Sunday, June 04, 2006
This has been one of our colder water years as of recently. Today all the divers were seeing 77/78 on thier computers. Yay!!! It's been a tad cool. Should go up from here. Typically we see our warmest water from late August into October, sometimes beyond. This last December, if I recall correctly, I was seeing 81 degrees on my computer at the start of the month, and it was down to 75/76 or so by the end of the month. Once winter starts we tend to see a degree to degree and a half drop with each major northwest swell that comes in. The temp tends to have it's low peak around early February and holds 'til April and then slowly climbs again.
Today's weather was gorgeous. We'd had some crummy weather action the last few days and today was more like our typical summer weather. Clear on the mountains early, with clouds building throughout the day 'til they are nearing shore, with sunshine on the water most of the day.
We did our first dive off Hoover's. It's the northernmost mooring ball, located just north of the gravel pile off the Kona airport. It's one of our "prettier" dives, with lots of interesting topography and lots of coral reef that was Protected from hurricane Iniki which came through from the southwest in the early 90's. Lots of stuff was seen (I played Captain, so I was up top and didn't see it), nudibranchs and a BIG frogfish, which was actively angling with it's lure, were the highlights. (Pat joined the group today and may have some pics of the frogfish I can post, we'll see when she takes a look at what turned out).
Our second dive was off High Rock. It's located of the north pine trees shoreline and features a large elongated pinnacle which rises to just below the surface from about 40 feet down. Highlights were Dragon Wrasse, Octopus, Leather Coral, a Dwarf Moray, a nice nudibranch and lots of neat topography and fish. We had a Whitetip Reef Shark swim under the mooring while we were on our safety stop.
Dives for the day were both in the 79-80 minute range. Our divers were all good on air, and when we are well within computer profiles we will let them dive 'til their air is down to where they should ascend, rather than set an arbitrary "you're out of the water at an hour (or less)" that is seen with some operators.
Here's a picture of 2 very cooperative Dragon Wrasses (Novaculichthys taeniourus). This is the juvenile phase, the adults have a different look and lose the two long spines at the front of the dorsal. The adults are called "rockmovers" in Hawaii because they will litteraly pick up coral chunks larger than themselves and toss them aside looking for small starfish and sea urchins to smash and eat. The juveniles are very flighty and will dive into the sand or under a rock when you get too close - hence this being my first fairly reasonable pic of a dragon wrasse (lucky for me it was two). Back in my aquarium days, I owned/kept one of these guys for years. I had a big tank with an oyster shell substrate, and every evening at about 7:30-8:00 (I had the lights set to go off at 9:00) it would start gatering algae from around the tank and make a little pile and then dive in to the substrate through the pile. I knew another person who had one in a tank that contained several fish, he had a lion fish that he would feed shrimp by hand, and one day the dragon wrasse jumped up and took the shrimp out of his fingers before they were under the water... at that point he said it became a challenge to see how far that fish would jump out of the water. He apparently entertained friends on a regular basis and evenentually got the wrasse to regualrly jump to where it's entire body was at least 6 inches out of the water - 'til it landed on the floor rather than in the tank. The wrasse was apparently fine, but he avoided that stunt from thereon. These fish have lots of personality and are favorites with nearly everyone that sees them.