Sunday, September 27, 2009

First big swell of the "winter" in Kona....

just finished. We had a pretty good sized swell come through the last few days. We happened to not have charters scheduled during the worst two days of it, it's been settling down now that were going out again and diving has been fine. According to the news this was the biggest September swell we've had since '97. I know I haven't recalled seeing anything like that this time of year since I've been here. In the next day or so we should be back to our normal September/October great diving conditions.

We're in our "slow" season again. You can really tell it on the water, not a heck of a lot of boats out, even the fishermen are out in smaller numbers it seems. You can tell one thing though... Ironman's coming... We're seeing more tri-athletes riding their bikes and running alongside the highway. They usually start trickling in about three weeks prior to the big race and then the last week and a half they're all over the place. I get a fair number of inquiries as to whether it generates crowds for diving - it's my perception that it doesn't really bring in the divers in any real noticeable numbers.

The pic above is of Garden Eels. I likely have this posted elsewhere on the blog, but this was my header photo 'til I replaced it with the shark, so I may not. This blog's approaching 600 posts over 4 years, and just as many photos, and I'm not sure my brain just can keep track of it all anymore... gotta go to the library and check out a memory book. These critters are mesmerizing to watch, swaying in the current picking plankton out of the water.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The phone company came through...

This morning I went down to the shop to wait for the phone technician again... 20 minutes later THREE phone company trucks were there. Blog reader Aaron had forwarded a copy of my last blog post to a few higher-ups at the phone company, so that probably helped... either that, or I pitched such a fit on the phone Friday evening that they thought I might be violently unstable and needed to send enough crew to keep themselves safe. Thanks Aaron.

Interestingly enough, I'd ordered phone service a couple months back and was so busy I'd never plugged in a phone 'til the other day and found I had no dial tone. Turns out the number they assigned me had been used some time ago (not uncommon) and the number had been ported elsewhere (sort of like automatic call forwarding I guess) and the phone company either wasn't aware of that or had lost track of that. Essentially all my phone service was going to somewhere else. Apparently the previous technician had called the number and got a live person and had filed a report that the service order was erroneous. So now I have a shiny new phone number that I won't use for much 'til I'm manning the shop full time (my cell number will be my main line 'til then). I lucked into a real easy phone number - ends with "DIVE", so once I start using it for regular business at least it'll be easy to remember.

I'm now trying to spend as much time at the shop as possible, but basically that means I'm open by appointment as I need to be on the boat when it goes out. I'm trying to keep a "regular hour" (literally, not "hours") 4pm to 5pm after charters Monday through Friday as long as I don't have a night charter that keeps me from being available.

I had a class yesterday morning and a night dive last night.... 14 manta rays, whoohooo!!!.... so there was little time spent there yesterday. I'm in the shop all day today and whatever days I have off coming up - never know, I might get some walkins. There's plenty of little things to do to keep me occupied for now. I'm painting one of the closet doors today and tomorrow.



Here's a satellite photo of the shop and the harbor. As you can see, we're surrounded by about a mile of lava field in both directions so we're pretty easy to find.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So I was kidding about that Kramer vs. the Cable Guy comment in the last post... really I was....

It was an interesting/frustrating day.

So I'm down at the office at 8am and left for only a few minutes to put the boat in for the charter. I'd made arrangements with the phone company to have the technician call a few minutes prior to arrival. I received no call so I'm thinking things are OK. By 4pm and no technician and I'm thinking maybe they didn't call and I missed them, so I call the phone company and the gal on the end says they have no record of an order for my phone number. She apologizes and sets it up for next week with a new case number... I'm a bit aggravated because I had to pay an extra employee for the day so I could hang out all day rather than work the charter....

15 minutes later I decide it might be smart to double check on the status of the new case, just to make sure they got it right and I didn't recall her repeating my address. I get a hold of a nice gentleman and he looks up the filing for my phone number and says, we have you down for Tuesday morning Mr. Kenoi... What? My name's Frisbie, are you sure things are right here? He at that point gets someone from the business department on line and she checks my phone number and says something to the effect of "oh, he's a business customer" then repeats my correct name and address... I don't exactly get this, as the phone number was the same, why would that have changed things if I was a residential customer? I'm handed back to the guy and I say, "bottom line... do I have a visit set up?" He says, "Yes, but it's today not Tuesday, the earlier person set you up with an appointment for another address. Our Tech is busy now but you're next up on the queue." He advised me to wait.

By then it's 4:50 and I'm figuring maybe the tech will swing by in the next half hour. I wait 'til 5:45 and call back to the repair department and get the same guy. At that point he's apologetic and says he doesn't know for sure if the guy's still working, but that since we've got "call before arrival" on the ticket he should call me and let me know if he's coming or not... most likely, the dispatch has shut down for the day and there's no way to reach the tech. So I figure I'm hanging out for a while yet....

