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The New Snerk Report (Vol. 9)

Mon. 2-21-00

Saturday morning, an early morning dive with the professionals. We are planning on diving Waikiki. Gordon has most graciously allowed us to use his boat. The cast is made up of Gena, Amy, Brian, Joe, Chuck and myself. As usual when diving with real divers, I am the only one with recognizable gear. Rebreathers abound, Chuck and Amy are going over the Nitrox equivalents and planning a dive plan that plans to dive. Tiny Gena has the biggest set of doubles one could imagine. Brian is merciless and chides her about having more gear than she can haul. (now I know why he has so much stuff....the guy can really haul) The boat is full as we head for the ships. Unfortunately, there is a large dive and snorkel boat already tied up and the captain wants us to leave someone on board if we tie up behind him. We bag the plan and dive the hole. Joey tosses the anchor. It is slowly dragging diamond head (with the current) before anyone gets in the water. Amy, heads in and Chuck and I follow. I can see the anchor is about to hook on the DH cable and take my time going down. The anchor hooks just short of the cable and we head up current towards the spot. Amy is going to beat me there, and I envision all the white ulua she chases away before Chuck and I get there. Chuck is new enough to diving that I feel I can stop and point out absolutely anything and make an impression. "Look; here is a rock" "WOW, a rock!" There is a zebra eel inside the hole, some candy cane shrimp, helmet shells feeding on heart urchins, cushion stars, sea cucumbers, a peacock flounder, the hairy red lobster, and assorted eels. Even the car battery seems worth looking at, you can't beat that sort of enthusiasm. I notice a large weke ula and a mu heading inbound for the hole. Both of the fish are about to be cornered by distant Joe and nearby Amy. I use the opportunity and head off to where I know they will try and escape to. Alas, the fish seem more spooked my me, pure gliding stealth, than by the other two obvious guys. I give up, turn back to get Chuck. Turns out, he is right behind me about 10 feet off of the bottom...."I get a much better view from up here" , so much for stealth. I oosh him back down under the pretext that the current is less and we go back to enjoying the critters. There are fish spawning right on top of the rock and I am pointing them out to Chuck with the P.A.D.I. standard sign for spawning. Of course, by now Joey has caught up with Amy and having been apart for more than ten minutes, they are going through their standard reaquaintment behaviors. Needless to say, Chuck never did see the fish. The wonders of mother nature are everywhere. Chuck is running low on air, and we glide back down toward the anchor line. The current has done nothing but increase and I vaguely worry about Gena, well at least she will have enough air to crawl along the bottom for several miles. Brian must be with her, since I have not seem him either. I know Joe will clear the anchor. Chuck is feeling nauseous on the line and I hope the others will come up soon. We surface to find Gena already in the boat, she was smart enough to recognize the problem before it happened and surfaced early. She helps us in and the others soon join us. Joe has lost one of his lenses from his mask... that must make reading that super duper computer console a bit problematic. Brian seems to have had some problem that required returning to the surface and reassembling equipment. Joe has Chuck pull the anchor under the guise of he will feel less seasick. There are birds diving outside as we head for home. The sun is shining brightly on another typical Hawaiian day as we go over the dives, solve future problems and discuss where to eat brunch.


Wed. 2-23-00

Tuesday looks windy and rough but I am scheduled to get checked out on the "new" Mo'o iki. 5:30 makes Mac a no show, but his old buddy shows up and we buy some gas and try to beat the sunset. The new engine has its tricks, but once she goes, wow! We head for the pyramids. The winds are strong so I head down with the anchor to set it. 6:15, dark and murky. The anchor is right along one of the brick paths. This is good, I might find it again. I head out to the pyramids, the only way to see fish is back lit against the surface.... there are a zillion giant file fish. There is an ewa current, so I head up current to the ships. The current and murk make it seem like a long swim. I do not see any fish until I am right at the ship, there are opelu kala and not much else. It is really pretty murky and I use the ledge to find my way back toward the kagami spot, only one big humu along the way. When I get to the concrete blocks There are opelu kala hanging over them and I wonder how they orient when it is so hard to see. The blocks have a lot of big parrot fish that all swim close. They usually never come near me and I debate shooting one. No one to eat it with, I let them be. I still have 1500 pounds, so I check the anchor (see if I can find it), and head back to the pyramids. There still seems to be no game, but there is more action and I settle in on the sand between the pyramids. Palani pass by, white weke hoard around and as I squint into the night I see a small uku and I think I see a big uku on the out side. I call and at the same time I slide over closer to the cement log that is next to me. Some thing to hide against, I don't take my eyes off of the area where the fish might be. Well, the cement log takes offense at my forwardness and swims away. It looks back to as if to say "just what sort of cement log do you take me for?" O.K., O.K., you know it is time to go up when;

1. you can lay along side a four foot white tip for three minutes
2. you only discover it when you try to lean against it
3. it only moves because it thinks you're snoring too loud

I head toward the anchor which takes some hunting down to find. The old guy is on the line, he went down to the spirals and saw nothing but tiny papio. He shot one so I could have dinner. It is the best tasting size, dinner for one. I thank him and tell him that the only thing I saw was one small uku. He asks about my missing computer, I tell him it broke. We both surface at the same time, the light is nothing more than orange streaks across the sky. Quite beautiful. I pull anchor and we head homeward. The engine takes some fiddling to accelerate, could be the spark advance.... Soon we are flying over the waves, the engine is definitely faster, and you can steer it! A bat out of Hell.


Sat. 2-26-00

Friday afternoon feels like the last day of school, and I am jazzed to go diving. Amy is a starter, and we take the Mo'o iki out to the pyramids. The new motor is shy and stalls constantly while any other boats are around. Sail boats racing out, canoes paddling in. We manage to make sure that we are more cute entertainment than a traffic hazard. The boat finally sucks in her gut and takes off. Water sprays us thoroughly as we laugh and yelp our way to the spot. I drive around in circles and make Amy run through a practice anchor throwing. There is no current and the anchor is right on the ledge. We swim for the pyramids, it is murky, nothing but looming dark shapes covered with weke and file fish. There is a school of uku, but they never look back as they disappear in the distance. The little white tip is still here acting like a log. We chase him off and he circles around behind the pyramids to avoid us. Amy had not been out to the plane, so we head that way. She squeals with excitement when she sees it, what a cheap date. I must admit though, very picturesque. Mempachi under both wings, weke and lemon butterflies in a cloud above and Amy threading the needle of the fuselage, I imagine it in full color and click the memory bank into long term storage. A little papio dances in front of my gun, but I am in way too good a mood and deflect it off with the end of my spear. We head back to the pyramids, I am hoping the uku have returned. The only thing we sneak up on is the shark, but he doesn't let us get close. I pick up some stones and call, but nothing shows except a couple of small mu. The stones are better used for juggling. Hopeless. We still have plenty of air, but bottom time will be out soon, we move in to 65' and hide behind junk and watch the hordes of opelu kala. There are so many that I am sure some uku will show up. Amy gets down under 1000 pounds, so we wander back to the anchor. A beautiful dive, I know Amy will just be confused by my small talk on the line, so we spend the time letting her shoot my gun. More sounds of delight, this will be fun; I will encourage this track. We surface in time to watch the sun turn into a big ball. Amy pulls the anchor and we fly toward shore, admiring the sunset. Waikiki is bathed in Halloween orange, the buildings sparkle with diamonds as 1000 flash cameras record a bit of paradise.


Sun 2-27-00

Message on the machine "Dive with Mike at 5..."... 4:30 now; can do. The Mo'o has a party crew. Mr. Mac, David,Lyle, Mike and the master. The 100' hole is the vote. The mood is jovial as we congratulate David on his new son. I talk about my recent shark encounter, the captain says she is very pregnant, maybe that is why she lay next to me with out bothering to move. I toss the anchor and by the time I tie it off, only the old guy is left. He checks the line ups, the boat is holding, and she is sitting right over the peninsula. His plan is we dive straight down and look for fish in that direction. The water is super clear, and there is no current. We load our guns and cruise to the sand on the ewa side. The little hole that used to have two eel cleaner shrimp now has a big candy cane guy. I guess I have not been here in a while. We lay on the bottom and have a scientific discussion about why the weird import sponge is only growing on the ewa side of the hump. He either thinks it is because the ewa current brings more food or he thinks they came from Japan. I remember that the sign that I thought meant food once was supposed to mean Japanese because he was showing me eating rice out of a bowl with chopsticks. (At the time I thought that he was looking for an edible anchor.) This time both scenarios make sense. We continue out to the drop off and I feel my self getting narced. If I did not know it was 110, I would swear it was about 170-200' I am really out there. It is so calm and clear, that I can tell the captain is thinking about sinking down to the over hang. That is about 130, not for me. I decide not to mention my mental state. I figure he will think I am dizzy and worry about me needlessly. I wonder at the validity of any decisions I make at this point. I spent most of the day out in the sun, and did not drink as much as usual, that is the only think I can think of. We both plan to return to the hole, I will go along the ledge and he will follow later. There are very few fish, nothing to shoot. I head up towards the hole, boy it is so clear, I can see for ever. Mac is to my right and the master is creeping up on my left. He is in full point and that is when I see the weke ula. Lots of small ones close and a couple of big guys too far away. They head off toward Mac and I continue back to the hole. David swims by, didn't he used to have at least a wet suit vest? The rascal has a big weke ula in his bag. Lyle comes into view, looks like he found a couple of rocks for Mike to look at.... hey those rocks are not falling to the bottom of his bag, they are holding on. Two slipper lobsters! Score! I have over 1500 pounds and have only been down 15 minutes, but I think I will be head up and do a long decompression. Mac and David wonder about it, but figure I look OK and don't ask when I head up and join Mike. Mike also has a good size weke ula in his bag. Pretty good for such a clear day. So this is what Mike does, I watch David swimming below me with the weke passing by behind him. Mac is following the opelu kala around in hopes of a papio. It is great entertainment. They come up followed by Lyle who tells me he got some lobster, but nothing else. The master comes up empty handed, wonders why I am on the line. So now I can tell him. He agrees with the not enough water theory. He saw the weke ula and nothing else. The sun is still up when we surface. The banter on board is festive. David is the hero with the monster weke ula. Mr. Mac shot a papio under the eyes, behind the gills, it was dead until he grabbed it, then it tore off. Mike went chasing after the thing, by passing a larger one and finally getting a shot. He shot it in the exact same place, and the shaft fell right out the existing gash as the dying fish swam away. Lyle had an exciting regulator freeze up. Both Mac and Mike watched him debate the free ascent. On his way down it froze, but he was near the surface and he surfaced to check it out. Seemed fine again, so he goes down and about 60' it stops for a little bit and he waits it out and then continues down to the bottom (and you thought I had bad judgment). He left his buckle undone so when it did freeze on the bottom was ready to ditch, but patience paid off, and it finally freed itself up and soon he was on his way. Mike jokes that he thought Lyle had gotten a rebreather to go with his stealth outfit. We scold Lyle about the dangers of 80' ascents, Mike tells him about the "buddy" idea. Mr. Mac informs us that he was right above Lyle waiting for him to pass by just in case. It makes me feel good to know that these bozos do care. Mac has a camera and the monster catch is recorded for historical reference. Lyle and Mike pull the anchor and we slowly head home laughing, joking, showing our catch to the passing tour boats. The guys relive their shots and I retell my Philadelphia story, enjoying the good company and watching another glorious sunset.


