Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

The picture above is of a green sea turtle that was photo shopped a bit to look more like a painting. You can do some fun things with photoshop. I'm starting to run out of new photos, so I may just doctor some of the old one's from time to time. I'm not sure if I've posted this exact one, without the doctoring, before - lots of turtle photos have hit the site over the last year, so it's gonna happen sooner or later.

We finished off our classes yesterday. 6 new divers. Diving conditions were great in the morning, with a bit of a northwest swell bumping up later in the day. Water temp is running a warm 81 - yahoo - I like diving in the fall as the water's usually so nice.

I'll keep this post short, not a lot to say today.



Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nice diving conditions yesterday....

Short report today.

Bob and I have been working with a group of students. Our water temp has bumped up a hair the last couple of weeks. I had almost given up, but I saw a solid 81 and even saw 82 degrees on the computer during the dive yesterday. Call it 81 degrees in the water right now.

Posted above is an Arc-eye Hawkfish (Paracirrhites arcatus). These guys perch on coral heads waiting for small prey to pass by.



Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Still alive and well in Kona.....

I haven't posted lately ... I came down with the flu last week and just haven't felt like writing anything. More or less back to normal now. Tomorrow I get to work on the boat some. It's a case where a 16 buck part fails and it takes 10 days (mostly waiting on new parts) and a lot more than 16 bucks to get back to where you started. The joys of owning a boat... that's what credit cards are for I guess. Should be back up and running tomorrow afternoon. I have classes later in the week so the boat needs to be back to normal by the weekend.

Ironman came and went. I had the weekend off and was looking forward to actually going downtown for the activities (we usually just try to stay as far away as possible) but spent the whole weekend in bed instead. The quake had basically no noticeable effect on the event. I did talk to a gentleman who lives up north in the area most affected and heard some interesting/even scary stories. Sounds like I need to take the highway up north to Pololu and check things out.

The picture above is a top looking downward view of one of the Harlequin shrimp I posted a month or two back (go to the archives to see that photo). They are such a cool find.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

...And now back to our regular programming...

Here's a shot of a Tinker's Butterly (Chaetodon tinkeri) from the other week. This is one of a pair that was VERY cooperative. I had a customer on board who wanted to take some photos of the fish we'd seen earlier in the year. Tinker's tend to hang out quite deep, but they saw us at about 75' and came directly up to us. Couldn't ask for more, other than to maybe back off enough to get both fish in the same shot. They can be a very curious fish.

Big Island earthquake, October 15, Kona Hawaii

This is my last post about the earthquake unless something real interesting on a personal note comes up. I thought I'd pass along some links to the local paper and one of the Oahu TV stations... Take a look at West Hawaii Today and The Hawaii Channel for more thorough information.

The earthquake made for an interesting morning here in South Kona, but was far more of an event up Kohala and Hamakua direction. One of Pat's co-workers who lives up north apparently had major home damage, as in the roof fell in and windows blew out. I'm sure we'll be hearing lots more stories of more serious damage tomorrow. Hopefully the first reports that nobody was seriously hurt hold up.

Take care all.


Kona Hawaii... the land of natural disasters...

Just kidding. We rarely have any earthquakes of any real damage, in fact I can't think of any actual damage from a quake here since I've moved here.

Here's the only real evidence near my property. We've always had some rock overhanging near the road just down from our property line. It fell, didn't go very far. There are lots of smaller rocks, primarily from the older rock walls, along side the roads in many parts of Kona also.

Pat called to tell me to not be surprised if our next renter calls wondering if things are OK. I'm gradually hearing from friends and family on the mainland also wondering. Not too much looks out of the ordinary at the home though. Apparently the upper floor of the hospital took a pretty good hit, also apparently North Hawaii Hospital also was damaged.

Here's a bonus natural phenomenon photo... We saw three funnel clouds the other day, I remembered I actually had the camera in the car. Tornados are not a problem here in general, but we do see waterspouts every few years.



Here's an internet radio link to a broadcast covering the earthquake...

It's pretty much the only radio station on Oahu going. The link requires you to allow popups to hear the broadcast.

I could only get one local privately owned radio staion, literally a guy with an antenna on a cherry picker up the hill, when I was driving earlier. As the power comes back in all areas I'm sure there will be more info available.

Interesting... I looked at the stats and I'm getting huge numbers of people hitting this site looking for Kona earthquake information... I hope some of them are divers and will remember me.



More Info on the Kona Hawaii earthquake...

Here's the link to recent earthquake activity... USGS map .

