Kona Classic, Day 6

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 11:45 pm

This was just a great day of diving. Or at least, half a day of great diving. We started the morning at Turtle Pinnacle in search of turtles (what else?), and were happy to see a cloudless sky for once. Nothing beats sunshine for wide angle underwater photography!

This dive kicked serious, serious ass. Along with David Fleetham, Jeff and I were the first ones down, and we followed him right to the turtle cleaning station. One turtle was hanging out on the ground, and another was hovering in mid-water to be cleaned on all sides at once. I was drifting towards that one when I suddenly realized I was right next to another one on the ground beside me. Turtles galore! Sometimes one would be startled by all the photographers (go figure) and head for the surface – and then everyone would scramble to get silhouette shots. David was very helpful, indicating when it seemed safer to inch closer, and when I should slow down or back off. He’s got no shortage of turtle shots under his professional belt!

I spotted several peacock groupers hovering over coral heads, and began looking for their eel partner, who soon materialized. I got lots of footage as I followed him and his buddies out and over the reef, and eventually Jeff caught on and came along. I was distracted looking at a second eel when Jeff caught the first eel striking at an octopus in a hole – but I turned around in time to catch him tying himself in knots to crush the octopus, and swimming away with it while the peacock groupers tried to grab some scraps.

An ass-kicking dive indeed!

On our surface interval, we headed out to sea in search of big stuff. Instead, we found small stuff. The boat came to a halt by a red bucket floating in the water, and a different Jeff (one of the owners of Jack’s Diving Locker) jumped out to take a look. He reported back that the bucket was home to a triggerfish and dozens of juvenile something-or-others, possibly amber jacks. Everyone hopped in for a snorkel, remembering that last year’s macro winner was a picture of a frogfish on some floating trash. The triggerfish bolted, but it was fun to watch all the little fish that had made their home on the barnacle-encrusted bucket.

For our second dive, we moored by the Old Airport. We checked out this site in hopes of finding some macro critters: scorpionfish or frogfish. Apparently conditions don’t usually allow diving here, but today was calm so we checked it out. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything very spectacular. Lots of small fish action: juvenile yellowtail coris wrasses and a juvenile rockmover. We saw several cleaning stations, and more hunting eels, but none as photogenic as on the last site. Still, we burned up all our air tooling around on the bottom. I’m loving these hour-plus dives!

We finished off our Thursday evening at the Kona Classic pizza party over at the Kona Brewery. Divers can eat; I don’t think the pizzas were ever out on the table for more than a few minutes before every scrap was picked clean. We sat with four other divers from our boat, and swapped stories about dives, pets and jobs. The evening ended with a raffle; I walked away with a PADI backpack (hey, an extra carry-on!), and Jeff snagged one of the Sport Diver baseball caps he’d been drooling over.

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