Friday, February 21

Maui, day 13

A perfect day begins with retrieving a smiling Jackson, freshly awake, ready for play.  I was able to get in a tad of writing before seeing his happy face at 6, then brought him up to our apt since Pattie was up early today.

Joe and Cristin were off for a morning dive (the dive we did last Tuesday, but they had much better luck finding hammerheads and dolphins!), during which Pattie, Jackson, and I ran some errands—sending home 25 lbs of excess!—then went to the aquarium for a bit.  We met up there with Joe and Cristin at 2 and, at 2:40 Joe, Cristin, and I checked in for our dive into their tank.  A unique dive, for sure.

The pre-dive briefing was particularly interesting, as it included much of the history of the aquarium, its mission, and its inception in the late 90s.  The process of developing a cooperative relationship with the Hawaiian community involved significant participation of influential descendants of the family who had been on the proposed-aquarium’s land; namely “Uncle Charlie.”  Uncle Charlie passed a few years ago, and now his grandson plays a big role in the community’s involvement.

Each shark that is brought in to the Maui Ocean Center, and each shark that is released back into the open sea, is blessed by these descendants in a brief and solemn ceremony.  The video portion of our  briefing even included a recording of Uncle Charlie blessing each diver.

Much of the rest of the briefing included education about sharks, rays, and other animals in the tank, as well as general plans for our 40’ dive at a maximum of 18’.

The dive was unusual, to say the least.  The tank (750,000 gallons) was nothing compared to the boundless open water of a typical dive.  But the animals so plentiful, and so at ease with us…the video will speak for itself.

We entered the tank from a platform above, rested on a ‘tube’ which is broad enough for visitors to walk through and observe the animals from all angles.

I’m in, and Joe is readying to come in, then i descend…
first look from the bottom
The curator playing with his grouper friend
Follow the shark
Mom & Dad find Jackson with Pattie
A unicorn fish, a sting ray, and a tiger shark share a neighborhood
the Big Daddy sting ray
and a broad view from the periphery

A pretty cool dive.

The day ended with a nice last family meal at the Andaz, where we enjoyed a great sunset, a d delicious meal, and some perfect company.

Jackson, Cristin, Pattie at Friday night dinner
Jackson enjoying dessert