In September, we made a return trip to Maui. We dove off Lanai for three days with Capt. Steve Juarez at Dive Maui Hawaiian Rafting Adventures. This is our second trip with Steve, and we continued to have a great time – the boat and crew were fantastic. When you’re on a boat for >30′ you can’t discount a stable and fast boat, and their custom dive boat was much appreciated.
Hawaii isn’t lush with tropical fish, but Lanai offers very interesting topography.
Steve finds octopus on many of the dives.
For my tropical trips, I’ve been using the UTD Z Sidemount system. With the QC6 quickdisconnect, it’s easy to get in and out of the water. In the water, sidemount really shines.
On Tuesday we meet up with Tim from Hawaiian Paddle Sports at DT Fleming Beach, north of Lahaina in Maui.Â After introductions, Tim instructs us on the basics of outrigger canoeing in Maui – from holding the paddle, to positioning the body to maximize the stroke, to paddling commands in Hawaiian.
Underway, we paddle to Honolua Bay.Â Tim guides the canoe so we hug the shoreline, protecting us from the wind.Â Â As we make our way, Tim discusses the flora and fauna of Maui, pointing out the seaweed that turtles eat that make their fat green as well as indigenous blue coral beneath us.
At Honolua Bay, Elissa notes some odd splashing across the bay, and Tim quickly spies a pod of spinner dolphins.Â The canoe double times as we dash forward, only to catch the dolphins depart.Â While it’s disappointing not to be able to swim with the dolphins, if we had arrived a few minutes later we wouldn’t have seen them at all.Â And even if we were in the water, it’s a strong possibility that we would have missed them.Â The odd splashing was a free diver trying to descend.Â When we approach, the free diver remarks at the large number of turtles in the water.Â Even though he was probably 20 feet away from the pod of dolphins, he had missed them.Â Most likely they swam behind his back.
After taking a leisurely tour of the bay, Tim anchors the canoe over sand near the northern wall of the bay.Â Before letting us in the water, Tim reviews key landmarks and discusses marine animal interaction (don’t touch) and their consequences.
Immediately after splashing, we’re greeted with turtles and numerous fish.Â Elissa and I meander along the reefs edge and after a few minutes we’re joined by Tim.Â He helpfully points out fish by name, and leads us to a turtle cleaning station.
At the reefs edge, in 60′ of water, I see a dark shadow gliding.Â I flutter kick in high gear and dive down to see a large manta ray.Â Fortunately, and remarkably, the manta turns around and heads back towards us.Â We instantly give chase, diving down to get a better look.Â At 60’+, he’s outside my freediving range, but within Tim’s reach.
The picture below is me (camera) at 50′, and Tim and the Manta at least 20′ below me.
And as if the manta turning around back towards us wasn’t enough, he turns again and swims to 30′ to the turtle cleaning station.Â At this point, we have a manta in the shallows with 7 turtles around us.
I freedive like a scuba diver… hmmm….
After a good number of dives, we swim towards the boat and Tim takes a picture of Elissa and I near a turtle sunbathing.
Back on the canoe, Tim takes us out of the bay and we point towards DT Fleming.Â The wind at our back helps with the paddle back, but good piloting is still required for us to not overshoot our target.Â Tim is enthusiastic about outrigger canoe and Hawaiian culture, giving us a much appreciated history lesson of the islands as we head back.
January 22, 2011 – It’s always great to be invited for a milestone dive, and 100 is the first big one for all scuba divers. Traditionally, you’re supposed to dive naked. But I really think that’s a warm water tradition. In Monterey, there’s nothing like marking your 100th dive in low viz (5′), surgy conditions, and rough shore entry.
December 18, 2010 – Cynthia, Ben, Brian, and I meet up at Breakwater (San Carlos Beach) for a Grand Tour scooter run. While we had hoped for stellar winter conditions, we got the standard 10′ – 15′ viz. We were blessed with a few sea lions at Metridium Fields though. Usually they don’t hang around this long, but could be curious teenagers.
On a sunny Sunday morning, Kevin, Ted, and I gathered at Pt. Lobos to wrap up Kevin’s Hole in the Wall mapping project. Having worked through logistics with other dive teams on Friday and Saturday, we were batting clean-up – literally. We had a few stations to map, but we also had to pull all the survey lines at Lobos.
Kevin stressed that we shouldn’t be goal oriented, but we couldn’t help ourselves. In the 90 minute dive, we completed the survey and successfully retrieved all survey equipment.
I finally took a day off on Friday and was able to dive off of Phil’s rib.
On the way down, Kevin and I chatted about possible sites. But once we drove past Monastery, we knew that possibilities would abound. Calm flat seas meant that we had a high likelihood of rounding the point and diving further south.
At Pt. Lobos, Kevin and Phil discussed sites. Before long, we’re pushing off and heading towards E2.
At least once a year, our friends from SoCal drive up and spend a weekend diving at Pt. Lobos. Not only are they are a great group to dive with, they usually bring fantastic weather. The swell model and top side conditions did not look promising, but once we got below 30′, Pt. Lobos opened up.
As the result, we had two unexpectedly beautiful days. Fun diving with our friends!