Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Today's Kona scuba outing... Anyone like Unicorns?


It was another day off today. I've got a lot planned for the last half of the month, but it's quite slow right now. I'll get the occasional call the next little bit and fill in some days. I had someone call this morning and we set up some intro dives for Friday. Anyway, today was a fundive day for me. Another trip down the hill to take some photos. I didn't get anything spectacular, but managed to take a couple of photos which'll probably show up on the blog some day. I had high hopes of being able to record some whale singing, but no such luck.

This is a Unicorn Tang (Naso unicornis), also known as a Bluespine Unicornfish, from today. Tangs are a member of a family of fish also known as surgeon fish. They are named so because they all have some type of "scalpel" for defense where their tail joins their body. Scalpels will vary from species to species, some are obvious, such as the large blue blades of this fish, while some are retracted and only come out for fighting.

Here's a little Unicorn Tang story for you... When I was a kid, I think right before the ninth grade, my family went to Maui. We ended up at a beach and my sisters and I went snorkeling. At some point I went off on my own and saw a Moorish Idol and dove down to follow it. I was probably 8-12 feet down and followed it around a truck-sized rock, turned around and suddenly there was this 18 inch fish (it seemed bigger at the time) with a horn on it's head looking straight at me from about 12 inches away.... All's I could think at the time was "that coulda been a shark"... I was on the beach in 30 seconds and didn't go deeper than my waist the rest of the day.

Speaking of sharks... A NOAA researcher saw a great white shark up off Kohala recently and it made the papers. Here's the link to the local paper's article, you may need to sign up..
http://westhawaiitoday.com/articles/2006/02/01/local/local01.txt

Sharks are not really a problem here in Kona, even if we see them. Our water's so clear there aren't cases of mistaken identity. Kona has 2 verified shark attacks EVER, both happened about 2 months after I moved here - 1 was a boogie boarder after sundown, the other was a swimmer quite aways offshore at dusk - not the best times to be on the surface of the water splashing around. Both victims survived, but I do think the kid on the boogie board nearly lost his arm.

I love ending posts on a happy note!

later,

Steve

2 comments:

Kris in Hawaii said...

I remember reading an article about him meeting Bethany Hamilton.

There is the old Hawaiians' rule about avoiding sharks. Never swim in water that you cannot see through. In other words, it is safer and better when the sun is shining on it--not at dusk or dawn.

Do you think sharks are not as aggressive here because they have more food sources available?

Steve said...

I think it's the mistaken identity thing. It's rare that we don't have 30-100 foot of decent viz here. Most of the attacks you hear about in Hawaii are in areas with streams, runoff, or sand, or as in the case of these two in Kona, at dusk and dawn. All will make for bad viz.