Bob just called, he's back from the Galapagos. He said he did not see a single whaleshark on one of his whaleshark dives... 22 sightings on the other 7 dives though. Between that and a couple hundred hammerheads, and sea lions galore, he thought the Galapagos was quite a place. Anyway, Bob was headed to Safeway when the quake hit. He said his car was bouncing all over the place. When he got to Safeway they'd had ceiling tiles all over the place and food off the shelves.

Pat called from the Hospital to say she had no clue when she'd be coming home. Apparently they've lost a lot of ceiling tiles and had lots of broken water pipes. The hospital has been evacuated and they are finding spots for all the patients.

The Pali (cliffs) down at Kealakekua Bay had several landslides. Apparently there was a huge dustcloud. I wish I noticed it when it happened, we live right above the bay but have trees in the way of the view. I checked out the bay a while later and there was still tons of dust/dirt on the surface of the water in the bay.

I'm sure I'll have more to report later...


Heck of an earthquake hit Kona about 3 hours ago.

Wow, biggest earthquake I've felt.... The power and internet just came back on. Apparently Oahu is out of power and parts of Kauai, the earthquake was apparently felt as far away as Kauai.

Lots of shaking at home, but no real damage at our house. I've got friends with lots of broken glass and pictures knocked off the walls and such.

We cancelled todays charter after everyone called and said this wasn't a good day to go out. I've got one group who was up at the Mauna Kea, apparently they evacuated the hotel as there was some damage along the lines of a wall or two collapsing.

Pat was called into the hospital, as the county/state activated the emergency plan. The radio station is reporting that there may be structural damage to the hospital and there is an evacuation in place, new patients are apparently being taken outside.

More later,


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Blogger ate my post, I'm trying again...

We did the manta dive last night. Great show, rough seas. We dropped into the water off the north mooring and had two mantas right off the bat. We did a little dive to the main dive site and settled down and were immediately bombarded by manta rays. The videographer we work with was already there and took some great footage of our divers with the mantas. There were 10 mantas at the site.

We've had some rather poor weather for here the last few days. There's been a cold front hanging out off to the northwest of the islands bring in good rains. Yesterday it passed through and we actually had some funnel clouds inland of the airport in the afernoon.

The underwater photo above is of a Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby (Canthigaster jactator), lone of the small puffers we see commonly on the reef.

Aloha, this time I'm copying the post before trying to post... I hate retyping.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy birthday... sort of.

I just noticed that my blog turns one year old tomorrow. My goals for the first year were to post a hundred or so times, and be able to click on the site meter and see that I was getting 4-5 direct requests a day. So far I've made it, with 180 some odd posts and at least 4-5 direct requests daily (direct requests indicate someone is acutally keying in or has "favorited" the URL, half were probably my family or myself, but at least some aren't). Now I've got to come up with some new goals, probably not all that different than the original goals in this case, maybe add another 100 posts minimum and gain an extra 4-5 daily direct requests. I started this because of a recommendation to use a blog to help exposure of my dive business (Wanna Dive - link is on the right side of the page), and I can't say for sure if that's working... but I'm having fun with it anyway, so why not continue?

Today I did an intro dive with someone who was staying in my vacation rental. That person had actually been certified back in the days of horse collars, but has only done a few resort dives since. It went well. Water temps were in the 79-81 degree range on my computer, depending on if in the shallows over the reef, or out on the shoulder. Nice relaxing dive.

It's our "slow season", but I'm still working a stretch of 13 out of 14 days. I've managed to find some great fill in help while Bob is off gallivanting in the Galapagos (lucky him - whale sharks, hammerheads, rays, marine iguanas, sea lions, etc - a lot to see in just 10 days or so), but I'll be happy to have him available again.

The underwater photograph above is of a red-spotted nudibranch. I took a bunch of shots and everything turned off slightly off, but this one is close, could have been a hair crisper on the focus. I discovered/remembered a new little thing/quirk with the Olympus sp-350 (actually noticed this first when taking the pic of the harlequin shrimp I posted earlier), if you are taking macro underwater and you want to get closer, try enabling the digital zoom and see if you like the results. In my case, I was able to fill up more of the frame with the actual subject and keep an effective focus than just using macro and not zooming in to the digital zoom range. I'm not sure if results vary camera to camera or not.



Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hooters is coming to Kona....

OK, so here's the face shot of the young lionfish I saw recently. This was probably just a little 3 incher, not that these get anywhere near as large as their cousins further south and west.

We did the night dive last night. I hadn't dove one in the last few outings, having Bob or others filling in do the dive, so last night was another good dive for me. GREAT FUN!!! We had mantas before we even hit the water. There were 11 at the dive site total, the customers were pretty happy with that.

