The 'rents were out on Kauai
for a birthday, so I joined them.
Of course diving was a must
so I packed all the photo stuff. My intent was to spend the extra cash to do a Nihau/Lehua
trip. Apparently the earliest anyone does them is the beginning of May but when I called around it seemed to simply not be happening. Blue Dolphin
advertised a Nihau/Na Pali boat trip with scuba, but when I called I got the impression that it was more of a booze cruise with a single dive probably not at Nihau.
That left local, south shore boat dives. Fair enough, Jon
and I never did find the shelf off of Salt Pond
But first, Kauai now has local brews
! My local informant
told me Thursday was brewery night in Lihue. Yep, Kauai Beer Co
was going off. They had food trucks including one serving some of that amazing Hawaii pork
. The beers were great, too. Two-ish years into existence and they were already doing some creative stuff to complement a stable of regular-type brews.
The real clincher for me was the slap-cozies
First dive day
For the first dive I went with the nearby Seasport Divers
and I had been into the shop before and they seemed pretty cool. Indeed, DM Jackie was great, as was Lurkin' Liz
(so-named because she was always just hanging out at the edge of visibility).
Lots of turtles
, and lots of different fish and sizeable schools of them. It was a pretty flat bottom at 90' and then 60' with some 10-20' reef formations with the occasional swim-through. So nothing crazy feature-wise, but plenty of wildlife and warm, clear water.
I was happy to find that I had gotten the flash connections sorted
- previously the sync cable had leaked and I was stuck using available light. Unfortunately, for most of the first dive I had an exposure compensation selector on the camera's lcd - meaning I could make no adjustments, e.g. to aperture
. I checked the flash exposure compensation lever and found it was not engaged, so I assumed a sync cable leak was somehow the cause. Only when I got to the surface did I find the camera
exposure compensation button was engaged. Whoops.
I followed the dive up with a beer and a superb pork quesadilla Merriman's
Second dive day
Closing down the aperture.
The other nearby charter was Bubbles Below
out of Port Allen, so I gave them a try the following day. I was pretty optimistic because our captain looked like Ser Barristan and our DM looked like Tyrion (well more like Marky Mark, but we'll go with the theme). Unfortunately Tyrion was rather condescending throughout, two paraphrased quotes of many:
- "Okay guys, when you hit the water you're going to start hyperventilating either because you're not sure what to do or because you're just so excited to go diving!"
- "Hey I need you to put the [rather pricey and delicate] camera and housing down [on floor of the rocking boat] because I'm about to give the dive briefing and you're not going to listen with something in your hands."
On the plus side, he was cool enough underwater.
The landscape wasn't too different from day 1, but there were a bunch more turtles
who were actively getting a wash and wax courtesy of the local fish.
Spot the wildlife:
The dive had an awesome epilogue, across from the shop was the other new brewery, Kauai Island Brewing
. Their draft lineup wasn't quite as impressive as the Lihue brewery's, but had the nice warehouse atmosphere and the Giants game on
. After some pork nachos with my dive buddies, the parents arrived and we got a pint.
Sunday we went up to to the north side
. We started at Kalypso
for the end of the Warriors game, then went down to the beach.
I borrowed a Xanadu from Hanalei surf
and rode the break in the middle of the bay. The westward current was pretty strong so I spent most of the sess paddling
, but there was plenty of atmosphere. To the south were green cliffs with massive waterfalls, to the east was a distant view of a peeling righthand reef break that was going off like clockwork.
After Hanalei we stopped by the Queen's Bath tourist hotspot. It was pretty good ROI though, short (muddy) hike for a pretty cool coastline. It was obvious why a handful of people have been washed away over the years - though probably more from an encounter with the rocks than any current.
I prepped for the plane ride with a stroll down a random path
near Opaeka'a falls. It yielded an overlook that would be an awesome picnic spot. Then back to LIH to have the TSA rummage through my (carry-on) camera bag without me present, and then five hours on the Cars plane.
Jamie O'Board. This wasn't the one I rented though.