Saturday, June 30, 2007

Woke up at 4am to a full moon over Hawaii this morning....

For some strange reason I woke up at 4am today. The moon was full and I decided to try taking a picture with the little Olympus sp-350. It has a night function, and as long as I held it steady against a post it did fine... probably about a half second exposure, the first few attempts were blurry, once I figured out I needed to keep it flush against the post a picture finally turned out.

Not much to report right now. Just thought I'd post the pic.



Sunday, June 24, 2007

Whoohoo!!!! Oregon State University Beavers just win 2nd consecutive College World Series!!!

OK, I'm not a big baseball fan these days, but being a former OSU student this is even bigger than my "whoohoo" I gave them last year... Only three teams have repeated since the 60's. Congrats. I do feel sorry for UNC though, they lost the series twice in a row now, it's an accomplishment just getting there, not to mention twice.

So I gotta admit, I knew the Beavs were to at least the quarterfinals and didn't realize they'd made it to the finals, but yesterday Pat and I ran errands, heard a radio commercial for Don the Beachcombers restaurant and Mai Tai Tiki Bar... and being the Tiki fans that we are we had to go check it out. Anyway, the first game of the series was on at the time so we got to watch it and had to watch the last innings of tonight's game. BTW... Beachcombers... big thumbs up for the visual improvements in the bar and diner. We'll have to do dinner there (I've heard lots of positive on the forums at Konaweb) but the bar was opened up, it used to be sort of screened off. This bar and restaurant probably has the best overall view in Kona of any bar/restaurant I can think of off hand. Happy hour - Don's original mai tias (not watered down) at half price - $21 got us 4 mai tais and the bartender a decent tip, not bad for Hawaii.

Here's a video from some time ago I may have already put up, but not using youtube, so it may not be accessible in the earlier post. The manta dive is a hoot.



Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wanna Dive's "NEW" dive boat is coming along.

If you've been following me, you know I've had the boat in for some major work. People who've dove with me lately know I've been wanting something we've been rebuilding the boat essentially from the ground up.

Well, the old inboard engine's out, and the 30 inch hull extension is essentially done. It looks as though I will end up with two swim platforms with two ladders towards the outside with the outboards off the center of the transom. They've started working on the inside today.. new bench seating with both dry and open storage, additional tank storage below floor in the existing fish hold, the engine box will be a thing of the past with additional light weight gear storage below floor level where the old engine was, we're looking at additional shelving in the cabin (leaving room for the dreaded porta potti - few small operators have one, nobody wants one - the goal is to never have it used). The goal is to up our storage as much as possible (but please, please don't bring extra stuff just because we have extra storage) we're trying to trick the boat out for diving and make it very comfortable for everyone. The engines supposedly were at the dock today, the stereo has arrived (hey, if you are renting the whole boat, bring your ipod and plug it in), the interior lighting should be showing up soon, the new breaker box and power inverter are in, the new vinyl lettering has come in... and after it's all done a new paint job... It's essentially going to be a very nice new boat.

Here's the latest info on Kileuea Volcano closures. The local news said geologists (like the french gal on the last post) say this the the most dramatic activity at the volcano in over a decade. There is apparently no actual flow, but the floor in the Pu'u O'o vent has dropped 40-50 meters (may have been ffet but I think they said meters) in the last few days. They said it may be weeks or months before the roads re-open.

Here's a whitetip reef shark from the other week.



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hawaii's otters have been migrating apparently....

Over the weekend there were roughly 200 small earthquakes down at the volcano park and they closed Chain of Craters road and other roads around the park. The lava flow has been real active the last couple of months and they suspect magma is migrating beneath the volcano.... however they could be incorrect according to this video published by Dr. Tiki.... (warning - may contain alcohol, off color language and immature subject matter)...

I stumbled on a couple weeks back and it's sort of a kick. It's a story of a group of thirty-somethings who hang out at a tiki bar and solve their troubles through alcoholic tiki beverages. It apparently started as a single episode joke by a scriptwriter who was poking fun at the fact he had a tiki bar in the corner of his living room. I saw an article yesterday which said it's become one of the most popular podcasts out there and it's now almost a full time job and has created interest in his other works he previously couldn't sell, along with other project offers.

By the way... diving's been excellent. We had two mantas at the manta dive last night.



PS: One other thing, just in case someone is taking the video or my post title serously.... Sorry, no otters here in Hawaii.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Been getting some rain lately...

We've been getting some rain lately in the afternoons all over Kona. They even had pretty good rains at the airport on Wednesday and Thursday eves, the airport might see 10-15 inches of rain a year. Today was quite nice though, although we've got north winds (I haven't watched the news lately, but it's probably from whatever front brought in the rain).

