Oct

18

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 40minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: The hurricane approached but the seas remained calm. I thought this might be the last opportunity to dive before the hurricane wreaked its havoc on the island and the surrounding ocean waters. So despite dusk settling in, i made a quick dip to check out the reef just out side the boating channel next to the pier. The sloping coral banks were in pretty good condition despite being so close to the town. Lots of fish around but being on dusk, lighting was difficult for photos. I cut the dive short because of the impending darkness, but it was still a nice dive if it proved to be my last dive of the trip.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

18

Conditions:

Visibilty: 15

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 14m

Details: This dive is nice and close to Kona…4 miles away to be precise. The cyclone was nearing landfall so this was going to be the last dive of the trip and conditions were already deteriorating, so i knew i couldn’t spend long in. The highlight of the dive was the lava tube that you can swim into. Other divers didn’t find it, so i felt lucky that i got too see a bit of the uniqueness that makes up the Hawaiian on my last dive.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

17

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 13m

Details: This was the dive i came to Hawaii to do. The black water or pelagic magic night dive. A dive were you hang tethered from the boat 1km from shore in the open ocean and wait for some of the miracles of the deep to rise up on their nightly migration to the surface. It was a little intimidating at first, feeling like a piece of berley sized for a 3 metre Oceanic White Tip, but once you start focusing on the critters that appear in your torch light you soon forget about the possibilities of whats out there and start concentrating on whats in front of your eyes! Things that you could barely imagine..weird and wonderful critters pulsating with light and other phosphorescent displays. The highlight was a Pelagic Octopus that gave me an opportunity to get a few frames off. This was really difficult shooting conditions, but i felt like the years of shooting macro in the rockpools paid off.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

17

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: This is a really cool dive site. More exposed than the other dives i’d done along the Kona coast, and the swell was up slightly making entry a bit more interesting…especially with a camera. However this was some of the best structure i’d seen with a lava arch formation in the shallows and some bigger bommies in the area.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

17

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: The small bay at the Sheraton Hotel is the site where the manta night dives use to happen. It was suppose to be a good spot to see Mantas during the day too, so i thought i’d check it out. Entry is fairly easy using a ladder thats been put there by a local manta snorkel company, but apparently this is locked up at night. I jumped in and came across a large school of jacks straight up, the vis was murky at this site though and they were flighty, so no great pix. I swam far and wise looking for mantas but i lucked out. A fairly uninteresting site in general. I’m sure seeing Mantas here would be a different story though.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

17

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 25m

Details: Honokohau Harbour is where all the fishing boats return to base, and apparently the Tiger Sharks of the island use it as a free feed zone. We were told that the best place to see them was in the channel at the entrance to the harbor. So buddying up with a couple from Texas, i headed out to the marker at the edge of the channel. The channel wall had some nice coral and a big moray kept me entertained while waiting for a Tiger shark to make an appearance. It wasn;t to be but still a nice dive regardless.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

16

Conditions:

Visibilty: Night Dive

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 10m

Details: One of the big draw cards of Kona, is the manta ray night dive. Some people describe it as one of their favorite all time dives. It is also one of the most expensive you’ll ever do, but its an opportunity not to be missed.

You leave Kona Harbour on sunset and arrive to a sea of boats in the sheltered bay. There were at least 20 boats full of divers and snorkellers all gearing up in anticipation to dive with the Mantas once the Sun sets. After being briefed we jumped in the water and headed over to the ‘arena’…or more like an underwater party, all lit up by divers torches and lights shining down from the surface. We didn’t have to wait for the Mantas to arrive; they were already there, swooping in over the divers heads to take the plankton attracted to the flood of light in the water. Over 20 different mantas put in a showing, with each individual being identified by the dive masters by the distinct patterns on their chests. After 80 minutes of watching the mantas barrel rolling, swooping and putting on a great display, i had to be torn away from the spectacle. With so many mantas i thought photography would be easy, but shooting wide angle at night was harder than expected. A once in a lifetime experience that i’m glad i had to opportunity to do.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

16

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: This was the second dive at Two Step and for this dive i put the macro lens on and attempted some fish portraits. I didn’t nail any great shots, but this gives you an idea of some of the common reef species that are along the Kona coastline.

