Day 7, March 19, 2003

What a day from hell (I mean, for events not concerning the war, even). I didn’t get enough sleep last night because I was up doing something I thought was important. The strange thing is that I can no longer remember what was so important!

As I was preparing to enter the water at Turtle Pinnacle this morning, I realized that I had left my dive computer in Jim’s office. Since my pressure gauge resides on my dive computer, my options were to 1) not dive, or 2) be an extremely paranoid diver for an uncertain amount of time. :) I decided on option 2, but set a conservative time limit. The dive is relatively shallow, so I wasn’t concerned about getting bent.

All three of us got lost trying to find the pinnacle. The other boat that was anchored out there — the one that we were using as a reference point — had told us that they were anchored to the outer mooring, but it turned out that they were anchored to the Aggressor mooring, so we all swam right by the pinnacle and out to the drop-off instead (before realizing what had happened). As I was swimming out there, I discovered that I had left the lens cap on my 15mm lens. Unfortunately, the lens and lens cap are inside a sealed housing, so I had to surface back at the boat to fix my mistake. Before getting in the water, Jim picked up his Pelican case, and it flipped open, dumping all of his camera equipment into the boat. So many bad signs…

I decided I shouldn’t push my luck. I stayed in shallow water directly under the boat and learned how to blow bubble rings. I blew four or five perfect ones that stayed unbroken until the hit the surface, 30′ above me. Now I just have to work on my technique so I can blow perfect ones at will. :)

We decided, collectively, that we probably shouldn’t do another dive.

In the afternoon we went over to to say hello to Sue and Tamara. Douglas Seifert had all sorts of ideas about tricks to play on an absent Doug Perrine, who is in some unknown location in Australia right now, but I don’t know Doug that well and didn’t want to invoke his wrath. :) 

Day 6, March 18, 2003

Turtle Pinnacle is absolutely a world-class dive. Are there other places out there where you can get virtually-guaranteed photographs of turtles being cleaned by colorful fish? I was hoping for the canonical “turtle being cleaned by yellow tangs” shot, but yellow tangs usually take off as soon as you get close, leaving only the darker tangs behind for the photo. Maybe next time. :) We did, however, see a hawksbill turtle. While these critters are a dime-a-dozen in West Palm Beach, Watt has only seen two of them locally in his twenty years in Hawaii. The first time he saw one was a year ago, when I was here last time. :)

At 25′, Douglas discovered that his pressure gauge was broken while trying suck in a breath of air — and getting nothing. Luckily, he was already headed towards the surface, so the only effect was that he had to forgo a safety stop. I suppose it could have been worse.

The wind has picked offshore, so we’re taking the afternoon easy. More diving tomorrow! I wish I had more time here. I would like to get out to the lava flow on the other side of the island, but with only one more diving day left, we will probably spend tomorrow in the water, leaving us too tired to get to the other side of the island at night.

In the evening, Douglas, Jim and I met up with the folk (Masa, Tamara, and Sue) to hang out at Huggo’s. It is here that some rare photos of me with a Guinness were taken. :) 

Re: the war thing. It was my OWN feeling of helplessness (and the associated guilt) that I was referring to; it seems to be causing mild depression. I know that many people in the States are pro-war. That wasn’t the point.

I still almost literally feel sick every time I hear or see Bush in the media.

Day 5, March 17, 2003

I just saw a commercial on television (between war coverage stories) about a car rental company that lets you pick your own car. Had I been asked which car I wanted when I arrived here in Kona, I would have asked for the car without cockroaches in it.

We putted around off the coast here for ten hours today, and didn’t see anything other than a bunch of breaching whales, and those didn’t even start “going off” (as they’ve been saying here) until 4pm. That means that we motored around aimlessly for eight hours before seeing anything interesting. Even though I’ve been (mostly) trying to avoid the sun, my face has started to peel a little. I’m going to look like a burn victim again.

I took an 8mm circular fish-eye lens with us on the boat just in case we had some time to kill, so there are some fun photos today. It seems silly to post “fun” photos when we are less than 48 hours away from war. Every morning, we leave the world of media influence for la-la-land on a boat. I feel some guilt for not taking a more active interest in what is going on. I’m not sure what to do about that guilt, though. Our administration is going to do whatever the hell it wants to do, regardless of what I think. It’s frustrating to feel so helpless. I certainly didn’t vote for him. [