Wednesday, January 15

Oahu, day 4

Another early morning, as our dive in Honolulu at 9:30 meant leaving our spot before 8.  The trip is typically about 50-60’.  Alas, with bad traffic—truly as bad as anywhere I’ve ever been—we were a little late.  “No problems, brother, we’re on Hawai’I time,” was what we heard when we called at 9 to say we were stuck in a jam.

On the drive south to Honolulu, we saw glimpses of openings in the clouds, giving us hope that we might finally see the sun a bit before leaving Oahu.  In looking forward to the dive to come, Pattie and I both admitted some apprehension, and low expectations.  After yesterday’s shore dive, very young guide, and surge/current far beyond anything we’d dealt with before; we were not hoping for anything great.

We arrived about 10’ late, and all were calm; three other gents were going with us; a recent retiree from Sikorsky who’d spent his career in Connecticut; and two guys in their late 20s from Sacramento.  All had some sort of military connection to the island, and were staying on base locations.  It seems generally understood here that the US military has the best spots on the island, so if you’ve got a way to stay there, it’s great locale.  We’re quite happy where we are, though, well away from Honolulu.

Ken, of Living Ocean Scuba, and his son who captained the boat, were just amazing.  An interesting guy with hints to a fascinating back story, Ken has trimmed his business to a single boat and small groups so that he can guide, interact and, as we saw him do with each of the five of us on this trip, really act as a bit of a teacher when necessary. 

heading out to the wreck

Our first dive of the day was to the Sea Tiger, a wreck just about 10 minutes off shore, at about 100’ depth.  As Pattie and I had only reached about 75’ in past dives (this was only my 10th dive, Pattie’s 14th), and the idea was to leave the boat and descend directly to that depth, we were unsure of our ability to do this.  Alas, not a problem in the least, and after the few minutes it took us to clear our ears, etc., we really enjoyed the site.

Like most wrecks, this one has become a very active reef and home to so very many fish and animals.  The views were truly striking and colorful.  The pictures here are a great representation, as is the video at the Sea Tiger link above.

I got one umderwater shot on the GoPro—the first view as I looked downward upon reaching the wreck—and it was a nice one of a shark.  You’ll also see Pattie beckoning me over to see a great shot of a turtle, just resting on the deck, nestled into the side rail, and of some fish with vivid colors–especially the yellows.

first descent to Sea TIger

Then, as Murphy’s Law dictates, the battery died.  And, of course, the backup battery I’d tried to put in before departing wasn’t recognized by the camera. (will deal with this tomorrow.)

As Joe says, being on/at a wreck is a bit surreal.  The boat surely doesn’t belong here, under this much water, but the ocean and ocean life just inhabit it and make it their own.

We surfaced after a 24’ dive—a quick one, but the deeper the dive, the shorter the dive (a good reason to learn to dive with Nitrox blends, clearly)—then headed to the Nautilus Reef a bit closer to shore.  This reef was at less then 50’ depth and, not surprisingly, we felt the current/surge much more than the first dive.  Visibility wasn’t really great, but we did see a few nice colors, eels, and beautiful coral formations.  Part of the takeaway on this particular dive was that Pattie and I could implement some of the things we’d learned the prior day regarding diving in heavy surge/current.  This dive was much easier having learned from the Electric Beach experience.

Headed home and grabbed a bite at a Wendy’s, as we’re getting tired of spending too much on pretty-good food.  Sometimes the food trucks are amazing, sometimes quite meh…so we just got a potato at Wendy’s a continued our drive north.  A few little stops for shopping (not buying), and home by 4 to rinse our gear, throw in a laundry, and relax.