put the ladder down? We manage to surface as another boat approaches to dive the wrecks. It is nice not to pull anchor as we free ourselves and toss them the line. Joe did have problems with his rebreather, mouthfuls of water not being an inherent part of the system. We are both glad to have gotten wet and head back to Keehi. The master Captain takes over the helm (need to regain face) but something seems amiss, the boat should be running faster, are we towing something? Is there a bag stuck on the props? It is about at the Ala Wai when it is pointed out that the port engine, while running at 3000 rpm, is actually still in neutral...


dive 157 and 158

Friday eve, Mike and John are starters and Nils and I are invited along. We have no key for the lock so loading the boat consists of passing tanks over gates. Mike and John have forgotten wetsuits, adding to the preparatory excitement. The Mo'o iki is loaded just as Jeff and Roger arrive for an evening surf. Two wetsuits are rousted up and we agree to give the surfers a lift to #3's (great surf spot too far to paddle to), however, space is limited and we tow them along behind. Jeff is standing and Roger is knee boarding along as we head out the channel. The surf is small and the surfers eye us enviously as we pass all the breaks. We drop off our passengers and head for the hole. I toss the anchor and Mike and John are gone just as I finish tying off the line. Nils and I enter the clear water, There is a Diamond Head current, but the strong winds have blown the boat almost over the anchor. I look down to see that Mike has a fish in his bag, and is loading his gun again... the guy just does not waste time! He and John head up current, just ewa of the hole. I figure we will go the other way, so I do a rapid descent in the sand role in hopes of raising curiosity in nearby fish. It seems to work on opelu kala, nothing else in sight. I lay in the sand just outside the Diamond Head side of the hole. I call, no luck. The place looks forsaken, the fish are not here. I spy a little Pele's murex shell (dead and empty) and spend some time trying to stick it in my wet suit someplace where I will not be poked by sharp little spines. I finally settle on the cleavage (O.K., the shell is about the size of my thumb nail, I have that much!). The cold water rushes in my suit and I suddenly get the urge to move about and look for fish. I leave Nils stalking parrot fish and head out to the ewa cable crossing... no fish. Back to the hole, pick up Nils and we head inside along the ewa ledge, crossing over and heading diamond head to the inside little ledge (look for lobsters). We head out the sand channel to the uku spot. We see three uku and work them in, they are small and not coming close. Nils takes a fabulous long long shot and nails one. His barb does not deploy and the dying fish swims off of the spear. The fish would be catchable, except he is heading straight to the surface as he drifts down current. I follow at a safe rate. I am checking the current and gauging just how far away I will be when I hit the surface. Nils signals to forget it, but the fish calls me to follow. I get out the bag and open it, the fish suddenly turns around and starts swimming down. He sees a yellow magic tunnel and swims to the other side, in the hands of a Goddess. I look down to see that I am not far away at all and Nils is happily cheering. His fish did not get away! We both are taking credit. We head back to the anchor and head up. John and Mike are getting in the boat as I see the shark move in below us. Good timing, it is not the shark I had trouble with on Wed., but a small white tip coming home after those people finally leave. I pull anchor and we skim home looking for tired surfers. The bums have caught a lift with Glacier Bay Dave and Mark Lidel, we get a chance to brag about our fish. (Nils shot an uku, Mike got a nice size papio, I caught an uku...) As we rinse our gear, we use the knowledge of the rarely seen Jeff to talk about spear guns. John had taken Mr. Mac's gun, it shoots high since he got a new shaft (it has not been the same since the big ulua.) Every one has a thought about what needs to be done. The day has gone, it is cold as we say goodbye and happily head home, the ocean once again providing so much for each of us.


dive 159 Gale force, marginal seas, I have not been diving. My hair has been dry for 5 days straight!! Lyle is just as desperate, Gordon has had his boat out every day "because he can" and is up for a Waikiki dive. We head out for the hole. Glacier bay Dave is going to the ships, Roger has the little boat and follows us to the hole. The weather is rainy, no line ups, the water is murky and there is a strong ewa current. Lyle goes down with the anchor and comes back up saying there is nothing but sand. We try again with the same results, except we are hooked. I figure we are close and Lyle just doesn't know the area well enough. I head down with him... there is quite a current. The anchor is right on the ewa ledge, inside the hole. I figure to swim (crawl) to the hole, take a shot and come back. As we get close we run into the opelu kala hugging the eddy. They are willing to let me get right in them. They are not moving out into the full flow for some one who misses regularly. I think that Roger will probably be just getting in the water (he was rigging his gear when I entered the water), and I decide to head back to the anchor to show him the way. The anchor isn't easy to find and there is no one there. I think I hear the little boat, he has more sense than the rest of us. I head back to the opelu kala to look for papio. The murk prevents seeing very far and the current limits shots to straight up current. I do see a large papio off to the side. I turn my gun and can't hold it in position. The papio disappears, I face back up current and wait. I am kicking and holding on and managing to stay in one place. The papio swims by over my right shoulder (the fish and I are aligned in the same direction). I hope to shoot him from behind the gill and out the forehead as he swims by. He is a little far right and as I slowly inch my gun ever so slightly cross current... I am holding fine at 20 degrees, but at 21, whoosh, 180. I don't know what I would do if I shot the fish anyway, I would be far down current in a heart beat. I play it safe and head up early (it is pretty miserable). I swim along the ledge (oh yeah, I forgot to mention, it is kinda dark now), no anchor, must have passed it. Back towards the hole, back out again, no anchor, must have passed it. A reasonable amount of fear, I really really want to keep searching, I know I am close. I am too low on air, light, and bottom time. I pick a coral head to watch and try hard to hold my position as I come up. I am up current of the boat and I just hope that I still am by the time I surface. I am gradually loosing ground. I soon loose sight of the bottom, I am kicking hard as gobs of seaweed float by me. For the first time I use my computer to maximize my ascent; it is quiet, so I figure I am safe enough. I am in the full kick mode when I see an odd white line beneath me. Then there are bubbles... it is the anchor line! Hurrah! I dive down for it and grab it at 40'. I am out of air, my head is beginning to ache and I am very happy. There is a diver below, probably Gordon (Lyle must be out of air by now), he is no doubt waiting for me to show up. No way to signal him, I try tugging on the line but the line is pretty immune to my movements. I surface to find Roger has long gone and Lyle is very happy to see me as both he and Gordon had not seen me the whole dive. The scramble up the ladder is even difficult. Gordon surfaces safe and sound, we are all empty handed as are Dave and Mark in the other boat, (they came over to see if we got swept away, it is nice to know that two boats would have been looking for me). Gordon struggles with the anchor and we head home, comments like "at least we got some exercise" come out as poor excuses for not having sense enough in the first place. Back at the dock Roger checks on us to make sure we survived the whipping current, it was too much for an old man. He had no depth recorder so just dropped anchor in about 40' near the harbor, not much, one uku, two lobsters, and oh yeah, he found a watch.