Mon. 2-28-00

Sunday morning, Joe is taking a rebreather student out and I tag along. Joe is jealous of Amy having gone to a new spot and he votes for the plane outside the pyramids. It is day time, we will have to tie up on the ships and go from there. Joe and Dan are game and have foolish faith that I will be able to take them there. We head for the spot while Dan tells Joe about some incoming PhD candidate who is studying anaerobic systems and wants to dive in some well/lake that goes down 600' on Molokai. (Gordon, Jane, or Brian... do you know where this is??) supposedly saltwater. Sounds like real adventure and Joe quickly signs himself up to assist. We are soon at the ships and we tie up behind another boat and get wet. The water is murky and there is a slight current going towards ewa. I don't think swimming their gear off down current is such a good idea and Joe has the good sense to cancel the plan before I have to tell him. This is especially good since Dan seems to be having problems with the black box of death. They monkey around on the ship, comparing gauges while the sub passes by. I am free to take off and I wave good bye as Joe tells me to go shoot some fish. There are three kahala mixing in with the divers from the other boat. The current and the kahala kept the small fish tightly balled up. There is a big school of opelu and they hang tight as I swim through them. Really cool, I keep looking for other game and finally see some monster weke ula below on the 90' ledge. I try to get close but they take off into the deep. I turn to go back to the bow of the ship, of course the big uku is right behind me. I spend most of my dive trying to beckon him close. The trophy remains interested, but keeps his distance while I try all of my tricks. I chase him off in disgust and cruise around the inside ship. There are a lot of flame wrasse along the little ledge, I wonder how many I could catch. There are some weke ula hiding under the stern of the inside ship. I fail to look and only see them after they feel trapped by me and dart for freedom. A couple of big mu tempt me to chase them down towards the pyramids. I think better of it and go back to my original spot in case the uku misses me and is still lurking about. No such luck. I look toward the bow of the ship and see a turtle coming down, he is surrounded by lai that seem to be trying to nibble him to death. The turtle tries to loose the lai by swimming right down to me. I guess it sort of works, half of them leave due to my bubbles. It is really quite spectacular, lai have to be the all time shiniest fish. They actually make the turtle look as though he is wearing chain mail on top of his existing armor. The opelu ball is now on the bottom and there are several cleaner wrasse going through the opelu. I didn't think those guys ever needed a bath. I leave the bottom and begin my ascent through the myriad of fish. They provide good entertainment for decompression. Joe and Dan are on the line, I guess Dan's box held up as he appears fine, although on open circuit. He has picked up a juvenile jack that always hides so Dan can't see it. I keep pointing behind him and he spins around, but the little fish has no problem staying out of sight. Dan finally sees the fish and gets it to hang on to his fins, now we can both watch the little guy. I hear the engine and wonder if Joey is O.K. I surface to find him fine and just allowing the other guys to go home. We pick up Dan and start for home. They go over what could have gone wrong. While I think about how many good fish I saw during broad daylight; very encouraging. Too bad I never took a shot. The boat is soon back at Keehi, I had to go so I rinsed my gear and headed out, the last vision I had was Dan and Joe disassembling rebreathers and putting small parts all over the dock!


3-3-00

Lyle is a diver, and since I have not been diving at all this month. I agree to meet him down at the Mo'o iki. The owner of the boat shows up as well and we talk him in to joining us for a quick trip on his own boat to the Sea Tiger. Lyle puts us right on the marks and we toss the anchor. I am the last one in the water. There is no current and the water is full of phytoplankton and lots of opelu feeding. I load my gun right away in case the rainbow runners pass by. The ship is swarming with giant file fish, but nothing of any interest to me. Knowing better than to touch the rusty deck, I head in towards the ledge. There are no signs of uku, or any fish at all for that matter. I switch to shell collecting and wander the bottom in search of treasure. I do find a rare shell and stick it in my sleeve with the other knick knacks I pick up. I get to the inside ledge and find it at least has fish on it. There are lots of small opelu kala, lemon butterflies, damsel fish, redtails and potters angels. I could pull a profit here. There is nothing to eat however and I wander the bottom with no hope of seeing anything. The water is cold and I think I will head back and do some mid water swimming in the opelu to stay warm and wait for tuna. I cruise along the bottom on the way back and am joined by a beautiful sting ray. He comes right over and I improve my mimicking. He follows along for a short while, but soon heads back toward the ledge. I have a new act like a ray dance and I test it on the file fish... they are unimpressed by anything I do. I move to mid water when I reach the boat. I do two outside laps rounding up file fish and opelu kala. I still have lots of air, but am ready for the surface. The captain is decompressing on the line, he saw one uku, nicked it, it got away. Lyle comes up and joins us, he only saw one small fish. For some reason, my really cool shell falls out of my sleeve and the Captain notices and I dive down after it. I put the shell in a more secure place under my wet suit and resume the decompression. Well it turns out that the shell was not empty enough and soon I have an honest to God butt pincher in my pants!! Well see if I feel sorry and let you go now!! We all surface and Lyle tells of shooting a small papio, missing the shot and having one of those weird files get killed. (he calls the oceanic ones horse head files), the big kahala come out of nowhere and gobble the fish up before his very eyes. I guess I am the hero, as the captain covets my kick ass bite shell. Lyle has the honors of pulling the anchor and we head for home and talk of diving tomorrow.


3-5-00

Saturday afternoon and Gordon is back in town. We meet at his boat after five, there are four of us, Lyle, Gordon, the master and myself. The winds have died away since the breezy morning and the master is hot for Marnie's rock. We head down there, discussing the steering problems with the boat. We then move on to the other power cat and talk about possible repairs, the next engines and major alterations that could occupy the better part of the summer. (some things never change) The water looks clear and cold (too bad Gordon forgot his wetsuit), Lyle and I are charged with setting the anchor and we hit the water with the anchor. Lyle loads his gun and is ready to shoot. I only see one lone weke ula as we get near the bottom, so I help Lyle move the anchor to the ledge. He sets it and I head off down current toward the ewa corner. I see one lone weke ula off in the distance. I turn back to see the master, actually only his bubbles and the yellow bits of his fins as he hides along the ledge aiming at something. I look hard at what he might see, but see nothing. There are two distant mu, perhaps they are the prey. He gives up,turns and goes out toward the rock. I think I will head in along the ewa ledge there is a surge and some times I am stuck in a telephoto lens, swimming and swimming and not getting anywhere and some times I turn into the Green Hornet, traveling at incredible speeds, leaving a cloud of dust in my wake. There are no game fish, except some distant mu who play cat and mouse with me for awhile. I can hear lots of stones pounding from distant divers, it does not sound like they are catching tons of fish. I stay where I am, playing with the mu. I finally get them as close as I can and plan the pull pull shoot strategy. Unfortunately, my bag hooks on the first coral head and the fish have time to figure it out before I get there. The mu give me a sneer before taking off. I follow along the inside ledge until I am inside of the rock. The water is cold and I chase some naso tangs around just to warm up. Sure glad I have my 5 mil. wetsuit on! I wander back toward the anchor. I can see Lyle at the out side rocks. He has fish. I can see the old guy left his bag over near the ledge, I will go see what they are catching as I have not seen an uku yet. His bag is covered with mean green headed morays. Two to be exact, one big and one smaller one. They are destroying the bag, not to mention the fish that are inside. My plan is to approach slowly, hook the barb of my spear and pull the bag away from the eels. I have just arrived when the small eel sees trouble coming and just charges me. Think fast; head up. Unfortunately, the barb has already hooked the bag and drawn the attention of the big guy. He is not leaving his great find no matter how important a person I think I might be. The little eel heads home, but the big guy is very upset at the thought of me stealing his find. He leaves the bag only to keep chasing me. He bites the bag, my gun and my fins. I am still moving up and trying to loose him. Lyle is laughing himself silly. I am chased higher and higher off of the bottom. I am trying to keep my ascent rate as slow as possible, but knowing that I am likely to get very little sympathy if I get bit yet again, as well as misery of injury keeps me moving. I figure that when I reach the surface I will drop my gun. The eel finally gives up. I am at 35' a full 40' off of the bottom. The eel did not realize where he was and now he panics and dives to the bottom at break neck speed, (or break body speed in this case) The eel hits the bottom but the two of them are not in their usual holes and are still wandering about feeling cheated. The fish in the bag consist of one big weke ula as well as a kahala. I risked my life for a kahala? I thought it was an uku and I was planning to claim it not unlike the eel. I return to the scene because there are about 6-8 big weke swimming along the ledge. I can see the master returning for his bag and he thinks the weke are his. He is approaching from the left. Lyle has seen the weke and thinks he called them in and he is at full point approaching from the right. I am above them both and it would be rude to just drop in and shoot from above. They both have fish in the bag, Lyle was laughing at me, I just saved that fool an ordeal and I have no qualms as I charge from above and shoot. I miss. The master takes the cue and shoots a nice size weke. He is dawdling around and drifting closer to the ledge with his struggling fish. Unbeknownst to him, two eels move closer. Soon the fish tears off and charges under the ledge and moves to the rock where the eels are. That is the end of that fish. We all head up the anchor line and watch Gordon work the bottom. I scold the old guy for leaving his fish unattended near the ledge and show him the bites. He tells me that he shot the kahala thinking it was a papio until the moment he fired. He goes on to say that two kagami came in and hung around while he put the fish in the bag and reloaded. Then they were gone and he has been looking for them ever since. Well, no wonder he left the kids, the pied pipers had come to call. He swims around decompressing still hoping to see them. Kagami are like that, they pass by and steal your soul with their shimmer. We surface and wait for Gordon, he is empty handed having only seen weke ula. He also saw a big shark outside and decided NOT to shoot the weke. We all think to ourselves "wow, that was a big shark", Gordon did not see it close enough to tell if it was a tiger or a really big galapagos. Lyle pulls the anchor as I recount my eel adventure without the sign language. No sympathy. However, I am forgiven for dropping in on the hunters. We head for home on a fairly calm sea, continuing the merciless banter of good friends as we wend our way between the tug and barge traffic that is heading out of Honolulu harbor. Fish on board and not a scratch on me. Contentment.


