We snorkeled one day last week at Makaiwa Bay, off the Mauna Lani Resort. As always, fish were abundant and tame. I don’t recall seeing spectacled parrotfish there before—we mostly see them at Mahukona or on Lanai—but on this day I ran into a single male spectacled. In contrast to those at Mahukona, it was pretty receptive to being photographed.
The other day Marla and I took a two-tank dive trip with our friends at Kohala Divers in Kawaihae. We hadn’t been diving with them for over a year, and it was really great to spend some time with them again. Their entire crew is always enthusiastic, welcoming, fun, and highly competent. There are a lot of good dive outfits on the Big Island, and we’ve dived with a handful of them, but Kohala Divers remains our favorite of the bunch—which is fortunate because they are also by far the closest to our home. This particular boat trip was a “club dive,” which meant that most of the divers were local fish geeks. We really enjoyed their company.
Kohala Divers uses over a dozen dive sites scattered along the North and South Kohala coasts. On this day we went north, in the direction of Mahukona. Currents were rather strong, and for that reason the crew checked several sites before settling on Black Point for our first dive and a spot called Horseshoe for the second dive. Black Point is an exposed, fairly deep site with black coral, longnose hawkfish (neither of which I got a good look at because I’d neglected to bring a dive light) and abundant, approachable pyramid butterflyfish. Horseshoe offered a Whitley’s boxfish (which I didn’t see, but most of our group did) and had a nice mix of the usual suspects.
I brought my “better” camera setup on this trip—a discontinued Nikon mirrorless J1 with Nikon housing that I picked up for a total of about $200. It’s a lot bulkier than my little Olympus compact, which is why I tend to carry the compact more often, especially for day to day snorkeling, but the Nikon produces better photos and can go deeper than the Olympus. While taking photos with scuba is in many ways easier than shooting under the breath-hold constraints of free diving, it can be frustrating trying to stop for photos when the divemaster is in a hurry, leading the group of paying divers quickly from one spot to another. Both Marla and I prefer a more leisurely pace, allowing time to stop and study the small stuff and to take some shots. Tony, our divemaster on this trip, was very accommodating to our desire for a relaxed pace that allowed for some lingering and a few decent photos. Anyway, here’s some of what we saw (click for a better view):