Underwater Photography and Fish Identification (AWARE) Dives: our last two dives for our Advanced Open Water (AOW) Certifications are complete through Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures at the Waikoloa Queens’ Market Place on Hawaii! We will get our new cards within 90 days 😀

View at Cave exit at Kei Kei Caverns (Horseshoe), Kawaihae Coast, Hawaii.

View at Cave exit at Kei Kei Caverns (Horseshoe), Kawaihae Coast, Hawaii.

Yikes…we are now AOW Certified! Maybe the next step, after a while, is the “Search and Recovery Diver” dive to see if we can recover the weight pouch that dropped out of my BCD on our Fish I.D. Dive, the second dive; although, I did better on my air supply on both dives! All-in-all, the whole day was great!

The first dive was our Underwater Photography Dive at Kei Kei Caverns (Horseshoe), Kawaihae Coast, Hawaii. The initial entry was brisk, as it always is this time of year; but once in, it was very nice! I FINALLY heard whale song and it was very melodic and lulling, not to mention Fantastic!

However, I was not going to be distracted from the purpose of this dive so I took many photos and a few video clips. Several of my photos are quite decent regardless of my inexperience due to Andy having used the camera on previous dives before the second camera was acquired.

Andy examining the reef & fish during our 1st dive.

Andy examining the reef & fish during our 1st dive.

It is nice that we both have an underwater camera now! 😉 Even though the visibility was only about 40 feet, it was a very good dive and there was a lot to see that seemed new since I was viewing it through a photographer’s eyes. The dive site was nice, too; although, it is not at the top of my favorites list.

The second dive was our AWARE-Fish Identification (I.D.) Dive at Ulua Caverns, Kawaihae Coast, Hawaii. Project AWARE stands for Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education (read more about this project at Project AWARE). This was the dive when the weight pouch dropped, unnoticed, from its pocket.

Denise gave me one of her weight pouches and I got to finish my dive 🙂 I kept track of my weights from that point on; but did not let it distract me from a great dive!

Black Durgeon, Moorish Idol, and others seen on the reef.

Black Durgeon, Moorish Idol, and others seen on the reef.

We I.D.’d several fish as well as some ocean mammals. Some mammals were the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) by ear and hearing their song underwater; and we saw many of them from the boat. The fish we saw and I.D.’d were MANY! Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), Parrot Fish (Scarus psittacus), Greater Amberjack (Seriola dumerili), Ornate Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ornatissimus), Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus), Common Longnose Butterflyfish [Forcepsfish] (Forcipiger flavissimus), Big Longnose Butterflyfish (Fordipiger longirostris), Saddle Wrasse (Thalassoma duperrey), Ringtail Wrasse (Oxycheilinus unifasciatus), Orangespine Unicornfish [Naso Tang] (Naso lituratus), Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus) – Hawai’i’s State Fish, Lei Triggerfish (Sufflamen bursa), Goldring Surgeonfish (Ctenochaetus strigosus), Black Durgeon [Black Triggerfish] (Melichthys niger), Hawaiian Sergeant (Abudefduf abdominalis), and Whitemouth Moray Eel (Gymnothorax meleagris).

I learned more than just how to take better underwater photos! Like this is a Ringtail Wrasse?!

I learned more than just how to take better underwater photos! Like this is a Ringtail Wrasse?!

There were many others that escaped our searching eyes or recording arm because we were writing them down as fast as we could and they were still too fast 😉 I suppose taking a camera on this dive would have helped, too.

Well, lesson learned 🙂

Andy found more nudibranch to photo and I.D. as well. Pictures of those will probably post on his site at A Darker View in his ‘Wordless Wednesday’ category in addition to some photos of some of the fish listed above. In between the first and second dive while we were talking story and passing our surface interval, we watched a Coast Guard Plane circle overhead two or three times when they observed a boat company on a whale watching tour that was too close to a pod of Whale!

Yellow Tang, Forcepsfish, and others recovering from the wake off of Andy's dive fin.

Yellow Tang, Forcepsfish, and others recovering from the wake off of Andy’s dive fin.

We were very GLAD that we were still moored at the dive site (Horseshoe) at that time! On our way back to the harbor, we saw more Humpback Whale than we saw on our way out to the dive sites! We even had to change our course to head closer to land to slip behind a pod that was headed back out to sea and because the boat was limping back on one motor, we had no trouble staying at a slower pace while passing by the whales! 😀

For more about Humpback Whale and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary visit The Humpback Whale Sanctuary!

On The Reef from Andrew Cooper on Vimeo.