4-2-00

Friday afternoon is windy cold and rainy. The windows are whistling as I call Gordon and cancel. The rain is still coming down sideways at five when he phones to tell me the wind is straight out of the North and Waikiki is waterski calm. I grab my gear and meet him at the gas dock. Mr. Mac and the Master diver soon join us as we head for the hole. Gordon has just installed his new differential GPS, with charts. We can now go diving using IFR in even worse conditions!! It is really cool, but then again I am color T.V. deprived and will watch just about anything. While he is showing me all the new ultra high tech features (this consists of pushing lots of buttons and having the screen change radically; a kid with the remote showing all 52 channels to the mbuti pygmy who has never seen people in a small box before) meanwhile; Abbot and Costello rig their gear in the back of the boat. "Whose mask is this?" "That looks like your mask. Your back pack is too low" "I don't care how low it is, I can't get the latch to work. Why would I ask who owned my mask?" "Whose knife is in my bag? Did you give me a knife? Is this my knife?" Gordon and I shake our heads, proud of ourselves that we have the open hearts to actually take these old fools out diving. Mac tosses the anchor and the Master and I race it to the bottom. The opelu kala are swarming over the hole and I load my gun and let the old guy beat me down. The anchor is just inside of the cave. I settle down while the master is working on rearranging the chain again. I look in the cave and see the caged carangid pacing back and forth. I remember Mike's great dive report where it took two hands to explain his plan and he had to put down his gun. (typical Mike; loud hand signals) I keep my story simple: Fish there- you go that way I will go this way. The Master quickly loads while I circle around. We enter the cave from both sides. Our guns are pointed at eachother with a white ulua between us. The fish is doomed, it is now a matter of who gets the trophy. I figure to lay still and let the fish to be chased to me. The turtle next to me gets nervous and leaves. The old bumbling fool however manages to approach the fish without scaring it at all. His shot is dead on and the fish simply falls to the bottom with out so much as a twitch. So much for my plan. I leave to explore further afield. The outside ledge has weke ula, but they are hanging high eating the abundance of plankton that has come with the north wind and cold water. I cannot get close. An eagle ray comes along and I swim with it hoping it will bring in kagami. We circle around once, run into the turtle again and the eagle ray heads off to the deep. I am getting stung constantly by all the little creatures. I don't see any fish, so I head back to the hole and hang above it, playing with the lemon butterflies and heniochus. I see Gordon approach from below, he checks out the ulua in the bag and sees me above him. He gives me a two handed hour glass sign followed by parallel lines. I take the signal to mean "you look like a mermaid swimming in a river." The river must be all these opelu kala and I am most pleased with myself. Later (when I thanked him for the mermaid compliment) it turns out that he looked up and was telling me it looked like I lost weight. (I have to marvel that I have dive partners that in passing can say things like "you look like you have lost weight" as part of the dive and never mention it again. ) I hang about, getting colder and more stung until I feel like enough is enough, still no sign of uku I head up. More stings on decompression and I am happy to climb into the boat and get back into my fuzzy warm pullover. There is a large weke ula laying dead on the deck, Mac got it in his secret spot (just behind the eye). Two very nice fish aboard. Gordon and I swallow hard as Laurel and Hardy take off their gear falling and blaming eachother. We are humbled. Gordon pulls anchor and we head back to the harbor using the new toy for guidance. It even has the hard to see inner buoys marked on the chart!! The sun is setting as Gordon drops us all at the dock to rinse and put away gear. I brag about my travels and we discuss future boat repairs and dives. I missed a lot of birthdays while away, I hope David, Mike, Gordon, Rich and who ever else had some good diving, many happy returns!


4-8-00

One of those days, you know the kind where you work late, only get three hours sleep and your boss comes along and asks you how you would like to teach three sections of physics? My hair is dirty and the winds seem to have dropped. Everything points in one direction; DIVE. Gordon is easily talked into it, and we head to Marnie's rock around sunset. I am the first one in, the water is clear, and I can hear a distant whale. It is April, they should be leaving soon. I load my gun in the ewa current and go to set the anchor. Gordon gets there and helps with the set. He then looks at me and asks which way should we go? Gordon wants a dive buddy? I get to choose the direction? The water is too clear, I just as soon we went our separate ways, current or not. I just look at him and wait for him to make a move. He asks again, and I realize he is asking me where we are and which way is the rock! This is akin to looking for your pencil that is behind your ear. We are standing at Gordon's favorite uku calling spot! I point out the way to the rock with authority and know that it wont be long before he feels pretty foolish. I head up current along the inside of the ledge watching for fish. Kali kali give me a false uku rush and I keep going past Marnie's rock and towards the next spearing spot. I see several of those oceanic file fish again; what is up with those guys? Why do I at first think I can spear them? Do they act like spearable fish or is it just a fish that is not normal; thus spearable? Any ideas? I continue along and see a nice big yellow spot, I almost believe it is a kagami, because it is hanging at 40', way above me. I sneak along the bottom, quiet as night. The fish stays in the exact same spot, slowly undulating in the current. I do a sting ray, a lobster and a crazy person, the fish stays in the exact same spot, unperturbed. Well, if the fish won't come to the gun.... I swim up and expect the fish to take off, he stays in the exact same spot, as I am about to shoot I have a glimpse of Mike's half a rainbow runner and wonder if this fish is all together. The shaft through him brings him to life and a mid water battle ensues. We end up on the bottom, fish in bag, gun wrapped around me. I guess I won, but it was close. I continue up the ledge, I see some weke ula outside and far away. Hoards of manini are still in the exact same spot. They are still in a spawning frenzy, they must be getting very hungry, because it has been more than a month since I came across them the first time. It is getting dark and half of the school has changed into their pajamas. It is odd that a school all agrees on which direction to swim, but they do not agree on when it is night. I never thought about it, but I would think they would change colors all at the same time. Just past the school the friendly little yellow spots arrive. They have grown in the last month, but it would be greedy to take more, they are so trusting, we play together and I hope for uku. The water is cool and swimming up current has kept it reasonable, but waiting for uku is cold work. I am ready to head back. I do not get much warmer as I drift down current. I pass Gordon on my way to the anchor, he has fish, but I don't see what. I leave the bottom, sailing along, playing like a young hawk in a wind. I am brought up short by what I think must be a whale shark, but it soon turns into a big whale. There is nothing like really being lost in some really stupid aerodynamic thought and suddenly seeing a 50' fish coming at you. It is a big humpback, in my breathless awe, I am sending out the proper vibe. "You only eat plankton, you only eat plankton" He passes by while I stay rigid and try to convince myself of how great an experience this is. This is only my third underwater with a whale experience so I try to appreciate the wondrous beauty. He is beginning to fade as I get to the anchor line. I am not really a great mid water person. The thought of Rich and Joe drifting mid water for hours does not fill me with envy. I am as benthic as a longnose butterfly. I am happy to get my hands on the suddenly better than nothing anchor line. The whale now turns. Not a shark-make a big circle- turn, but a full on dolphin-turn on a dime-turn. Wow! I didn't expect that, he is now coming straight at me. I vigorously send out "gentle giant" vibes, but I am thinking about a bull in a pasture. They only eat grass, who would be afraid of a cow? (except Barbara) He passes much closer and I hide behind the anchor line like a checkered hawk fish. No one here but us slightly wider bubbling anchor lines. The whale passes under the boat. I take note of size and closeness for future reference; for when this becomes a fabulous experience. I look to see if Gordon has started to come up yet, shucks, no sign. The whale does the incredible turn again, they could turn around in a tube! He comes back for the third pass, I hope he DOES see the anchor line, it could be bad. I show him my gun, I wonder if damsel fish feel like this? I vow to be nicer as I get the eye. He moves off just after I wonder if they secretly eat a big meal before heading back to Alaska. I inspect his tail so I will know him the next time we meet. I make one more minute alone on the line before surfacing to the imagined safety of the boat and the very real warmth of my fuzzy pullover. Gordon surfaces with his fish (just smaller enough to be noticeable) and he pulls anchor as I watch the sliver of a moon make a bowl in the sky. His new chart takes us straight home, warning us about every channel we pass. Pretty cool toy. The best part of the dive was unloading the boat, the divers five boats down are sitting around reliving their dive as I start dragging gear. I hear one exclaim "Wow look at those fish!" as I casually toss the two fish on the ground and go back for more gear. I hear the other guy reply that "those guys go out all the time and that chick there gets more fish than anybody!" First a whale attack, and now this. It's the little things that make it all worthwhile.