dive 160

Friday, Gordon, Lyle and I do not wait around for Michael and get an earlier start towards Kahala. The seas are messy off Diamond Head and the NOGO Waikiki is put through her paces. I think the Hole is looking better and better, but the captain is planning on calmer seas around the next mountain. Lyle, trying to break the silence and keep things cheerful with statements like "boy that RainX sure is good stuff." It does get calmer and we anchor on Joe's barge. Lyle is down with the anchor. There is no current (small things make your day). Below, Gordon and I can see Lyle fighting an uku. Gordon drops and I follow the trail of butter knives to the anchor. Hmmm... that Lyle has tricks too. We are at the Koko Head Z's and as I head over to the barge, I run into the giant herd of Mu. They look like a gang of trouble, but I stay calm and sting ray along the bottom not looking up. Only three of fish think I am worth checking out, but none get close enough and they soon join their buddies heading off in the direction of Lyle. The murkiness is perfect and I expect to see lots of uku at any second. I see the little baby guys, they follow me past the barge into the land of ten thousand opelu kala. I lay still until they are within reach. The school is endless, I see two small baby papio but that is it. I continue down the ledge to the natural arch area and see no big uku. Those other guys probably have four fish apiece by now, conditions seem so perfect. I head back in their direction. I come across three eagle rays, two medium ones flying tip to tip followed by a really baby one in the middle of their tails' tips. I know it is not really the perfect eagle ray family, but I wish I had a camera as us anthropomorphic beings would love that picture. I see no other divers, and I head upwind of the anchor to the pipes. The pipes are filled with mempachi and surrounded by baby uku. I play hide and seek with the uku, but never see any big ones. My bottom time is up and the anchor is a ways away, I start up empty handed again. Gordon is on the line with his gun floating above him. He has a nice size uku, but says he didn't see anything except big uku far away. (Too early for him). I come up and catch the last glimpse of the sun as it goes down. Lyle is feeling pretty good, he had a bad day at work and was ready to kill... two uku and a small mu. Lyle pulls anchor and we head home. We discuss weekend dive plans, Gordon has a rainbow runner party and generously offers me his uku, Lyle's father is getting tired of uku and he gives me one of his. It is with great joy that I can chat with Mark Lidel back on the dock. Lyle is in earshot as I tell Mark I did terrible, didn't see much, but did manage to get two uku. There are some really fun things about being a fisherman.


dive 161

The weekend is a series of "cheer up it could be worse"... I cheer up... sure enough... things get worse. By Sunday afternoon I am in desperate need of the ocean. I also need to catch some fish for the aquarium at school. I take the Mo'oiki out off of Waikiki. I forgot a needle for the fish so I am limited in depth as well as species. The ocean is clear and it looks about 40 feet. I slow down till I see a ledge and toss the anchor. The boat drifts out over a beautiful sand field. Maybe there will be uku. I have net, bucket, handnet, speargun, bag, and gloves. The sand looks very sterile... could be hard to find a nabeta! There are occasional isolated rocks and I head for the largest. It is a little island of life. Clouds of dascyllus dive into the large solitary coral palace. There are more damsel fishes than actually fit and when push comes to shove, all the little guys are sent off to a nearby outhouse. This is good for me as I scoop up two. There are two big cleaner shrimp in with the giant eel who functions as the island troll. Living in the nether world feeding on the unwary. The eel retreats as best he can, but catching the shrimp with my hands takes most of my courage. I have one, but the eel is getting tired of being polite and I leave one with his guardian. I catch a leaf fish by the tail then scoop two puffers (big items in the classroom). There is a tiny humu that is living in a tiny hole. I put my scoop net on the hole and hope for the best. I spy a tiny tiny stone fish and manage to scare him out of my hands over to some small rocks. There is no place to hide and I know he has darted into an area about a meter square. Those guys can stay really still. I am looking right at him and not seeing him. I finally do see him (after patting my hands over the whole area!) and put him in the bucket. There had been a class request for one of those lethal deadly stone fish... wait til they see this guy, less than two inches. My hand net remains empty with the little humu waiting it out. I feel like I should use the fence net for some thing, having made the effort to bring it. I set it and pick up a nice wrasse. Well, it is a good start. I have not seen any passing fish but I used half a tank. Not enough air to make a spearfishing dive so I cruise around to check out some other rock islands. It is amazing how much life can pack into a small piece of solid substrate. I head up and surface just as glacier bay Dave circles around taking line ups on what must be some secret spot. Once again the ocean has done a miraculous job of washing off my brain. I feel cleansed and social enough to return to the terrestrial world again.


