Monday, April 09, 2007

Is scuba diving excercise?

This is a topic that comes up in the scuba message boards on occasion. Judging by the fact that I tend to get winded just walking back to the house from my mailbox, I somehow doubt it's a heck of a lot of excercise anyway - in my defense though, it is a bit of a hike and almost a hundred foot elevation change from my mailbox.

So today I took a walk part way down the trail to the Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay. I haven't done the entire trail in about 4-5 years. I had a friend who's done it a couple of times with me over the years, the first time he about died, so he went home and put something like 5000 miles on his bicycle and came back and totally whooped tail on the trail. He wasn't even breathing hard, while I (all 250 pounds of me at the time, I'm about 25-30 lbs lighter these days) had enough difficulties that he had to take an embarrassing commemorative video. Today I walked down to what he referred to as the "hugging tree" on his first trip - the hugging tree is apparently where you stop and hug the tree for 10 minutes because you are afraid you will collapse and not be able to get back up again. It's maybe half way down the trail. I handled the top half of the trail just fine, it's the bottom half that's a ton of work, but it got me thinking about diving and excercise. My goal is to be able to do the whole hill (1300' elevation change over 3 miles) again without huffing much.

Back to scuba being excercise or not. My guess is that for a lot of people, it can be at first. Once you get used to it though, at least in the type of diving we do here, it sort of becomes controlled floating and there's very little exertion. The only real exertion is getting into your wetsuit (man that can be surprisingly tough sometimes, especially on a hot sunny day) and getting to the water if you are shorediving. Shorediving can be some work, my ankles are definitely stonger than they used to be from climbing over rocks and such with gear on, but the actual diving, especially now that I'm primarily diving off a boat, isn't much work. I think there is some tendancy to burn calories just trying to stay warm, but the cardio end of it is minimal.

As you might be able to tell, I'm starting to realize I'm getting older... hence the walking. Pat had her birthday yesterday and we went out to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse up at the new shops at the Mauna Launi... Here's the brief review...Nice restaurant, a fabulous chili lime calimari appetizer and good pear martinis were offered on their specials for the evening, and the filets were really good. I had the "cowboy cut" ribeye, it was nothing special for me, I prefer the ribeyes off the grill at home. Service was great, the meal was pricey but in line for the resort area up north. All in all, pretty good but not at the top of my list for Kona/Kohala.

Now that I've rambled on for a while, the real reason I wanted to post this is because I took a semi-reasonable shot of a Spotted Boxfish (Ostracion meleagris) male. Commonly called Blue Boxfish, the males are a gorgeous blue with spots on the back while the females and juveniles are a dark brown with spots all over. This fish is not to be confused with a Whitley's Boxfish, that I'm still hoping to see some day with camera in hand.



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