4-21-00 (late dive reports)

For all of you faithful readers who wondered, no I have not run off, my computer was out of commission. Thanks so much for making me feel missed. I did manage to go diving during the last couple of weeks, here is the brief (when has that ever been a description of my writing?) synopsis of the last few dives: Sunday morning, Gordon, Joe, Amy and I head for fantasy reef. I bring Amy a gun just to make my dive great. Joe now has added a camera to the things he takes diving. We anchor at the Diamond Head edge and practice loading guns before heading up along the ledge looking for trouble. Amy and I pose for pictures. Two she-ra hunters of the deep, we ham it up crossing guns like an emblem over a door. We see giant turtles, three white tips in the shark spot, Joe is taking pictures like mad. Amy has the idea that her shaft can go as far as she can see, and she takes shots at opelu kala, and mu. We dally around and use up most of Amy's air on the way back. I leave Joe and Amy after her last shot and scout out the anchor, return above them to show them the way. Amy is on load the gun attempt number 5 when Joe realizes the air is a problem and takes away her toy until she behaves. I am above them when they discuss where I have gone and which way it is to the boat. I am about to go save them when I see the 25# white ulua getting cleaned nearby. Joe has just taken the gun away from Amy and has just given the "no more playing with this stupid thing; time to head home for dinner" lecture, when I see him actually see the ulua. Joe knows a good fish when he sees it. (so do I, mind you and I have been working on it since I saw it, but they are a lot closer.... in fact Joe is well in range) I can actually see the magic power of the spear gun, take hold of Joe. Now Amy is thinking "where is the boat?" and Joe is thinking "Wait till I bring this guy home." Talk about roll change! The ulua see's Joe's approach and takes off before either of us take a shot. Joe is debating giving chase (you gotta love that attitude) when I come down and take the gun away from him. "no more playing with this stupid thing; time to head home for dinner" and we head up having had a great dive. Gordon had a nice dive, got lost also and did not see any fish to shoot, but enjoys our tales as we each tell our vision of the same event. We head home early enough to catch lunch at Ku'a Aina before rejoining the world.

A week of having a cold, no computer to play solitaire, and lots of school work. By Sunday I am crazy and in desperate need of a salt water soaking. Mr. Mac, his buddy, Gordon and I take the refurbished Mo'o iki out to the pyramids. The boat has picked up speed since the motor has been properly mounted. We anchor and I am first one in. I check the pyramids, the ledge inside and join the master on a trip down to the spirals. We see nothing but a lot more of those weird file fish. There seems to be a huge algal bloom balls of gloopy blue green algae is every where. Back at the anchor Mac tells me he shot the head off of a parrot fish and have I seen it? I am not sure which half I was supposed to have seen. Gordon returns to the line with a nice size papio which he cleans while we decompress, much to the delight of the humus below. I spend my decompression cleaning out my sinuses, blowing snot fish and watching them swim away in the current. Get rid of this cold! I feel a lot better. We make it back without running out of gas! Another miracle!

Mid week and everyone who said they were divers backs out. Gordon saves the day and rescues me from a day of DOE meetings, and runaway standards based education. Lyle is guarding an expensive bimini and also turns down the dive. We head towards ewa beach. The surf is up and I know where half of the divers are. I expect it will be murky just because it has been so long since we had a swell. The large Navy ship anchored by reef runway looks like it could be Joey's boat. I have been on the tour, but I can't seem to remember anything about the boat except how ice cream tastes when you are on board. Gordon is in a good mood and wants to go visit. The aft deck is covered with people. I have not taken off my top and waved it at a ship load of navy men in a long time and I refrain. Gordon calls RS 52 on the radio just to see if he can ask for Joe. The ship has the good sense to maintain radio silence and we race the sun towards the horizon. Gordon wants to dive Roger's Ahi spot (what I call shark city) but it is close enough to May and shark season, that I am hesitant. While we are debating and after he figures out he has passed his line ups, we settle on Marnie's Rock. (we only settle on it because his super chart thing has informed us that we are there) Just outside of us is a huge flock of aku birds working hard, the flock stretches for a quarter mile. Fishing time is coming around again, I work on a weekend fishing trip and think about spearing tuna as I fall over the side. We anchored up at the turtle area. The water is very clear despite the swell and I don't see any fish. I leave and swim out to the deep ledge to see if the fish are there. It is a waste of time and I turn and come back. There are two octopus, but small ones and I leave them be. The manini are still there hanging out. Have they just discovered the spot? Will they ever leave? I marvel at them. I hear Gordon's gun and go check out the nice papio he got. I don't see any companions. I move up the ledge, pass the turtle cave pass the shark cave and move along even further. I take a shot at a weke ula, put a nick behind his head and he swims away with a new scar. The baby papio are back and they have gotten small again. There must be two groups of them. Sure as wind, the larger group show up and entwine themselves around me. I enjoy the show, but refrain from the easy meal. The sunset gets to that special light that makes the fish swarm. Where did they all come from. I see a good size mu, but am surrounded by papio and never get a shot. I am enjoying the wonder, however, the broomtailed file fish are getting to be a pain. I don't mind the schools of them, but when fish bigger than a foot come into view less than an elbows length away, try as I might, my heart misses a beat. I am also tired of being tasted and having my gun tasted, how long is this inundation going to go on? They do not take the hint and keep at me. I move along the bottom wondering at the blue green algae that is on everything, large loose clumps rolling around in the surf. Why don't file fish eat it? I feel like I have just started diving in the sense that there is too much going on for me to see. Everywhere I look is worth looking and I know I am missing most of what is going on. I wonder why I feel so overwhelmed then realize that it is not really very light anymore, the water is clear, so you think you can see but it is late and you can't. I head back to the line Gordon comes up and cleans his fish, that is how the file fish are surviving! Gordon owes it to us to stop spearing fish and feeding the guts to them! The current is slack and he is in such a cloud of blood that he fails to see my complicated theory. We surface, he in even better spirits. He pulls the anchor while I get my warm fuzzy pullover on. Having a cabin on days like this sure is nice. Gordon had gone diving with Lyle and Roger a few days ago and said that Roger had remarked on the foul weather and actually said "This boat is great, we never would have come down here in the Witchcraft on days like this" !!! We joke and remember commercial diving. The surf is still good as we head in the channel, summer is coming soon.


4-21-00 (secret dive 27)

Dive is planned, no one knows when or where, as 5:30 approaches Gordon says Witchcraft at 6 and the rush is on. Brian hurries over from his side of the island. Mike heads down to the Mo'o where he meets up with Roger. The Trans-pac boats are all in and we admire the fast racers as we go and pick up Mike and Roger, we are short of tanks and get to admire the boats again as we go back to the slip. There is debate about gas, but as the hour is getting late, we head out. First things first. The boat does seem to run a little faster and we head out in search of the elusive 100' hole. I practice finding it and lo and behold, it has returned. We drop anchor a little Diamond head, but I know just where we are when I enter the water. Roger says out side and Diamond Head is the hot spot, and I let him set up camp while I head in to look for whale sharks. I see a group of papio up with the opelu kala and head over to a nearby rock to see if I can call them in. Brian is nearby, I look to see if he has fish, but his bag has gone stealth and I can't make anything out. I hear a gun go off followed by tank banging. I figure some one just shot that giant kahala and is enjoying a good fight. I turn to see Roger trying to get Brian's and my attention, he generously tells us there is uku out there, and we should go shoot some. He has a large uku on his spear just to make his story more credible. Brian and I go to where Roger was and look about till we get bored, I figure one person is better than two and leave Brian and go look else where. I head over to the diamond head heniochus spot and the butterflies come over to greet me. They suddenly change their mind, as does every other fish around, I look to see which diver is scaring them only to see a shark, fortunately he is far away, and I am not phased. I circle back toward the hole, see two larger papio high in the water column, but I can't get close. Come across Gordon and notice the fish giving another shark warning, sure enough, the shark passes at a distance. Gordon has a papio in his bag, but tells me about all the uku that are around. I haven't seen any, after he is gone, I finally see the school off in the distance, the shark passes again as I try to get the uku to come over and visit. They circle ever closer, but stay out of my range. I try every thing, but they remain aloof. I see a distant uku do a sand roll and I copy. Sure enough, they are suddenly interested. "Oh, we didn't know you could roll in the sand too" They get plenty close, but I miss my shot. Then the uku really rolled in the sand. The cheeky guy I shot at was rolling between me and my fallen shaft! I was trying to reload quickly, telling myself to concentrate on the task and to ignore the uku all around me. I finish reloading and look up to find my self alone again. I can see their distant bodies and know that I will have to start all over. It is rather dark, and I think that I better get back to the anchor, while I can still see it. I return to find Brian giving up also. Brian, Gordon and I are decompressing, I can see Mike checking on us from the bow, but he doesn't jump in. I take the time to scrape paint off of my body and am watching the little white flakes flutter down when I notice fish swimming in front of us. Not a shark, and not opelu, something in between, maybe barracuda, or small ono, too dark, I am probably imagining things. I look over to see Brian and Gordon discussing what it could have been. Well I guess it was something, not just me. Mike has had enough of this waiting to see how many uku Dr. Tribble has, and tugs on the line to get us up. The boat has an impressive catch. Mike shot two uku, Roger shot a nice big uku. He also shot a papio, which wrapped him in his own line and then swam away. Mike happened across Roger completely tied up in his own gun with no sign of any fish anywhere. Gordon got a nice papio but failed to get the uku in close. Brian saw no uku and was frustrated as Mike kept saying "they were everywhere man, they just appear out of nothing!" I have visions of Brian spending the next dive staring out into the depths like he was staring at one of those Magic Eye -type paintings, waiting for that 3D to just pop uku into his vision. The jovial mood on the way in is tempered with the possibility that we will run out of gas, it seems we used more than half going out. We manage to creep in with out running dry and all's well that ends well, especially since Mike was generous enough to give me one of his uku, thus providing me with a few excellent meals in the coming week!


