Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Axe Murderer Tours Busier Than Ever!

Saipan has been blessed recently with by the visits of several military ships and submarines. Last week we had 3 in port all at the same time. The Saipan Chamber of Commerce has been hosting receptions for the visiting ships and subs at various venues around the island, and for these 3 it was at the Hard Rock Cafe. The event was very well attended by both the ships crews and Chamber members, and actually packed out the Hard Rock. I was introduced to the XO of the USS Ingraham, John Cranston, who told me he was a certified diver and would love to go out diving Friday afternoon. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, it was John and 5 of his fellow crewmembers, all certified divers, who wanted to go and dive the Grotto. I was really glad I had recruited some extra help in taking this bunch out diving. Of course my usual partner in crime in Axe Murderer Tours Doug Brennan was with me, but also joining us on this dive were the Mikes, Mike Tripp and another one who shall have his last name withheld to protect the guilty.This is a shot of the group from the USS Ingraham that dove the Grotto. You'll notice a couple of old Axe Murderers in the back, and Mike Tripp in the picture as well. The good news is this picture was taken after the dive and they all still had smiles on their faces. Of course this was taken before I started feeding them my Wasabe peanuts from Expressions. However I did manage to get some of them hooked on the very spicy nuts, and they went and bought some to take with them for the trip to Honolulu.Here you see Pete looking down into the Grotto before the dive, checking things out and taking a look at where he'll be heading in just a few minutes. I took a bunch of pictures of Pete, I think it was because of his outstanding haircut!Pete is emerging from the first little tunnel or swimthrough I took them through. The terrain outside of the Grotto is full of cracks, holes, tunnels and swimthroughs and can be a lot of fun to go exploring as long as you have someone with you who really knows their way around and the way back into the Grotto.We had a big surprise as we went down on the bottom side of the fan coral cave rock, tucked right in by the wall was a 6' Napolean Wrasse. He didn't seem to be in too much of a hurry to get away from us, so several of them got a very good look at him.As we entered the fan coral cave, Mike was coming it through it from the other direction, but it made for a pretty cool picture with the fans and the opening behind him. 3 of them had so much fun on the Grotto dive they wanted to go again with a couple crazy Axe Murderers to Lau Lau the next afternoon. And I know that the XO, John, really wanted to go as well, but unfortunately duty was calling for him.So on the Lau Lau dive I got to take Brian, pictured above.Brittany was also along for the Lau Lau dive.And Pete was OK with his Lau Lau dive as well. I decided to see just how adventurous these 3 were, so I led them through a bunch of the tight little swimthroughs that go under the coral. They all followed me through all of them. And of course it's always a bonus when you get to swim with turtles on a dive.The little Hawksbill was just lazily swimming over the coral and letting us get a nice, close look at him. They all said the dives were the best they've ever been on, which I'm always happy to hear. Axe Murderer Tours managed to put 6 more notches in it's belt over the weekend, and we're taking the Commander and the XO of the USS Higgins out this afternoon and tonight, so our next 2 victims are already standing in line. I think I may have to start a hat & t-shirt clothing line with an Axe Murderer Tours logo, I think they'd be pretty hot sellers.

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