Diving Into Our Ocean World Feels Somewhere
Drift Into The Blue Magic Of Our Planet's Last Frontier
Like being allowed into another dimension of
The first three rules of scuba diving are:
I had snorkeled a little by the time I went with
some friends to take a scuba certification class. I wasn't
too keen on the idea. The gear seemed bulky and the tank
felt heavy and... and then I got under (actually 2 of my
friends took hold of me under the arms and lifted me to the
water to stop my complaining). At 94 pounds, no body fat
and no wetsuit, I was freezing! And then I started looking
around... I realized that with the tank, I now had the
time to actually observe all these little critters up
close, going about their everyday affairs. Some butterfly
fish ducking into a nook under a coral head and out again,
a multi colored wrasse poking around in the sand, The eels
no longer seemed so ominous, and these incredibly weird
long-snouted things called trumpet and coronet fish,
straight out of Peter Max's "Yellow Submarine". I got
so sparked! I knew I had to have more of this.
I learned what I consider to be a valuable
lesson from a trumpet fish. I was diving with some
friends on a rather surgey day so I was kicking twice
as hard to go distances. There weren't any rocks to hold
onto and I try to never touch coral so I let the surge
pull me backwards as it went against me so I could rest
for a minute. I looked down at this trumpet fish that
had been cruising along just below me for a while. He
appeared to be motionless, head downwards at about a 50°
angle. When the surge changed to the direction we were
headed he'd level out and just zip along. When the next
back surge came I tried it out. It seemed to lessen the
drag quite a lot! Then, when the surge was with me I
gave one nice swift kick and I was flying across the bottom;
until the next back surge. The major lesson for me being
to just go with the flow. Maybe I just imagined the
trumpet fish doing this, but real or imagined my
conservation of air and energy very much
improved after that encounter.
The first 4 days of the basic open water class My next "first" was after striding off the swim step
were all shore dives and then we were to do 2 boat
dives on the 5th and last day. That last day of my first
scuba course was a day of "firsts". Barely 5 minutes after
pulling away from the pier we were surrounded by dolphins.
Some racing with the bow of the boat while others were
leaping and spinning in the wake. Free, wild, and
joyous were the feelings they transmitted.
And for me, pure delight!
of the boat and hearing the oddest noise as I reached
the bottom. Our instructor made a few signs with his hands
as we looked at him quizzically. Then I found out, as he
yelled, "CAN YOU HEAR THE WHALES?" that if you
make an air space by blowing air into say, a rubber
glove and talk loudly, it's totally audible! After
that revelation I realized I was hearing that season's
"Song of the Humpback Whales"!
My other "firsts" that day were diving in
an underwater lava tube and it was also the day I
first heard the word "Night Dive". My first reaction
was "whoa". About a month later that changed to
I could do a whole other page on night dives;
and lava tube diving too for that matter.
My next "first" was after striding off the swim step
I like to laughingly complain about snorkeling
as being "on the outside looking in", especially when
I'm trying to talk someone in to their first dive (I also
like to tell them you burn off about 800 calories per
dive just cruising around in slow motion), but there are
definite advantages if you want to hang out with dolphins.
When they're not into being around people, they disappear
so fast you wish you hadn't blinked. When they are in
the mood they'll hang out around people for quite a while.
I would swear that sometimes they actually enjoyed our
company. Any time I go snorkeling and get to see dolphins
it puts me on cloud nine for the rest of the day.
When I was little, I happened to live in
Mission Beach, CA 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 home environment.
I have enjoyed making these pages and hope that you
will enjoy viewing them. I have made individual pages for
some of my favorite "dive buddies" (people and marine
life fit into that category). I may yet make an individual
page for eels. I was terrified of them before I got into
diving. Just learning that the reason they are always
opening and closing their mouths has to do with the
way they breathe dispelled a lot of my fear. As usual,
fear was just lack of knowledge. I've found knowledge,
caution and respect work pretty well for me.
I did get bit once trying to feed a yellow
margin moray. As I pulled a piece of squid out of
a plastic bottle, I got mobbed by reef fish. The eel
was coming after the food and I dropped it, felt a
surge of fear, and jerked my hand back. Really foolish.
Cardinal rule: never panic. I had heard eels lock on and
don't let go. That has not been my experience. It all
happened very quickly and the poor little guy was so
confused I felt sorry for him. Eels have poor eyesight but
a keen sense of smell and the most visible moving target
was my arm. He bit me on the wrist, let go and dashed
back into his hole and peeked his head out looking
completely bewildered. I have made it a rule since
then never to feed the inhabitants. I've made
friends with eels and gotten them to allow
me to pet them, but never again with food.
One of the greatest things about Hawaii
is that the marine life is very much protected,
And because of over fishing, new protection rules
have been initiated concerning bill fishing as well.
Because of people that used to rather aggressively
pursue the humpbacks. you must now keep a mandatory
distance from them. Turtles are not killed for their
oil or to be eaten as they are in many places. More
and more areas are being designated as
When I first started diving everyone always
just dropped anchor at the dive sites. Many people
began noticing the damage that the anchor chains and
anchors were doing to the reefs especially at the most
popular dive sites. Jack's Diving Locker, and many
of the other dive shop owners began to make inquiries
to Florida and other places that had put in permanent
mooring systems to alleviate the damage. With the help
of the University of Hawaii and the use of their underwater
drill, some substantial contributions (a large one from
Jerry Garcia who loved diving and also did a save the
reef benefit show), the use of the Kona Aggressor
live-aboard dive boat for several days and the hands-on
help of many supportive volunteer divers, the project
finally got underway. I am very proud to have been a
part of that operation. It really made
a valuable difference.
You won't find very much scientific or technical
information on my pages. There are so many wonderful
educational and informative sites about dolphins, whales,
turtles, the reefs and everything in between that have
all the facts and information currently available.
Check out my links page for some of my favorite
marine life and conservation web sites.
My Love of Diving, Marine Life and
Underwater Photography led me to create
a line of Dolphin & Whale Jewelry Box
Designs that I feel are Artistically Unique.
If you would like to view them, go to
the "Handcrafted Creations" link
at the Gallery Index below.
My sea turtle page features the
famous "Miss Piggy", the friendly, playful
and sometimes mischievious green sea turtle of
Kona. She is a true character! She taught me many
lessons about what their likes and dislikes are.
She's a lot like a playful, intelligent parrot. I
will be adding more marine life pages as I get
them made and find people to scan more of my
photographs for me; so if you like, check my
Marine Life Index and see what's new.
UPDATE: I just completed my Reef Shark and Octopus pages.
See the "More Marine Life" link below. Also see my 2nd
sea turtle page, "The Turtles of South Kohala"
|Handcrafted Creations: Dolphin & Whale Boxes|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery II: Green Sea Turtles|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery II: More Sea Turtles|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery III: More Marine Life|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery IV: Sharks|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery V: Octopus|
|My Underwater Photo Gallery VI: Frogfish|
|Underwater Photo Gallery VII: Dolphins|
|Underwater Photo Gallery VIII: Humpback Whales|
Click on the plane for the story
of the Kona airplane wreck dive