Camera Details: Canon 60mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

16

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 80minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: I’ve always been a bit bemused when people go to the USA and put Hawaii on the itinary..yes, its a state of the USA, but its geographically so separate. However flying out of California, it had two benefits; 1.\ Cheap flights, 2.\ On route back to Australia. So Hawaii it was for a tropical week of diving before heading back home. The Big Island, and in particular the Kona Area was the obvious choice for a diving visit. The whole west coast of the Big island has accessible shore dives, and there’s a couple of specialty dives on offer too, namely, the Manta Night dive and the Blackwater or Pelagic Magic Night dive. The first dive i did was south of Kona, and what many suggested was the best shore dive site – Two Step or Place of Refuge. This was a small little bay with nice shallow coral gardens which then dropped off to a wall that went down to about 30metres. The highlight of my first dive was a turtle that cruised over the coral gardens..keeping all the snorkelers entertained. There were lots of fish around too, and a moray eel was a good find towards the end. A lovely dive to start off the trip.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

10

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 12m

Details: The last dive at Catalina. This dive was suppose to be at an area with a stand of kelp forest, but the current was deemed too strong so we moved into a small bay. A nice shallow site with lots of fish around. An octopus and a Moray Eel put in an appearance.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

10

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 70minutes

Max Depth: 20m

Details: This was the second dive at the same site. To mix it up i went down to about 20m, and the fish diversity was a bit better, including a lone Yellow-tailed Kingfish cruising past. I spotted a couple of crayfish hiding away in crevices (it was week one of crayfish season so they were probably pretty edgey). These californian specie look a lot more freaked out than the ones we have in Victoria waters…big staring eyes watching your every move. I also spotted an octopus in the shallows trying to blend into the rocks.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

10

Conditions:

Visibilty: 20m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 60minutes

Max Depth: 12m

Details: No trip to California is complete without a trip to the Channel islands..at least for a diver anyway. With limited time, i arranged to jump aboard a charter leaving from Long Beach out to Catalina Island. The skipper was nice enough to pick me up from my hotel and we headed down to the harbor. On arrival, the rest of the crew were scurrying around frantically, and we quickly got word that the compressor had given up while they were half way through filling the tanks for the 20+ divers on todays trip. The word ‘cancelled’ was thrown around for a good 30 minutes, but eventually the decision was a made to run at half numbers and just take out the Open Water students, plus one lucky Aussie that was flying out the next day! So out we went to Catalina, and despite the wind being up, we were greeted to crystal clear water. The diving didn’t live up to the hype though. Although great conditions, there were no kelp forests and, being mostly open water students, we stayed at a less than advanced site for the three dives. The Garibaldi(California’s marine emblem) are the stars of the show, flashing around their bright orange colouration against a bright blue background. I didn’t see a lot of other critters…perhaps the Garibaldi distracted me, but i dont think this site had a lot to offer in terms of diversity.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

5

Conditions:

Visibilty: 6m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 16m

Details: For the second dive, Brenna took me to San Carlos Beach to dive the Metridium Fields – a very unique giant anemone that grows in large clusters on boulders etc. The visiblity was atrocious and we nearly got separated on decent. Luckily we made it to the Metridium Fields and it was an eerie experience swimming with these strange forms in the unearthly green glow. Not a stunning dive site, but a very unique one!

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

5

Conditions:

Visibilty: 6m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 16m

Details: Day two in Monterey saw me meet up with Brenna to dive some of shore dives along the Carmel coastline. The first site was Butterfly House, a site that i’d read about which sounded fantastic. The entry point was over a fence and down a small cliff next the “butterfly-shaped” house. We then swam out through a gap in the rocky point and over to the south side of the point. This is were we decended, mainly to make it easier to negotiate the kelp on the surface..better to swim thorugh it, than over the top. We entered a lush kelp forest, and although vis was poor, the place had great atmosphere. Not as many fish as Pt lobos, but some different critters around, and more terrific terrain.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

4

Conditions:

Visibilty: 5m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 11m

Details: This was the second dive at Middle Reef at Point Lobos. One of the amazing things about this area is how quickly the visibility changes. After about an hours surface interval, the vis had dropped dramatically. No biggy…just adds atmosphere to the eerie nature of the kelp forests.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos:

Oct

4

Conditions:

Visibilty: 10m

Water Temp: ??c

Bottom Time: 50minutes

Max Depth: 11m

Details: I was lucky enough to be sent to San Francisco for a work conference and had two weeks free afterwards to travel around the United States. After a lot of research i decided that diving around Monterey sounds like it would be a good spot to get a few dives in, and also be close enough to see some of the other land-based sites around California. Point Lobos sounded like a fantastic spot to start and i met up with a diver called Gary to check out the Kelp Forests on this amazing marine reserve. Despite all the literature about the underwater canyons right off shore Monterey and Carmel, we only reached about 12m on this dive. But it was fantastic with some nice kelp forests, lots of fish and some great terrain.

Camera Details: Tokina 10-17mm 2 X YS-D1 Strobes

Photos: