Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Man, the Kona manta ray night dive is still going strong....

The manta dive has seen 15+ mantas a night for the better part of almost a month and a half now. It's a spectacular event for divers and snorkelers. We did three of them last week, in addition to some day outings - made me tired... I'll use that as my excuse for not posting in that time (but it's more likely that I just haven't had much to say during that time). Going out on the night charters and then having to come back the next morning (or not, depending on the schedule) takes it out of me. I normally hit the hay around 10:00-10:30, after a manta dive it's more like 1am and I don't feel normal for a couple days... what ever happened to the good ol' days when 4 hours was plenty of sleep as long as it wasn't every day? It's our slower season right now so I've got a few days off before it all starts again.

I just got an e-mail that the Manta Ray protection act has made it through both the State House and Senate and is now waiting on the Governor to sign it. The mantas have been unprotected here and there's been a few attempts to get them protected so someone won't come in and harvest them all. Kona is the one place in the world that you know exactly where the mantas are likely to be 30 minutes after sundown, so that raises the risk of them being taken efficiently if someone were to decide to target them... this should help keep that from happening.

The pic above is of a Redstripe Pipefish (Dunckeroampus baldwini). Pipefish are related to seashorses, the males carry the eggs on their undersides, unlike the male seahorses which carry their eggs in a pouch on their bellies.

Reading in John Hoovers new book , which happens to be probably the best book on Hawaiian fish available right now, I just noticed that these particular pipefish were endemic - I didn't know that before tonight. They are typically found in pukas (Hawaiian for "holes") or cracks in rock formations. They're small, maybe 5 inches long in total, and quite slender so they're tricky to point out to other divers. We've got a few of them stashed at a few dive sites so we do get to brief our divers and show them from time to time.

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