Wednesday, March 18

Oahu, day 4

Awoke in Waikiki for a morning dive.  The first of two dives was a great distraction from everything going on.  Wed descended to an area with two wrecks (Yo 257 and the San Pedro ) just a few hundred yards apart, and no sooner did we get to the deck of the wreck than we saw turtles lounging on the deck, and three spotted sting rays gently swimming by.  We swam through this wreck a bit, though at this depth (about 90’), we really could only stay there about 30’. [Some very pretty views of turtles, sting rays, and a school of barracuda…alas, condensation on the inside of filter (easily fixed, but i just didn’t notice) made gopro shots useless.]

As we were the only divers on this trip, and we were on enriched air (36%), we had a pretty brief surface interval (30’) and then tried Horseshoe Reef.  The visibility was less than 10’, and we called the dive after about 20’. 

That lack of clarity was certainly an apt metaphor…We declined the diver/captain’s offer to take us to a clearer site, as I think we were feeling the need to pack up and move along.  On the ride back to the harbor, talk inevitably turned to steps being taken to contain this pandemic, of course.  Mayors on different islands are shutting down so many tourist-related businesses, and every time these boat captains answer their phones, it’s another cancellation.  Tough time, to say the least.

It has been impossible to get through to the airlines via phone for the past week.  Hawaiian Airlines, the airline we’d been scheduled to fly to Oakland on the way back east, handles cancellations differently than other airlines; you complete an online form, and they process it.  I did that last Friday (3.13), but they’re clearly just so overwhelmed that no action was taken.  So, before leaving Waikiki we went over to the airport and waited in their special services line for a spell. 

While waiting in that line, we rec’d a phone call from our Kona AirBnB host; that’s where we’re scheduled to be 3.21-4.18.  Janine proved to be mostly concerned about us, whether we needed/wanted her to do some food shopping for us, etc.  She also assured us that if we ultimately needed to stay longer, that the place would be available.  I’m sure she’d be happy to have it rented out, but it was nonetheless to know that we can play this in an open-ended way, at least for now.

The agent who helped us officially cancel our ticket to Oakland was very helpful—as was everyone in the line—and now we faced the matter of rescheduling that ticket.  As the airlines will only allow a single schedule change on these tickets, the agent advised me to schedule this only when we knew for sure when we wanted to leave.  Knowing that our accommodations are available after 4.18, and not knowing anything about how long this situation will be bad, we decided to just leave this return ticket unscheduled for the time being.

We drove back up to Hau’ula, washed our scuba neoprene, and sat down to stay put until Saturday morning’s trip to the airport.

Pouring rain all afternoon and evening, and our first thunder/lightening storm here.  Very windy, very violent.