Our cruise is winding down – tonight we will be in the lee of Oahu, and a final day of dive operations off Kaena point is our last adventure. I have never been diving off shore at Kaena – typically a turbulent area where currents meet and can be unpredictable. Diving from a support ship with surface boats and support crews is a real treat in this potentially lively site. Spear fisherman on Oahu consider Kaena to be one of the best spots to see large pelagic fishes, and just recently a very large (150lb) Ulua (Giant Trevally) was caught by a shore fisherman. Sharks are also more commonly seen out around Kaena than other locations around Oahu.
We spent the transit days with lots of computer time and reading, interrupted by a series of interesting lectures provided by three of the scientists, highlighting their work and the role of the Hi’ialakai in supporting their research. On a less high brow note, last night we took part in a pyrotechnics show, as the crew used up all the expiring and expired flares, smoke signals and other emergency pyrotechnics. The wind was strong, and with many duds, everyone kept on their toes. Lots of smiles and laughter, and a few worried brows as errant flares skirted the ship.
This morning, we made a slight detour to make several passes at a weather buoy stationed 150 miles south of Oahu. Covered in birds and guano, the buoy provides important early warning to the Hawaiian Islands for large surf and winds, as well as possible tsunamis. It is also an excellent Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) as it’s anchor creates a column of habitat
for all types of organisms, at the top of which rule tuna and other predatory fishes. The fishermen were rewarded with a couple big eye tuna and mahimahi.
Looking forward to the Kaena Point adventure tomorrow, and then being home!