Monday, May 28, 2007

OK, the news is.... Pat and I are expecting.... Twins!

One is not enough, so we're going for twins!!! Twin engines that is. Remember a couple posts back I said I might have news. Well it's about the boat. My boat has a single inboard engine that has been a source of occasional frustration ever since I've had it. I've finally come to the conclusion that it might be better to have two sources of frustration than one, but the likelihood of them both giving me troubles at the same time is very very low... that'll be a huge relief in itself. I've been waiting on financing before knowing for sure I could do it... it's a big job, but not near as much as a completely new boat would cost.

The financing's set so now it's time to get together with the mechanic and the fiberglass guy and get it going. When it's all said and done, it'll have a ton more room inside since the inboard engine will be gone. With any luck it'll also have a better ride and performance.. yet to be seen, but in theory it should be a nicer ride. While we're at it we're replacing all the electrical and giving it a paint job, it'll essentially be a new boat.

Hopefully I haven't jinxed it by commenting too early, but the chickens are essentially hatched in this case. I'll have updates as work progresses. In the meanwhile I've got to get the work scheduled, I've already got coverage with another friend who'll run charters off his boat when needed. We'll see how long this takes.

So here's a video of a Conger Eel I posted about a year ago. It was with another carrier than Youtube and doesn't seem to be working, so I thought I'd go for a repeat.



Fly inter-island for practically free - super low airfares...

OK, I generally don't post this kind of stuff, but this price Go Airlines just announced is almost plain silly. 9 bucks! I'm almost tempted to buy a couple of tickets just to do it. I figured I might post it just in case anyone might benefit, the sale only lasts a couple more days.

This is a Redspotted Sandperch (Parapercis schauinslandi). They hang out on coral heads in the sand down at depth.



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just a quick note....

I've been busy working at the other job this week. I actually have to get up in a bit over 5 hours to go at it again, so I'm keeping this short. I wanted to post a quick note to anyone who's been trying to contact me through my Wanna Dive e-mail in the last week or so... my webhost went through a server change and it buggered up my mail. I was able to get most of it earlier today, but I lost about 3 days of messages altogether that I never even saw (three days usually equals about 1100 pieces of junk mail and a couple of legitimate inquiries). If you've attempted to reach me and haven't heard back, I do think it's working OK now so you can try again if you'd like.

This picture is of a goatfish working the sand. They have barbels which they run through the sand that stir things up that they might be able to eat.



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who needs men????

OK, so no news yet, but I was just looking over today's newsbits and saw this... Apparently they've pretty much proven Parthenogenisis in Sharks from a case in a Nebraska aquarium. There was apparently a suspected case in Detroit a couple years back also. Parthenogenisis means "who needs men" in latin... OK that's not true... but it essentially means "virgin birth" in greek apparently. No male is involved and is relatively common in the insect world, and has been seen in many species of creatures outside of mammals, this was the first known proven episode in sharks.

The photo above is of a Goldrim Surgeonfish (acanthurus nigircans). They are a neat fish which strongly resembles a Powder Blue Tang (acanthurus leucosternon) in a sort of night time pattern. They are not one of our more common tangs (a.k.a. surgeonfish), but we do see them from time to time. This is my most recognizeable pic of one.



Monday, May 21, 2007

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched....

In the spirit of that, I'm sitting on some news. I've been waiting on something and I'll probably know the outcome one way or the other in a few days, so next time I post I may be happy, disappointed, or somewherre in between (if I'm still waiting to find out the outcome).

It's been cool and wet up mauka today, with rain most of the day... a rarity here in Kona at our elevation. I talked with Bob earlier today, he was out with another company, said it was pretty nice on the water as long as they stayed out of the south facing spots. We've had a pretty good south swell the last couple of days, apparently yesterday was particularly nasty and the best diving was up in the Sand Chute and Garden Eel Cove area off the Kona airport where we do our night dive.

It'll be curious to see if the swells bring our water temps up. It's about the time of year the temperatures start to bump back up slowly.

The picture above is of a Pebble Collector Urchin. The common form is dark blue and looks much like an imperial crown, this one (two actually, there's one in the background) is a white one, which is much less commonly found here. If you do happen to see them, take a close look at the white portions - the white is tons of little white tube feet that move rapidly... almost mesmerizing.



Monday, May 14, 2007

Cool and wet up mauka today...

I spent today pretty much around the house. It's cool (71 degrees at 4 PM today) and damp up at the house, I'm sure it's warmer down at the coast.. it was yesterday and the weather was much the same.

I've been busy working the other job the last little bit. I do have a couple of charters this week, but it's still rather slow. I already have 15-16 charters tentatively set up for next month, and most of the booking inquiries won't even start 'til the month begins, so I suspect I'll probably be working through the summer.... 7 days a week is the goal and then the airport job can likely disappear, but it's nice having it during the slow months.

We re-carpeted the vacation rental this week and are just finishing touching up the paint, after the next couple of guests we have a few days off to re-upholster the couch and love seat and then I'll post a couple of new pics of the place (there's a link on the right side that goes to the older photos). We were looking at the booking schedules and realized we basically only have 2-3 open weeks between now and the middle of next March in the rental - wow, I can remember when we first started renting it out and we were lucky to get a week every month or two.

