January 7, 2015
Sometimes it’s to your advantage for people to think you’re crazy - Thelonius Monk
Actually, I don’t think we are crazy, but I do think a change in wetsuits is necessary. We’ve had ours for over 10 years now (the 7 mils, that is), and Wayne had to repair a split in the crotch of his last March after our prior Aggressor trip. I can tell that he is getting colder and colder as the days go forward and the number of dives tick upwards. We had a serious discussion about new wetsuits this morning at breakfast (a breakfast sandwich on a croissant, and hash browns), and I set forward ordering our new wetsuits. We will be leaving the old 7 mils here when we get off the ship; hopefully there will be a use for them.
After a morning dive at Manuka, we were going to head north again today. We swam back to the bicolor anthias and garden eels, setting up a final photo opportunity. Wayne was not comfortable with navigating to the site, so I was in charge. No worries, we got there without a problem, and Wayne got to see the anthias. We also saw 3 great pacific barracuda, lizard fish and eels galore, and explored a part of the bay we hadn't seen yet. There we found a nice window pair in the walls, great for a photo opportunity. Alas, we never found the dragon eel.
The next dive was at Oz. It has this name thanks to its “yellow brick road.” Oz is a lava ridge wall from shore to 20 feet, with sand patches and reef giving way to a ridge that extends straight out off shore 200 feet. The top of the wall starts at 40 feet, sloping to 80, and it is covered with yellow lobe coral. There is a lot of finger coral. Ten years ago I would never have floated gracefully above it, I would hover terrified. It’s amazing that diving is a sport that definitely shows improvement thanks to repeition. We didn’t find the elusive frogfish here, but a lot of cornet fish.
Lunch was absolutely delightful, assorted pizzas, Caesar salad, pasta with creamy pesto sauce, and sausage and peppers. And Wayne was very happy with his broccoli cheddar souop and leftover chocolate nutella pie. We were forced into a short food coma following the repast.
Our third dive was at Au Au Crater. We searched for and found the bandit angelfish (too deep to photograph) and the tinker's butterflyfish. I went to take a photo of the tinker, but my battery had died! I spent several minutes signalling Wayne about the tinker, but he was entranced by a wire coral goby. Finally, I got his attentinon, and Wayne took the shots. We returned to the boat at 45 minutes, as the tear in Wayne’s wetsuit was worsening, making him very cold much faster than usual. I am glad we ordered new wetsuits this morning.
Dive four was Robb’s Reef. No camera for me, as my backup battery was dead too. I wound up fully charging both over the next several hours. It was a nice dive. We saw Heller's barracuda, a gold ring surgeonfish with a chunk missing from his head, and lots of long nose butterflyfish dark form everywhere! I did sort of feel naked without my camera, it’s like an extension of my being. Oh well, teaches me, doesn’t it?
Supper was another grand affair - today was a Hawaiian theme! We started with a Hawaiian greens salad, and then the main course came out. We had rice, kalua pulled pork, purple sweet potatoes, and luau leaf. That’s probably the only cooked green that I will eat voluntarily. Too bad there was no poi, I’m pretty sure Wayne missed his poi. Dessert was something that I might consider sacreligious - a bacon brownie fudge sundae. That is not something that I would normally consider eating, but it was tasty! Even Wayne wolfed his down. I think we set records on these live aboards regarding Wayne’s consumption of sweets. Who’da thunk it?
During our night dive at Robb’s Reef, my spidey senses were active! No camera again, but I was ok about it. We saw a slipper lobster, pair of decoy scorpionfish, a parrotfish sleeping in its sack, a Henshaw’s snake eel (my find!), and, the pièce de resistance, a baby manta that followed us back to the boat and did loops underneath for hours. Lovely end to the day.