Sunday, March 05, 2006
We had some great diving again the last couple of days. We did finally see some of the rain that Oahu and Kauai have been seeing, but not nearly as much as they had.
On Friday's dive my guess we had at least 150' or so of viz for much of the dive that I did. We'd gone to a spot to look for a specific fish, no luck, but found a fish that I've only seen once before while diving here. We saw a Spiny Cowfish(Lactoria diaphana) on the edge of a dropoff. UGGGHH! I'd already found out early on in the dive that I'd left my compact flash card in the card reader at home so I couldn't get a shot of it. It would've been nice as it was easy to approach and the viz was so good.
Yesterday was gray and wet, so I did't even bother with the camera. We did have some surface chop from the weather, but viz was still quite good. On the dive I led, we did a dive that has good healthy hard corals, a huge school of Yellowfin Goatfish that you can pretty much blend in with, and all sorts of neat critters. Highlights for that particular dive were lots of eels, a couple of Redstripe Pipefish (Doryrhamphus baldwini) some are pictured in this earlier post, Banded Coral Shrimp and a group of 4 Eagle Rays swimming in formation.
Here's a picture of a Lined Butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) that I took a few dives ago. They are the largest of the many butterfly species we have here. We generally see them in pairs, no doubt there was another one within a few feet of this one. We often see them in shallower portions of the reef, so there's no trick in finding them. I have an aquantance from my old aquarium store days who's been working for Ed Robinson's Dive Company over in Maui for ages, he told me they generally don't see this particualar fish on Maui. It's interesting how islands relatively close can have different makeups in fish population to where a relatively common species on one island might not even be seen on the next.
OOOPS! I amost forgot! I forgot to mention that after the first dive, as we were leaving I saw 3 fins on the surface. I'm thinking maybe a trio of small hammerheads, but it turned out to be a pelagic (open ocean) Manta Ray feeding on the surface. It was feeding in an upwelling just offshore and was circling. I stopped the boat and two of the passengers donned their snorkel gear and were able to spend about 10 minutes with it. The pelagics are different from the mantas we normally see on the manta dive in that they are a dark black, with maybe a white saddle on their backs or stomach, as opposed to gray and white like the one posted a few posts back. They can also get significantly larger. This one was in the 9-10 foot across range, not particularly large but still quite amazing to swim with.