Yesterday Marla and I joined our friend Wendy for a two-tank dive trip with Kohala Divers. As usual, the KD staff was excellent and the dive sites were great. The only trouble was that there were too many passengers with cameras. Due to the virtual absence of tourists on the island these days there were only nine paying divers on the boat, but at least six of them, including Wendy and me, were toting cameras. With that many photographers in the water, sighting of an interesting fish can result in something resembling a rugby scrum—everyone muscling in for a good shot before the poor, terrified fish bolts. It seems like the people with the biggest, most expensive photo rigs are the worst. I guess they figure that we peons with smaller, less expensive setups will never be able to take a good photo anyway, so what the heck. Wendy and I, with our modest cameras, and our senses of civility, tended to hang back. (Marla is wise enough to not mar the experience of enjoying the fish by carrying a camera at all.)
Kohala Divers, like most West Hawaii operators, tries to mitigate this situation by sending divers down in small groups—in this case one group of four and one of five divers. This helps, but sometimes, especially if an unusually uncommon fish is sighted, the groups will converge.
That said, it was a great couple of dives, with lots of interesting fish at both dive sites. And don’t mind my kvetching—we all had a great time.
So, yeah, a really great trip. I was buzzed for the rest of the day. Maybe I should be more like Marla and just enjoy the dive instead of getting so wrapped up in the goal of acquiring photos. Maybe one day, but for now it’s a fun (okay, a bit expensive, too) way to exercise my inner hunter-gatherer.