Kona Classic, Day 4

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 11:45 pm

I started today on the wrong foot – literally. The tricky entrance onto the boat yesterday was actually easier than today’s; the boat was even lower relative to the pier. I sat on the edge and put my left foot into a shelf below the pier, and one of the Jack’s folks pulled me across as I pushed off the ledge. But I wound up going sort of sideways because of my foot’s sideways orientation in the ledge, and my right foot twisted under me so I landed entirely on the side/top of it! Serious ouch.

It was a short ride out to the first dive, a sailboat wreck just outside the harbor known as the Naked Lady, and everyone tried to help: we wrapped my foot in an ace bandage, and put ice on it while I held it up. I decided to go ahead and try to dive; it hurt to walk, but there’s no walking underwater.

Getting into my wetsuit wasn’t a problem, but putting on my dive booty was. There’s a certain amount of foot-scrunching I do to sort of wriggle in, and it’s just that sort of foot-bending that hurts! Pulling on my fin was also a challenge; yanking back on the strap to set it around my ankle crunched up my entire foot.

Once in the water, I had no problems. Flutter kicks hurt a bit, but I’m more of a frog-kicker anyway. We headed down to the bottom and photographed schools of blue-striped snappers circling the wreck, hawaiian dascyllus mating behavior, and some bicolor anthias.

Bicolor Anthia:
Wreck of the Naked Lady:

Getting back onto the boat was a minor challenge as well. I handed up my weights first, and then slipped out of my BC so the crew could haul it on board and I only had to worry about getting my own weight up the ladder. Putting as much weight as possible on my good foot, I made it back up without incident.

Since we’d started the day with a deep dive (110 ft), and of course we all completely maxed out our bottom time, we needed an extra long surface interval. We cruised out to sea in search of big stuff (whales, dolphins, whale sharks). After lunch, we came across a pod of dolphins. The boat zipped ahead of them a bit, and then dropped us all in the water in snorkel gear – just in time to spot them swimming under us. We tried again, and this time they were cavorting in our wake just a few feet away from us – but again, once they were in, they all stayed down and just swam under. I doubt anyone got any decent photos out of it, but it was still cool to see literally hundreds of dolphins zooming by beneath us!

We did our second dive at Golden Arches, a relatively shallow site with two big ridges (with arches in them, obviously). On the way from the first to the second, we stumbled across a pair of lei triggerfish who were very upset with Jeff’s fins. He took one off and waggled it beneath the camera to get them to come close, and spent most of the dive in that position.

Lei Triggerfish:

I continued to cruise around the second ridge, observing more mating behavior – seems like all the fish are spawning this week! I hung out in the archway for a while, with a big school of blue-stripe snapper. Initially startled by my bubbles, they eventually got used to me and ignored my presence, and I just kind of chilled out and drifted back and forth with them.

Getting off the boat at the end of the day was a bit nerve-wracking, but with both Jeff and Danny (Jack’s crew) pulling me up I managed to land very lightly on my feet! Unfortunately, walking turned out to be harder than I expected. On the boat, I’d been able to get back and forth with minimal pain, but that was never more than a few steps at a time. Walking to our parked car, and then walking around Long’s Drugs in search of Ace bandages, made me wish I had a crutch!

I debated for a while over whether to go on the manta dive tonight. The smart thing to do, obviously, would be to lay off the foot for a while. But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to film manta rays, or to try out nighttime videography (Dave was going to loan me a light). So I opted in, and thank goodness!

Jeff and I were the first ones into the water and over to the light box. There were no mantas in sight when we arrived, so Jeff settled in photographing an eel that was lurking under the rocks surrounding the manta-attracting light box. While his attention was occupied, one enormous manta swooped in from behind and over our heads, then disappeared for a while. Finally it showed up again, and Jeff paid attention. More and more divers joined us, and we wound up with two or three huge rays showing off. The eel that was hanging out in the light box suddenly took off vertically, swimming upwards through the school of fish hanging out in the light. Between the mantas and the free-swimming eel, I felt a severe sensory overload.

Andy (the divemaster) called us away for a bit to look at a devil scorpionfish on a rock, then we went back to mantas. This was my first attempt at night videography, and I had to turn off the camera sometimes to just sit back and enjoy the mantas instead of looking at the monitor. Andy called us away a second time to check out a reticulated frogfish, a tiny little red fish down in a crack (apparently quite rare). Then back to mantas.

My injured foot started to hurt after being sat on for most of an hour (while manta-watching, you kneel on the uneven ground, squashing your feet and fins beneath you), so Jeff and I started to cruise around a bit. Once again, Andy to the rescue – he pointed out an undulated moray out in the open. Jeff and I followed it around until it spotted a squirrelfish. Well, we helped it spot a squirrelfish with our dive lights. BAM, the squirrelfish was dinner – and we got it all on camera (both our cameras)!

Last year we had more mantas (eighteen), but I think this year was a better dive all-around. It was a truly great night dive!

Unfortunately, the time spent kneeling on the bottom did not do good things for my injured foot. I guess the acid test is whether it feels better tomorrow after a few hours of rest, or worse!

1 Comment

  1. Ewwwwwww.

    Comment by Sarah — 5/27/2005 @ 1:08 pm

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