Kona underwater holiday

Dive deep, throw sand, shoot fish, but above all respect the flag!

Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 22nd, 2016, 7:10 pm

Over New Year's I was able to break away from grad school and spend a week in Kona with my girlfriend Sara. Of the 8 full days we were in the water for 6, doing a mix of scuba, snorkel sight-seeing, and some spearfishing. I've got a bunch of pics from 3 or 4 of the days so I'll let them tell most of the story, but I'll probably have to break them up into a few posts. I was limited to my GoPro without any filters but the warm, clean water sure was a nice break from the SoCal murk.

disclaimer: no fish were killed in the making of this post. I tried, but those mu sure are sneaky buggers and my breath hold sucks after a lean year of diving.

Day 1: Scuba dive with Sara's friend from Kona Diving Company, ~120 ft vis. What a way to start the trip!








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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby dam » January 23rd, 2016, 2:45 pm

Heh, look at that cute mu. How deep were you diving? Were you able to find any lobsters down there?
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 23rd, 2016, 7:47 pm

Heh Dam, I almost missed that little guy! I was lagging behind the others and trying to catch up, and I swam right by it and did a full double-take. The reef bottomed out to sand in 80-85 ft. at that spot, and most of the shots are in the 60-80 range. I didn't see any lobsters, but I can't say I looked very hard for them and I don't remember seeing any particularly buggy structure that day.

next round coming up tomorrow...finally some freediving!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Neptonics » January 24th, 2016, 3:16 am

Nice pics!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 24th, 2016, 6:16 pm

Day 2. or 3, or 4, or something. We had a few days without the camera in there somewhere. Anyway, freediving! My gf's family had booked a trip to Capt. Cook. It was kinda touristy and they restricted where we could go (apparently the bigger stuff is outside their bounds), but it was still worth every penny. There were lots of boats and folks in the water so I wanted to try to sneak away, but one of the deckhands was hovering on a SUP and chatted for a while about my and my gf's fins, so I knew we were on their radar. Bummer. Even still, the snorkeling was incredible with lots of live coral cover. I did see one mu on the dropoff but didn't get close enough for a decent pic.










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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 24th, 2016, 6:39 pm

...can you spot the mu? I swear this isn't like Dam's "find the seabass" game :bowrofl:

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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby dam » January 24th, 2016, 7:45 pm

Jeff B wrote:...can you spot the mu? I swear this isn't like Dam's "find the seabass" game :bowrofl:

find_the_mu.jpg

I don't see shit.
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 25th, 2016, 5:19 pm

Hmm, I thought I served that one up on a plate...hint hint ;)
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Alex Ray » January 25th, 2016, 7:06 pm

I don't understand what's going on
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » January 25th, 2016, 7:33 pm

Alex Ray wrote:I don't understand what's going on


Dam is trying to find the mu. Take that as a euphemism for whatever you'd like.








But really, there is a mu in that pic. Maybe my "served up on a plate" hint is too nerdy. Actually, I'm entirely sure it's too nerdy. I'm a marine biologist, figure it out beeches! :D
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » February 5th, 2016, 7:32 pm

Ok so I guess the clue really was entirely too nerdy and obscure. Oh well.








Oh hey, check out this coral formation!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Alex Ray » February 5th, 2016, 8:10 pm

THERE'S the mu!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Hookin » February 5th, 2016, 9:31 pm

Looks like manini to me...
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby John Hughes » February 14th, 2016, 6:16 pm

I still don't see the Mu even with the circle around it. I'm enjoying the photos though Jeff. Looks like a nice holiday and had to feel good getting into some warmer waters!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Mlopez2391 » February 14th, 2016, 10:22 pm

John Hughes wrote:I still don't see the Mu even with the circle around it. I'm enjoying the photos though Jeff. Looks like a nice holiday and had to feel good getting into some warmer waters!


It is in the top 3rd of the circle.....It is swimming away from him and the spots/stripes on back blend in. Hate those little fakkas!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » February 15th, 2016, 8:22 pm

Oh man I've been slacking on this post. Sorry folks! More pics coming right up...just getting to the good part of the trip.

Is this better John? ;)
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » February 15th, 2016, 8:38 pm

Mlopez2391 wrote:It is in the top 3rd of the circle.....It is swimming away from him and the spots/stripes on back blend in. Hate those little fakkas!


Me too! I could have destroyed roi, tagged some nice uhu and maybe even stuck a rainbow runner if I hadn't been so focused on those little suckers. There were a couple times that I was able to approach pretty decently on scuba for pics, but every time I got a gun in hand instead of a camera I couldn't get close for shiite.