4-26-00

Just when there is no end in sight, Gordon and Lyle plan a dive and invite me along. I do the most important tasks, leave down town and realize that I am all packed save the spear gun. I am on the way to the boat with plenty of work I could be doing. For about ten seconds I debate scrapping the dive. I remember Mark not having a camera once and figuring it wasn't worth the hassle to get his gear salty. I help the others load their gear, (scanning Lyle's van for an extra gun). They notice we are short one gun just as we leave the slip. Many jokes at my expense....then Lyle remembers his wetsuit is still in his van. Gordon claims there is plenty of light, so we stop and retrieve it. The vote is for Kahala. My vote for a nice open, sandy, shell collecting area in Waikiki is vetoed. The ocean is a little calmer and Gordon and Lyle exchange trolling tales as we round Diamond Head. We watch the birds heading home and Gordon suggests trolling for a little while since we have "plenty of light" There is no real feeding action and we head for Joe's barge. The water is super clear and I worry about a current as I toss the anchor. I watch Lyle as I play out the line, it looks perfect. I jump in just as Gordon begins to load his gun in the boat and I hear him fall in behind me. I assume he is above and behind me heading down the anchor line (dive rule #1), I point out some mu in the sand and some weke ula up near the zees. I have such good eyes, it will impress him. I watch the weke move off into the sand as I approach the anchor line. I am about half way down (40') the weke move off to my right and I follow them only to see big kahala, no ulua, no it is three BIG kagami swimming up from 50' to check us out. I am pointing and I turn to Gordon only to find he must have headed out to the deep barge. The fish are gorgeous. They come over and respond to my noises I stay with them as I scan the area for Lyle. I hope he is near the anchor. The fish circle off and stay near 60' as I reach the bottom. I am gesturing to Lyle. The kagami are still barely visible. I keep the conversation simple. "Three big fish, they went that way." Lyle tries, using his best uku tricks, alas the ulua do not respond. I leave him and play in the deep sand. I find a stained glass window and spend some time digging it up. Now what? I drag it to the ledge and place it artfully against a concrete Z, a perfect church for fish that are so inclined. I keep seeing weke up high and far away. I spend time chasing fish, transporting shells and acquiring cuts on my legs. Gordon comes back from the deep barge and I tell him about what he missed. He offers me his gun, but I decline. (I can't load it anyway) He follows me in case more fish swim by me. My lemon butterfly torture brings in a couple of uku. He takes a long shot and misses. I don't want to be in his way so I leave him with the torturous uku harassing him and I head back to the anchor. Turning over rocks, practicing juggling and general not paying attention to the approaching mu. (how can they tell?) I move to mid water and scan for kagami before meeting the empty handed gang at the anchor line. Lyle's gun is seriously malfunctioning, it seems to be missing a lot so it will dry out until it learns to behave. We are all in good spirits just from getting wet. Lyle and Gordon pull anchor, I try to catch up on sleep as we head home in the dark.


4-30-00

The usual busy weekend, ready for a dive on Sunday. I have become so important, that people will come and pick me up to go diving. We are to meet at the power cat at 5:30. I hope to get there a little early knowing there might be potential problems. But we get there too late and Mac and Pfeffer have tool boxes scattered about and are up to their usual Tom foolery:

"Where is the red wire?"
"I think I broke it."
"This doesn't fit, are you sure it came out of here?"

They are replacing an ignition coil, (hoping it is the right one) and I can see the unopened instructions soaking up scum in the engine well. It is comforting to have that feeling of tradition, knowing that there are things in this ever changing world that you can count on. Since the tools are out I can start on my project. I have somehow convinced the Uwatec people to send me a brand new computer. It is on the console with a matching pressure gauge and so I put it on the HP port noting that it seems like the O-ring is just smashed down with no groove for it to sit in. It just squeezes out as I tighten it. Gordon recommends not making it so tight. He has been diving a long time, he probably knows some reason why the O-ring won't just blow out. The O-ring blows out, I manage to scavenge another off some regulator part and notice that several regulators have mushed out O-rings. I cinch it down and it seems to hold. I am so happy to have a computer again. Some thing to tell me when my time is up. The boat is put back together, we load it at the loading dock and head out for Marnie's rock. We all agree the boat seems to be running better and we are ready to anchor after 15 minutes of talking about engines. Gordon is happy not to be captain and jumps in with the anchor. The rest of us enter the clear blue water after the boat has settled right over the rock. I see nothing but an octopus that comes swimming by about two feet off of the bottom. All his tentacles seem short and stubby. I leave him be. There is a diamond head current. It is slight, but enough so that the fish are all hanging on the ewa side. My giant ulua is certainly hanging out in the ulua cave, I am feeling brave and I head over that way. There are a pair of ephippium and a couple of sailfin tangs swimming along the ledge giving it an exotic taste, the eel plague, however give away the true location. I stay off of the bottom as the dusk seems to have brought them out. The blue green algae is really taking over, it is now all over living coral heads. In the distance I make out ulua hanging just outside the cave. There are three silhouettes in the distance and I drop and make my approach plan. In my concentration of the fish, (trying to make out whether they are white ulua or kagami) is total. I fail to notice the 25-30 white ulua that are heading straight for me. They are on me in a flash as I quickly pick one. "don't try to pick the biggest, they are all good; just shoot". I am fairly certain that I will get two in one shot and as I shoot at close range, I am hoping that the second one is not a gut shot. Well, they don't call me Miss for nothing! The shimmering horde turns back toward the cave and makes its dash for freedom. They are incredible to watch as they insist on heading out to sea via the skylight into the cave. In all the fish herding I have done, I have not seen pushing and shoving like this. Thirty fish rushing through a hole big enough for two or three. I try and catch up, hoping that a few will stay in the cave. They fade in the distance, not a trace of existence left. I wait for a minute then move up the ledge to see how many of them everyone else has shot. Gordon is on the bottom in full point. I see some fair sized uku, but my heart is still pounding for white ulua. Gordon is being approached on the other side by Mac, and I sense displeasure at my approach. The uku seem shy and I turn back hoping for a second chance and perhaps I will find some mu at the inside area. There is one mu and I am not quite patient enough. I go for the Mike "pull pull shoot" method. Except the first half a pull sends this mu out of his skin. Since when do mu react so fast? One quick move and the nature of the ocean changes. All fish in the vicinity go into full frenzy. Either a massive over reaction, or yet another testament of my importance. In the old days I could have thrown a temper tantrum with nary a notice, but now the stock has gone public, soared, and eyes are glued to it. The slightest unexpected move unnerves all, the high rollers right down to the little guy. I swagger back to position hoping some uku will come see what is happening. They probably just do it for exercise. I settle down and feel somewhat the charlatan after writing that "I could have died no thanks to you" letter explaining how I had counted on their reliability. I really think getting around to checking if your dive gear works should be done before 18 minutes into the dive. The computer seems fine and I put it back having neglected to check my air, which was what made me think of it in the first place. (how bent can you get at Marnie's rock anyway?) A very small nudibranch catches my eye. I have never seen one like this before. It is no longer than the width of my pinky nail, yet it glows in the dark so brightly it is easily seen. I wonder how to bring it back and convince myself it is a common variety, surely already seen by those who look. Heck, glowing is not that big a deal in the daytime. I leave him be, thinking that non-humans have neglected to get caught up in the silly art idea and pretty bright colors often mean stay away. He probably has some killer concentrated toxin. It is getting dark and I move back along to the anchor. I go the long way and come across Pfeffer, he shot and lost some big fish and is awaiting their return. I look for the crowd of shimmer, but it is getting dark enough that file fish look far away. I continue back to find Mac is empty handed also. We all decompress with no sign of Gordon anywhere. He must think that the file fish are rainbow runner! The darkness brings the other empty handed diver back. Mac and Gordon pull anchor while I get as snuggy and warm as possible. We each tell heroic yarns on the way home. The big yellow spot that the shaft didn't go all the way through, my 30 white ulua, the 40 uku that circled around etc. Not a fish in the boat and long tales of the tricks we used. "So I threw so much sand they couldn't see me..." "I took the octopus up to 40 feet then let him go...." At least we are all marvelous spearfishermen in our own minds! (Mac keeps quiet, says he only saw one parrot fish before it got dark) Just to close the deal on our self importance, we return to the dock to find a huge tail gate party going on. They look like potential trouble, until I am recognized as that famous diver from the T.V. show. People actually asked for my autograph and begged to shake my hand. (O.K. they might have been a bit drunk, but it still counts!) By the way Rich and Joey, Bruce Marnie was watching late night T.V. in Seattle and saw you guys supposedly diving to 400', he said it sure looked like I had taken you to the 100' hole! We depart in good spirits, Gordon puts his boat back in the water tomorrow...any reason not to have a test run?


