Sep 10

Diving in Kauai

Here are some pictures taken on a recent trip to Kauai.  I always meet such great people when I travel & dive, and this was no exception.  Diving sites were Koloa landing, tunnels beach and some boat diving around Sheraton caverns.

You may notice that the collection is a bit turtle-heavy.  I like turtles.  Deal with it.

Sheraton caverns was by far the most interesting, with lots of life and interesting terrain, but not so far off shore that a long boat ride is required.  Tunnels is a great beach, and near some other interesting things to do on shore, but I found it rather barren for the most part.  This is probably due to the violent wave action that makes this site undiveable in the winter.  The cleaning station in the shallows was fantastic; if you find it, stay there – it’s the coolest thing you’ll find there, I think.  I found the tunnels (rock formations with a lot of swim-throughs) marginally interesting.  I’d probably like them better if I went with just one other diver.  Koloa landing is a good practice/reintroduction site, and a great way to start out a week of diving after not being in the water for a few months.  Although not super awesome like Sheraton caverns, there was a lot of life and it was really easy to get in and out, both in terms of diving and arriving by car.

 

Tunnels

Here are some Pacific Green sea turtles being cleaned by tangs off of Tunnels beach.

By the way, they are not called green because of their color – which is not really green – but because of their fat, which is green in color (people used to eat a lot of turtles).  Some green turtles are, in fact, green, but this is because of algae.  In true color, they are yellow/brownish-orange.  The color distortion at depth makes them look green in some photos, but this is misleading.  The next two pictures show this effect.

Here is a non-color-corrected image:

…and here is one taken with a flash, to show true color (and algae growth):

These next few images are close to the surface and the color is pretty accurate.  I’ve never seen so many adult turtles in one place.  Like all reef animals that want cleaning, they hang motionless in a slightly head-up position, flippers out.  This body posture is a signal to the cleaners, who come up to do their job.

Some other sights from Tunnels – my diving buddy that day, Carmen M.:

A little whitemouth moray eel found in the shallows.  they are very common in Hawaii.

What it looks like in the tunnels:

A school of bluestriped grunts.  I love to watch when a stationary school of animals rocks gently back and forth in the current.

What you see when you surface at Tunnels reef:

 

Koloa Landing

This is a rockmover wrasse, but I think of it as the stoned-out-of-its-mind fish:

These nudibranchs (probably Chromodoris vibrata) are mating (I think). They are basically fancy slugs, and they are beautiful and tiny.

Here is another type, the Gold Lace nudibranch.

Here is a rather blurry image of a humuhumunukunukuapuaa (it’s pronounced HOO-moo-HOO-moo-NOO-koo-NOO-koo-AH-poo-AH-ah).

A stonefish.  It’s venomous – very much so, and also common; I’ve found them all over the world.  They are almost impossible to see. Look for the eye, and the mouth to its left.

A flying gurnard.

 

An injured, sick-looking turtle with a completely algae-encrusted carapace.  If I had seen it in Florida, I would have alerted the turtle hospital, but I don’t know who to speak to about this in Hawaii.  Note the crushed portion of its shell near the left shoulder.

Another green turtle.

A green moray eel, which is really green.

A spotted pufferfish.  these guys are hard to photograph, because they move so rapidly and are shy.

Trumpetfish.

 

Sheraton Caverns

This area is so named because a) it’s off-coast of a Sheraton and b) there are some lava caves and swim-throughs in the area.  Turtles (yes, more turtles) like to rest in the caverns.  Drowsily perched on the stone blocks, flippers hanging carelessly, they resemble bored people waiting at a bus stop.  Like many reptiles, they don’t have the necessity to constantly respirate like us mammals; the simply stop breathing when water makes it inconvenient.  Lodging themselves in the rocks, they doze off.  It makes me consider the alien lives of other animals.  Can you imagine an existence in which breathing was more like eating – something you needed to do, but could be put off for long periods of time?

It was pretty exciting to drop into the cavern and find it filled with turtles, none of whom seemed particularly concerned with my presence.

Another of my favorite animals is the octopus.  They are very hard to find, specially in daytime; here is one hidden away in its crevice. This one is called the day octopus, for the simple reason that it is a rare type that can be found out and about in daylight hours.  Can you see it?  It is camouflaged not only by color, but by texture; an octopus can change either at will.  It is in the center right, a brown, rough-surfaced object.

Here it is a little more obvious, apparently menacing a banded cleaner shrimp. By this time the octopus has changed color and texture.

Shrimp is definitely on the menu for the day octopus, but either it wasn’t hungry, or it was scared by me, and it retreated into its lair.

Here’s the shoreline during our surface interval:

Back below, some morays: a yellow-margin and a whitemouth, respectively.

A hawkfish;  they are on every coral head.

At the very last minute, while ascending, some white-tipped reef sharks appear.  I didn’t have enough time to go back down after them.

Back on the surface, while the sun sets, some outriggers set out for a brisk row amidst the dashing surf.

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Michelle September 10th, 2012 6:27 PM

    Great photos! Turtles are wonderful.

  2. Tommy mo September 12th, 2012 11:43 AM

    Sweet! Thanks for sending out Dan. Great to see some solid shots from our dives. All the best and keep em coming I won’t be diving for a while!

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