Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Manta and Black Water Dive Day

Weather - 84 degrees and mostly sunny

Today we had to switch condos from D16 to D25.  We kind of lazily packed, went to the pool and then made the swap at around 11AM.  What a difference.  D25 is SO MUCH nicer.  Darline (the owner) has thought of everything you could possibly need to make a condo vacation great and then some.

We packed up the car with beach items and went to Hapuna Beach up north by Waikoloa and Mauna Kea.  Beautiful white sand beach.

Had a couple of beers there, took a short nap and then decided to head back to Kona in preparation for our Manta Dive and my Black Water Dive.

We met our dive boat, the Honu Iki, and our dive master Leo (pronounced Leauu).  Nice boat - lots of snorkelers on board for the Manta experience and 6 divers.  We headed north by the airport to Garden Eel Cove.  We had a videogropher on board (her name was Rian) who studies mantas so it was great to listen to her talk about the species.

Arrived just before sunset and tied up to another Big Island Divers boat and had our dive briefing.  Basically, go down 30 feet - sit around the "campfire" and watch the show.  By campfire I mean the collection of lights that each dive company brings to make an underwater auditorium.  So, we waited and we waited.  Plankton all over my light but no Mantas.  HUGE BUMMER!  We got skunked!  Oh well, we'll re-book for later in the trip in the hopes to see them in action.

Brought the divers not doing the black water and all of the snorkelers back to the marina to drop them off.  That included Carrie.  I was on my own to do the black water dive with three other divers and our DM, Leo.  Had our dive briefing on shore while we looked at pictures of what we might see out there.  We then headed out into the darkness, about three miles off-shore in 10,000 feet of water.  Yes - almost two miles deep!!!!  And I was going to attach myself to a single line at 50 feet with nothing but blackness under me?  You bet!  And I was so glad I did this dive.  SO COOL!  It was like what I imagine outer space to be or something like that.  We were in meso and bathypelagic soup with all sorts of wild looking creatures.  Much bigger than I expected.  All so beautiful refracting the light from our lights.  Blues, greens, oranges, yellows.  But transparent.  It was a bit disorienting so I kept turning my light off to re-orient myself under the boat and continued to watch the show float by.  We saw one thing float towards us that looked like some sort of long glowing snake or something.  And when I say long - Leo described it as "crazy ass thing" he'd never seen before and "as long as I was".  He's probably 6'4" so this thing was HUGE!  There was too much to look at - over stimulating almost.  I really enjoyed this dive.  Made it safely back on the boat at 12:05AM and headed back home.  Whew - I was pooped!

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