Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blackwater Dive 6-16-09

Tuesday 6-16-09

Company: Torpedo Tours

Boat: Na Pali Kai II

Capt: Nikki Milligan

Divemaster: Mike Milligan

Location: No GPS

Current Strength: Moderate, but used parachute.

Highlights: 2 Seahorses, Larval Squid, Worms, 20ft siphonophore.

Torpedo Tours invited me (Joshua Lambus) along for one of their blackwaters so I could see how they do things. They differed mostly in that they use a parachute. This keeps the boat from being moved by the wind. Rochelle, from Kona Honu was there, as well as some of her freinds and a few out-of-towners. 7 divers in total including Mike and me. Once we arrived at our destination we suited up and jumped in. With the chute it’s a very different feeling. The boat seems stationary, but is actually anchored in the current, that you too are drifting in. This made me feel much more comfortable when following an animal into the dark. Since the boat was not moving away from me I knew I wouldn’t lose it or have trouble catching back up. Almost right of the bat, I saw a seahorse, which Mike had been hoping to sea. So off we drifted with it, into the night photographing and watching the little guy. It was the smallest seahorse I've seen yet, measuring in at just over two inches. After that we came back into the group. A fish about 1 foot long and cylindrical swim in another divers’ light. My immediate thought, was that it was a cookie cutter, but I did not get a closer look to confirm. Mike found a very large worm of the Tomopteris genus, maybe 6 inches long... these look like leaf shaped centipedes crawling their way through the water. I came across a squid. Very small only 2 inches long maybe and completely clear, except a few multi-colored spots. I could only visibly see two tentacles, and later looking at the photos I can only see 4. The body was oblique with the two swim fins sitting so far back on the mantle, they seemed to almost be removed entirely. It's eyes were at the end of stalks, similar to that of a crab. At one point I could see mike videoing a very large siphonophores, that stretched out about 20 or 30 feet. We came across another seahorse shortly before the end of the dive. One of the divers accidently dropped her light... off into the abyss it sank. It was a bummer, as it was a very nice light, but we all had a contemplative moment, at the thought that an hour after we were geared down and back on land, it would only just be getting near the bottom.


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