This afternoon I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the reenlistment of one of my Sailors just forward of the pilot house on the wreck of YO-257. YO-257 was a Navy oiler that was intentionally sunk off the coast of Waikiki to create an artificial reef. This was my first chance to go scuba diving in Hawaii, and it was AWESOME! We hired a charter with Dive Oahu, and David, Hector, and Ike did a great job.
Time: We met up at Dive Oahu to get our wetsuits and stuff at 12:45. The boat actually left the dock around 1:30 p.m. and got back about 4:45 p.m.
Temp: The water temperature was around 73 degrees, so we wore "shorties" (a 3mm thick wetsuit with short sleeves and short legs). I guessed at 18 lbs on my soft lead weight belt, and it was perfect.
Visibility: I think visibility was probably about 75 feet, because from the surface we could see the top of the wreck and the top of the Atlantis submarine going by, but not the bottom.
We did our first dive on the YO-257 down to a depth of about 90 feet. As the boat slowed to tie up to the mooring buoy, we could see the large white blob of the Atlantis submarine below us. We all descended to the main deck of the wreck and did the reenlistment ceremony there in the company of two sea turtles. Then we swam around the rest of the wreck to check out the hundreds of beautiful tropical fish.
This was the first time I have taken our Cannon PowerShot A520 with the underwater housing down scuba diving. I didn't want the first test to be at 90 feet. Plus, it's been a few years since I've been scuba diving and this was my first dive in a new (different) wetsuit, so I left the camera on the boat for the first dive to just get used to handling my buoyancy control. As a result, I don't have any pictures to show you from the first dive.
Update 4/4/08: Here are a couple of pictures from one of the guys who took a camera on the first dive:
That's the EA (Electrical Assistant) checking out one of the two turtles that were on the main deck of the wreck.
For our second dive we went to a reef in closer to shore in about 40 feet of water. This time I took the camera, and it worked like a champ. I was really pleased with the pictures I got (even though the colors are subdued without a flash - I forgot to get batteries for my flashlight, too).
Traditional Blunoz Self Portrait.
This is to give you a feel for the visibility.
Today was the first time I've ever seen a moray eel with my own eyes underwater, and I actually got to see THREE of them. Two were these really pretty white ones with yellow spots. The other one was a green and blue one in the rocks. Note, I did not dumb-down the resolution of these photos, so if you click on the picture above you can check out the details on the moray eel. I would estimate it was about 3 feet long.
Another first for me was getting to see a white-tipped reef shark. It was about 4 to 5 feet long.
Before climbing back up on the boat, I took one last Blunoz Self Portrait, trying to get Diamond Head in the background, but I mis-aimed and got Waikiki instead.
LW and I used to scuba dive a lot together back in Monterey before we started having kids. We would really like to go scuba diving together again sometime soon, especially while we're living here in Hawaii.