5-1-00

Gordon is putting his boat in the water. Mike and his Pop are up for a dive, I have tons of work, but Mike twists my arm and talks me into joining them. He is excited about the white ulua I saw and we head for Marnie's rock again. The old man keeps comparing boat speeds in a friendly way. "I like trolling" "You do get the gas mileage" I divert the conversation to electric fish as deftly as my students redirect my lectures. The rest of the trip was devoted to biology, evolution, and pharmaceuticals. The water is clear and I toss the anchor just in front of the rock. Mike is down with the anchor and I head in and find the current is slight and the opelu kala are thick out in the flats and I sink down among them. They let me into their world as they change from light to dark in a school that goes on forever. I see nothing in among them and I make my way to the rock. Mike, I and the Master head over to the anchor stone as Mike had not ever seen it. It is close enough to the ulua cave that we might all get a white ulua. Mike and I are swimming abreast followed by the old man. I am closest to the ledge and I see what might have been a papio shape in the hordes of opelu kala, but concentration does not make the vision reappear and I turn my attention back to Mike. He is inside of me and just past him going in the other direction is a large (ten foot), pregnant hammerhead. I point it out to him and to the guy behind us, they are much closer. Mike is impressively relaxed and we take our cue from him and continue on. We check out the stone, I can tell Mike is impressed as I was when I found it. We just made his dive.

Imagine waking in Seattle and diving in Hawaii by night fall. Let me digress and say that Mike just came back from congratulating Carl Lipo on getting that PhD. to put by his name. Congratulations Carl, you have worked hard counting those little pieces of pottery and it has paid off!! Perhaps you can come diving more often instead of now being swallowed by the network world. I am proud to say that many of the ukukillers are Drs. and the rest of us are wanna be's. Who is next? Rich? Mike? Dave? Naomi? John? All are actively working on it. I myself figure that I should get an honorary one any minute! All kidding aside; WOW! Good work!

Back to the dive, no fish anywhere. The cave has one beautiful helmet shell, no sign of my tiny nudibranch. I chase a mu and we split up on our way back to the rock. Gordon has a good size uku that he got near the rock and Mike and I see it and have no shame hanging out for awhile. We get the honor of seeing one of the most spectacular moments in diving. Gordon goes crazy. He dashes up off of the bottom sending his computer beeping and begins to chase after lemon butterflies, they politely get out of his way and he begins to go after opelu kala. He is chasing them like a two year old chases pigeons at the zoo, with about the same effect, they gently walk out of his way as he careens, spins, pokes, yells and carries on. I look at Mike and give him the well known PADI signal for "da bugga stay loco" and give him some room. I have enough air to do a quick trip down to David's area and I zoom down the ledge. I am in the middle of small nodule desert when I see the uku pass outside heading back towards the rock. I call but they are not interested. I continue down and see no fish, back to the anchor and join the others on the line. At least one uku makes it into the boat. The sun has set as Mike does a mighty anchor pull worthy of a strong young bull. He then tells us of his dive, he set the anchor and chased a 4 pound kahala all over hell and gone trying to get a shot. It finally went across the top of the rock and down underneath near the trap. Mike comes whirling over the ledge and comes face to face with a large 40 pound white ulua. Three wags of his powerful body puts him out of sight as Mike wonders how many times he had already passed the sleeping fish. I guess he will be checking the spot the way we all check the hole, having learned the lesson. He finishes his story with a question about the shark I saw; "was it the usual small guy?" He didn't even see it! I should know not to take my cue from Pfeffer's!! Flash on Gerry Devlin and I figuring "well, if Roger doesn't mind 100 sharks, then I guess he knows something we don't" we continue to fish, surfacing to hear him rant about how lucky we were to see so many dolphin so close! The dive stories take us home in a good mood. There is something about getting wet that sure beats doing school work! The surf is supposed to be coming up this week....perhaps it is time to be a surfer...anything with salt water beats school work!!


5-6-00

High traffic Friday, faster to walk to the Ala Wai, as evidenced by the grandma pushing the stroller who I can see has covered four blocks in the time it took me to cover one. Fight for parking, manage a space over on the 600 row. Gordon and Lyle both being boat owners get to use the luxury parking permits and are at the boat. We wait for Brian, give him 15 minutes and head out. Brian is at the gas dock, waving as we pass by. He hops aboard and begins to try and get the traffic out of his blood. The ocean calls and we head for Kahala because it is closer than Ewa. We go to the turtle barge (I think Gordon wants all of the barges on his fancy chart) Lyle is over with the anchor. It is lucky because the anchor lands just off the ledge. The rest of us join him. Brian and Lyle have the place staked out and as Gordon and I drop down, we both signal that we should head across the channel. Gordon has mentioned a barge that had lots of coral, and is upside down. I have not seen it and he is going to take me there. We cross the sand channel, he cruises by the concrete Zees, but I stay out on the sand watching a distant school of mu. They are far away, and I continue. I have Gordon on one side and a large Turtle on the other, both are heading to the same barge, so I just tag along between them. The barge looms into sight, a dark shape. It is not on the ledge and seems very devoid of fish even though it is covered with coral and looks like it has been there the longest. We approach on either side, I take port (hard to figure that out when the boat is upside down) The turtle remains on my right, I am looking for the omilu Gordon talks of, but with out a current, no fish are hiding. We part company, as I head for the Zees over by the little barge. I see one disappearing kumu, and some distant weke, nothing to shoot at. I wait around and debate going on to Joe's barge, it is not the air, but the light that takes me back along the ledge to the turtle barge. I could continue and search further, but Brian has seen nothing. Lyle is heading up, he has a good size mu. Gordon appears empty handed, the only thing we all saw, was lots of turtles. We surface in the twilight, admiring Lyle's catch, he is happy as it had been so long since his last fish (six dives!). Brian pulls the anchor, and I help with the proper training (all the line goes in the starboard side etc). We head for home discussing fishing, diving and lures. The hustle and bustle of closed freeway off ramps far removed from our being. I just hope I can keep it that way until next time.


5-7-00

Sunday morning, the owner of the power cat needs specimens for school, Amy and Gordon are up for diving and I agree to go along to catch little fish. We are heading for Ewa beach. I bring a gun for Amy and designate Gordon her buddy while the master and I attempt to catch two of every species. We are trying for Roger's Ahi Spot (shark city) and toss the anchor in swimming distance. Gordon and Amy are in quickly and we follow along with our nets. I am reminded why I like to fish alone after the location of the first net set, but I am also reminded how well oiled a machine it must be if it can run so smoothly after so many years of neglect. There is nothing like not getting paid to take the pressure off and allow for success. We worked along filling up the buckets. I was certain that I could have improved half of the net sets, but was forced to refrain. The other two come back and Amy heads up the line and Gordon comes over and joins in the nostalgia. We herd fish like professionals, to the point where we are making supreme efforts over archetype examples from each family. We surface calling the dive a complete success, I hook off the buckets and we continue the fencing match we started 20 years ago. I still seem be losing. The surface finds Amy had a great time, the fish were too small, except the one big ulua she saw. She energetically swam after it, but it managed to outswim her supreme effort. The master pulls up the line to find we are one bucket shy, the clip has unclipped itself. Gordon volunteers to fetch it and does so. In the mean time, the sooty terns have found our boat and one visitor amazes us all with the leg lift and behind the ear scratch while hovering above our catch in hopes of a handout. We talk again of trolling, Gordon had gone out on Saturday and caught ono and rainbow runner. As we head back toward Keehi, we move into the aku birds working an area. The rush is to get the pole, find the lures, and drag a line through the pile. Another boat beats us to the punch and the action dies down. We continue homeward. The day is sunny, beautiful, we have achieved our mission and helped education. Amy got wet, so she is happy, Gordon has too much fish to feel bad about not seeing anything, and it is not even noon yet! We promise to get together again soon as we head our separate ways.


