We finished the expedition off with a bang. Kaena Point has long been a siren, calling almost all Hawaii divers, to explore the deep ledges and ridges that are protected by some of the most intimidating surface and sub-surface conditions on the island. An opportunity to explore the wilds of Oahu with a state of the art ship, two surface support teams and all of the latest safety gear was a treat indeed, and the terrain and marine life delivered. After diving for many years on Oahu, a new fish is a rarity. Today, I saw at least four new fish, and two corals; Grey Reef Shark – so common at Johnston, rare for a diver to see on Oahu, the blue lined trigger (Xanthichthys caeruleolineatus), the Cross-hatch trigger (Xanthichthys mento) and Thompson’s Anthias (Pseudanthias thompsoni) were all new to me on Oahu, and were cooperative video subjects which is a bonus.
The walls were covered with Hawaiian anthias, Tinker’s butterfly, Bandit Angelfish and Jacks in the blue. Large black coral bushes hid long nose hawkfish, and schools of butterfly fish abound.
Really dramatic terrain, with a sloping ledge at 180-190’, then falling away to stepped terraces and walls down to 250 feet, with many cracks and undercuts hiding large pockets of fish and corals. I definitely want to come back on a calm day, which out here is a rarity.
We cannot enter Pearl Harbor until the morning, and the captain kept the ship off Kaena Point for a beautiful sunset. I spent time on this cruise trying to get shots of flying fish, a frustrating task. Today, I was able to get a few images at least – they are incredible creatures. Oahu’s north west shoreline was a nice way to ease back into civilization – there are sea birds whirling around the ship and small boats, sharks and deep walls teeming with fish, and a shoreline that evokes a tropical paradise. As we turn south and east, the shoreline will reveal the growling Oahu metropolis and increasing commercial boat traffic and the ubiquitous airlines on final approach into the international airport.
A great expedition in my opinion– fifteen 60-70 meter rebreather dives, safely executed in five different atoll/islands – 64 new records across the four remote locations, and over 150 species recorded at Johnston Atoll. I think we did a nice job filling in the gaps for fish biodiversity especially at Laysan and Nihoa, which will help give a better picture as we look at diversity across the entire Hawaiian Archipelago.