The increasing time between dives when I find myself approaching the dangers of “Bottom Time” withdrawal!!!!
“Bottom Time” – It is how we calculate each dive to determine how long we need to remain surfaced to allow the nitrogen to sufficiently escape from our bodies before we submerge for more Bottom Time (BT). Cumulative BT is also used to determine diver experience. Snorkeling helps to prevent withdrawal; however, after a long enough period of only getting to snorkeling depths, let alone out of the water all together, MY ‘gills’ get VERY dry!
I ‘NEED’ the pressure of 40 to 80 foot depths with a diving tank to infuse the water deep into the ‘gill’ tissues to fully saturate so that I can survive the ‘landlocked’ periods no matter how long they may be. Similar to a bear getting ready for hibernation. 😉 A dive was attempted before our summer get-away to Alaska where the bear are just coming out of their winter sleep; but the weather did not cooperate. 🙁
July 31, 2011: At LOOOOONG LAST!!! I got BT again, just before the withdrawal began to get serious; and the breathing gasps for tank air started!!! 😀 Today, with strong determination, we looked at several shore sites to go diving from before we found one that was sheltered enough from the surge and wave action where we would not have more of a challenge than fun in the water.
The site we found was Pine Trees Beach. Tucked in from the outer edges of the Kona Coast just enough to have the waves role by and flatten a bit before it reached the small beach where it is fairly easy to enter and exit the water. But, be ready to either descend right away and swim along the bottom; or tuck yourself up close to the waters edge and snorkel as you make your way out to the reef because this IS a high boat traffic area. It is especially popular with the dive boat operations! 😎
Depth starts shallow at 20-40 feet (Some divers were getting open water certs), and quickly dips to more than 100 feet but it is a smooth transition. It is also view-filled so I was surprised to look at my depth to see 80 feet! It felt like we had just descended even though our starting bottom depth was only 40 feet and just a few kicks earlier! :-O
We had already observed an Eagle Ray or two, many Tang, a few Arc Eye Hawkfish, some Goatfish, and much more. It is little wonder that the depth escaped my scrutiny. Around 85-90 feet, I saw a few Garden Eel in the distance. There was an interesting shape on the sandy bottom that was well covered by Coral Colony, and it looked like it had once been a wood transport pallet.
Pine Trees shore dive site is a strong rival to Puako End-Of-Road, my favorite dive site on the Big Island; and a dive site we frequent regularly. Pine Trees will receive more attention from us in the future. In this one dive, we barely broke the water surface tension on the discoveries that are available.
Other than the dive mentioned here, I am having trouble remembering when my last BT Infusion was done! I know that A Darker View has posted something about this dive and some of the photos that he took, too; but I will not dare to assume when these items were scheduled to post since he has so many articles scheduled ahead in his “Drafts”.
The call came on a Tuesday from Mauna Kea Summit, “Are we doing anything on Saturday?” I reminded him that I was going to arrange our haircuts then mentioned that I hadn’t sent the message yet. His next comment, “Good, some of the usual group want to go diving, can you make it for next weekend?” My reply was, “I can hold off until next weekend if it is for diving!” 🙂 ” Thus, for my Birthday this year, we went diving off of the North Kohala Shores of the Big Island!
One cave was dubbed “The Kitchen Sink” 😀 It was an almost straight down entrance then it felt like a drain might feel as it leveled out and got a bit narrow. The Slipper Lobster appeared to really like this cave, and so did the shrimp. There were, of course, many of the “What-was-its” as the animal darted too quickly into a hole or crevice for even a cryptic ID.
A short time into our second dive, Andy slowed down a bit; and came along side of me. He signaled a question if I was having fun, to which I signaled that I was having FUN (or as best as I could get across).
November 28, 2010: We explored in and around the caves of the waters at Holoholokai Beach Park, Kohala. This dive helped me narrowly avoid serious “bottom time” withdrawal; and a case of “DRY Gills”! 😉
Beautiful caves with “sky lights” allowing the sun’s rays to dance gracefully about the shadows of the depths, and giving us glimpses as well as photographic opportunities of several marine animals that make themselves scarce in the daylight hours. We found their “hiding” place 😉
We found a Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) and some fish commonly referred to as Squirrel Fish. These caves, with Andy’s help, also presented me the opportunity to finally photograph a Nudibranch that I had not seen before. Nudibranchs and Flatworms are both very interesting life-forms indeed!
Starfish Date 20100711.0900 D1: Surf Forecast called for choppy conditions on both East and West sides of Hawai’i today. We decided to go for a drive to check out Diving conditions at End of Road Puako. It was Fantastic!!!!!
It was in just the right position to be sheltered from the brunt of the wind, surf and surge. Although the water wasn’t as clear as we have seen it, it was better by far than I was expecting. Almost no noticeable surge either, unless you held still enough for a few minutes and made conscious note of it.
We decided to go South today, and it turned up a new specie or two of Marine life. Due to the lack of surge, I got to enjoy the dive more instead of fighting to keep my position while I was looking at one bit of coral or another.
Realizing that without a camera, the dive is much more relaxed for me; but oh, the pictures I do not get … Like the Garden eels at about 80′:
Another new dive spot that we checked out on November 14, 2009. The Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. We met several friends from Keck that have formed our usual dive group at the end of the old runway (I am sure that we would welcome more divers to go with us). I scoped out the available facilities and noted fresh water showers as well as restrooms that were very conveniently close to the point of the beach where we chose to make our entry. A wonderfully unexpected surprise.
There are two detailed postings at Darkerview.com: “Diving the Old Kona Airport” and “Diving with the Canon G11” (These links are awaiting repair by Darkerview) including some great photos from the dive. I will try not to reiterate too many of the ones Andy posted. I will certainly post some photos that he has not posted 😉 The entry was a bit slow and cautious with a very rock covered ‘floor’; but there was little to no sand around to get in the gear before we entered the water.
The strong surge made it difficult to put on my fins; but with Andy’s help, I was geared up and we were on our way. Now we traverse the strong waves while surface swimming to the part of the reef where we wanted to start the dive. Once we submerged, it was very nice and reasonably calm. Only a hint of the strong surge that was on the surface. The water temperature was brisk when we first got our feet wet; and when we reached the bottom, it was warm enough for much longer than I had anticipated. This made for a long (66 minutes), very enjoyable dive! The Coral structures were very intriguing as we noted soft corals and corals in shapes like mushrooms, and huts as well as the occasional large piece that resembled dinner vegetables! I will be happy to go diving here again!
Numerous fish of most all of the usual suspects! There were Yellow Tang, Trumpetfish, Hawaiian Dasyllus, Long-nose Butterflyfish, Arc-eye Hawkfish, schools of Goatfish, Lei (Whiteline) Triggerfish, Parrotfish, Moorish Idol [and/or Pennant Butterflyfish], and several that I saw but did not make specific note of such as the Disappearing Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus evanidus).
The photos will help with some of the ID’s and they often surprise me with what I capture along with the intended target. Oddly enough I only saw one Moray Eel (a Whitemouth Moray) that Andy pointed out to me so that I could photograph it. He also brought my attention to the Nudibranch that he located in the sand in a Coral ‘valley’ and I also photographed it.
The Reef Shark were notably absent even though I have been told that they are there. There is certainly enough interest and life at this dive spot to give me reason to come back! Like the large, dark caves that call for exploration; and the sloping drop that echoes “come closer…deeper…” 😉