6:40pm and no sign of the tech, so I call. I get a woman I haven't spoke with before and give her my number and I'm checking to see if the tech is coming... Her answer was a gem... "You'll have to call Wanna Dive and ask them if you want this settled"... "I'm Wanna Dive. I've been waiting since 8 am this morning for the tech." She says "he was there and you told him you didn't have any phone problems at 6:35" --- that was just 8 minutes ago. At that point I'm telling her he obviously went to the wrong place, she says no way, then I ask her if she has my contact number, she gives me my contact number and I ask if the tech was under instructions to call that number, she says he was and I tell her that's the number I'm calling from and he never called. She finally believed me after we verified the address and my address matches the one on the order and I told her I've called 3 times this afternoon and she verified it.

At any rate, no phone 'til at least next Tuesday. Supposedly they're guaranteeing me it'll be a morning visit... I'm not totally counting on it at this point.

So here's yet another frogfish I've not posted before. It's a big one for the amount of yellow it still has.... roughly the size of a junior football. Back earlier this decade I went a few years without seeing a frogfish. Now we find them with pretty good frequency... Yahoo!!!



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lots of fun scuba diving in Kona Hawaii.....

Here's a goby I've been wanting to get a good picture of for a long time, this one's about as close as I've managed to get, I may have another more head-on pic I've got to photoshop that may come out OK. I'm thinking this is a Twospot Sandgoby (Coryphopterus duospilus). The picture really doesn't do them justice, in real life they're.... invisible.... well, almost. They've got see through bodies. You can see all their internal structure and their body meat is literally clear.

We've been diving pretty much every day since my little 4 day break early in the month. Tomorrow I'm not on the boat though, Bob and Cathy will lead the charter... gotta sit in my office and wait for the phone guy to come and get me service.... I ordered phone service a while back and the office is loaded with phone jacks as it used to have a multi-desk travel agency in it, but none of them work. I'm to expect the technician some time between 8 am and 5 pm... I can't help but think of the Seinfeld episode with Kramer and the cable guy....

We've been all over the area lately. We've got some regulars who've been diving with me since the early days of my boat operation and I'm trying to show them some dive sites they haven't done over the years at least some of the time. We dove Casa Caves yesterday. It's been a while since I dove that... I like it for it's hard coral reef - many of our dive sites are topography or critter oriented, this one's just a good 'ol fashioned excellent example of pristine Hawaiian hard coral reef. I took the photo of the goby above in a small sand patch there. The dive site also has a nice cave feature. I was hoping for a shark but none were sleeping in it at the time.

The water's been super flat since it settled down from the swells we had last week. Very Nice!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dwarf Moray Eel....

Here's a little Dwarf Moray Eel (Gymnothorax melatremus) I spotted today peering out of a crack at Turtle Pinnacle on our second dive of the day. Turtle Pinnacle has become a bit less reliable as a turtle cleaning station as of late, but it's still a very good dive. We had a pretty big swell today and the viz was down for the second dive, but we were still able to find several eels, a divided flatworm, a rather uncooperative octopus that took off right after being spotted, a Flame angel, Great Barracuda and a school of Opelu, several pipefish and other critters. We had dolphins swim past us underwater briefly as we were going to our safety stop. Bob was Captain during that dive and said they'd been around our bubbles a few times during the dive....

... and that wasn't the good dive... the first dive was at a different spot where they (Bob and the gang) came up talking about seeing Tinker's butterflys, Flame angels, a Reticulated butterfly, a male Psychedilic wrasse with his harem of females, a manta or two (2 separate sightings, not sure if it was the same one) and a bunch of other goodies.

We've had signifcant north, south and west swells that have made things quite sloppy the last couple days, but it's settling down. Looking at it appears as if it's getting nothing but better throughout the week. Lots of diving ahead for us the next 10 days or so, I'm looking forward to better conditions.



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

4 days off... longest stretch since spring... got busy working on the office....

Empty shop in early September from Steve on Vimeo.

Here's a quick video of where it's standing now. I've got to put the "back room" together and clean up the closets and get them shelved, and it'll be set to go.

Diving's been real good the last little while, at least up through Sunday. I've got at least a 10 day stretch of charters coming up again starting Friday.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another day... another frogfish....

Here's a shot of the same frogfish from the other day that I took this morning. Today it was gorgeous in Kona... bright and sunny, no clouds over the ocean and few on the mountains. We had some customers on board today that were great on air... 84 minutes the first dive and 72 on the second. They'll be on the next several days, it'll be curious to see if their bottom time improves even more. We had a ripping current on our first dive, so we turned it into a one way dive and I followed their bubbles to pick them up down the coastline so they didn't have to battle the current the whole dive... those dives are always fun as you can cover quite a bit of ground and see some spots we generally don't see when we're moored the whole dive.

Current water temperatures are still a quite comfortable 80-ish. This is a great time to be diving in Kona.

I'm making slow but steady progress on the office between charters. Been busy varnishing bamboo sheeting the last couple days among other things. It's coming together.

Just thought I'd make a quick post.