dive 162

Thursday, the ocean is flat calm at last. Gordon is a starter as is Rob from Saipan and Lyle. We glide off to Marnie's rock, me blabbing away about my work. We aim for David's spot and I toss the anchor. I get back to the main deck to find everyone sitting around chatting. Gordon has announced that it is too early and his loyal followers are all waiting. I know that the ocean is too calm for the amount of anchor line I have let out so I head down. The water is filled with phytoplankton, the murk makes the ocean plenty dark as I drift down into the gloom. The anchor line is laying on the bottom and I straighten it out as best I can. We are perfectly anchored and I head over toward the ledge. I finally look up to see there are about 10 rainbow runners right above me. They are not much bigger than a large akule, but at least as a fishermen-story teller, I will be able to notch the species on my belt. Alas they depart with the arrival of Lyle, but a school of large uku approach me from the sand. I call them dead to rights and find my trigger does not want to move. It all happens two seconds too late and I am doublely mad as I know Lyle was watching and it was my chance to make like mermaid plus, and instead I came off looking like "no wonder she misses!" Lyle glides up to take up the slack on the uku who are giving me the nyah nyah's while I reload. He follows them out into the sand and they disappear (visibility is limited), I saw them turn and figure the uku should reappear just diamond head and inside where there is that corner. I leave Lyle going the other way and head to make my next appointment. Sure enough, I am getting a second chance, uku are arriving right on schedule. The fish are acting extremely shy and I think it is odd because they were sooo friendly earlier. I seem unable to call them close enough and am wondering about it when a butter knife comes sparkling down and lands about a foot in front of my face. Great, I have Lyle overhead "helping", I slowly look up to see him swimming about 15 above me! He drifts down in front of me and follows the uku out on the sand. I pick up the butter knife and think about where I want to put it. I stab it in to a coral head slot so he won't miss the hint and leave him to chase his uku. I head back along the ledge to see Gordon and Rob arriving. Too many divers, I head off toward Marnie's rock. The trip down was uneventful, except a couple of papio that I saw too late. The soup seemed thicker and from the ledge past the house rock, I could barely make out Marnie's. Suddenly as I was dropping off the ledge, a lot of omilu surround me. They are darting wildly, ignoring me totally and gone before I know what hit me. I feel confident that I only have to await their return. I move into the area inside the rock and note that I can just barely make out the rock. Fish are approaching, there is a large school of... what are they? They are waha nui! Hundreds and hundreds, really big ones too. The school goes from the bottom all the way up and I can see them silhouetted high above me. I am in awe, the school is never ending. I begin to worry about having air to get back, 1300 lbs., some third rule is probably in effect right now. I leave the mass of fish and get back to normal along the ledge. I see nothing and am soon back with the bozos. Gordon got a small something, but I don't see his bag. Lyle has nothing and I still have 1200 pounds of air. I guess no current, combined with no dilly dally maneuvers can really make a difference as to how far away these areas are. I head out in the sand and can see many small omilu or papio off in the distance. I move in that direction far enough to see that the uku and weke ula are out there as well. I wonder how far we are from the 120' drop off and what features are outside of this place that have the fish pooling here. If I were any kind of spearfisherwoman, I would certainly have 3 or 4 fish by now. The fish are hanging back from Lyle and I. I give it up and head for the anchor. I leave the bottom and plan to meet up with the line. I run into the big opelu kala and search for the kagami. Lyle is following but soon realizes that I am going in circles and not to the anchor. He surfaces and heads straight back to the bottom. No wonder there is no anchor line, it is below me laying on the bottom. Lyle frees the rope and we both head up. Gordon has a papio in his bag (Rob had it), but we are otherwise empty handed. I shoot off my gun again to see if it is fixed. It works fine. Perhaps I neglected to rinse it last time. The surface is quiet and calm. The still boat makes everything move smoothly as we trade dive stories. I berate Lyle (in my usual friendly fashion), and he feels bad and wants to ease things. He diverts the story with "yeah, but did you see the amazing part? That knife ended up perfectly stabbed into a coral head, what are the chances of that? It was truly amazing!" To his credit, he not only freed the anchor line, he now pulled the anchor. We glided home on the glimmering sea, avoiding holiday traffic and making it back to the Ala Wai just behind the Mo'o coming back from Kahala. Good boats are doing the right thing on glassy days. The harbor boats are sparkling with colored lights, reminding us of the season. If I can't get a dive partner tomorrow, I will definitely do something Christmassy.


dive 163

FRIDAY at last, Christmas vacation is upon me and there is nothing like a dive to celebrate. Mark Lidel is going out at 2:30 to do two dives at the wrecks, but I have errands and Lyle is up for heading out at 4. It is a new boat for me, so I don't really have to do anything except step aboard. We go visit with Mark guys who are in between dives, Mark got two small papio but they were hassled by a grey shark. They report no current. Lyle is tempted to go to Kahala, but the hole is crystal clear and invites us to stay. We are plenty early, and we can see the fish frolicking below us as we shoot the breeze. The NOGO Waikiki comes by and Captain Gordon gives us a wave as he heads for the land of giant uku. The sun gets lower, and we head over the side. There is no current and the water is not mixed, there are hot and cold pockets as I slowly sink. Lyle is in front and goes into hunter mode... I hang back as he shoots a weke ula. I get down and find the bottom two feet really cold and full of spawning weke ula. They are flashing bars and nuzzling each other. They are easy pray but they look like they are having fun. I leave them be. They are in clumps that seem to be linked with the coldest water. There are also weird clumps of murky water. I hear Lyle shoot and I know I will get fish anyway... I head off toward the peninsula, the water is warmer and I am lured down deeper. I see no fish of any kind and return to the cold. The weke are still there along with some mu and lots of opelu kala. Things look better, but I see no uku. I head over to my uku spot (I really like no current... this air is going to last a long time). I am happy to see some little uku coming my way, there are six of the guys, but they are small. I work them hoping that one guy has a big brother looking out for him. No luck. Back to the hole where Lyle is shooting at the rocks... hmmm, at least it sure looked like it to me. I leave the mad man (turns out he was trying to get an ala phi), and sweep around the hole along the ledges and make it back into the little shallow ledge. Here is where the Costco amount of opelu kala live. There is a school that stretches to forever. They are still and it is easy to search through for any stray papio. No luck. There is a lobster molt in my favorite lobster hole, practically a note that says "should have been here yesterday." I have plenty of air and I head out back to my uku spot, there is nothing but opelu kala. They thin out as I head for the hole where Lyle is getting another fish. There are two large eels moving out from the inside rock and heading for Lyle's bag. I point them out as I head up, my beeper had gone off and I already owed two minutes. I had been down for 35 minutes and used half a tank... boy do I love no current days. Lyle takes his fish bag and puts some air in his fish bag and sent it up the anchor line. He is low on air when he arrives. He said he shot 4 weke ula, but only got three. One manages to fall out of the bag while we decompress and I rescue it and claim it as mine. That is about as good as our communication got. We surface as the sunset sky was pretending we were in Oklahoma. Vast tracts of sweeping orange brush strokes across the western sky. Very impressive. Lyle then shows me how he pulls anchor, he clips a white fender float on his line and runs forward. The drag on the float pulls it down the anchor line and soon the float reappears 120' away with the anchor floating behind it. He picks up the line and we go visit Mark who has gotten a few more fish and was bothered by a really small feisty black tip. There is the usual after dive teasing and comparing of catch as we both head in side by side. Another gorgeous dive, a great start to my vacation... any one want to go diving? Give me a call.


