Kona Classic, Day 7

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 11:45 pm

The last dive day of a vacation is always sort of sad. There’s such pressure on it to be a good day of diving, and in this case even more so because of the pressure to get good photographs. Jeff has been trying really hard to apply all the advice he gets from the pros at the end of each day, and has come back with better and better photos.

We piled onto the Na Pali Kai 2 for the last time with our group of buddies: Dave and Tee Husted (who loaned me the housing); Judy Bennett from New Orleans; her travel buddy Jim Squires, who teaches diving in Vermont; and John and Linda (John’s the UW photographer, but Linda foots the bill with a successful dental practice in a nice bit of gender role reversal – John used to be her office manager).

We started with a bonus dive. Some people really wanted to dive the Naked Lady again, but others didn’t want to trade in one of their long dives for it. So Jack’s gave us the option of an extra dive for $25. Easy decision. We didn’t see anything that spectacular this time around, but it was a pretty dive. I followed a big conch around on the sand for a while, and saw the bicolor anthias again. On the way down and up, Jeff practiced taking pictures of silhouettes and sunbursts.

Next we moored at Rabbi’s. We dropped down and headed towards High Rock, where a big frogfish reportedly hangs out. Apparently Jeff and I missed all the cool stuff on this dive, because everyone else came up with tales of amazing critters. We tooled around several ridges and arches, and I shot some more group-hunting action, a cute pair of tobies, and a trumpetfish. At the end of the dive, someone found an enormous moray hanging out under a ledge. It seemed to be awake, but wasn’t moving around or opening its mouth at all, so it made kind of a boring subject.After lunch, we headed back to one of our favorites for the last dive of the trip: Eel Cove. Jeff and I poked around the shallows for a while in search of the dragon moray, but didn’t find it. Both Jeff and I got shots of a rockmover wrasse in action, and I also saw some yellowtail coris wrasses shoving rocks around. We went around the corner to where the raccoon butterflies pester the sargent majors, and encountered a scene of incredible fishiness! I saw sargent majors courting, spawning dascyllus, and lots of damsels chasing away other fish. There were cleaning stations galore, and I spotted some fish I hadn’t seen yet on the trip hovering in the water column, including several pairs of pyramid butterflies. The raccoons soon materialized, and we were enveloped in clouds of ravenous butterflyfish and angry sargent majors.

Swarm of hungry Raccoon Butterflyfish:
We eventually turned around and headed back to the cove, where we still didn’t find the dragon eel, but we found a few small whitemouth morays. Jeff ran low on air and headed up, while I continued to putter around for a while in the shallows (plenty of other folks always in sight), just fish-watching and trying to film some bubbles.Now everyone settles in for an evening of touching up their photos and deciding which ones to submit to which categories, or for all-nighters putting together video. Not me; I’m definitely going to just take my time back at home this year. But maybe next year I’ll give Dave some competition!

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