I clicked another shot of a gecko hanging out in the bananas.



Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday morning lizzard convention

We've got a bunch of these guys hanging around outside our kitchen these days. We hung some bananas out for the cardinals and finches to pick at and we also get about 8-10 madascar day geckos at a time showing up.

This morning we went to U-top-it down in Kailua for breakfast on the way to picking up carpet for our vacation rental we're recarpeting. U-top-it's located in behind Lava Java off Alii drive. Lava Java is quite known for their breakfasts, but U-top-it doesn't play second fiddle to anyone. It probably puts out the best breakfast I've had in Kona. I had their Loco Moco Attack... lots of fried rice, 1/2 lb hamburger patty, 2 fried eggs and grilled pepper slices, all smothered with a curry gravy (you get a choice of gravies), all on a large taro crepe (not a traditional crepe, thicker, more like a thin pancake). This meal was $8.95 and filled me, many people wouldn't be able to finish it I'd suspect. DELICIOUS. A big thumbs up from me, and I generally don't like breakfasts. Pat loved her breakfast too. The place gets raves on the local message boards at Konaweb and I'd highly recommend it for breakfast - they also have one of the best burgers in the area too. Most of the menu items run in the 4-9 buck range, so it's not a spendy meal for here.



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Leaf Scorpionfish Taenianotus triacanthus

This is a picture of a face of a Leaf Scorpion. You kind of have to look at it twice to see it. I do have some very nice pictures of leaf scorpions a year or more back in the blog if you care to explore the archives (linked on the right side of the page if you are on the home page). Leaf scorpions spend most of their lives just sitting around gently waving with the currents, pretty much looking like a leaf, 'til something edible happens by, then it's a matter of a very quick distending of the jaw and they've had their meal and they go back to just sitting there. These fish seem to be very attracted to antler corals, placing themselves in or under the corals, so you'll often notice the divemasters checking out every antler coral they come across for this critter and a few other things.

Tuesday's night dive turned into a non-happening. My group was all snorkelers but one and when they called on Monday I'd filled them in on the relative lack of mantas and they decided to do other things (if I have a group of snorkelers, I really try to give them the option of not going out if it's likely they'll see nothing), the one diver in the group did join us for the morning dive. We had a couple of real nice dives in the morning, and as luck would have it, it was a good thing for the snorkelers that they decided not to do the night dive - no mantas. Last year this time we were in the front end of a 5-6 month stretch where we had mantas most every night... haven't been that lucky yet this year but I suspect it'll kick in at some point.

I finally sent out my fist e-mail "newsletter" today. I set up for it a long time ago and just never sent one out, figured I need to get started sooneer or later and now is a good time what with summer coming up. I'm not going to send them out too often, maybe quarterly or when something relatively big for the business occurs. If you'd like to get on the list, there's a link on the right side of the blog. Regular readers will get a lot more news from the blog than the e-mails.

That's about it for now.



Sunday, May 06, 2007

Whitemouth Moray Eel - gymnothorax meleagris

I just think these guys are real cute, worthy of another shot.

We went to Senior Billy's up in Captain Cook for Cinco de Mayo. It seems lots of other people had the same idea. It was fairly early, right around noon, and the place was pretty much full inside and out. They've added a few menu items lately, good to see a better selection of burritos and such. Always a good meal for us.

That's about it for now... I'm off to my other job for the evening.



Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!!

We had a trio of mantas swim by on the night dive earlier in the week, and they didn't return that evening. Bummer. At least the divers got to see them for a pass, unfortunately our snorkeler wasn't in the water just yet. They've had mantas sticking around the last couple of nights, hopefully they'll do the same as we're planning another charter this Tuesday evening.

Earlier this week I got to spend a day in court for jury selection. I get a summons about every other year to call in and see if my number comes up, this time it did. It's an interesting process for those who've never done it before... can't talk about the case, but the jury selection process shouldn't be off limits. Roughly 60 some odd potential jurors showed up. When you sign in they give you a list of names of everyone involved in the trial, later when they are picking jurors each potential juror will be asked if they know any of the individuals on the list.

All the potential jurors are escorted into the courtroom and seated. After the formalities they start culling jurors... do you live more than 70 miles away, are you a government official, a doctor, a policeman or first responder, are you a caretaker, etc. In this case I think one was thanked and excused. At that point they spin a basket, ala bingo or lottery style, and call out 12 numbered jurors at random. These are the first 12 likely jurors, each is asked questions by the lawyers on both sides. The lawyers are allowed to agree to excuse jurors by cause/conflicts and then the lawyers enter a phase where they are allowed to excuse jurors without stated reason. As a potential juror is excused, another random juror number is pulled out of the basket and they in turn get to sit in the jury box and answer the earlier questions. Each team of lawyers gets 3 non-cause exemptions and so you are looking at roughly 18-25 people out of the entire group actually form the pool of potential jurors while the rest of us just watched the process... interesting.

I'm back to work at my part time job tonight. I'll be there 4-5 nights a week for the next few weeks 'til it gets busy again.

The eel above is a small White Mouth Moray eel. It's roughly the size of my thumb in thickness.