I've been suprisingly busy lately. Last week was the Kona Classic Photo Shoot and competion. I ran some charters, attended the seminars and events, and intended to dive every day and shoot photos and compete... but my ears were feeling a bit odd coming in and I had a full blown infection by the first evening of the event. I'm out of the water for a few more days yet, so Bob and Cathy will be doing the diving 'til the end of the week while I play Captain. It's looking as though I have 2 days off the rest this month at this point, with several of the work days being double charters... lots of room left on most days, so give me a call if you are looking for a dive.
A few words on the Kona Classic. It was an interesting event. There were, just guessing here, 30-40 competitors taking photos every day and some more who just came in for seminars and events. I'm thinking the seminars and events (there was an opening reception, a Body Glove sunset buffet cruise with open bar that was quite nice, along with the awards banquet) alone are worth the $150 they were asking for the week. The competitors (well those who actually took pictures because they didn't have ear infections) had access to some well known underwater photo pros to help go over their shots and get hints/ideas/comments on their efforts. On the final evening was the awards show, and many of the competitors won some great prizes... the prize for best of show was a trip for two to Tawali resort in Papua New Guinea, several regulators were given away, several higher end BCDs were awarded, several Pinnacle wetsuits, a few zoom lenses and other assorted scuba gear was awarded in several beginner/intermediate and advanced categories. I'm thinking the winners of each category also took home sculptures by Wyland. If they continue to host the program next year, I'd say it's worthwhile coming over and participating.
The photo above is actually an interesting pic as far as species interraction goes. There's a phenomenon called "nuclear hunting" that involves multiple species of fish. In this case the Peacock Grouper (which was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands back in '56/'58) is soliciting hunting activity with this Stout Moray Eel. The groupers will approach an eel and do their little "let's go hunting" dance and if all goes well the eel will take off probing coral heads while the grouper hangs out overhead. Sort of a "you take the low road, I'll take the high road" scenario. The odd thing is, since the groupers actually were not originally on the reefs here, it's curious as to how the eels feel about the whole thing. There are other species that do hunt together, but I'm not sure as to whether this activity was described pre-50's... good question for a local marine biologist.