Monday, February 06, 2017


Aloha everyone,

  Well, it's been four years now since I moved away from Kona, thought I'd check in. This is probably a dead blog by now, if there are any past readers seeing this post... HELLO again.

  The obvious first question those who know me from before is "have you been diving?"  Sadly no.  I thought about it early on but was frankly afraid to do cold water.  When I moved to Kona it was January and the water temp was 73 degrees,  I didn't even need a wetsuit in those days.  Once you start diving more often you start getting acclimated, and by the time I moved on I was getting cold on the second dive in 80 degree water wearing a 5 mil suit. The last couple night dives I did I was wearing the 5 mil suit with a 3 mil shorty over the top and the water was still in the high 70s.  I had become a warm water weenie and was kind of chicken. The thought of 45-53 degree water has been enough to keep me saying "maybe next year" for the first couple of years.  Since then, life has kinda got in the way.  I need to change that.

  I do miss the diving, and I miss the ability to head out and be snorkeling or swimming at the Place of Refuge in a few minute's time from where I used to live. The first couple of winters here in Oregon were tough... when we got here it was 20 degrees and didn't get over 32 or so for a week and a half, kinda rare in Corvallis to have that long of a cold stretch.  I've gradually acclimated though.

  So I did manage to bring back something with me from Hawaii that I wish I had not... skin cancer.  When we lived there I had a spot on my chest that I had the doctor remove, he said it was probably nothing but if it grew back get on it right away and have it biopsied.  A couple years after we got back I was looking for the spot and couldn't even barely make out the scar, then a couple months later it reappeared and grew fast.  Went to the doctor and they thought it likely nothing but sent me to a dermatologist. She looked at it and said it looked to be a basal cell carcinoma, nothing to really worry about in the long run but that I'd want to get rid of it before it got big and ugly and weepy, so she sliced if off and sent it off for biopsy.  The call a week later was one of those "Mr. Frisbie, I wish I had good news for you but I don't" calls. Turned out it was melanoma, which is pretty likely fatal if you don't get at it on time.  So, it was off to surgery and they removed about a 5 inch by .75 inch puck of meat off my chest and pulled the skin back over.  It left me with a nifty question mark shaped scar, I should probably get a tattoo of a sheepherder holding it (shaped like a cane as well).  They got everything and and pulled the sentinel lymph node and it was clean, so I am hopefully essentially cured thank goodness.  I do get to get really familiar with a dermatologist for the rest of my life.  I'll be going in every 6 months for a few years then annually after 5 of being clear.  I did also come up with some spots of the basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas as well, a little minor "surgery" and some freezing has done a good job of taking care of that.
I expect the melanoma was a result of repeated exposure to sun and sun burns growing up.  They say 4-5 sunburns can double your likelihood of coming down with it later in life, I've had dozens of sunburns over the years, well before moving to the tropics.  It wouldn't surprise me if the other two types of cancer were at least influenced by all the sun I got on the boat and my penchant for ignoring sun protection.  Nowadays I'm doing the sun block and sun clothes any time I'm out in the sun. Here's a shot of me in full sun gear on a recent day of hiking.. whenever I look at that hat all I can think of is the van in "Dumb and Dumber".  I didn't care for them before, but I now am a firm believer in wearing rash guards if I think about swimming.  I feel I should mention this because skin cancer is pretty easy to think "it won't happen to me" and a worry for a lot of my friends, both here and in Hawaii, who catch a lot of sun. For those of you with kids, you might want to be proactive about having them wear sun protection as they grow up. If you have a mole that grows, or long term scaly spots on your face or lips you might want to have it looked at, and biopsied if there is ANY question at all about what it is. My melanoma was not anything like the textbook pictures you see, black and highly irregular and such, just a fast growing mole.

Well, that's it for now.  I finally figured out how to get at this thing, had to remember some old passwords and such and get things changed a bit. I do plan to start diving again... maybe this year... ha, ha... Pat and I really want to do a dive trip before we completely forget how.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 Lucky day? Well, we did see a neat lizzard.

Pat and I were busy packing up our house and one of our old friends dropped by, old friend being a person who stayed in our downstairs vacation rental 13 years ago and has since become a friend we look forward to seeing every few years when he visits Kona.  While we were shooting the breeze out on the rock wall in the front yard he looked up and said "what's that crawling on the power line?"  Pat and I looked up and saw that it was a Jackson's Chameleon.  Cool!  I've seen them crossing Napo'opo'o road about a hundred foot higher in elevation than our place, and know they're all over further up the mountain, but haven't actually seen them at our property (not that we're looking) before.

Perhaps I should say NOT so cool, they are an invasive species.  Jackson's Chameleons are native to East Africa.  The story goes is that someone over on Oahu down around Kailua/Kaneohe had a bunch of them breeding in outdoor netted enclosures and a storm came through and they escaped.  From there they went uphill to the popular pali park hiking areas and eventually were spread all over the islands by people who thought they were cool.  Invasive species are a real problem here in Hawaii, but it does make things interesting.... we've had a wild boar problem this week, tearing up the yard, digging up plants and such, first time in years but it does happen.

Back to the lizzard... I broke out my camera and managed to get a couple of shots, kinda tough but I had picked up a zoom lens for my Pen e-pl1 a little while back.  Here's a couple of shots, one from the front yard, and one from underneath on the neighborhood road. This one is a male, you can tell because it has the 3 horns all males have.  It was staring at a spider web with a couple bugs in it.  These guys are neat in that they have a super long tongue... roughly triple the length of their body or so, and they'll nab a target a significant distance away.  They're about a 7-8 inch long lizzard, but with the horns you'll find them magnified to gigantic proportions for monster/dinosaur movies on occasion.

