Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cave Diving

This last trip to Hawaii we were able to dive and explore more caves. In the beginning stages of diving this was a non-interest to me, however, after skimming the entrances to a few and beginning to learn what you might be able to see inside, the idea of cave diving had more potential. These are pictures from a cave site along Henry's dive site south of Kona. It has a very wide cave base but the height is very shallow. 
Upon entering the cave, as it is probably at it's highest point four to five feet, a diver must make themselves as negatively buoyant as possible and creep along the rocky bottom as you explore the crevices and other chambers of the cave that lie along each side of the main chamber. This main chamber is very wide and we could comfortably dive along side three to four dive buddies.

While we were looking past some of these overhangs that prevented us from diving into the side chambers, I saw three to four white tip reef sharks sleeping in the sand beyond. From time to time they would leave their resting site, circle the cavern to allow for movement of water through their gills allowing them to breathe. One shark seemed to circle closer and closer to Dennis and I. This is me giving Dennis the hand signal for shark.
This is a picture of the cave and it's side caverns that were to narrow to make our way through, not to mention, the sharks were sleeping in these...
This is the shark that kept swimming closer and closer as it circled around to rest back in the sand. Our camera wasn't able to take a better picture due to our flash settings and lack of strobes to bounce light off the particles in the water away from the image we were trying to shoot. So instead we just turned off the flash and took a "moving" picture of the shark. These pictures are without any zoom, so yes, this eight foot shark was indeed this close to us!
Turned around and swimming back to rest in the sand.
This was the exit of the cave we had just explored. Another cool thing I noticed this time was all the air used inside the cave while exploring had found it's way to migrate to the surface. As we exited we saw bubbles streaming out of various places all over the lava rock and coral that now covered the cave structure. 

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