Tuesday, December 15, 2009
So it's December... a big northwest swell comes in... and the water temperature in Kona goes up 4 degrees???!!!
Last night I led the Kona manta ray night dive and I was toasty warm. Weird. A couple of weeks back the water temp took a tumble and I figured it was time to start thinking about getting into a 7 mil wetsuit for the first time since moving to Hawaii... then we had biggish surf for a week and I expected it to be cooler, but it's now sitting at 79 on a computer that maxed out at 80 degrees this summer. Very comfortable scuba diving right now.
Last night we did the manta dive. We pulled up to the dive site at Garden Eel Cove and could immediately could tell the viz was fabulous. Despite the late afternoon sunlight you could easily see everything on the reef from topside. My guess without being in the water for the first dive was that it had to be in the 200 foot or higher range. Even the customers, who had been on a dive a couple days back with about 200 foot of viz, commented on how clear it was and that they'd never dove in anything this clear in their diving the Caribbean. I went down for the night dive while Captain Cathy watched the boat for the night dive. There was virtually no plankton at the site. Two manta rays showed up and cruised the divers for a few minutes then took off... they know when the food's not to be found. At that point we turned it into a very nice night dive.
Slipper lobsters, Bulls-eye lobster, cusk eel, several moray eels and LOTS shrimp and other critters were seen on the night dive.
We do the night dive again on Wednesday (tomorrow) and Friday, and I'm hoping there's more plankton so the mantas stick around, but the night dive itself can be fabulous out off the Kona airport site. Later it was reported that there were no mantas present at the Sheraton site last night. We typically go to the airport site, which usually has larger numbers of mantas than the other site, unless it's just not happening there. We'll probably stick there for now since nothing's been seen down south lately... it's a much nicer night dive up at the airport site if the mantas don't show.
Here's a male Marbled Shrimp (Saron marmoratus), one of the shrimp we commonly see on the night dive when we're doing our cruise around on the way back to the boat.