Friday, April 25, 2008

Ask Steve a question????

Just for fun, I thought I'd solicit questions and see if anyone actually asks questions. I may or may not be able to answer them, but I can give it a try.

A few basic guidelines: Questions can be about the dive biz, my dive biz, Kona, Hawaii, diving, living here, opinions on places or activities here, and things related to them. I'm not going to answer questions about other specific dive businesses, you'd need to contact them to answer questions about them. Personal questions may or may not be answered. I'm staying away from religion or politics, there's plenty of other blogs for that. I reserve the right to not answer anything I feel inapropriate... or that I just don't want to answer for whatever reason...and repetitive questions may be dealt with as a single response.

Getting questions from outside sources may help me cover some different, yet related, subjects... so ask away. Before you ask, I do ask that you look at the very top of the blog, where you'll find a search function that you can search for the subject matter you are curious about to see if it's already covered ad nauseum and refrain from asking something I cover often (like water temperature, today's dive, etc).

I'll do my best to answer questions, and I'll try to be honest about not knowing the answer.... I know a few things, I'm pretty clueless about others.

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section of this post. I will try to get to them as I can, and anything that requires more than a very quick answer will probably appear as a new post. If I get overloaded (I'll be pleased if I get any questions at all, amazed if I get a lot) it might take some time to answer everything.

The critter pictured above is a Hawaiian Red Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus occidentalis). We see them from time to time on the night dive. I was very lucky to get this shot... these guys don't like light and generally will back down into whatever hole they're in front of when you hit them with light for more than a couple seconds or approach too closely. They're sort of tough to show customers because of that, I probably show them to a diver or two about every third time I find them as they'll scoot away before the divers figure out what I'm trying to show them generally.




Mel said...

Wow, you're really asking for it!!

Okay, here goes:

What do you typically look for when hiring a divemaster? (Qualities, skills, type of experience, etc.)

Is it possible for a DM to make a living wage in the Kona area?

Have there been any customers you haven't allowed back on the boat because they were too obnoxious/dangerous/poor divers?

Do you ever get "island fever" living on the Big Island?

Thanks for the great blog - it's the first thing I check every day.


Steve said...

Hi Mel,

We'll see how many questions I get. You've given me 4 topics to write about... thanks. I'll get to them one at a time over the next little while (as in days or weeks, not hours).

aquaguy said...

Hi Steve,

How did you acquire such excellent photography skills? Are you self taught or have you got educational background or a mentor/friend, who helped. I can't for the life of me, produce shots with the vibrant clarity, true color and beauty that you've managed to achieve.

Keep up the good work!

Steve said...


Mostly self taught... took a semester of photography back in highschool 34 years or so ago and I remember "get close" and "the rule of thirds".... the rest is LOTS of throwaways and figuring out what works best for the camera I'm using. Digital cameras help because you can get an idea if you came close immediately after taking the shot. When I find a subject I really "want", I'll take 5-10 shots or more and vary various factors a hair in hopes one or two will be what I really want (I think I took about a dozen shots of the baby frogfish in the next post).

After I get the shot, photoshop helps a bit sometimes if it's close but not quite there yet... "autolevels" and a bit of "unsharp mask" can do wonders on occasion.

Lately I'm shooting in RAW, and that can help with some pics, turn a borderline shot in to closer to what I want after some adjustments and such.

Practice, practice, practice... if I set the camera down for a couple months, like when I'm busy teaching scuba, I practically have to start over.


lobrien said...

Here's one from a local: Is there any diving on the BI that rewards advanced / technical skills (e.g., 'oh yeah, there's that submarine, but it's at 135 feet so we don't talk about it')?

Steve said...

I'm probably going to be very vague about this one, as "advanced" is tough to define. For instance, I consider myself to be an intermediate level diver... couple thousand dives, active instructor for almost 10 years , etc... while others may refer to a diver with an advanced OW card and 30-40 dives as "advanced" - it's all at how you look at it.

I'm probably not the one to ask about technical dives as I'm not a technical diver at this point, but if there was something as major such as a submarine close to recreational depths I suspect it'd be talked about. We do have an operator or two in town that do technical instruction and dives and I'd be happy to steer divers with technical ratings (advanced nitrox, trimix, deco-theory, rebreather, etc... stuff beyond basic nitrox certifications) their direction if they're looking for that type of dive as that's something most of the rest of us just don't offer.

As far as "advanced" dives, Kona isn't much of a place for wrecks, but nearly every site here has dropoffs and there are some dives here that are within recreational depths that I wouldn't take divers I haven't dove with yet to as they may involve a certain level of skill and air consumption rates to make safely. We do have a sunken Beechcraft twin engine down at 115', a forty some odd foot long ferro-cement hull (basically pretty boring as it's just the hull) at 109', a vertical wall way down south that's a very good dive as long as you don't have divers who overestimate their ability to do that dive, and some other neat stuff in fairly close that are either deep or require drifts or both.

Sorry to be so vague, but you never know if just mentioning a spot will put an idea in people's heads that's that's the dive they've just gotta do.... An old aquaintance of mine has worked for years for one of the bigger name operators in Maui and he was talking about how many times they get divers requesting the back wall of Molokini, because they've heard that's the dive to do, that plain aren't up to it... causes problems for the crew and other divers in many cases. It's a lot easier to justify setting up the more challenging dives once you've seen someone's capabilities.

So I guess the quick answer is.... advanced and rewarding dives, at least by most standards... yes, they're available... deep tech dives... yep, they're avaialable... submarines and wrecks requiring technical skills... probably not.