I did talk to someone years ago who said he used to collect them about 500' higher up our mountain than our elevation.  Apparently you can go out in the coffee and use a flashlight at night, and their eyes (independendantly articulating, they can look multiple directions at once) apparently reflect light very well.  I might have to walk out with a flashlight and look at the bushes to see if I can find any before I go - I just hope the eyes looking at me aren't those of a 200 lb tusked wild boar...



Big news for Wanna Dive...

Well, I've got a big announcement to make.  I'm shutting down Wanna Dive.

It's been a fun decade of diving, meeting people, diving, and meeting people.  You couldn't ask for a more interesting career.

This last spring we put our house up for sale, with the idea of downsizing, moving closer to work, and possibly picking up a small place back in Oregon so we could have a home base over there to visit family and friends from and have a place to retire to.

This fall we went back for a 3-4 week trip for house/condo hunting.  While we were there we got to thinking about what we wanted for our futures, the expense of trying to manage two households, where the business was going, our friends and family, etc, and made the decision that it makes sense to make a permanent return to the mainland.  In November we received a serious offer on our house, and it should put us in a postion to make the move, get a nice place, and lower our living expenses all at the same time.

....So.... I'm not sure that scuba could support us where we're headed, and there's not a lot of call for boat Captains in Corvallis, Oregon as far as I know...  Looks as though I'm looking for a new career. How exciting!

We're in the process of packing up the house and parting out the business... BIG garage sale at our place this weekend by the way.... now that the house is officially in the final stages of closing - the papers are supposed to be ready on the last day of the world (December 21st for those who haven't been paying attention to the Mayan calendar), and then we're out shortly afterwards.  We'll probably be hanging around Kona for a short while afterwards, I hope to be getting in some fun dives over the holidays.

The blog will continue, heck, I may be posting more frequently now that the business won't be taking up so much of my time and energy.

Aloha for now.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Back from my attempt to get to the boat harbor....

Well traffic leaving town was crazy nuts, going into town not so bad until I got about h half mile south of the King Kam3 highway, there to Lako was near a dead stop.   It took ages to get past Lako and by then I was well past the time that they'd shut off all coastal bound traffic, so little to do but head uphill and head home..  Keeping my fingers crossed that the tsunami is less, or at least little more than expected.  Supposedly the first surge should be hitting the NE shores of Maui and the Big Island about now.  Sirens are going off frequently.  Gas stations were full on the way into town, lots of police activity on the ocean side of the highway directing traffic, lots of cars parked alongside the uppper highway after I'd turned it around.

So the tsunami sirens started about 5 minutes ago.... surprisingly the neighborhood dogs are silent..

What gives? The state of Hawaii sets off the sirens at 11:45 am on the first weekday of the month every month, and the dogs howl and bay.  It's kind of fun.  Tonight, it's surprisingly quiet.  I'm debating on whether or not I'm heading down to the harbor to move the boat.  It's a 30 minute trip and the reality is the boat park is quite a ways above the water, but when things are coming our direction we usually move the boats.  This one's tough because it's coming from the northeast.  Better safe than sorry, I'm likely to head that way in the next few minutes.



More tsunami news....

OK, more like stories.  I've been watching a rather dissappointing Oregon State versus University of Washington game (Beavs lost) and after the game ended a friend called and said to turn on the news.  I did, it is news here.  They're not expecting much, maybe 3-6 feet on sides of the island facing Canada, however it's really hard to tell what will happen.

Tsunami time in Hawaii again. Hilo has just been recommended to evacuate...

Not expecting much here, but you never know.  Looks like I get to drive down to the harbor to move my boat again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins in Kona...

Howdy.  Just got back from vacation (Oregon, first time I've been back for more than a few days since I moved here in '99) and I'm back to diving. 

Haven't posted in ages... I had a minor camera flood last year and set the camera aside (it's OK), didn't want to deal with camera issues with customers in the water, and have been busy with dive charters for most of the year.  Now that we're in the slower season I need to get back to taking photos.

On to dolphins....

Our commonly seen dolphin species here is the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin.  They're a smallish dolphin, maybe in the 5 foot range, and hang out in large groups to rest in the bays during the day.  We see these quite often on charters, and with some frequency underwater as well.  It's always neat to see them on the way to a dive site or underwater.

There are numerous other dolphin and whale species that we can see from time to time.  On occasion we see Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins in the wild.  These guys are a larger heavier dolphin.  We usually see these in twosies or threesies, smaller groups anyways.  We don't see them frequently underwater, but I've seen them a few times underwater over the years.  There have been 2 or 3 coming into the night dive the last half a year or so, it's been a thrill for everyone that sees them.  Earlier this spring I did a whale watch with a group and we went offshore and ran into a group of several dozen that were hanging out with a group of whales... quite the thrill... I haven't seen a large group before.

 Well, on yesterday's dive we had a special moment.... more like a special 5-7 minutes.  We'd seen some dolphins on the surface off the Golden Arches area and they submerged, did not approach the boat as spinners will often do, so I thought since I only noticed 3 or 4 that they were likely Bottlenoses.   We went on up to Hoovers (north end of the Kona airport) for our first dive (lots of shrimp, a couple flame angels, two reticulate frogfish and more) and then moved on down to the Kaloko Ponds area for a dive.  While diving I heard one of the diver's shaker going and turned to see a couple of dolphins just behind me, they passed me and laid down in the sand....

Check it out...  Customer Jeff was shooting video at the time...