Friday, March 12, 2010

A Clutch of Eggs, A Cove of Dolphins, A Pod of Whales

More diving on Maui today. No offense to my many friends who love golf (which I think is a severe addiction for some, but it happens to be legal), but why would anyone come to Maui to golf when there is so much to see in the water? It is obvious that many do because there are a number of golf courses along the shoreline here. It is one of the unexplainable mysteries of the universe.
Actually we took a boat ride from Maui to dive at the next door island of Lanai. One of the whales we saw on the way was slapping its flukes on the water repeatedly. Huge splashes and a booming sound with each slap. One of the dive masters said that could at times go on for a very long time.
My best friend and dive master for the day was Todd. He told us about one of the times he was diving with a friend at Lanai. They were in a sand channel below a reef when a tiger shark came toward them and plunged suddenly into the sand, then shot out of it with a fish in its mouth. Right after that, his friend sat there checking the images he had on his digital camera. Todd looked up and from the deeper blue water emerged a whale and her baby, swimming right over both of them. He frantically tried to get his friend to look up, but he kept looking down at his camera. It was only when the whale was almost past him that he looked up, and got a picture of her tail as she swam away. Now that is quite a dive. Todd also told us that when we can hear whale song under the water, the whales are usually miles away. It is only when you hear it at the level of 160 decibels, and can feel the vibration to the core of your bones that you start looking over your shoulder for that whale. But they only sing when the are not moving. That might be painful, but what a way to go.
The opening act for today's dive was a section of reef wall covered in fish eggs. A variety of reef fish were going at these eggs like it was their last meal. It was like seeing an underwater all-you-can-eat buffet.
We were able to swim through several caves and caverns, one called the Cathedral. It is shaped just like one, complete with intricate patterned openings that look like a stained glass image of moving fish.
In between our dives, we boated through a cove that was full of spinner dolphins. They swam all around the boat, flashing under the water, leaping out and spinning like a corkscrew in the air. Shaun White has nothing on these guys. There were dozens and dozens of them, shooting under and over the surface, jumping everywhere. The captain anchored a little way off and let us get our snorkels on and get in the water. We were hoping the dolphins would come closer, but they didn't. It was still a treat to see.
The finale for the dive was on the way back to Maui. We came upon a whole pod of whales, at least eight of them. They were all moving very close, jostling and jumping over each other. It was like watching a bunch of college age kids playing basketball. It amazes me how creatures that weigh over 40 tons can move in such a group and still be so smooth and graceful.
Now for the encore. Mike and I were walking along the beach tonight, watching the sunset. Then just beyond the waves, we saw a small whale leap out of the water and splash back down, then again, and again. We saw its mom behind it, following closely. It was as if she was giving it lessons, and encouraging it to practice.
All day I kept looking at Mike's face, and I saw so much enjoyment there. I think his batteries are recharging.

1 comment:

Jana Roberts said...

Are you having fun or what???? When do you go back home?