5-11-00

Thursday afternoon, Gordon and Lyle are divers and I join them on Gordon's boat for an evening dive. The winds and the surf are up and we decide to stay in Waikiki. Pfeffer's have the Mo'o iki at three's, good men are doing the right thing and taking advantage of the swell. There are three or four piles of aku birds between the buoy and our destination. Lyle had just given Gordon a "proper" hand line, and that with the improper one he has already let us put two lines in the water. We moseyed around always seeming to see the most active feeding right where we weren't. I am driven nuts and kick out the captain for some real boat driving, Lyle is also going nuts, but too polite to tell the captain anything. Now that I am the captain, he quickly takes over. To his credit, he manages to put the lines right trough an active spot. (luck) The birds are squawking and diving like mad. The fish however leave our lures alone. It has been a great diversion. We continue towards the 100' hole. I am like a compulsive gambler...."just one more pass", I continue to watch bird piles. Waikiki is alive with birds, spinner dolphin, and the shore is lined with white clouds of big surf. This is summer, why do I still have school? We hit the spot and I think Lyle beat the anchor down. The boat hangs in the trough, the little bubbles on the surface are racing towards Diamond Head. I am prepared for more of a current than there actually is and I easily swim to the bottom. Gordon has dropped under the boat to the outside ledge. I can see Lyle on the diamond head side of the hole. There is enough current that I figure that the big white ulua must be hiding in the hole and I go and check. I am so convinced that I sit in the entrance until my eyes are adjusted enough to see in the darkest crevices. Nobody home. Up current is always a good bet. I reach the ewa ledge at the same time as Gordon does. He must have gone around the inside side of the hole, as he is inside of me and I now "own" the peninsula. I watch the opelu darting around above me. I wonder what it looks like to see birds dive under from the bottom of the ocean. I wait, and let the opelu move on. No sign of tuna. I set my focus on the bottom and move out along the ledge, cutting over to the out side as I figure Gordon will want to move out deeper than I plan to go. I see a group of nice size uku. I am exposed, but manage to get them to come visit. I take a bad shot, extra bad because I am sure I have an audience. I load my gun and wonder where the uku have gone before glancing around to see if I was watched. No sign of anyone, maybe no one saw me. I seem fairly alone and I drift down current along the ledge. I stop before the sand really starts and call. One of the distant skinny starving file fish is really a fat mu, but he steers clear and moves by me out of reach. I pass the hole, Lyle is working up octopus ink in hopes of generating excitement. He has no fish. I cross the cable and go to my uku spot, the current is wrong, but you never know. I see no fish. The current is picking up, and I know it can get pretty strong in this direction. I move back to the anchor. Lyle is heading up, I still have lots of air and the taste of uku on my mind. I ignore my beeping meter as I play with another octopus over by the hairy red lobster rock. I am debating taco poke. The last time I got involved with an octopus when I was past decompression time, it was quite embarrassing. The water is cold, the current is getting stronger.... should I go up? Well maybe that large shark will help me make up my mind. A fat sandbar or galapagos passes by ignoring me as it moves in toward shallow water. O.K. I will head up. I stay up current of the anchor line and over the hole as I slowly leave the bottom. The water is clear and I look down on the top of the hole. There is a lobster party going on. Small slipper lobsters are out in droves. I see one and watch the bug crawl along until my eye is distracted by another and yet another. They look like a confused marching band, obviously acting relative to each other, but not in a straight ant type line. I think they are trying to spell "OUT OF SEASON HA HA" but it could be my imagination. I really only see five, even though discovering them one at a time makes it seem like a lot more. I slowly kick my way up to Lyle, he is concerned about the increasing current and his quick release set of the anchor. He wants me to hold on to the line. As long as I am upcurrent of the line I refuse to worry and give him my best doe eyes. "huh?" There is no sign of Gordon, he must be in the boat with oodles of uku. I finish my decompression and am the last one in the boat. There are no fish on board. Gordon shot and lost an uku, he is bummed. But he is cheered up at the mention of my miss....seems I was watched, no wonder I missed. He claims to be the real reason I even had a shot. Seems HE was the one calling them to me. Now I am glad I missed. Lyle and Gordon pull anchor while I watch the clouds turn pink. Oh, was I supposed to be driving the boat? Oops! We get the anchor up and head into the sunset. The orange ball is setting pretty high behind the Waianae range. It sure looks like June, Gordon looks for a swell to surf the boat in the channel. The myriads of surfers at bowls scowl at us. I am sure there is no reason to still be in school. Imagine how the students must feel!!


5-14-00

Gordon is taking some EPA VIPs out for a Sunday day dive and I get the invitation to join them. It is windy and we are going to stay close to home. The ships have a dive boat tied off and we head for the hole. Gordon is going to watch over Barry. Shannon dives, but hasn't been in years and chooses to be a boat babe. I am on my own and I toss the anchor and run back and jump over to set it. The anchor is right on the hole, the current is slight and there is a lot of phytoplankton filling up the ocean. My tank is ridiculously full, on board I thought it must be hot from the sun and had cooled off the tanks to find I still had close to 3000 lbs. I might as well use up some air by going out and looking for fish off of the ledge. There are lots of fish high over the hole feeding on the plankton, but none that I want to shoot at. The peninsula is barren, I see the same bat stars that were here two days ago, don't they move faster than that? I notice several in a haphazard line out on to the sand and realize that I mightn't be seeing the same ones. I imagine one of those science studies where the animals have to wear little marker flags. I wonder how Barry is doing, I am sure I am a much better tour guide than Gordon even though I don't actually have any hard evidence. There are no fish and I still have tons of air, I drop down to the sand just because it looked so inviting. Perfectly smooth save the writing done by busy miter shells. They obviously believe in extra terrestrials or they wouldn't be spelling out such large messages that no other miter shell can read. Too bad they only know Arabic. Charlette's web gone awry. One kahala comes in, keeps his distance and moves off. There might have been two papio with him as well, but they are too distant to be certain, could be more kahala. I inch my way up heading over the top of the cave, no evidence of fish. The hole was the most interesting place, I might as well go see what is going on. To my chagrin, Gordon is picking up starfish and handing them over to Barry as they explore the bottom. Gordon has not seen anything, and I still have lots of air, so I figure to check out the inside spot. On the exact opposite end of my limited territory. The swim is nice and there are a lot of little opelu kala, but nothing to spear. I return to the hole, my beeper has told me to surface. I say goodbye to the other two and cruise up the line. Shannon has been enjoying the sunshine and I must admit it is nice to get warm from the blazing sun after a dive. The guys soon come up empty handed. Gordon had shot at a papio and that was the only fish he had seen. Barry was just happy to get back in the water after a year. Gordon pulls the anchor and we blast home.


5-15-00

Monday, Nils is back! Good reason to dive, the Pfeffers, Gordon, are starters and Rob is visiting from Saipan again. He isn't a diver due to the broken foot, but he comes along as a boat babe. There is much male bantering as we head out the channel but all goes quiet as we wave to Lyle taking out the big sailboat that is strewn with female Japanese exchange students. We head for Marnie's rock, and the talk changes to science, island geology, reef formation, hot spots and rare fish. But the underlying question still came up. (How did Lyle get that boat? How did he get those girls?) The ocean was a lot calmer and I tossed the anchor right on the ledge. Mike is over the side (amid some confusion). The spare wetsuit gets another turn as the old guy is forced to don it. Gordon is trying to hurry us all in the water and he gets me over when I ask him to hand me my gun. I am chasing down my gun when I see the monster fish. The ono is right above the master, interested in the divers below and not moving. I get my gun, figure to get help from Gordon and surface before I begin my stalking. I imagine that will hurry him along as much as he hurried me. (sweet irony) The ono slowly leaves the descending diver and drifts back to the surface. He is too big and I know that I will loose my gun in the game but I vow to take the shot. We cat and mouse, well I cat and he acts like a mu, moving away without moving. I am not going to get a shot. Gordon arrives, the fish is in sight if you know where to look. Gordon heads down and I see Nils on the bottom below me. I could spend some more time, but as Nils has not been in the water in a while I descend to check up on him. He is stirring up sand and trying to pole spear a parrot fish. I don't see anything but divers and I signal Nils and we head down to David's spot. I see no fish until we get there. The uku arrive, they pass out of range, but look like they might be back. Nils goes off to play with the wild manini gang and I try and get one of the two weke ula that are hanging about. A group of small yellow spots come charging over as the uku pass outside. A bird in the hand,.... I shoot the papio and watch the uku swarm in. Nils is ready and would have really impressed the crown except the rubber on his three prong did not stand up to the excitement. I bag up the fish and worry about Nils's air consumption. He has enough to get back, but we should not hang around getting the uku to come back. We are anchor bound. I move high off of the bottom so that Nils can hang on to his air. I also keep my eyes glued to the surface in case of ono. It seems like a long swim before I leave NIls to join Mike on the line. I return to the bottom. I cruise in a big circle around the rock and see nothing but one big kahala. The old guy manages to get a weke ula right on the ledge. He is low on air, but he does stay to tell me how to catch them. "Just hide under the ledge, hold your gun in sight and do a puppet show with the flapper. Fish will come blasting over and then you can jump up and say "A HA!" before you shoot them. I look at the ledge I am supposed to hide under. Boy those are some big mean ass eels! The master bids me good luck, tells me about the big shark he saw and moves along. I stay in the waning light to keep Gordon company as he has seen the shark as well. The cold is what drives me up and I feel real good to be getting back in the boat. Fish on the deck, the big moon rising and letting those engines hum us home. Nils is hanging his head out like a happy dog getting to go on a car ride. Most happy to be enjoying the beauty of the islands once again. I get to be captain as the others relay their dives. A perfect end to the day, all Mondays should be so sweet. The run in the channel has us once again passing the bedecked sailboat. We cheer Lyle on as we head home to get ready for another day. (Who is the real master?)


