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Archive for the ‘Scuba Diving’ Category

Bug Hunting

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Bug hunting, or lobster hunting, is something that I’ve wanted to do for many years – ever since seeing lobsters underwater while diving in California and coming back to a boat that had large, empty lobster tanks. Finally the stars aligned, and over Halloween weekend, Jimmy, Jeremy, and I participated in our first bug hunting adventure. We joined a 2-day live aboard organized by Channel Islands Dive Adventures on the Peace Boat (both excellent operations). Our planned destination was the remote San Nicholas Island, where bug hunting was rumored to be exceptional due to the few boats that travel there. When we boarded the Peace, though, we learned that the island was closed by the military and we would instead be diving the island of Santa Barbara.

Over 6 dives on Santa Barbara throughout the first day, the diving and bug hunting was in large part a disappointment. Santa Barbara is known for its great underwater visibility, but unfortunately the strange weather patterns that California has experienced throughout the year had clouded the water – at times the visibility was only about 15 feet. Additionally, the water was unseasonably cold, and as such, the lobsters were not to be found at their usual depths, which made finding bugs more difficult than it should have been.

That being said, the night dive on Halloween (and the 6th dive for Jimmy and me on the trip thus far) changed the course of the ship (literally). The dive itself was incredible (my first night dive in California), the water seemed warm, and I even caught a bug (too small to keep, though). We also received our fair share of Halloween spooks, when sea lions would rapidly swim into the light cast by our flashlights and back out of it again. After the dive, the captain of the Peace decided to cut our losses on Santa Barbara and over the night we sailed to the island of Santa Cruz.

The captain made the right choice, since one could not have asked for better conditions for our three morning dives on Santa Cruz – the sun was shining, the temperature was in the 70s, the seas were calm, and, most importantly, there were bugs on the sea floor. It was at Santa Cruz where Jimmy, Jeremy, and I each caught ourselves a keeper (with many more caught that were just under the limit and therefore had to be released).

The hunt itself was quite exciting… Jeremy, Jimmy, and I dove as a team, and as we swam a bearing away from the boat, we would comb the sea floor looking for bugs. When one of us found a bug, we would signal the others and try to retrieve it. Since lobsters usually hide under rocks, the key is to not hesitate, lest they move further back into their hole, making it more difficult to grab ’em. The retrieval involves simply getting a good grip on the lobster, either at the base of the feelers or by grabbing the carapace (upper shell). (Since the lobsters we were hunting were California Spiny Lobsters, we didn’t have to worry about claws.) Once one of us had a lobster, somebody else would measure the lobster with their lobster gauge, and if the lobster was a keeper (i.e., the carapace measured longer than 3 1/4 inches), we would bag it and bring it to the surface at the end of the dive.

Usually after a diving trip, we go home to cleanup and relax. However, since we had three lobsters to cook after this trip, we went to Jimmy’s and cooked up a delicious feast. Overall it was an incredible experience and a great success for our first trip hunting bugs – I look forward to the next bug hunting expedition!

Fiji Diving Video

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Recently I’ve been organizing my photos from the South Pacific, and in the process I came across my videos from diving in Fiji. Here’s a compilation that highlights the Great White Wall (in the Somosomo Strait near Taveuni) and the Shark Dive (in Beqa Lagoon near Suva).

Kauai

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Merry Christmas, or as the Hawaiians say, Mele Kalikimaka! Last week I found myself on Kauai, Hawaii on a rather spontaneous trip to meet up with Mary and Teresa, the Peace Corps volunteers I met in Vanuatu through CouchSurfing. (Val, another Peace Corps volunteer, and John, Teresa’s boyfriend, also made the trip.) Although we unfortunately didn’t have much sun, we fortunately didn’t have much rain either, so we were able to spend most of our time outside hiking, scuba diving, and lazing around on the beach. Mary, Teresa, and Val represent the best of the Peace Corps, and their zest is quite contagious. 😉 Thanks again, guys!

Lumahai Beach on the north shore of Kauai.Mary, Val, Teresa, and John on Lumahai Beach.Mary and Val on the Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail.Mary doin' the helicopter.A dwarf eel at the Brennecke's Ledge dive site.Teresa, Val, and Mary in Lihue.  Merry Christmas!

Rarotonga

Monday, July 28th, 2008

My next hops after Samoa brought me to Auckland for a night, then to Rarotonga, which is the capital island of the Cook Islands. While on Rarotonga, I spent about a week scuba diving, hiking, driving my hired scooter around, and enjoying the relatively cooler “winter” sun on the island’s beaches.

Rarotonga silhouetting the dive boat.

Edna’s anchor.

Louise on the Cross-Island Track.

My wheels.

A moto (small uninhabited island) in Muri Lagoon.

Cairns

Friday, June 20th, 2008

After the second liveaboard trip, my divemaster course was complete, and I had a few free days in Cairns to explore and enjoy time with old friends before flying out to Sydney. Some photos from Cairns and the surrounds…

The Cairns Esplanade, complete with free public BBQs and a giant pool.

The pool in which all Open Water courses began.

Visiting Jess, a friend from International House.