Today we did a couple of dive sites off Old Airport and Pawai Bay. I did the first dive. I only had two customers on board today and they were returning for their 3rd trip this year, so it was a very relaxing day. We went looking for Tinker's butterfly and nudibranchs... we scored. I took the camera along and managed to pick up 4 or 5 shots that'll eventually (as in pretty soon unless I get a bunch of more shots, I'm running low on unposted pics I kind of really like) post here.

...Oh, yeah, Hooters is coming to Kona. Our little town is getting commercialized. for those of you who've been here before and are wondering where it'll be, it's going to be in the old Chart House Restaurant location, above Bubba Gumps and the Wyland Galleries at the Waterfront Row shops. I've never been to a Hooters, but I hear the chicken wings are really good... yum, yum - maybe, while in Houston a few year back we went to a place that specialized in wings and I wasn't overly impressed.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tropical fish are really proud of their backsides....

The bane of the underwater photographer is... fish butts. Talk to nearly anyone who's taken underwater photos, and you'll probably hear they have plenty of perfectly focused and exposed shots, only the fish are facing the wrong way.

Nearly all the digital cameras, that are so popular, have a bit of delay. Once you get your subject to where you can focus on them, they turn... happens most every time.

The photos on this page are of a young Hawaiian Lionfish (Pterois sphex). I was real tickled to see this one. The last few years I've only seen them at deep spots in sites not normally dove by the tour companies. It seems like they may have been collected out over the years. This one was at one of the dive sites most companies visit, and in less than 40' of water. They tend to hang out at the same spot, so some time in the future I'll be checking to see if it's there.

I took about a dozen shots of this fish, these two were probably the cleanest... but it was facing the wrong way. The second photo is kind of nice because you can see it's face. I did get a pretty decent face shot, but not a good full body shot... I'll post the face shot on the next post (so you have something to come back for).



Monday, October 02, 2006

Another kind of Hawaiian eel we don't see often....

Thought I'd post a pic I took back in '99 or so with my MX-10 underwater camera. This is a Magnificent Snake Eel (Myrichthys magnificus). We don't see them very often at all, when we do it's a thrill for even the dive leaders. Every now and then you'll run into divers who swear they saw a sea snake, once they describe it it usually turns out to be this. According to the Hoover's book (linked on the right side of the blog), the Hawaiian name for this fish means "stick", "pole" or - children and bashful folk cover your eyes - "male erection". Now I never would have thought of using that description for this fish.

It's still pretty busy despite being the "slow" season. It's starting to get darker earlier so I'm having to change my plans for the afternoon/night manta trips. I'm still trying to set up the night dives on Tuesdays and Thursdays (the reality is, if I go more often I end up going with 2 passengers every night and wear Bob and I out and barely cover expenses, grouping it up gives a shot at some better profits for the evening), but I'm open to other evenings to groups of 4-6 passengers if my schedule allows. Basically, I'll run either day or night, but not both like I do in the spring and summer, since I won't rush the day trips there just isn't enough time available between charters with the shorter days to run both day and nights. The manta dive is still hopping right now, hopefully it'll keep up throughout the fall.



Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wow, it's October already... but it's summertime hot and gorgeous here in Kona.

Howdy. Here's a shot from the bay outside of the Place of Refuge in Kona. The bay itself is one of the more popular shore dives in Hawaii, not this day though as surf was quite up. In the background there's an old temple that's been refurbished. It's all part of a National Park.

The park has quite a history. As I've had it told to me, so please don't quote this as completely correct... Places of refuge were established along the coast line in several spots. Back in the day, they were places of worship and also apparently places vanquished warriors and criminals could go to seek refuge. The Hawaiians had a "Kapu" (basically meaning law) system I think was established by the royalty, and if you broke Kapu, you were often subject to the penalty of death. Kapu could involve any number of offenses, from stealing to casting your shadow on the King's path, all sorts of interesting offenses. If you broke Kapu, your options were to basically be stoned to death, or run as fast as you can to a Place of Refuge and turn yourself in to the priests. They could absolve you of your crimes and then send runners out to tell everyone your cool, and then you'd be welcomed back to society. I need to actually do some reading so I'm not guilty of telling it improperly, but it is facinating.

Today was spent cleaning the vacation rental. We've been quite busy with it and are actully fully scheduled through the end of March at this point... if you are interested in a nice place to stay in South Kona later next spring and beyond click on the link on the right side of the page or check out
our vrbo.com site for more information.

Divewise, Bob's off to the Galapagos tomorrow so I'm scrambling to make sure I have coverage for several days of diving while he's gone.... part of the hazards of being a small operator at this point. As the business grows I'll have more regular employees, but I've been lucky that I know a bunch of good guides that can step in when needed.

Well, that's about all for now.