Wake up time this morning was as advertised - crew downstairs in full by 6 am. Our chef was up at 5:30, getting hot beverages and a continental breakfast ready.
We were welcomed on in style last night, unpacking our dive gear and hanging it over our seat for the week (Wayne and I got new 5 mils for the trip), setting up the BCDs and regulators, and familiarizing ourselves with the stations.
Then it was in to eat dinner (a boneless pork chop with teriyaki reduction gravy, rice, spinach - didn’t eat that mom - a salad, and more), and to meet our crew. While they have global experience, they are all from the mainland, and transplanted to our location.
My biggest concern on this trip is the fact that the ship’s nitrox membrane system is down, and will not be fixed until Tuesday evening. That is 15 dives on air. We are going to have to be very conservative in order to finish all our dives.
The daily pattern is going to be wake up, breakfast, dive, snack, dive, lunch, nap, dive, snack, dive, dinner, dive. I can live with that program. It will be a very physical week for us here on the boat.
Sleep was good, even though the boat was riding five foot swells. While breakfasting, we were moving south to our checkout dive location - a new dive site called Meadows. We descended amongst the throng.
Great fish life on the first Meadows dive - lots of eels, and tons of yellow tang. I’m so very happy to see them resurging. Looks like the work of keeping a ban on collectors is doing some good.
The second dive at Meadows started off well, we took off ahead of everyone else doing the reverse pattern of their dive. But then an o ring blew in my low pressure inflator hose, so we surfaced, and swam 1/2 hour back to the boat. Luckily, the crew was able to retrieve the miserably broken o ring from its difficult location, and replace it for me. Yay!
After dive two, we moved south and anchored out at Lion’s Den. Wayne and I had done this dive back in 2006 - and there was a dearth of the aforementioned lionfish. Not the bad lionfish, endemic Hawaiian lionfish. We did see one on this dive, along with 3 leaf scorpionfish, a devil scorpionfish, a baby viper moray, a yellomargin moray and other great life. All while listening to whale song! Woo hoo! And when we got up, we were treated to a visit from the singing humpback.
Our fourth dive site was thwarted by fishermen and their lines, so we went to Robb’s Reef for dives four and five. On our fourth dive, my computer was starting to be irritated with my extended depth and bottom time, so we played it safe and averaged about 25 feet. We did see a longnose butterfly fish in dark form, 3 blue trevallys and even more yellow tang.
Dinner was spectacular again - a Hawaiian farmed Chilean fish with clams in a butter and chive reduction. Starter was green papaya salad. Magnificent.
Even better at night was Robb’s Reef. We saw ghost shrimp, a conger eel, what looked to be a variant of the dendrodoris negris, and many decoy scorpionfish. Update: The nudi is a speckled platydoris! Color me happy and put me to bed. I feel so much better than when I arrived here two nights ago. Thank heavens for the ocean. Tonight I go to bed a happy woman.
Good night, planet! And thank you to our dive guides James, Matt, Mindy, and Karl for a wonderful day. And to chef for wonderful meals today.