Never say good bye because saying good bye means going away, and going away means forgetting. — Peter Pan
Matthew made a great morning breakfast for us, served with the usual panache. We had toad i a hole, bacon, has browns, and eggs to order. He made my toad in a hole scrambled for me! Customer service at its finest. A lot of operations could learn a thing or two from our Aggressor staff.
Our first dive of the day was at Paradise Pinnacle. I didn't remember this dive from Jack's Diving Locker in 2006, and I still don't! Despite the dive log entry. At least that log mirrored what we expected to see down here today. We went down to the larger pinnacle, immediately past it and mini-me to another pinnacle, where we saw another Tinker's and I saw the long nose hawkish in the black coral. I seriously think I narced down there, I lost sight of Wayne, and completely spazzed out. I don’t enjoy an unhappy narc, let me tell you. We also saw several eels and the carapace of a sponge crab. There was a little hammerhead shark on the surface that some of the boys chased, but never caught. Good for the hammerhead!
We stayed at the Pinnacle for our second dive. We went back to the black coral, and I used my flashlight to light up the long nose hawkfish - twice. He lost it both times as it chose to flit away as he was focusing. I hope my pictures come out. Then we went into the canyon areas, saw a honu. The surge was pretty powerful. We ran into Karl and the divers. Karl asked if we had seen the anthias. Wayne said yes, I said no. Karl brought us to a conger eel (I thought it was dead, but apparently it had been interacting with Karl and the other divers just a short time before), a Hawaiian lion fish, and then to the anthias. Beautiful. Also present was a juvenile rockmover wrasse.
Nice dive. Really nice dive.
We enjoyed a hearty lunch en route to our third dive site. We started with New England clam chowder, which was very warm and flavorful. We did do a little bit of a hot sauce treatment, but only to add a little more spice rather than flavor. Matthew also prepared a cobb salad, corned beef and cabbage, a roast vegetable wrap, and a cous cous salad. Wayne was in veggie wrap heaven, and I snuck some more clam chowder.
Dive three was at the Dome, the site where we found the itty bitty frogfish last summer. Descended several minutes behind all others and then totally proceeded to ignore the Dome. Found a very large yellow margin. Wayne took us into a cave, did a sharp u-turn into me and I hit the ceiling. Give the man a turn signal. Headed back near the boat with Wayne combing the sand. I went to the adjacent rubble patch and found the peacock razor fish. I signaled Wayne I wanted to go look for the frogfish, he signaled ok. I took off, headed for the same coral head where we found one last year. Lo and behold, there was a HUGE frogfish. I got James' attention and directed him. Most divers followed. Found two stragglers and pointed them in the same direction. Then we circled, did our safety stop and exited.
We were initially excited about the fourth dive at the former Sheraton Keauhou, as there were mantas swimming on the surface. I spent the entire dive waiting to see mantas that never arrived. Wayne had a good time taking face pictures of collector urchins. He has quite the collection of faces going - I can see Grover in them. For me, this dive was meh. I was hoping that we would not be doing a manta dive again tonight, as the surge was still unpleasant, and the number of spiny urchins at this dive site is more than moderately intimidating.
Tonight was a seafood dinner night, and quite delicious. We started with a warm spinach salad with mushrooms, onions and balsamic glaze. That was followed by thin spaghetti with a garlic white wine cream sauce infused with saffron (are you drooling yet?), and garlic and pepper seasoned jumbo shrimp. Four thumbs up! Wayne benefitted with extra broccoli on his plate. :) And dessert was fried ice cream with corn flakes and coconut, hot fudge and caramel. Thank goodness we are doing five dives a day in very cold water. Otherwise, my waistline would be expanding exponentially.
For the final dive there was the option of a manta dive, a reef dive, or the pelagic magic dive. We had absolutely perfect condtions for the pelagic magic dive, so I’m glad it was decided thusly. A pod of dolphins came through early on, pretty magical. It is the only reason that I regretted leaving my camera on board. Hopefully James got them on video, but we shall see. I didn't see a lot of the longer critters, but seeing the dolphins made it enough. Wayne saw a lot of the small stuff and the long critters, guess I needed to be lower. We broke free at 30 minutes to go back on board. Yay hot chocolate!