Archive for January, 2011
While staying in Maui I decided to dive the back wall of Molokini, since it’s famous for clarity and the breathtaking wall plunging into the depths. What I didn’t realize is that surface conditions often make this dive impossible to plan upon; the shops I called wouldn’t promise me a back wall dive, only that they’d try if the weather was right and the group of divers were experienced. Another thing they seemed concerned about was diver experience level; I can’t blame them – who wants to see some clueless diver sinking into the abyss? Luckily, when the day came it all worked out and we did exactly what I wanted to do – a portion of the back wall known as the northwest “corner.”
I used the highly-recommended outfit Mike Severn’s diving. They launched their boat from the Kihei boat ramp and the ride to the crater was only 20 minutes or so. It was a drift dive, but there wasn’t much drifting, so let’s call it a live dive. Max depth was 85 feet with a temperature of 73, comfortable with a 3mm suit and a 2mm hoodie vest. After our Crater dive, we stopped by the site of a tank and armored personnel carrier that somehow wound up on the ocean floor during training in WWII. During both dives, we could hear whales and porpoises singing. We didn’t see any while diving, but we did see both types of animals on the surface – it was better than the whale-watching trip I’d taken a few days earlier.
Above: Divers float over the abyss next to Molokini.
An octopus lurks in a crevice within the profusion of life on the wall. Can you see it?
Above is a close-up. Can you see it now? Only a tentacle is showing.
Above is another hard-to-see animal. Below is the close-up: it’s a nudibranch. I haven’t identified it exactly yet, but I have never seen one quite like this.
Above: a perfectly still and almost invisible frogfish.
Above: a school of bluestripe bass.
Above: the tank.
Above: the APC.
Above: a very rare black frogfish.
Me and my cat are close; we have good communication. Of course, we can’t speak in English, but cats are so expressive that we have a perfect understanding of each other.
Here is a typical interaction:
Me: [Lying in bed reading when the cat shows up and jumps onto the blanket, taking over the entire bed]
Cat: “I will sleep here now.” [She plops to one side and begins a vigorous cleaning.]
Me: “Oh you cute thing! I’ve just got to touch you.” [I reach out and touch the cat.]
Cat: [Pretends to not notice my hand, but the cleaning becomes intense; the cat licks herself with increasing fury until eventually she freezes and glares at me, one leg high in the air over her head.] “Let’s not take this too far, OK?”
Cat: “The touching. Stop that.”
Cat: “I don’t like being petted.”
Me: “Most cats like it. You’ll feel like a kitten, cared for and protected.”
Cat: “Screw that. Your touch disgusts me. Keep your hands to yourself.”
Me: “Look. You’re very cute, and you get free food. You don’t have to do any work; you live a life of leisure and free medical care. All I ask in return is that you allow me to touch you.”
Cat: “Fuck you, you repellent pile of monkey meat. I didn’t ask to be trapped in the house with you!”
Me: “Hey! I’ve had a hard day. You have no idea what I have to deal with. It would make me feel really good if I could just pet you. Can’t you keep still for a little while?”
Cat: “No. You’ve obviously mistaken me for someone who cares. I have problems too, you know. You have imprisoned me with a…” [She wrinkles her face into a mask of disgust] “…dog, that feculent shard of unmentionable microcephalic filth, which follows me around trying to hump me and coats me with drool.
Me: “I thought you two got along pretty well.”
Cat: “Shut the fuck up. There’s never enough food around here, and all day long I sit in front of windows watching unobtainable prey animals. Do you have any idea what it feels like to be completely thwarted? In addition, every time I try to maintain my claws, there you are shouting at me. You are always stuffing your face in front of me, but you have the manners of a badger – utterly lacking in sensitivity! Now, heaped in with all of those indignities, you expect that when I finally get some peace, I should tolerate the twisted fondling of a… a hairless ape?”
Cat: “So help me god, I will turn your hand into hamburger!”
Me: “Why can’t you be like other cats?”
Cat: “I’m telling you now, if you try to touch me, you will regret it.”
Me: “If you hurt me, I will provide you with the wisdom that only pain can teach.”
Cat: “So, that’s how it’s gonna be, eh? Always throwing your weight around, taking what you want.”
Me: “Don’t you have any sense of gratitude for all that I provide to you?”
Cat: “I owe you nothing. You, on the other hand, should spend the rest of your life providing me with what is rightfully mine.”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Cat: “Everything is mine, you dimwit! It would all be mine for the taking, if you and your kind didn’t constantly mess it up.”
Me: “Don’t you remember when you were a little, helpless kitten, and I rescued you, brought you home, kept you warm and fed you cream with an eyedropper for weeks?”
Cat: “That was a kidnapping, motherfucker! I was just fine on my own. Anyway, all your cream are belong to me, but you withhold it. You want me to appreciate this?”
Me: “Listen to me, you ungrateful little wretch. I’m 40 times your weight and unimaginably more powerful, with a deeply wrinkled brain capable of foresight. I will get what I want.”
Cat: “If it weren’t for the accident of my birth as a small cat, I would now be feeling your carotid pulse in my jaws as I slowly crushed your windpipe.”
Me: “It’s a good thing you’re so cute – otherwise you’d be dead.”
Cat: “You flatulent, self-abusing, repellent primate!” [I touch her and a scuffle ensues. She grabs me, savagely bites and tries to disembowel my forearm, but with my other hand I grab her by the back of the neck and she goes limp.] “Help! Rape! Fucker! Gaghhhhh!”
Me: [Sounding like George from "Of Mice and Men"] “Cute kitty! Ohhh, aren’t you soft? I want to hug you and squeeze you!” [I stroke her as she screams savage oaths and struggles weakly. Then I let her go, being careful not to let her claw me.]
Cat: “Goddamn it! I hate you. If I ever have the slightest chance, I will open your veins and watch the last of your blood flow from you while I laugh without pity. There is not a single redeeming quality about you, and if I could, I would cleanse the world of the pollution, the insult, the abomination that is you and your kind!”
Me: “You are the shittiest pet ever.”
Cat: “Then at least I did something right. Because no matter how much I wash your stench off of me, I’ll never really be clean.” [She begins a violent, resentful, extended cleaning, stopping occasionally to toss me vicious stares of unalterable hatred.]