Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Diving With Your Phone - Not Recommended!

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from Brad, basically forcing me at gunpoint to go diving. Well ok, the truth of the matter is he didn't even have to twist my arm, I'm almost always up for a dive. We headed back to Lau Lau as he wanted to try getting some video of a turtle. It's one of the first dives I've done at Lau Lau in a very long time that I couldn't find a turtle, but it's just as well since Brad couldn't get his camera to work anyway. Of course that isn't about to stop us from having a good time and seeing what we can find. The good news is that the "bait ball" or huge school of Atulai is still there and bigger than ever. They weren't in a tight ball yesterday, it seems like there were just way too many of them. When they first started coming toward us, they just kept coming, and coming, and coming. I've never seen the school that large, so it was very cool just watching them dart all around us like we were just a couple coral heads in the water. This is what it looks like to have thousands and thousands of Atulai flying at you all at a high rate of speed. It is truly phenomenal to be surrounded by that many fish, you just kind of lose yourself for a few minutes and truly become part of the underwater world. We just stayed floating in the water watching this monstrous school of fish darting back and forth all changing direction at precisely the same time as if they were all controlled by a single brain. Boy I can think of a lot of jokes right about now, but I think I'll just leave them all alone. I also spotted this tiny colorful clam tucked in a hole in this piece of coral. I don't ever remember seeing one with this kind of coloring before. Even after thousands of dives, you can still discover things you've never seen before. It's just a matter of taking the time to look carefully at everything and looking in places you might not have looked before. And it wouldn't be one of my dives if I didn't spot a nudibranch or two along the way. This Phyllidia pustulosa was working his way across the coral reef. I just thought he looked cool with those big rhinopores sticking up. Almost looks like he was wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears. Then I came across one of the biggest green moray eels I've ever seen, and I've seen some big ones. When I first spotted this guy, you couldn't see his head, all you could see through the 8" wide hole was a green eel body, covering the entire hole from top to bottom. His body was easily thicker than my thigh. I couldn't manage to coax him out of his hole so I don't know how truly long he was. But he was coiled around in this little network of holes, and from where his head was, I found another hole where I could see his tail, it was well over 8' away. This was one gigantic moray eel! On the way back in I spotted what looked like little marble sized cocoons, just like the bigger oblong egg masses from the Philinopsis gardineri nudibranch. There were several all attached to rocks, algae and various things. I zoomed in and sure enough you can see the little individual egg sacks in this one. I don't know what kind of nudibranch laid these, but it's amazing what you see when you finally start learning a little bit about the underwater world. In this pictures you can see several of the little egg sacks all attached to this hydroid. Now the next part of the puzzle will be trying to figure out what lays these egg sacks. The more I looked around this one area though, I realized just how many egg masses were all over the area. There were more of the cocoons from the Philinopsis gardineri all attached to the sand, and there had to be close to 50 of these other little guys all over the place. Just one more reason to be very careful when diving about what you touch and disturb, you just never know what might be there. But as with all great dives, they eventually come to an end. When our heads popped out of the water at the rope, this is the sight that greeted us. This rainbow was coming right down onto the water, not far from where we were actually. I kind of wondered if maybe it was directly on top of us when I saw that huge moray eel, and if instead of Leprechauns at the end of rainbows out here, we have moray eels. Had I known there was a rainbow up there at the time, I might have tried forcing the moray to give up his pot of gold.

Then as I was getting into my truck after the dive, I made a horrible discovery. My cell phone was in my swimsuit pocket! Yup, it had been there for the entire dive. So I discovered that Motorola Razor cellphones are not waterproof! You cannot send or receive calls while diving, and if you take it diving, you won't be able to send or receive calls after diving either. The only one who seemed to be happy about the whole fiasco was Ralph, my pet fighting fish. He is now the only fighting fish on island with his own personal Razor cellphone. Maybe I should have been looking for a new cellphone at the end of that rainbow instead of a pot of gold, but then again it would have been underwater too so I guess I really wouldn't have been any further ahead. Such is another day in the life of me!