dive 164

Ah, the luxury of vacation... shall I dive today? Lyle, Robert and I leave the Ala Wai at about 3. There is a murk line just outside and Lyle is worried about a current. We anchor and find it still as toast. I am in the water way before anyone; if you are early anyway, be the first one down. The water is filled with phytoplankton and it is plenty dark. The fish are all feeding in the water column, but the uku come down to see me and the anchor. They stay out of range. There is a very large kumu between me and the hole. He is so docile it is amazing he has survived to be so large. I almost feel remorse as I pull the trigger. MISS!! This is not possible! I reload, he has moved (slowly) under a rock. I nudge him out with my spear (actually nudge), and take another kill shot. I miss again. I am mildly upset by now and load my gun again. I see the others coming down the line and know that Lyle is going to get that kumu. I leave the area in disgust as I don't want to have to witness the slaughter. I head out for the peninsula to see if I can catch up with the uku again. The mu is hanging too close and teases me also. I soon forget my troubles as I interact with the fish. There are weke ula moving along the slope of the ledge and I watch them fight over a really good pocket of sand. They are smallish and more fun to watch than anything else. I head back along the ledge, turn in at uku corner, and check out the inside area. I pass Lyle and see there is something in his bag. The uku are in the inside area along with some baby kahala. We cat and mouse around but they don't get a shot out of me. My time is up and I head back out to the hole. The other two follow me up the line. Lyle is excited about his great kumu. He also shot a big weke ula, but lost it. Robert did not see anything. We decompress as the opelu kala surround us, they are feeding right up to the surface. Back in the boat I have to endure great pain... Lyle tells of his great kumu stalk. Then I make the mistake of telling him I missed it (I was too scared to say I had missed it twice!). Well, if I thought the "how to aim" instructions were bad enough last time. I now got stalking advice, when to shoot advice, and how to tell if your gun is off advice. He is going to make me use his gun, (there is no way I could possibly reach the rubbers), and he will check mine out for me (how sweet, lucky he is Captain). Then when I declined the oh so generous offer, he promised to bring his little super power gun that is real accurate, (the shaft shoots fast and bounces back). If I am still unable to hit anything with that... I am to take up shell collecting! Now I actually have to do something to my gun, so I have an excuse to use it!!


dive 165

Tuesday... time to go diving! Gordon is heading out and Lyle, Robert and I step on board. We push for Kahala and Gordon is amiable even though he and Jane have been to Molokai and he has plenty of fish (two big uku and one omilu). The trip to Joe's Barge is spent with Gordon and Lyle discussing how to drop a butter knife properly. Apparently the Molokai uku are not impressed for long enough for it to do the diver any good. We anchor and Lyle is down to set the anchor. I am the next one in, the water is clear and we are right over the outside Z's. I load my gun... wow the new shaft has places for three rubbers. I got options! There is a slight current and surge. I do not see any fish and leave Lyle and Robert on the Z's and cruise to the other pile. Nothing. I lay still until the opelu kala are close, there is perhaps some distant mu shapes, but no action. I see two MK, one big one small as I head past the anchor. They want nothing to do with me and head off towards Lyle. (Ha, that is what you get for not staying and letting me miss you.) I go over to the pipes, admire the gorgeous black coral tree again. There are little uku all around, they are not in a school, but anywhere I look I can see at least one. They are too small, but I want to try my shaft. I have no luck calling them. I see a good size mu hanging inside. He is moving parallel along the pipes. I am spying on him from behind the firs of two large pipes that line up end to end with a small rampart space in between them. I move into location for a charge attack (you never know). Sure enough, as I lay behind the space, he drifts into view. AHA! I charge between the pipes trying real hard not to think about eels as I come down on the mu. Pull, pull... Mu are slow to react, and I did get about half the distance I needed to before he picked up momentum. The big school of heniochus over my head panicked, this set off a large scale domino effect. The panic chain was amazing to watch. The clear water let the wave travel farther and soon all the fish were safely in bomb shelters. I felt like the boy who cried wolf. My bottom time was up and I had not fired a shot. Back to the anchor line. I can see Gordon on the line, his bag is out and there is a tail of something sticking out. He has a large rainbow runner but he shakes his head sadly as I give him the shaka sign. He alludes to his spear and I see the shaft needs some work. It was not the rainbow runner, it was the ulua that he lost. We surface in time to see the sun set. Robert got the big MK and Lyle the smaller one. Lyle informs Robert that he is getting good enough to buy himself a gun! (He has been using one of Lyle's infinite supply.) They are both in awe of Gordon's rainbow runner. (ee's me ero) Then Gordon proceeds with his tale of woe. He got the rainbow runner at his rainbow runner spot (I will have to follow him next time), then went on to the barge where a dozen big ulua were hanging out. He took a good shot, almost got the fish. He was distraught not only about possibly killing a royal fish, but knowing that he committed a sin (you know it would be fun to see a list of Gordon's ten commandments).
1 - Thou shalt not needlessly kill big ulua. (It's Christmas, I won't continue.)

