Well, Christmas has come and gone for 2006 and I must say, it was a lot of fun getting ready for it and then spending time with my great friends here on Maui. As usual, it's a very busy time of year for us with all of the increased tourism. And also, as usual, I had a list of about a zillion things to do and I barely got anything checked off that list. One of those things was to update my BLOG!
I had some phenomonal dives over the last month or so. Since the water has been cooling down a bit, I've been putting the wetsuit heaters (HOTSUITS)to good use. I even let a couple of friends try them on our Christmas Eve dive. They really liked them and said they stayed much warmer than usual. I think I even sold a unit!
I had the chance to make a couple of really cool Torpedo Scooter dives too. One was out to Marty's Reef, the hard to find underwater oasis located about a half mile out from Five Caves. We had some low vis and rough water near shore that day but I had a couple of pretty salty guys with me and they had no problem keeping up with me. The trip out to the reef was fast and on target. We made it there in record time which gave us plenty of time to explore the magical beauty of Marty's. When I called it an oasis, I meant it! There are literally thousands and thousands of fish there. Many unusual types too. We went around and around and observed some interesting fish behavior and then, all of the sudden, there it was....a 6' Manta Ray! Not so common on shore dives around here so it was a big treat for all of us. I Torpedoed out to it and got to cruise along side for about three minutes as it flittered through the water. It definitely was interested in checking me out too. The Beatiful creature stayed with me and practically flipped onto it's back to give me a good look at it's black spotted belly. It swam like this for quite a while before turning over and then zipping off into the wild blue yonder. I was fortunate to have my camera and I got some of the best Manta footage I have ever taken
I had a second Manta experience just yesterday too! We were heading out for what was expected to be just an average dive at Ulua Beach. I had six divers with me, 5 of which were on the second dive of their lives. Our plan was to complete dive two of their certification class. The water was OK, not especially clear. I noticed some plankton on the way out and thought, hey, mantas eat plankton, maybe we'll see one. Well, sure enough, only 8 minutes into it, we were turning the corner headed for deeper water and there they were. Not one, but two 7' wide mantas in full eating mode! They were swooping by us with their mouths wide open, gathering up plankton. They would turn on a dime and come back by us again and again! What a treat! I looked back at my group and they were doing it all.....smiling through their regulators, eyes wide open, flashing the shaka, double shaka, extreme shaka, the super shaka and even the soon to be patented, extreme-super-shaka!!!!! It was amazing and something they will never forget. Thank You Christmas mantas! You really made my holiday complete!!
I hope everyone continues to enjoy the season. It was a great 2006, I've made over three hundred dives this year with a few more to go before it's over. I'll try to keep you posted...
Aloha and Haouli maka hiki hou!!!