Back to the Red Hill area today

Normal wake up time this morning - 5:30 am.  Coffee was already percolated, and Wayne set up the hot water.  We came out and I transferred dive data off of his Oceanic to my computer so that I could keep my log up to date.  I hit 985 today!

Our first two dives were at Ampitheater.  We went north on our first dive, entering a lava tunnel.  The sunlight through the holes made lovely patterns of light in the tunnel.  We were greeted and followed by a porcupine pufferfish through the tunnel.  It was lovely.  We had a lot of surge, though, so it was a bit challenging.  Plus, I had switched over to a steel tank, and was still a little over weighted with six pounds.  

Our second dive at Ampitheater, we went south.  We went to the arch, where we saw a pair of rockmover wrasse moving together tossing rocks to find their lunch.  Then we went through the other tunnel and made it to the other side.  We were then followed by a motor boat that stopped and started and remained in sight.  Annoying.  As we headed back towards the Aggressor, the boat pulled away.  We got to see four blue trevally, another porcupine pufferfish as well.  Nice dive, even with the surge, the tunnel was manageable.

Lunch was awesome - tri-tip Philly Cheesesteaks.  Our chef continues to outdo himself with his recipes.  We had a portobello soup to start with.  The beef was rare, and there were some snacks from between dives one and two left - crab dip, different cheeses, and coconut macaroons.  Would you believe that Wayne at two of those today??

I feel bad - as good as the food has been, I have been wolfing it down and not taking pictures of it.  Or of the napkin folding done by the dive crew.  You have to see the whole thing to really get an appreciation!

Our third dive was at The Dome.  It is down Red Hill way as well.  There was huge surge and current - the target is to get into a domed area near the back of the site, but the surge really pushed us out.  It was ok, though, there was only a blue dragon nudibranch, of which we have plenty on Oahu.  We did see a very small Comerson’s frog fish, juvenile and transitional rock mover wrasses, and a horned helmet eating a collector urchin.  We thought he should be put over a crown of thorns, but I’m not sure that they eat those.  I was still at six pounds, so overweighted.

Because of the surge, we changed the location of the fourth dive to Ridges, a bit away.  There was still current and surge, even if not as strong.  I was actually a bit distracted on this dive, which was filled with lovely bommies and tiny critters.  My SS1 was malfunctioning, filling the bladder of my BC with nitrox (oh, my precious nitrox, so good to have you back at the start of the day).  I disconnected the hose, and then proceeded with the very cold dive.  We saw a devil scorpionfish, what I assumed to be the spawning of collector urchins, and several eels, two of them swimming freely.

Dinner was spectacular again.  We started with a mixed green/spinach salad with orange slices and macadamia nuts.  Wonderful.  The main course was rack of lamb in a Fijian (I think, I could be wrong) curry, slightly sweeter than Indian curry.  And rice pilaf and asparagus.  Once again, I neglected to take a photo, but I would have felt bad publishing it, because I gave Wayne my asparagus.  Dinner was a triple threat chocolate treat (Wayne has been eating dessert on this trip, btw, particularly enjoying a coffee cheesecake) - chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate ice cream.  Decadence, but we have been burning off the calories here.  I soaked my SS1 in a vinegar/water combination during dinner in the hopes that the leak into the BC bladder would stop.

Our last dive was one we have done four times previously, three in Kona with Matthew D’Avella, and once on Oahu with Steve Vincenti of Dive Air.  Pelagic Magic.  Essentially, you wind up 3 miles off the coast, with 3000 feet of ocean below you, and you descend to between 20-40 feet in the pitch black of night.  There is a mass migration of plankton, and other little organisms that come up to the surface to mate, to eat, or just to visit the tourists.  There are also squid and other fish that come closely as well.  We had been tethered the four times previously, this time we were holding on to a line and shining our lights.  My left arm got decidedly sore as we held on and the boat moved quickly.  We did see squid, a lot of small organisms, a squid attacking and eating something, and what looked like rainbow runners (I know Matthew, too far off shore to be rainbow runners, but they still had the same body shape).  We were going really quickly, and didn’t get to see much, and didn’t get to photograph anything.  Ah well, we only stayed down for 30 minutes, so not too much of a loss.  And, on the positive side, no leak into the BC.  Time to service when we get home.

We’re on our way to classification as “Iron Divers,” as we will like have done all 27 dives at the end of the trip.  I have to say that I have needed the ocean and the good food this spring break.  I know I should be studying, but mental health days are important!

Sweet dreams, everyone!