Well, the upshot is we were all supposed to feel sorry for the man with a huge fish laying on deck. Plus, the loss of the spear shaft! Well, then Lyle was grousing because he got the smallest fish. He had missed a bunch of shots, etc., etc... You know there are those times when you have to just pull back and reassess the situation. After careful thought I came to the conclusion that they probably are just afraid of appearing too boastful. I refrained from tossing the fish over board, which is good because Lyle gave me his (too small to take home) and Gordon generously gave me a filet. I shall have guests for dinner... and I will of course have to explain that the delicious fish was not shot by me.


dive 166

Merry Christmas! Time to go diving! Lyle and I plan a trip out to the 100' hole (It seems like a traditional Christmassy place to go). He had gone diving yesterday, and got a MK. Unfortunately the deck of the ship was right behind the fish and he had to spend quite a while carving into the teak deck to get his shaft out! (Another good reason to carry a knife.)

The water is clear and we anchor close to the hole, there is a diamond head current that pulls the boat upwind and right over my uku spot. We head in at about the same time and set the anchor and move into the hole. There are no fish to spear, the little white tip was hiding in the hole, but soon moved off. I leave Lyle to look near the ewa ledge and head out the peninsula. I think I see something off in the sand, but am unable to tell if they are uku. They disappear, I zip back toward the hole and make several forays in all directions. I see no fish to shoot and spend my time bumming out miter shells and checking out Hawaiian stones. Eventually I am out of bottom time and I head over to tell Lyle I am going to head up. He has not seen any fish either. We are on the makai side of the rock when Lyle suddenly assumes a full point. He sees something over the cave, but from where I am I cannot see, I just get ready for anything. Two good size papio come into sight just in front of Lyle's gun. He hits one with a perfect shot. The other one comes close to me, but between Lyle and I. I decide that this is not what Lyle meant when he told me not to worry about what was behind the fish! Lyle scrambles like mad to get out of the way, convince the other papio to hang around, and tries really really hard to make sure that I somehow get a shot. The papio, after his first pass, is not coming close. We were out of bottom time a while ago, so I wait for Lyle to pack up his fish and we head up the line. The current is stronger on the surface and our decompression consists of just hanging on. Lyle gives me his papio, as his folks have got plenty of fish. Once again I score! I am off diving on the big island tomorrow, hope to actually use my spear. Happy Holidays to everyone!


dive 167

Quick dive update. I have been diving more than is Christian for the last four days. The upshot is that there are some really beautiful places to dive. It can get deep fast. Rainbow runner will be my undoing. I have a couple of good size uku on ice. Whales have arrived in Hawaiian waters. Even with the new shaft, it is still possible for me to miss!


dive 168

Last day of the year. Rainy, gloomy, dark and gray... the ocean looks glassy. Joe, Brian and Christie are up for a dive. Getting air turns into a hassle and I am a half hour late getting to the boat, fortunately true friends have waited for me. Joe has been getting the boat set up and everything is ready, not bad. Joe is having the second worst day in his life. (I didn't ask about the worst as it might bring back such bad memories as to bring on a meltdown.) The ocean was calm, he was going diving, he had a new underwater speed toy (big, black and fast). If getting hassles from a job he doesn't get paid for was the second worst thing... well he needs to get out more. We skimmed along under the dark foreboding sky. The water looked cold and spooky, but when we tied off at the ships and could see the happy sub in the clear water beneath us, the ocean seemed pretty friendly. Joe is over and I follow so I can watch the hand off of the power Johnson speed torpedo. It looks fun as Joe zips off to the depths. I load my gun and drift down between the ships. There are some Oahu size uku and one baby papio, nothing to get excited over. Joe is doing time trials along side of the ship and comes over to let me use it. He takes time to show me the prop and point to my pig tails as a safety precaution (good point). I hand off my gun and play with the scooter. I feel just like the cowboy in "Dr. Strangelove" riding the bomb out of the plane. There is a turtle and I think about doing doughnuts around him but calmness prevails and I leave it with just a friendly visit. I hand the toy back to its rightful owner (usually not nice to just take someone's Christmas presents and head for the spirals). As we exchange toys, the light is blocked over head by a thick cloud of opelu. They are in a tight tornado that makes a thunder storm overhead. I don't see any predators, probably spawning. There is no current so I head down the ledge to check out the pyramids. Joe stays with the ships, probably checking on Brian and Christie (they have stayed on deck, supposedly searching for a weight belt, but they do seem out of breath when they arrive). The pyramids yield a small cute eagle ray, some Oahu size mu and not much else. I swim along under the sub over to the Kagami spot, nothing but a huge ball of taape. I head back to the ships and start drag racing Joe. He kills it on his first burn rubber wheelie. Slightly embarrassed we go at it again. It is the perfect Naso chasing speed, I can keep up, but I will use air and be tired. My bottom time is about up, no use chasing risk having made it through the year without getting bent. We decompress and I reflect on the dives of '98 while the black pixie angel darts about chasing humus. Yes, there have been good fish, and beautiful ledges, but in the end it is the friends, and the laughs that make it so renewing. Brian helps Joe get his power stroke in the boat and we untie so Dan's dive guys can head down after us. The water is still smooth and we run back talking about Brian's new sport, negative gravity (that is accelerating straight down), in a nighthawk. These guys should just be happy they lived through yet another year.