Towards the end of the trip I did have a couple half-chances. On the first, I was able to sort of pin the mu against a ledge and close the gap as it tried to sneak out over the top. Just as I was extending my gun for a shot, my freakin' floatline caught on the corner of the reef and pulled me back! :madrun:

The next day, I left my floatline at the condo and made a drop into an area I had seen a school checking out some sand patches on the bottom. I was able to get down and lay there just long enough to see a few of them start to come in and check me out, but I was so out of diving shape from only getting out a few times this past season that I couldn't wait anywhere near long enough for them to get into range.

Later that session, the rainbow runners cruised by and I passed because I didn't have a floatline. Good thing, as not 10 mins later a 7-8 ft tiger cruised by right over the spot I had been making drops! :eek:
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby dam » February 15th, 2016, 9:22 pm

LOL! Fuck, I'm with Johnny. That mu was tu hard to see.
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » February 28th, 2016, 3:56 pm

Ok back to the pics...one evening my gf and I did a canned manta scuba dive with Kona Diving Co. Despite the crowds, it was EPIC. Highly recommend for all you bubble blowers. PM me if you want hints to do it freediving and/or on your own ;)

Started off with a late afternoon dive at the spot to get familiar with the layout and check out the daytime reef critters. Saw a few morays out hunting with jacks but couldn't swing my camera around in time to get a pic as they swam between my fins.

Black variant of a longnose butterflyfish:


A couple of introduced snappers:



Flame angel, popular in the aquarium trade:





This guy ducked into the sand right after I snapped this shot:
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » February 28th, 2016, 4:05 pm

...Then, after dark, the main event. The cove was crowded with several boats and probably 50+ divers in the water with individual and group lights, but whatever. When the rays showed up it was spectacular. I got buzzed within 2 ft overhead as soon as I hit the bottom:












The count from the experts was *only* 5 different mantas that night. Honestly, I didn't care one bit how many there were after that first one. The smallest was around 8 ft. wingspan and we had one of the big 12-13 ft. wingspan ones cruise through too. After the action dried up for a bit we cruised the reef again, which was cool to see all the morays, soldierfish, and other nocturnal species out hunting and cruising around. By that time my gopro battery was dead, so I didn't get any more pics that night.

Hope you guys enjoyed the pics - I'll see if I have any more stragglers to post up, but otherwise feel free to hit me up if you are heading over to the big island and want some basic pointers on how to be a total CA kook tourist! :D
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby John Hughes » July 9th, 2016, 6:19 am

Jeff B wrote:Oh man I've been slacking on this post. Sorry folks! More pics coming right up...just getting to the good part of the trip.

Is this better John? ;)
find_the_mu_hint2.jpg


thanks for that, I see it now Jeff :)

I'd never make it in Hawaii. Those fish are so skittish there's no way I'd have the skills. Much respect for the guys that can shoot fish there.

Love the Manta photos. I've dove with them a few times and they are amazing! I saw one last year at Clemente and couldn't believe it. So awesome!
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Youring » August 26th, 2016, 4:16 am

That's sound so cool.
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby donny » November 11th, 2016, 1:33 pm

if you go again or for others; I recommend renting a kayak and heading to Kealakekua Bay where capt Cook monument is. Put in on the far side of the monument. I think there are some strick regulations about it now so make sure to do some research. All the times I have been there there have been lots of spinner dolphins in the bay and if you are even a halfway decent diver you can end up in the middle of the pod within arms reach with a little persistence. Fun structure around most of the bay too.
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Re: Kona underwater holiday

Postby Jeff B » December 2nd, 2016, 10:11 pm

John Hughes wrote:
thanks for that, I see it now Jeff :)

I'd never make it in Hawaii. Those fish are so skittish there's no way I'd have the skills. Much respect for the guys that can shoot fish there.

Love the Manta photos. I've dove with them a few times and they are amazing! I saw one last year at Clemente and couldn't believe it. So awesome!


Woah, it's been a while since I looked at this thread! That's so rad you saw one at Clemente. I'm with ya on the serious respect for the HI guys, it's so much harder when the fish can see you coming from 100 ft away!

Yah Donny, I really wish I had been able to make it out to the point at Capt. Cook. The bay was cool and got deep quick even on the inside of the monument, but I've heard the outer point is where it's at if you want to drool over big reef fish that you can't shoot. I heard later there were some spinners in the cove while we were there, but we didn't see them.
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