Yesterday we went on our first boat dive to Lanai. Lanai is famous for its caverns. Neither Peter or I got very good pictures but Peter did his Photoshop magic to save a few of mine. Tons of swimthroughs and caverns at the Cathedrals. Highlight of one of the caverns is the “chandelier”, a huge black coral growing the ceiling. Truly equisite and impossible to shoot. I couldn’t even find a good picture on the net! The trip to Lanai was a long 1-1/2 hour trip. Unfortunately, the boat had a ton of “vacation divers” – those who do one boat dive a year and don’t keep or improve their skills since getting certified. I had so many people shocked that I had 300 dives! Most were in the 20-50 range. I feel sorry for the dive operators in places like this! Take a beautiful and interesting dive and spend your whole time checking on the safety of your clients. We’ve been so spoiled by the folks at Dive Makai on the big island. They have so many return clients that they haven’t had to advertise to draw typical vacation divers. At least not a whole boatful of them! Dive Makai has recently changed ownership and we are hoping they continue to operate with care and passion that we’ve seen for years. We’ll be diving with them in September so we’ll let you know then.
Here is a shot of a Hawaiian Sergeant Major. Ok, its not the most beautiful fish. But it is endemic to Hawaii. Hawaii also has many of the Indo-Pacific sergeant majors which have moved in. They are much prettier with bright black stripes and yellow coloring on their backs. Usually you see one or the other in an area. At Lanai, they were co-mingling. I thought I saw some fish that had the darker black stripes but the yellow on the lower parts… new breeds everyday!
I started my marine naturalist training last week. Much of what they taught I already knew but refreshers are always good. A few interesting nuggets (which I assume are true!):
- Most corals are colonies of animals. There is a thin transport layer that allows the individuals to transfer nutrients. When people touch or step on coral, it is this layer that is primarily damaged which leads to the demise of the whole colony.
- The exception is the mushroom coral which is a single coral polyp.
- The acid in a shark’s stomach can breakdown stainless steel.
- Studies of the tiger shark, show they are generally docile and are not the “attack” sharks people make them out to be. Tiger’s are the primary Hawaiian shark to bite people in Hawaii. Usually the attacks are attributed to mistaken identity (shark thinks a surfer is dead seal floating on surface) or shark is threatened (caught in net or cornered).
- One intersting shark that is rarely seen in Hawaii is the cookie cutter shark. But the results of it’s bites are often seen. It is a small oceanic shark that is too small to kill it’s prey. Instead it just takes a bite out it. It bites and then saws in a 360 degree circle making a nearly-perfect cookie shape. They take bites out of large fish including other sharks, dolfins, whales and monk seals.
On a side note, last week our cat Widgit had a sonagram of her heart. She has a heart murmur and the Doctor suggested we see how inflamed the heart is. She does show signs of some thickening but its not in the areas that they really worry about. Diagnosing heart problems in cats is pretty difficult. Anyway, Widgit fought the procedure the whole way in her attack position. The Dr’s first words as he observered her was “She’s got the heart of a trained killer”. Slow heart rate even when she was obviously very agitated! Yep, that be my Widgit… my sweet baby who is sharing my morning yogurt with me.