dive 169

First day of the year, so far no fish! I went on an evening dive with Lyle and John Chang. I arrived late (hiking at Makapu'u), but since Lyle is enamored with me, and John doesn't have his own boat, they waited 'til close to sunset. The Mo'o iki was low on fuel and this is one of the two days the gas dock is actually closed. We stayed close to home and did a shallow dive. John took a shot at a nice pan size papio, but missed. Lyle took a long shot at a weke and missed. I didn't see anything of note, but had a great time getting wet and watching the first sunset on the glassy calm water, followed by a full moon rising over Waikiki... yep, hard to beat this place.


dive 170

The last day of vacation draws to a close. The ocean is flat calm, and I have a new fishing pole. Great minds think alike, and I soon have a full boat. Mike, John, Tomas, Lyle, John Chang, myself and we have Naomi along as a boat babe. We pile onto the Prince William with our diving and fishing gear. Naomi has provided a new type of sparkles for Lyle and I to use as a secret weapon. The boat is loaded, Mike wants to be home early and the hulls need cleaning. We decide to anchor at the Hole in the Wall off of the reef runway. Mike puts us on the mark and we all head down. The water is clear and still. I check the anchor, and head over to the ledge. It is nothing but butts and elbows, not to mention loaded spear guns! I duck through the crowd and head inside to check one of my uku spots. No sign of fish, but it is a little early. I get the lemon butterflies to play with pretty silver sprinkles. I swim around the main rock, check out the good uku spot, look for lobster on the deep rock and wander back toward the anchor. I can hear anchor chain noises and I am nervous about where the anchor is moving to. I see Lyle (fish in bag, can't tell what), and he has heard the same thing as we head over to find Mike moving the anchor so the boat will be well positioned for bottom fishing. Mike then heads up the line and I leave to go wander about inside and wait for dark. There is a favorite lobster rock and I find it marked with some brass stanchions that some one has found... they probably got lobsters here as well! There are no lobsters to be seen by me and I head back out toward the anchor. There is a constant clanging of chain making for the spooky sensation that the boat is going somewhere with out me. The anchor is untouched, perhaps the noise is from a the nearby oil tanker. John and Lyle are still messing about as I head over to my uku spots. Aha, timing is everything, there are weke ula as well as uku messing about. I call the uku my way, but miss my shot. Shucks, not that I haven't been eating fish every day, but I know it moves me closer to hero status when there is a large group of empty handed spearfishermen. (Oh yeah, Lyle has a mystery fish.) I try again and take a long shot just after my beeper told me I was out of bottom time. My line gets tangled in the coral, and I some how end up with a giant knot to untangle as I head up to decompress. The top 15' is full of little stinging animals that make my decompression rather unpleasant. Lyle, John and I exchange miscommunications about our dives. The surface finds a calm sea and avid fishermen at work. (Mike has already landed a Taape) I test out my new pole, but to no avail, and after Mike wins the fisherman award with a small mempachi, we call it a night. Lyle has a small uku which somehow conveniently ends up in my ice box. Happy to get wet, pleased we found the spot and hoping to come back out diving soon.


dive 171

A rainy Friday afternoon. I am desperate to dive, just drooling over everyone else taking advantage of a calm sea. Lyle is easy to convince and we start with hopes of Joe's barge. There is a squall moving in and we are off of Kaiser's when the deluge hits. Fortunately, Lyle has a convertible and the bimini top comes in handy as we get thoroughly and totally engulfed in a big drop down pour. No land is visible, just a blowing mist roiling above the diamond covered sea. It is really quite beautiful in a rugged north sea sort of way. Well my wishes to get wet are fulfilled, now to see if we can get underwater. The storm eases up and we head for the hole. We anchor and Lyle heads down. I am left fiddling with my mask strap which is out of whack. Good enough... the water is clear with a koko head current (not bad). Right at the anchor there are some small uku jazzing around. They keep their distance and I head over to the hole where Lyle is on the outside rocks working weke ula. I head out along the peninsula 'til the cable crossing. I am using a tank of Lyle's which is a heavy aluminum. I not only have tons of air, it is easy to lay plastered on the bottom. I see uku shadows. They are a bigger group and I toss some secret Naomi sparkles down current across the sand. The uku come right in along with some small kahala. I get ready for the turn of the whole school (lots of good size uku) when suddenly (could have been me smiling at what a hero I was about to be) my mask instantly totally floods. I can still see uku shapes and seriously debate shooting off my gun into the blurry gray areas that are appearing. The problems are:

1. If I have to land a fish with no mask, it could be a hassle,
2. I am laughing too hard,
3. If I actually hit a fish with my eyes closed, I will never be allowed to hear the end of it: "The only way she can actually hit some thing is..."

I clear my mask and let the fish swim away. I spend the rest of the dive looking for more fish but the one time inundation was the only fish I saw. My bottom time is up, but I still have about 2000 psi! This seems criminal. I head off toward the anchor when suddenly Lyle shoots off his old shell from his power head. I thought briefly that the world was ending. Lyle heads up, but I turn around to see if the explosion brought in more fish. The uku come back to check out the area. The uku are the smaller ones I saw at the start of the dive, deco time sure adds on quickly. Safety rules, and I head up the line. Lyle just gets confused by deco line small talk, but I do get out of him that his bag is empty, he took four shots and used up his old power head shell. On the surface he goes over all that he needs to do to his gun now that it has missed four times in a row. Maybe I have been going about this missing thing all wrong, maybe red rubbers for me instead of black... three instead of two... something to work on.


