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Lana’i: No Name Paradise & Lighthouse

The rain has been pounding and the wind has been howling since we landed on Maui, but that doesn’t have a huge effect on conditions below the surface. We were all set to dive Second Cathedral on the south side of Lana’i today. We braved the rough crossing in this weather, tied off, and dropped the first group of divers. Then we realized the boat was drifting. The mooring ball had severed its rope and we were no longer tied to anything. We tried recalling the first group of divers, but they didn’t hear us, probably because we had drifted too far from where we dropped them before attempting to recall them. So we waited while they completed their dive. We didn’t get to see the cathedral.

After the first group of divers popped up, confused about where they wound up (because they couldn’t find the mooring line either), we circled around and picked them up. Then we headed to another spot known as “No Name”. I think it doesn’t have a name because it’s not a good enough spot to deserve a name. It was really mediocre. I was surprised at the state of the coral here. It seems like most of it is dead. That’s pretty sad.

Giant Moray Eel
Giant Moray Eel

There were still some good fish and eels to be seen, but our dive didn’t last as long as the rest of our group. Charmaine’s BCD silently decided to start inflating itself. This caused Charmaine some difficulty, not knowing why she kept losing her neutral buoyancy and having to dump more and more air. At one point she decided to swim down and got stuck with her feet above her head, which is not a position you want to be in for long. She was kicking hard to prevent floating up, but she was burning through her air like crazy. And from that position she couldn’t continue to dump air from her BCD. I swam over and gave her my hand and pulled her down. Mitch, our dive master, also calmed her down and solved the equipment problem immediately by unhooking her BCD from her regulator. Without both of those things, we would have had to end our dive right then. But thanks to his quick thinking and steady hand, we continued on. Charmaine had already burned through most of her air, so we still wound up going up before the rest of the group, but at least we mostly finished the dive.

We heard a lot about how 25% to 33% (depending on who is telling the stats) of the species in Hawaii are endemic, meaning they don’t exist anywhere else in the world. I was excited that we got to see some endemic fish on our very first dive. I’m loving all the different kinds of butterflyfish they have here. It’s also nice to see a few different types of eels. I’ve seen so many green moray eels now that I almost don’t pay attention when someone calls out an eel sighting. But I was glad to see some of the different eels today.

I got a few shots, but none are spectacular. I was carrying my camera in its housing, but without any of the flash assembly. That made the camera positively buoyant, so I was carrying extra weight to compensate. I think I overcompensated a bit. I was using 14 pounds and it was definitely more than I needed. I’ll drop to 12 and see how that feels.

After about an hour surface interval, we parked the boat at Lighthouse, also on the south side of Lana’i. I either forgot or decided it was too much work to remove some weight, so I just kept the 14 pounds I had from the first dive. In case you’re wondering why it’s harder to remove weight than to add weight, let me explain. If you want 14 pounds, you’ll probably wind up with two 4-pound weights and two 3-pound weights, so you can balance 7 pounds on each side of your body. In order to drop 2 pounds, you have to swap both 4-pound weights for two new 3-pound weights. That requires taking out all the weight you have, returning the 4-pounders to the pot and hoping there are still some 3-pound weights left. I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and will just drop to 12 tomorrow.

Lighthouse wasn’t drastically better than No Name had been earlier. I guess I’ve been spoiled with the diving I’ve done, but I’m just not that impressed with the diving here. Maybe it’s just Lana’i? These two mediocre dives were definitely not worth the 1.5 hour crossing in really rough water. For that kind of punishment I expect to see something great. Charmaine and I don’t usually have trouble with seasickness, but when we saw the weather was still really bad this morning we each took a half dose of dramamine, and I’m really glad we did, because the ride home was rough enough that several people were in position to hang their heads over the side at any moment. None of them got to that point luckily, but then, long after we had entered the lee of Maui and were enjoying the smooth water on our way to the dock, some old dud headed down into the head and puked his guts out, spilling it out the door and all down the deck. It was nasty. I was just glad it didn’t cause a chain reaction with all the people sitting near the side exits.

We did see some cool fish on this dive. There were a ton of yellow tang, moorish idols, multi-banded butterflyfish, and eels. One of the eels had horns. That was pretty sweet. We also saw long snout butterflyfish, a bunch of black sea urchins moving around, and some banded sea urchins. But again I was sad to see that most of the coral seemed dead and without much color. They say the summer was really hot last year and it really damaged the coral. Hopefully it can bounce back.

Dive 1:
Surface Interval: > 24 hours
Weight: 14 pounds (and my positively buoyant camera)
Starting Pressure: 3200 psi
Time In: 10:25 am
Surface Temperature: 77 degrees
Bottom Temperature: 77 degrees
Visibility: 40-50 feet
Dive Time: 35 minutes
Average Depth: 43 feet
Maximum Depth: 63 feet
Ending Pressure: 1000 psi
Time Out: 11:00 am
Computer: Suunto D6i

Dive 2:
Surface Interval: 60 minutes
Weight: 14 pounds (and my positively buoyant camera)
Starting Pressure: 3000 psi
Time In: 12:00 noon
Surface Temperature: 79 degrees
Bottom Temperature: 77 degrees
Dive Time: 40 minutes
Average Depth: 40 feet
Maximum Depth: 57 feet
Ending Pressure: 800 psi
Time Out: 12:40 pm
Computer: Suunto D6i

Dive master: Mitch
Boat captain: Dave
We tipped $40 at the end of the day

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