Thought I'd put up a little manta update since I haven't posted one in a while. They apparently had three tonight. It's been pretty darned good the last few weeks. We went out the middle of last week and had 8-10 on the dive, and it hasn't let off much since, although tonight's number was a bit down. I've got a night charter planned for Tuesday on my friend's boat... can't wait 'til mine's finished with the rebuild.

This eel is a Stout Moray (Gymnothorax eurostus). We see them relatively frequently on dives here, although not with the frequency of a few of our other species of eels. They're not as large as some, that may play a part in not seeing them as often as whitemouth or yellow margin morays. Usually when we see them they are a darker coloration than this one. They can vary from very brown to quite white, this one is quite light compared to most.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cool find today at the Place of Refuge...

I hadn't seen these in about 4 years, but apparently there's a bit of a bloom of them right now, at least down at the Place of Refuge. I noticed them on the sand. You'll likely need to click on the photo to get the larger photo just to see them.

These are Siphopteron quadrispinosum (I haven't found a common name). I thought they might be some type of bubble snail, but apparently they are a slug. They are very tiny, with the biggest ones probably running less than an eighth of an inch in length... real tough for me to get a picture of.

I've been very busy lately, what with working at the airport 4 days a week, diving 4-5 days a week and checking on boat progress. I told my work to consider me unavailable after this Sunday. The boat and the business need to take priority from here on and once the boat is ready I can't let the airport job cost me charters. I tentatively have employee number 2 lined up, I think I can keep Bob, this person (to be named later) and myself busy once the boat's back in the water.

The water has definitely warmed. I was seeing 81 in the shallows at the Place of Refuge, I didn't check it at depth, but it didn't seem cooler.



Thursday, June 07, 2007

Water temp's climbing back up....78-79 the last few days.

I'd been out of the water for a couple of weeks and have dove the last three days. I should have known by the rain we've been seeing in the afternoon up mauka that the water temp has jumped upward, but I had to see my computer to be sure. I had 79 degrees on my dives the last three days.

I've been running charters on a friend's boat, mine's taken apart for the next few days. I can't wait to get it back, I've been turning away a fair amount of last minute business, and as it turns out, my frined is leaving town for a week and the boat won't be available. Right now the boat's up on stilts and the engine is out. I'm just waiting for my mechanic and the boat surveyor to get together and make sure we have a workable plan for extending the hull, then things really get moving on the boat.

We had some really nice dives the last few days. Sharks, turtles, spinner dolphins on the dive (the divers even got to see them jumping in and out of the water from beneath) and a bunch more neat things.

Here's a couple of Peacock Groupers (Cephalopholis argus) getting a cleaning by a cleaner wrasse. Called "roi" locally, these grouper were actually introduced by fish and wildlife back in '56-'58 or so back in the day they thought it was a neat idea to introduce non-native species. Now they are everywhere on most of our reefs.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Apparently the manta dive is hopping....

I haven't actually been out on the night dive for a while, but it's started to pick up again and I thought I'd pass it along. They've been seeing good numbers lately after a very slow spring. They apparently had eight mantas tonight.

Well, the boat work is scheduled and hopefully I'll be back on my boat by the third week of the month. It should be pretty close, but there's a ton of work we'll be doing. I getting pretty excited about it. This is a major job that'll essentially give me a new boat without having to spring for a whole new boat. We'll be removing the old engine, exhaust, outdrive and the engine box, removing all the wiring, ripping up the deck and replacing it then rebuilding the cockpit/deck area and adding bench seats, all new wiring, building the hull extension/swimstep/outboard engine mounts to the existing transom and putting on a couple of reasonable sized 4 stroke outboards. We replaced the fuel tank with twin fuel tanks earlier this year. In the end I should have more usable space on board, as well separate engines, fuel and electrical systems and likely a better and more powerful ride. It should be a big step up in maintenance and reliability issues too. I'm looking forward to it, hopefully it'll be a while before I want to upgrade again... but if boats are anything like cameras... not wanting to upgrade isn't a certainty... Pat and I are both already eyeballing new cameras and we've only had our last ones a year or so. I need a new camera like I need a hole in the head.

So I guess I'm semi-out-of-the-water for now, at least off of my boat. I've got charters lined up next week on a friend's boat, and a bunch of stuff lined up later in the month that I'm hoping my boat will be ready for. I'll have a backup plan at any rate.

The picture above is of a small scorpionfish in a coral head. If you take the time to look in coral heads, they often have something unusual hiding out inside.