Saturday, January 21, 2012
I was cruising the web and ran across this page I've linked before on NOAA's study of Hawaiian coral reefs. It reminded me of a story from this last fall.
We went to DEMA, the big dive industry show, in Orlando in November and my wife and I went to Miller's Alehouse, a bar/restaurant near where we were staying that impressed us favorably. While sitting at the counter waiting on food, Pat noticed a couple across the way and said "they're divers". I'm wondering how she figured that and she mentioned she could see the necklace the gal was wearing was one we sell out of the office, and the guy had a dive computer on his wrist... maybe Pat should be a cop, I apparently don't notice these things. We started up a conversation with them and by and by Pat says to the guy that he's familiar, we must have met before. I'm doubting it because they're from the east coast, then suddenly she says she thinks we talked to him on the monorail in Vegas on the way back from DEMA the year before. He said "that's quite possible".
Towards the end of the meal he mentioned he had 30 some odd dives in Hawaii, then said too bad Hawaii doesn't have any coral. Well, that's a hot button topic with me because it's simply not true. We've got no soft corals or sponges, but we've got loads of hard corals in Kona. He didn't believe me, but he'd never been to Kona yet, his diving was mostly Maui and some Oahu. Now I've been to both, and Maui has some decent corals in spots, but not like in Kona from my experience as well. Anyway, I disagreed with him and later realized he was definitely the guy from the monorail the year earlier because the exact same topic came up. I've now had two big Vegas monorail coincidences over the years (first one was spoken of on one of my very first posts in this blog, check the history if you're into a lot of reading) and I find it amazing that it can be such a small world at times.
So... if you think Hawaii doesn't have coral, or you think you've seen it all on trips to the other islands, you might want to come to Kona for a visit and check out what healthy Hawaiian hard coral reefs can look like. We've got several types of dive sites here, and most of the dive operators try to vary the dives, so over the course of a couple of days you should run across some of our nicer spots for coral structure. Hurricane Iniki did pull a number on much of the coastline a couple decades back, but there's still plenty of old growth coral to be had. Reef areas that were really trashed from the hurricane nearly 20 years back are starting to come back quite nicely - I wish I'd taken photos of the north side of Honaunau bay when I moved here, it looked like a boulder avalanche, now it's tough to see the boulders and there's an 8-10 inch coating of finger corals over the whole thing, and plate corals are starting to take up residence on that side of the bay as well... that was the one weak part of that bay as a dive spot, now everything's pretty much a tremendous dive.