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Maui: Jabberwocky & Mala Pier

Remember that time we almost dove Second Cathedral on Lana’i? People are starting to wonder if we are bad luck. Once again, we braved the rough water and parked our boat at our desired dive site, only to be turned away and have to dive somewhere else. This time it was the Molokini crater. We arrived after a fairly easy crossing, to find only 2 boats there. That’s very unusual. It’s the most visited spot in all of Hawaii, getting more visitors per year than the USS Arizona. The two boats were pulling their divers back and heading out. The forecast had changed and they now expected the wind to really pick up soon, so everyone was getting out of there before it got ugly. We decided to dive some spots closer to Lahaina. The first site was called Jabberwocky.

Threadfin Butterflyfish
Threadfin Butterflyfish

The reef in Maui seems a bit better than the reef at Lana’i. We saw more fish here too. They say Molokini is way better, but at this rate we may never know. We saw a bunch more butterflyfish, moorish idols, triggerfish, domino damselfish, a bunch of black sea urchins, banded sea urchins, and some red pencil urchins that are super cool. We also saw some yellow trumpetfish. I hadn’t ever seen yellow before.

Overall this wasn’t a bad dive. It would have been better had we not had to drive from Lahaina to Molokini and back to Lahaina just to make the dive, but still… it wasn’t amazing. I think I’m starting to understand why people say, “Don’t go to Hawaii to dive. But if you’re going to Hawaii, dive.” It doesn’t seem like you’d plan a trip to Hawaii just for diving… but if you’re going to be in Hawaii on vacation anyway, do some diving there, because it’s pretty good.

I dropped my weight to 12 pounds today, but I also added the flash assembly to my camera housing, so I still felt overweight. I could easily drop to 10 pounds and be fine. Maybe tomorrow.

After coming up, we cruised north on the leeward side of Maui to Mala Pier, which is literally about 3 minutes from Lahaina Harbor. It turned out to be the best dive we have had. The reef was in much better condition than what we had seen on Lana’i yesterday, and it’s basically an artificial reef. The Mala Pier was built using salt water in the concrete, so it was condemned soon after it was built. Later it broke apart and pieces fell into the ocean where a reef grew on top of it.

We jumped in and almost immediately found a frogfish, which are hard to find due to their camouflage. We actually found a second frogfish later in the dive. We also saw two white tipped reef sharks sleeping on the bottom. One of them was facing us on the ground just outside one of the swim-thrus. So we’re navigating around and under big pieces of concrete covered in coral and swimming directly toward the head of a shark that almost seemed to be swimming directly towards us. It was really great. The shark was not swimming at all, of course, just sleeping. They say the only way to get a white tipped reef shark to bite you is to swim up to it, open it’s mouth with one hand, put your other hand in its mouth, and then use your first hand to close its mouth on your other hand. That’s obviously an exaggeration, but they do seem to be extremely docile.

Imperial Nudibranch
Imperial Nudibranch

One of the cool things we saw was a Tiger Cowry. I have seen their shells being sold in various stores across the islands before, but I had never seen one in the water. That was really cool. I tried a few times to get a good shot of it, but had some difficulty focusing. Maybe it was too shiny?

There were a lot of fish along the reef too. We saw lots of moorish idols, various kinds of butterflyfish, goatfish, squirrelfish, convict tang (very cool), pufferfish, white trumpetfish, and then at the end of the dive I got some really good shots of an imperial nudibranch just crawling across the sand. Another diver pointed him out to me to make sure I got a shot of it. He was there with his sister for a wedding. I didn’t get an email address to send them any of the shots I took, but I was glad he pointed it out for me. It’s probably the best dive shot I’ve taken so far this trip.

Dive 1:
Surface Interval: 20:20
Weight: 12 pounds
Starting Pressure: 3100 psi
Time In: 10:00 am
Surface Temperature: 77 degrees
Bottom Temperature: 77 degrees
Visibility: 50 feet
Dive Time: 50 minutes
Average Depth: 27 feet
Maximum Depth: 40 feet
Ending Pressure: 700 psi
Time Out: 10:50 am
Computer: Suunto D6i

Dive 2:
Surface Interval: 1:02
Weight: 12 pounds
Starting Pressure: 3000 psi
Time In: 11:53 am
Surface Temperature: 79 degrees
Bottom Temperature: 77 degrees
Visibility: 40 feet
Dive Time: 46 minutes
Average Depth: 21 feet
Maximum Depth: 30 feet
Ending Pressure: 1100 psi
Time Out: 12:39 pm
Computer: Suunto D6i

Dive Master: Elliot
Boat Captain: Dave
We tipped $25 (I think Charmaine was upset about getting skunked twice in a row)

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