Dive Wisdom from a Monk

After another hiatus, I am back to blogging ... and diving.

A couple of weeks ago, our family headed to Oahu for a long awaited vacation.  I was looking forward to the trip and more than excited about the prospect of seeing Hawaii for the first time.  It didn't disappoint.  We stayed on the windward side and awakened to cooling trade winds and the pound of the surf outside our beachfront home on Kailua Bay.  While the windward coast has fewer dive spots than the leeward and north shore, Kailua is the perfect beach town and nowhere on the island is more than an hour and a half's drive.  All in all, very hard to hate!

This was also my first return to diving since my accident last June.  As then, I would be diving with my son, Noah.  But, for the first time in many, many years, my wife Tonya joined us.  It was an awesome combination!

Our first dives were at Shark's Cove on the North Shore.  Named for the shape of the small bay (not man-eaters lurking in the shadows unfortunately) this extremely popular dive site was a perfect point of re-entry.  After leaving the snorkelers behind in the shallows, visibility really opened up to around 40'.  Ryan Carr of Aaron's Dive Shop in Kailua was our guide. If you're headed to Oahu, I strongly recommend hooking up with Ryan - he's a terrific diver and really knowledgeable.  But, more important still, he's a great guy to hang out with.

A Hawaiian Monk Seal resting and sunbathing on...Image via Wikipedia
About half way through our second dive as I emerged from a swim through I spotted some big pieces of gray rubber sticking out of a hole in the lava.  I assumed it was an inner-tube or old wetsuit.  I was wrong, the rubber turned out to be the fins of an adult Hawaiian Monk Seal (I'm smiling with glee even as I write this) who was taking a nap in the reef.  While keeping a respectful distance we all got a peek without waking him and proce

eded with our dive.  At the end of the dive, I grabbed a camera and went back for a couple of shots.  I took one of him sleeping (from quite a distance, hence the murk) and then backed off to work on my camera.  While I was making adjustments however, our new friend decided that we were the one's worthy of checking out and he swam up to meet the divers and snorkelers at the surface.  It was an incredible moment ... the kids snorkeling and we divers were in awe of his/her beauty and sat transfixed and unmoving.  The seal checked us out, caught its breath and headed back down for an other nap.  Absolutely amazing!

The whole experience was so incredibly laid back that it calmed the nervous voice in my head that was worrying about the return to diving.  Chill, he seemed to say.   And so I did.  

We had a great week diving on and off.  We found the much touted Haunama Bay to really beautiful WELL outside the reef if the viz is good but not really worth the hassle of the swim in through the rip that carries you out.  On the other hand, Electric Beach was exceptional (sharks, eels, a turtle and dolphins) and really easy shore dive.  I'd also recommend Turtle Canyon off Waikiki beach if the swell isn't up.  We didn't have good viz but we saw a ton of turtles.

Lastly, I want to plug a great site I was turned onto by the great folks at Ocean Concepts in Pearl Harbor.  It's Shorediving.com.  Boat dives are great but shore dives have always been my favorites.  This site is, in my opinion, the best all around resource for shore divers with lots of the local knowledge that is essential to a fun and safe experience at a new site.  I highly recommend checking them out when planning your next trip.

Dive safely.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: