Underwater Gallery IV
The first three rules of scuba diving are #1. Always breath. #2. Never accend quicky; and #3. Never panic- It's amazing how much better and efficiently your brain will work for you if you don't allow it to start racing. One of the next things you learn is that to break off a piece of coral means killing thousands, possibly millions of organisms that took years to form, thus the importance of "neutral bouyancy"
(when I was little, I had lived in Mission Beach when Sea World first opened and it was really great compared to what else was around back then, but it's just not the same as getting to observe them free in their own enviornment).
In addition to being a self-employed koa woodworker, Ms. Jensen is an accomplished PADI Dive Master and underwater photographer. Her underwater photos of Hawaiian marine life and Jerry Garcia have been published in Rolling Stone 1995 Nov., People Magazine 1995 September/October Special Issue, as well as through People Magazine Compuserve.
I was checking out and enjoying your web pages and wanted to comment about moray eels. That "myth" about morays biting and not letting go (which I'm sure they are capable of) has not been my experience. I had always heard and feared that story until the 1st time I got bit. I've been bit twice scuba diving and both times they let go and backed off quick in seeming bewilderment. Both times I felt it was my fault. The 1st time I was trying to feed a yellow margin moray. I was mobbed by reef fish and in the confusion, dropped the piece of squid. The eel had already started out of his hole for the food. I felt a surge of fear and pulled my arm back (admittedly not smart). I was bit on the wrist (a very clean incision), after which he quickly retreated to his hole lookng more freaked out than I was. I can get eels to let me pet them but I never take food anymore. I ran this story down on my home page: http://members.tripod.com/~Oceananica/home.html (Should you decide to take a look be warned I have just started learning html and all I had to work with was webtv but I think the photos make up for my being such a beginner) The 2nd time I got it, I stuck my hand in what looked like a small crevice to coax out an octopus to show the group of divers I was leading at suck-em-up caves. I didn't notice the hole within the crevice. This time I got bit square on the and by a yellow long-snouted moray (I don't remember what they are called). Again it was fast and over with. I think he was expecting octopus. I had teeth marks in a "V" shape across the top of my hand. Nothing serious and I had gotten a tetnus shot after my 1st bite. There was some incidences at Kaiwi Pt. with a very young little aggressive moray. A couple were kicking along about 4 feet above the coral heads and this little guy just zoomed up, bit the girl and quickly retreated back into the coral. After 7 or 8 similar inflictions to other groups of divers, about 5 of us decided to try to catch and relocate the little terror. It was a job and a half, but we finally got him in the bucket and moved him a few miles away from any of the popular dive sites. Best of all, this was managed without anyone getting bit. My only other first hand "biting story" is of a dive I did with some hunter friends in South Kohala. My friend was lying on the bottom of a lava tube leisurely spearing mempache while I was in another part of the tube taking lobster pictures. He decided there were so many mempache that he would turn off his dive light and shoot silhouettes. By this time there must have been quite a bit of fish blood in the water because a large moray came along and bit him on the back of the calf as he lay there on his stomach. The eel must have been expecting fish because it quickly let go and swam off. I only felt compelled to write this to you because when I 1st started diving I had heard the pit bull stories about eels and oddly enough getting bit made me feel a lot better about them. I've noticed they all have varying personalities. Most of them are pretty mellow as long as I watch where I put my hands, although I have described their attitude as a cross between a doberman pincher and a chihuahua (to me that means "approach with caution"). I was also told that when making friends with an eel or attempting to pet one with which a relationship has been established, to always approach them with a closed fist, Since they have rather poor eyesight, fingers can easily be mistaken for squid. With insomnia and the best intentions, Vicki