dive 172

Saturday, the weather is holding and Lyle is in need of a dive partner. Mike and John are heading for the hole, so we take advantage of the ocean and head for Joe's barge. It doesn't match my line ups but looks good on the recorder when we drop anchor. Lyle heads down the anchor line and I drift right down on the pile of Z's right under the boat, perfect landing. There is a fair size MK, but he is too tame and trusting, I will leave him for Lyle. (I have been eating a lot of fish lately.) There are lots of big uku hanging around and I use some Naomi sprinkles. The uku look with total disdain upon any of my tricks and I decide to move outside, perhaps swim over and try and find Gordon's secret rainbow runner spot. Hmmm, I never realized there was this extra pile of Z's here... wow, the ledge has disappeared and there is endless flats forever. There are no rainbow runner and in fact this place can't be here. We must not have actually been at Joe's barge. I did not check the anchor as I thought I knew exactly where I was. Well now that I have no clue where I am, my return to my original spot is totally unfamiliar and spooky. There are ledges in all the wrong places but I manage to get back to my uku calling spot; no uku, but I can see bubbles. I head up to find Lyle at about the same time I realize where I am: this is the ledge with the little tiny barge. The anchor is right next to it. Lyle has nothing and I show off in front of him by disappearing off into the deep sand. I am heading for Joe's barge, every relic in the sand makes me feel comfortable and safe. I am such a little field shrew, back in my own territory. I head to the ledge where I thought I was originally, just to even things out. There are small baby uku, and 5 or 6 kumu, small ones. The kumu are fearless and I give them some Naomi sprinkles. They don't actually eat them, but get all excited about open Christmas presents and swim madly in circles. This excites and brings in weke ula, big weke, and MK. The incoming goat fish are all fighting for they don't know what. I am amazed at the frenzy, then a record size MK comes into existence from I know not where. I figure I should shoot it, just for bragging rights. It is whirling about right in front of me, and I miss it just as my bottom time is gone. I carefully load my gun and start to swim back across the sand. My benthic nature as well as my tons of air keeps me on the bottom. I am surprised to see Lyle still down. He is trying to clear the anchor while dragging a bag with a large uku tail sticking out of it. He is low on air, but refuses mine as he rushes up the line. I still have some sprinkles and they provide deco entertainment. Lyle is thrilled with his sprinkles, as he used them to get his uku (he had previously declared them too light, too small, too Naomi, etc.). We surface after the sunset, Lyle all excited at what he calls his "Gordon sized" uku (enough to make one gag!). I am again empty handed, but feeling great. I actually enjoy being outsmarted by fish, and at least I got to outsmart (after some clever maneuvering) the bottom! Hope for more calm seas in the coming weeks. (Only one more week of work!!!)


dive 173

The end of a long Sunday. Gordon, Brian and Lyle let me join them for a trip to Marnie's rock. No one has been there in a while so we are hoping for some fish. Gordon wants to avoid the crowd and has the brilliant idea of being dropped at David's spot and meeting us down at Marnie's rock. Everything seems to go OK, we actually get the anchor right outside of Marnie's rock and set it in a hole. I leave Lyle and Brian on the ledge (no fish in sight) and head in for the next ledge. There is no current and just the right amount of murkiness. I am looking for uku that might chase around to me, but I do not see any. There is a mu about one meter closer than he should be. I do the Michael maneuver, pull, pull, kick, kick, shoot. I was just talking with Jeff today about accuracy and he said "never trade accuracy for power. When you dive with hard ball guys like Mike and Gordon, it is sometimes almost better to miss than have a lousy shot." Well, now I have a total skin shot. I shot the mu on the side as it turned away, the shaft went in and out the skin on the port side. If mu had shoulders, I got it through its left shoulder. I ease off the gun and swim down the fish, I figure as soon as I touch the guy, I will loose him. I take out my trusty metal opening mesh bag and hand net the guy! In the bag, I manage to remove the shaft without ever really touching the fish. The only bad thing is swimming around with a potential biter strapped in my belt. There are no uku except a couple of really small guys, I head over to check the ulua cave. Every time I go over there, my pulse quickens at even the possibility of a big ulua. The cave is empty as usual and I head out to the ewa corner. The light is low, but I can see a large weke ula out in the sand. He is unperturbed by me and continues feeding. He looks too peaceful and I let him be. Looking out I can see the shadows of 8-10 large papio coming my way. They turn too soon and I don't see them anymore, the weke has really taken advantage of my lack of interest and is feeding in the very sand I just puffed up for the benefit of the papio. I take a close shot and miss, he darts off in a huff while I manage to tie the line of my gun into knots. Gordon shows up, he has two papio in his bag and seems to be looking for uku. He soon heads back to the anchor and the lack of light forces me to join everyone there. Brian has a papio as well. We trade stories, darkness makes the water seem colder and I do not dally long on the line. We surface to face the wrath of captain grumpy. Apparently I did not anchor the boat where he could find the anchor without asking for directions. Grump grump. Then Brian had to ask me 3 times whether I had shot that mu. "You shot that mu? ...you? ...that mu there?" And empty handed Lyle remained rather silent. All in all, a long quiet trip back to the Ala Wai, my mind was left to gloat on the miraculous landing and my fantastic fishing skills. Looking forward to a mu dinner.


