Monday, May 5, 2008

Axe Murderer Tours - Booked All Weekend!

I had quite the busy dive weekend this past weekend. I got an e-mail a few weeks ago from my buddy at Stars & Stripes in Japan, Doug Johnson asking if he could book Axe Murderer Tours for a Saturday full of diving. He said his wife Fumiko was coming down with him and really wanted to dive the Grotto. You may not realize this but Axe Murderer Tours also offers pick up service at the curb at the airport, it's all included in the package price. And since I'm not really a dive guide, and since Axe Murderer Tours is just a fictional tour company, the price is free, a pretty hard deal to beat. I talked Kelli into going with us on the Grotto dive, as she has been avoiding diving the Grotto because of the stairs. Doug was smart enough to tell Fumiko there were just a few stairs, which is probably the only reason she agreed to come. There are really about 115 stairs, and they're not evenly spaced and are fairly steep. In the picture above, you see Kelli in front of the #3 hole in the Grotto. They all absolutely loved their Grotto dive by the way.Here you see Doug watching as Michael and Fumiko make their way out of hole #1 in the Grotto and head out into the open water of the Pacific Ocean. Kelli and I were already out and just watching them all come through the opening.And in spite of the fact that I had 4 people to watch, 3 of whom had never dove the Grotto before, I still managed to find time to find a Phyllidiella pustulosa nudibranch. I didn't really take the time to look for the Halgerda guahan and malesso nudibranchs inside. Well, ok I did look, but I gave Kelli my flashlight and it's pretty hard to spot them without a flashlight.We went out hole #1, went down the cliff line til I spotted a green sea turtle, took a few pictures of him, then I took them down and showed them the Bubble Coral and the giant clam. From there we went down to the backside of the fan coral cave and came up through that. This is what the fans look like as you come up through the hole and head up.This is Kelli outside of hole #2 alongside the underwater cliff line. She had just come up out of the serpentine tunnels that are lined with fan coral and was heading down to re-enter the Grotto through hole #2.And here is Kelli back in the Grotto in front of hole #1. Everybody seemed to really enjoy their Grotto dive and the girls even survived the climb back up the stairs with the tanks on their backs. And not only did they survive it, but they were both game to go get the tanks refilled and head to Lau Lau for our second dive before lunch. Is it possible that Kelli is turning into a dive-a-holic like someone else we all know? I'm not complaining! Dive #2 of Axe Murderer Tours from Saturday will have to wait til tomorrow. Then I'll let you join as I take Doug & Fumiko to a spot they specifically requested from reading my blog. Any idea what they wanted to see?

Spanish Dancer at Lau Lau

As we were heading in from part one of our dive at Lau Lau Sunday morning, I noticed this guy crawling along the rocks, it's a Spanish Dancer nudibranch, or a Hexabranchus sanguineus. This one happened to be a brilliant shade of orange. So I took several pictures of him crawling around on the bottom before I let him give everyone a demonstration of his swimming abilities.Here you see him starting to take off on his journey with his skirt all unfurled. They are called Spanish Dancers because the white fringe looks like the fringe on a skirt worn by a lady doing a spanish dance. They are really quite amazing to watch, and since I realize that most of you have probably never seen one of them do their thing, I took a little video to let you enjoy it as well.