We haven’t been in the water for ages so we decided to go diving on my birthday. It wasn’t great conditions but we still had a nice day out. We went out at Ulua Beach in Wailea and had a 70 minute dive where we reached 41′. Classic Maui beach dive.
I’ve don’t have pictures today as we were both camera-less. It is nice to dive without camera occasionally but I do miss having the memories to share.
I have to start by saying that I was quite disturbed by the lack of fish. I would guess that there were at least 50% fewer fish than the last time I was there. Seasonal? Hopefully but I’m not sure. I did not see a single Roi or Peacock Grouper so it appears that the Roi collection a few weeks ago made an impact. Roi are a species brought in by DLNR in the 1950’s and are now considered invasive.
Speaking of Roi — We often like watching roi team up with eels in a hunting behavior. Today we saw the same behavior but with a blue-fin trevally. I thought, “I guess that’s appropriate since this is Ulua beach”. When I checked my books I found that “Ulua” is actually the Hawaiian name for the whole jack family. The bluefin trevally, “my gangsters of the reef”, are called omilu. It was great fun watching the eel and omilu frolick about the reef together!
Eels, Eels and More Eels – It is not uncommon to see lots of eels in Hawaiian waters. But this was a definite eel dive. We saw a gorgeous snowflake moray waltzing across the sand. I saw the little yellow dwarf moray who disappeared back into the coral before I could summon Peter back to see it. He spotted a a juvenile stout moray on the way back in. Of course we saw several other white-mouths both out swimming and hiding in holes.
Looking for Babies – I alway love finding juveniles – especially wrasses. Today we were in a very shallow sandy area and I saw that tiny 1/2″ long floating piece of seaweed. This one had a long horn off the front of it’s head. I immediately knew what it was a Peacock Razorfish. On the way back in, amongst divers in training kicking up lots of sand, I found several more. Admittedly, I immediately knew what it was but had to get home and look it up to remember the name…it is tough getting old! Other juveniles we saw were the itsy-bitsy domino damsels still with the blue florescent spot on their forehead, hog wrasses, and dime-sized butterflyfish.
And then there are the BIG things – I saw the BIGGEST Triton’s Trumpet I’d ever seen. It was balance delicately between two rocks so you could see the whole thing. I estimated using my hand to be about18″. I read that they can get up to 20″ but his thing was amazing. The shell was covered in muck so you couldn’t see the beautiful color but it was still pretty amazing. Talking about big things we saw a very large male honu. I’m pretty sure it was the same guy we saw twice during our dive.
Peter was on the lookout for nudibrachs – Out at the end of the reef he finally found a dorid. It was one that I’ve only seen once or twice before. Light coloring with uniform red/goldish spots. After looking at the book, we both thought it looked most like a tiled pleurobranch or makaonionio. But we can’t be sure. I also found a very bland looking nudi creeping across the sand at 40′. We think that is “ringed sap-sucking slug”. Such a lovely name!
It was fun and we again decided that we need to get diving more often. It was a good way to spend your birthday.