5-25-00

Thursday, long day at school, have not been diving for eons, summer is baking my classroom. Gordon is planning a dive and I gladly head for the water. The winds are back, but Mike's dive reports of uku everywhere ring loudly enough that I am up for a trip to Kahala. Gordon guarantees me that even I could shoot something at Brock's squares and we head there. We scan the horizon for the last signs of Bian and Nils off to do science on their way to San Diego. Gordon sugests we should have hired strippers to wave good bye to Nils. I would have been happy for a simple wave. I toss the anchor and run back and suit up to go set it. The anchor is right next to the squares and there are lots of opelu kala giving the taste of fish to the air. I await Gordon as I am not sure on the anchor set. He moves it slightly and we head off. He takes the ledge and I follow the shy opelu kala over to the concrete Zees. Gordon arrives ahead of me and shows me how to lie low and toss sand. He signals that I should do this and then swims by me bringing a whole bunch of uku following him. I feel like a two year old who has two parents and an uncle showing it the way to each Easter egg. I am almost tempted to snub my nose at the approaching fish, but they are Easter eggs and I want them. The uku however snub their nose at me and swing wide and go after Gordon. They dance by him and I think we should be farther apart. I watch Gordon calling uku, but am distracted by the starving file fish fighting over his bubbles above his head. Now that is one hungry fish! I leave him to call the uku back and head past the pile of Zees and follow concrete pilings up current until I run out of fish. I am drifting back enjoying the current and playing in any sand holes I find. I am back to the Zee's, surrounded by fish and I hear Gordon banging on his tank. Oh-oh, the last time I was here I saw a giant tiger shark, that was about ten years ago, maybe it is still here and about to eat Gordon. I look around for any bubbles. No bubbles, but am distracted by all the mu and uku that are about. I might as well spear some fish, and look for remains of Gordon later. I am torn between the uku and the mu and the opelu kala keep swarming in and blocking my view. Uku taste better, I will concentrate on them, then I see her. There above me, first a shawdow taking shape, approaching cautiously, curious, calm, fearless. She is the empress of all mu, the biggest mu I have ever seen and I am in the perfect spot. She can't get a good view of me, I can back out behind some concrete and she has to change directions to get a peek at me. I move back and forth and she does likewise, coming closer each time. No sign of wariness and she moves into range. The uku in the meantime have moved into my sand hole and seem to be helping me guide in the quarry. They are too close to shoot, just paling around like my best buddies. Oooo, lets see you get this fish! I figure the mu has at least two more peek-a-boos before she changes her mind. She is in range, but I am confident and with her hard skull and her record size, I want a close kill shot. I duck and peek, she is completely gone! Vanished! I see bubbles on the other side of the pile and grumble to myself that tiger sharks just aren't what they used to be. The uku are gone as well. File fish remain, oh the shame of it!! I go to see why Gordon isn't dead. It seems it was not the 12 bangs of a giant tiger shark at all, but the 14 bangs of the anchor breaking loose. He took care of it and there is no need for me to worry. (he has an uku in his bag) Well, now my mind is at ease, I will circle around in search of fish and try to put some distance between us since they seem to be two person shy. I see fish in the distance, but never do they come close again. I cruise down current see some smaller normal size mu which will not suit. I make my way to the anchor. Gordon soon joins me decompressing, he tried to get an uku for me as well, but missed (how thoughtful, just love being patronized, sure wish I got that mu) We surface after the sun has dropped behind Diamondhead. Seems Gordon saw and would have gotten that mu before me, but that is when he heard the anchor break loose. I hate to be overly competitive and picky about him taking the edge of my giant mu story, but I let him pull anchor without offering to help. It is like Janetta or Mike always claiming to have been up before me in the morning, nevermind that they did not actually get out of bed or anything. It never stops them from saying "You were up at six? I was up at five thirty." We head back, I hate to seem overly violent and aggressive, but I really want to get that mu. I relive the moments of watching her peer down at me and my uku friends as we muck around and try not to let her see what we are up to. I was so close, I wonder how many people I could have had at the party! I want that mu! When are we going diving again?


6-2-00

Friday drags its fat okole around. I am so ready for a dive. Gordon, Lyle and Amy are starters and I meet them at Gordon's boat. The sad news is that while we are deciding on our dive destination, we are stopped by the helpful CG guys who inform us that the channel is closed. The luxury yacht Nooner has been grounded since yesterday, but apparently Friday at 5:30 is the right tide to give it one last yank with the big salvage tug. Sailboats are milling about like uku watching one of their own thrash against the night. We see the tug abandoning the plan and wait for the channel to clear. There is still plenty of light and Lyle chooses Kahala while the rest of us vacillate. The wind is kicking up lots of small chop, but it looks fiercer than the actual size of the swell. All bark, and little nips as we head toward the magic zees next to Brock's squares. Gordon, Roger and Lyle were here yesterday, but it was murky, there was a strong current, and they anchored too far away. The captain is taking no chances and we circle around trying to anchor on the opelu kala. We drop anchor just up wind and down current. Perfect. Lyle is down with the anchor, Amy and I head down next. The last ten feet are cold and slightly clearer. We are both armed and I have the luxury of knowing where we are. Amy is ready to kill and keeps pointing at things like puffers, orange shoulders, and palani. I keep dissuading her and trying to point out opelu kala, MK, and To'au. She looks at where I point and invariably sees a moorish idol or lemon butterfly. We have to improve our fish ID's. I don't see a single uku despite tales of uku bigger than big kahala. We continue up current to Brakes squares and see not much of anything there either. I give up on game and plan on letting Amy be my entertainment. We drift back to the zees. We come across Gordon who has a nice size mu, he has seen no uku. Amy and I go hide behind the pile. There really is nothing worth shooting so we wait around while Amy tries to get a palani to behave and quit hiding under the concrete where she is worried about shooting at it. She finally gets a long shot, her aim is perfect, the line is too short. Loading the gun again is fun as I remember how tricky it can be. The shaft refusing to stay where it is supposed to. Which rubber goes where? She is surrounded by palani as she works away on it. How do they know? She is ready for bear, but the fish are now leaving a wide circle around us. We head back toward the anchor, it is cold, but we still have air and bottom time. I hang my bag on the line and we take practice shots. The bag is twice dead when we head up. Lyle passes us with three big uku in his bag. Where did he go?? We decompress shooting at the anchor line. I can see Gordon calling below us, waiting for the giant uku that never came by. We get in the boat to find that Lyle got his uku from above. Hanging out in warm water and shooting the fish as they swam beneath him. Three shots, three fish, hero of the day. Gordon comes up with two good size flopping mu in his bag. Amy carefully studies the fish for future reference. And volunteers to pull anchor. Such enthusiasm! I go along to show her how it is done, but I manage to make a mess of it and the hero Lyle comes to the rescue before I get keelhauled. We head home, recounting our dives, and get to the channel just in time for the best seat for the fire works show. Sure is a nice place to be. Five good fish, and only four people; Amy and I each manage to take a fish home. I am feeling pretty happy. I need to get in as many dives as possible before I leave town next week, too bad that work thing is always getting in the way!


6-13-00

Almost the last day of school, certainly my last dive for a while. The gang is going out on Gordon's boat. There is Lyle, Gordon, the master and myself. I get to choose the dive site as I am going to be going away. The ocean is a lot calmer than it has been and we head for Kahala. Gordon still wants exact marks and we spend some time driving in circles looking for a fish in a haystack. The sun is waning as we toss the anchor into the clear blue water. Lyle heads over on anchor duty as the rest of us soon follow. The bottom looks like the map of the airport. The long cement columns defining runways beneath me. Well, Gordon missed again, but he is close enough that all of us will find the spot. I head forward in search of Lyle's secret uku area, but only find Lyle making percussion noises to no visible fish. I leave him and drift back down runway 27. Taxi over to 18 and move south of the pile of Zees. There are fish. I see a lot of mu, I had thought that since I was leaving town, I wouldn't shoot anything, but the mu are tempting and I hide behind the pillar and lay wait. Uku come by in a swarm. They are far away, but just knowing that they are there makes me happy. A small papio dances into view and in front of my gun. With so many good fish, I hold out and ignore him. I move back toward the zees where I saw the uku heading. I run into the master, and Gordon the anchor is between them. They must have just brought the anchor to the spot. Well that is one way to get good marks on the spot. At least we wont have to drive in circles again after the dive! I take note to take some mental land marks when I surface. There is still some distance between me and the other two and the thundering uku come right down the alley way. I have visions of the other two each getting a shot and I don't want to be the cause of any mishaps. I turn tail and head back to my previous hideout to await the next passing of the uku. The mu are there again and it takes a while to pick out the one I want. I got him close enough for the Mike "pull pull shoot" method. There is a piece of rebar sticking out of the pillar and it catches my gun turning it 90 degrees as I charge the mu. Now mu will give you half a thought before taking off, but in this case they are exceptionally slow. Either that or they want to see the bugs bunny gun that points one way and shoots another. Whatever the reason, I am left with the same results of being closer to the mu than my gun is and trying to pull it around through the ocean which has turned into Jell-O. The mu move away and I retreat and await the uku. They oblige and I get a nice shot. The fish is fighting over my head and the dangling shaft is hitting me in the head; bonk bonk bonk as I struggle to get the fish in the bag. The uku remain and let me reload, they must have heard my deco meter beeping. It is shallow here, so that means I have been down pretty long. I can hear tons of tank banging, no one but the master himself sends the 20 hits and it is a shark, 19 for the anchor breaking loose and 21 for check out the dolphins. I rule out those possibilities and take it as a message that he is still on the bottom and I have no need to hurry. I leave the uku to investigate when I here a different noise... must be Lyle's air horn. I think to look up to see the two noisemakers decompressing above me. They must have had fun watching me land the fish. They were trying to tell me about the new anchor location, old news, and I wave back and start my own ascent. They each have fish, the master has a papio and Lyle a nice uku. There is no sign of Gordon as we climb into the boat and exchange stories. Gordon surfaces, hands us an uku and gets a tank to decompress with. We await his story, Gordon running out of air? Tsk Tsk. He caught his uku and had a mighty fight which included the uku using the spear shaft that was through his body as a weapon to try and spear Gordon in the wind pipe. Close call, be careful when handling armed fish. He came back to the anchor with 500 pounds, wanted to move it so it was EXACTLY in the right place for marking the spot. While he was fiddling around he heard a strange "bloop bloop bloop" noise like air being let out of lift bag. He wondered about it just as his tank went dry. 50' and he does not want to free ascent, he thinks he will come up slowly anyway. (HUH??) Realizes that it would mean drowning and surfaces in need of a tank. As we hear the story, Lyle quickly comes up with the scenario that his regulator was loose and only held in place by high air pressure in the tank. As the pressure dropped, the yoke loosened up and let out the air. The story holds up with the presence of a loose yoke. Just when you think you have heard and know everything.... that was a new one for me. That with Lyle's tank with water in it. (head down and your regulator freezes up, head up and it fixes itself) Two new tricks to watch out for! Well, we all cheated death once again, and each brought home nice fish. (you the reader of course realize that the other two uku must have been slightly bigger than mine or I surely would have mentioned it) I am writing this from Philadelphia, far from the pacific and wistfully thinking that it might be time to go diving back in Honolulu. Please send me any and all dive reports. My regular address is fine as I can somehow check it from here with the click of a button. Good diving everyone, see you in August.


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