dive 174

School is out for a three day weekend extravaganza. I have a free dive trip thanks to "Hawaii Diving Adventures" (it is some TV show that I have only seen the Rich Pyle and some other guy episode). Anyway, the show is hard up enough for plot lines that contest winners collecting prizes makes another show. Nils has variety show rehearsals where if you miss more than one you are forever banned from the Punahou family, so I take Naomi (of Naomi sprinkle fame) and head for the big island. Mark (the actual winner) and I head out with Jack's Diving Locker in the morning. Mark had talked to the shop and got all the official bring our own gear permission... this was before they saw the TV cameras. Fortunately Calvin has brought with him the DACOR mask, the DACOR BCD, a full size wetsuit (with rubber knee pads), some lame regulator, compass, depth gauge thing, etc. Mark is none too thrilled, but having someone filming your every word, makes you a lot more congenial. I draw the line at giving up my fins. I carefully show Calvin where I have trimmed the fins to fit around my ankles, how the inside edges have all been sanded smooth so that I can swim hard for four dives in a row four days a week and not get sore feet. I mean, a girl has to have moral standards and draw the line when appropriate or she might end up with quite a reputation. They decide not to push it and the photographers quietly agree not to dwell on my feet. The two actual paying customers are of course in awe of Jennifer the great enthusiastic famous diver (no one told them that I had simply won a contest). I am made even more famous when Dave Fink the captain and dive master arrives and knows me on site (OK, his wife used to work for my sister and I have known him for years), this even impresses the TV show guys! Wow, she knows everyone! There is surf, so our dive spots are limited, we head for Kaiwi Pt. The water is clear and there are no other dive boats around. The ledge is a nice one and Mark and I make our way along, each with our own photographer following along. There are mu every where, several large papio and a group of big MK. I am without something so politically incorrect as a speargun and I am acting as photographers helper. Kona is its usual self, thick coral dropping off into the depths. Mark uses his watch as an air gauge and is surprised at suddenly having only 500 pounds....welcome to the wonderful world of BCD's. He heads up while the rest of us play with a dragon eel and I get eaten by a plastic shark (video camera tricks to sell to tourists like me!). Our surface interval is spent watching for dolphins and snorkeling with a manta ray. Our next dive is a similar topography near "Pine trees." This dive we are allowed our own gear back (except the BCD thing), and I am glad to have my computer back as there was no watch on the other console. With aluminum 80's and ledges that ease you along into the depths I felt less aware of my dive profile. I had a great dive as a MK and papio school spent the dive trying to eat octopus eggs. The eggs were being guarded by a mom who judging from spikey skin and dark color flashes was not a push over for her young. She would bob left and right like a cagey boxer I had the feeling the papio were more annoyed than frightened. Mark found a saber tooth blenny in a hole and was content to spend most of his dive between that and a single coral head. Needless to say we hung out in one spot and enjoyed the wild life that surrounded us. We all headed back to the pier feeling great and I briefly wondered about bottom time as Naomi and I drove to the worlds best stargazing spot. Not too often one gets to dive in tropical seas and have a midnight snowball fight in the same day. This is just the first day of my six month vacation! Wow!


dive 175

The first day of official vacation was spent teaching school... half the kids figured my departure was a trick to somehow guilt them into extra work, the other half wanted a welcome back party that would top the going away party! The second day I slept 'til ten, watched a cowboy movie (old one) and then madly worked on my grades which I still had not finished. I picked up Nils and headed down to meet Lyle. We stole tanks off of the Mo'o, and it looks like Mike and or Roger had been diving (where is my dive report Mike?). I am stuck with a big tank. We head for Kahala and anchor on the ledge just Diamond Head of Joe's barge. Well, the little back up anchor actually anchors us, and the real anchor is dangling in mid air off of the ledge. There is a pretty good Diamond Head current and Nils anchors himself on the bottom of the ledge. Lyle is hanging on the line (trying to pull his anchor down) and has not figured out the obvious solution, but Nils is not a deep kind of guy and I join him at 98' and get him back up to the top of the ledge or to the anchor line. I go free the baby anchor and Lyle sets the big one while I reset the little one. Lyle does not know where he is, but is anxious enough that I am sure he will stay near the anchor. Nils and I head up to the diamond head inside z's. The current is enough and Nils is spaced out enough that I keep a close eye on him, he is nervous, but O.K. He gives me the N2 signal... he is such a nerd!! There are no fish about as we move toward the barge. I hang out inside as it is shallower. I find a shock absorber spring from a car and invent the new sport of underwater pogo bouncing. Nils is amused, but not ready to try some down current excitement. We stalk some mu, Nils must be better as he stalks a large parrot fish into a z but misses the ETA and gets too late a shot. Nils is down to 1000 pounds, and wants to head back to the anchor. It takes about ten seconds to fly down the 10 minute swim and we zip over the empty handed Lyle and head back to the boat. 2000 pounds seems criminal, but there have been no fish seen (they are all hiding in the deep barge), the current is getting worse and Nils has not ever gotten in this boat before. We decompress discussing the clever parrot fish and N2 problems. Lyle joins us and figures we are nuts. We scamper up at sunset and enjoy a slow trolling trip back to Waikiki. I am heading off to Lanai and hope to see everyone on Sunday. Have fun at your war Brian, eat some good cajun food and listen to some cool music.


dive 176

Where in God's rule book does it say that as soon as I have some free time there will be nothing but gale force winds, cold rain and no line ups? Desperation looms as my life continues its downward spiral. I am determined to go diving and secure permission to use the Mo'o iki. Nils is a willing dive partner. Lyle, who is trying to avoid me, but is also in desperate need of a dive succumbs and joins us for a trip to the kagami spot. The sub is still out, there is plenty of light, so we are very slow as we putter to our destination. Glacier bay Dave is diving the ships not far away. The coast is clear for us to throw anchor, but the depth recorder is acting faulty. It reads 286 when I think I am close to the marks. We toss anchor, Lyle has lots of doubts and figures I have no idea where I am. He goes down and sets the anchor right on the first pyramid... not too bad for a girl. Nils and I join him and we all swim to the inside spot. The taape are thick, a threesome of MK come by and Nils takes a shot and misses. There is no current and not much happening in the way of fish. I lead the group over to the ships, but there is not much there either. I am worried about Nils' air consumption and we don't tarry long before heading back to the anchor. There are patches of seaweed on the bottom that are guarded by colonies of cniderians and I get stung while investigating the ecosystem. We are soon back at the pyramids. Both Lyle and Nils shoot at mao mao's, just for practice. Those little guys seem to be able to dart and spin out of the way of an oncoming spear. Not an uku anywhere. There is one shy MK slinking around but never in range. I am getting stung by lots of stuff in the water and I am building up lots of deco (10 minutes is lots by my standards, not Richards!) so I join the others on the line. Lyle said he got a slipper lobster, but I figured he was telling me he saw an MK. Pointing to his fin for slipper looked like pointing to his caudal. Just to be sure I wiggled my fingers to indicate goat fish, he nodded vigorously, impressed that I caught the lobster symbol. Boy was I surprised when the lobster came out of the bag back at the pier. Wait 'til I am deaf and use sign language for everything! It will be like diving, cruising around in my own world, no one having the slightest clue what is going on in my rabbit brain.


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