Our Family Photo

Our Family Photo

Friday, February 23, 2007

Our Adventures Under the Sea

Our Annual trip to Maui began on February 7/07 and ended on February 22/07.Its nice to get to a warm place at least for 2 weeks during our Alaskan winters. One of our favorite events on our trips is to scuba dive and this year we made eleven dives, in those we made one night dive to our favorite place called Mala Wharf, one twilight dive to The Carthaginian Sailing Ship resting at a depth of 97 feet. Berthed in Lahaina for 23 years until it's sinking creating an underwater artificial reef structure. I think one of the most memorable moments of our twilight dive was the incredible whale song that we heard it was just like being in the middle of a symphony in surround sound.

Dive#: 1 Dive Site: Olawalu Depth: 33 feet Bottom Time: 42 minutes

This was our first dive of 2007 we had a air temperature of 80° and bottom temperature of 77° and a visibility of about 20 feet. This site is known for having a turtle cleaning station however it was empty today. We did see several parrot fish, wrasses, and a huge turtle that gave us a drive by.

Dive#: 2 Dive Site: Manta Point Depth: 51 feet Bottom Time: 47 minutes

We were very privileged to dive this site, its not one that they go to very often in order to keep the Manta's from getting harassed and possibly scared off. We dropped down to a sandy bottom and then swam over to a Manta cleaning station at a depth of about 17 feet we hovered and watched at least 4 or 5 large female manta's swam in circles while the cleaning wrasse picked the parasites and stuff from their skin. There were also three males waiting to take their turn in the cleaning station and they were swimming patiently behind us.

Dive#: 3 Dive Site: Molikini Crater Depth: 72 feet Bottom Time: 31 minutes

Our first time to dive Molikini crater and the visibility was great. We dropped down to 60 feet onto a coral bottom and moved out to the sand and in about 70 plus feet the ground was covered in garden eels swaying in the currents. We also saw dragon wrasse, butterfly fish and parrot fish, trigger fish and lots of very friendly surgeon fish. We also heard beautiful whale song that was amplified by the shape of the crater the only thing that could have made this dive better would have been to see the whales or sharks.

Dive#: 4 Dive Site: Olawalu Depth: 35 feet Bottom Time: 55 minutes

This was our second dive of the day, the first being Molikini Crater. There were turtles every where at least 7 large green sea turtles in and around the cleaning station getting all of the parasites removed. We also saw spotted trunk fish, bullet head parrot fish and the cleaner wrasse.

Dive#: 5 Dive Site: Cemetery Beach Depth: 15 feet Bottom Time: 63 minutes

This was our first beach dive this trip and we had allot better and more graceful entry into the surf than the one last year. We snorkeled out to a depth of about 10 feet then dropped down to a sandy bottom with poor visibility. Ben used his compass and shot a course due west and we were soon out to about 15 feet with 20 feet of visibility and a nice coral reef. We saw lots of unicorn fish, moray eel and nudibranchs, trigger fish, bird wrasse, pennant butterfly fish and were serenaded by either whales or dolphins. Ben made an excellent dive buddy and navigator and got us right back to our entry point.

Dive#: 6 Dive Site: The Carthaginian Depth: 94 feet Bottom Time: 20 minutes

This was the second dive on the Carthaginian for Ben ( he dove it in 2006about a month after it was sunk) and my first deep dive. I have to admit that I was nervous at the start but Ben made the comment that the only difference between the 60 foot dives I am comfortable with and the 90 plus dive is 30 feet and he was right I was nervous for nothing. The critters were much more abundant this year compared to the sparse and almost sterile like conditions in 2006. We saw file fish, frog fish and coral starting to grow on the hull; its amazing what one year can do. The whale song was so clear it was peaceful; even the most stressed person would relax to the sound of that serenade.

Dive#: 7 Dive Site: Mala Wharf Depth: 28 feet Bottom Time: 53 minutes

Back at one of our favorite dive spots this wharf teams with life and as soon as we dropped down into the water we were greeted by our old friend the white tipped reef shark and he/she was there with a buddy. The one cute new thing to this site was when we apparently invaded the space of a damsel fish that was protecting either its territory or a nest. For several minutes this little fish (who thinks its the biggest fish in the ocean) was pecking at the camera and my mask. Too cute, and thankfully it has no big teeth.

Dive#: 8 Dive Site: Marriot Reef Depth: 39 feet Bottom Time: 43 minutes

This was the first time at this dive site and we got to test out some of our skills soon after entering the water. Ben's weight bag fell out and plummeted to the bottom of the ocean so I had to go down and retrieve it and bring it back to the surface which is not an easy task with an extra 9 lbs of lead. Then it slipped from his grasp and I got to preform the task all over again. Ben was then able to descend where we were able to get it back where it belongs. We got to see loads of fish and turtles and it was a great dive.

Dive#: 9 Dive Site: Mala Wharf Depth: 28 feet Bottom Time: 62 minutes

This was once again a great dive and the boat crew knew how familiar this site was to us so they let us do our own exploring. We were not let down and saw that our favorite sharks and turtles were there waiting for us. As well as the trumpet fish, trigger fish, nudibranchs, frog fish and the whale song. We did have to laugh though as both dive boats from our dive company were there and we ended up swimming to the wrong one. We thought something was not right and after a brief trip to the surface ( Ben acting like a stealth submarine with a periscope) realized our error and got back to our boat with plenty of air left. Awesome dive.

Dive#: 10 Dive Site: The Carthaginian Depth: 94 feet Bottom Time: 23 minutes

A twilight dive on The Carthaginian with the symphony of the whale song playing surround sound what a treat. We didn't get to see the actual whales but their singing is truly incredible. It wasn't really dark enough to need our dive lights but the amount of fish and critters that come out to this wreck at twilight is truly amazing. Lots of file fish, surgeon fish and others and the resident frog fish were there to greet us. Its kind of eerie too how the wreck looks with the last remaining light of the day shining down onto it and knowing ( like the captain of the boat said when telling us not to stray from the wreck and into the deep blue) that if we were to stray to far we are no longer at the top of the food chain.

Dive#: 11 Dive Site: Mala Wharf Depth: 27 feet Bottom Time: 53 minutes

This would be our final dive of the trip and what a better way to end then to our favorite dive site and a night dive. Our boat crew told us there were two main rules to night diving and they are: 1 Don't look behind you. 2 If you do look behind you, and don't like what you see turn your light off. We all got quite a laugh out of that and in some ways its true. If you are the type that spooks easily then you might not want to try night diving. You are out in the water with all sorts of creatures and you really can only see what is in the direction of your dive light. As soon as we were on the wharf there in the light of our dive lights there was our favorite shark buddy and that was a little on the spooky side. We also seen a couple eels, two sponge crabs a regular crab, damsel fish, trumpet fish and the urchins were on the move. We were also in the company of the singing whales again. Ben got us back to the boat with lots of air to spare ending the most perfect night dive.

Our accommodations while on the Island of Maui

While on Maui we stayed at Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, walking distance to downtown Lahaina. It also had a beautiful beach out front with some really good snorkeling , coral heads and critters.

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