Saturday, May 27, 2006

7 mantas at the Kona manta ray night dive last night

We did the manta dive last night. This followed the day trip we'd already done.

During the day trip Bob led a dive at his favorite site. It goes by several names... spaceship/pyramid pinnacle/harlequin/etc. It's one of our more interesting dive sites. I dove the second dive at Kaloko arches/canyons. In the briefing I mentioned a fish I've seen there on 3 occasions about a year and a half apart each time... dumb luck, we saw it/one of those fish. Darned, no camera... these fish are rare. Bob, with nearly 4000 dives in Hawaii, said he's seen them twice. I've seen them 4 times diving so far. This fish was a male Whitley's Boxfish (Ostracion whitleyi), here's a link to a stock photo on the net . We see the females and juveniles, which are a different color, quite often, but the adult males are very rare here. The Hoover's book linked on the side bar doesn't even have a photo of a male, it was tough to even find a picture on the web until the last couple of years.

I did the night dive for last night. I hadn't guided one in about a month and a half. These are always a blast. The plankton wasn't super thick last night so we didn't get tons of manta action, as they were spread out over the 50 or so divers in the circle, until the videographer we work with came over with her more powerful lights, after that we got a lot of up close action. It's always an amazing dive.

Today we did a dive up at a site called Sand Chute, up near Garden Eel Cove off the Kona airport, and another just outside of Honokohau Harbor. I've got another day of diving ahead of me for tomorrow, and then a couple days off before we're at it again.

The underwater photo above is of a Jeweled Anemone Hermit Crab. These guys are cool. You may have to look at it a few times to get a handle on what it is. They are good sized hermit crabs, often up to the size of say a soft ball, and they seem to prefer partridge tun shells which they then adorn with anemones. I'm not sure if they pick up multiple anemones, or just one which propagates through bipedal laceration (splitting in half and essentially forming a twin of itself - sorry to those more in the know if my science is a little off). We see them on occasion on night dives, this one was under a lobe coral at the Place of Refuge when I found him. Cool eye stalks, eh? I had one outside of Honokohau harbor that hid in the same hole during the daytime for nearly two years (most divemasters usually has a secret stash of critters at various sites to show people) ... it was fun being able to guarantee seeing him, but it moved or passed on last year.



Come dive with me (a little self-promotion never hurt ,eh?)

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