Sunday, January 19

Kona, day 1

A lazy morning, sleeping late, then onto our covered patio area for a good writing session.  One of our hosts came by to join us for a coffee, and we heard his life story…moved to this island about 16 yrs ago from Idaho, with his wife and two daughters (at the time in 9th and 8th grade).  He was originally a carpenter and cabinet maker, now seems to be doing a million different little things, from silk-screening shirts, to making popsicles, making/selling bikinis (designed by one of his daughters), leading kayak trips…and lots of other things.  “This is how we make a living here,” he said, “by being flexible enough to adapt to different situations, and open enough to embrace any opportunity that comes your way.”

Nice place to stay.

The afternoon comprised two dives with Kona Huna divers; one to a reef, and a night dive with manta rays.  The dives were really wonderful, and Kona Huna divers has set a new standard for crew and divemasters/guides.  We headed out for about a 30’ drive to Garden Eel Reef Cove, where we enjoyed a good view of a lively reef.  I caught some pix on the GoPro, but learned the hard way that I need to clip on a red or magenta filter in the future, as much looks gray-green as the water filters the light. 

Returning to the boat, the camera/housing broke off the handle, and the camera went under.  Pattie was getting on the boat behind me and saw it break off, as i was more occupied with getting up the stairs to the boat.  One of the dive masters took that on as a challenge and, once everyone was on the boat, he found it in about 10 minutes.

between dives, waiting for sunset and Morays

We stayed at the same reef until after sunset, and by then about 11 more boats had gather in the same area.  Our crew gave us a briefing, and we went in.  Going to a depth of about 35’ we found a huge circular stone formation, a natural place for all of us to side on the rim of the circle.  They call this area the campfire, and the formation under water makes that seem appropriate.

With some powerful white lights placed on the bottom facing up, and each diver with a light we were instructed to place by the sides of our heads, also facing up.  The light attracts plankton, and the plankton attract the manta rays.  For about 35 minutes we stayed in this one place as manta ray after manta ray came in for their plankton meal.  For the last 15 minutes there were 4 rays swooping and dancing right above us.  Truly breathtaking.