Thursday, December 20, 2012

Night Visitors

Kahaluu, sunset
Snorkeling in the Dark, Kahaluu, Hawaii 2012
We had this great idea of snorkeling at night on our own, without a guide in a controlled environment.  All we needed was good water and a couple of underwater flashlights, and a couple more lights for the camera. 

We picked Kahaluu Beach for our after dark outing.  We are familiar with the layout, and the water is not deep, an average of four feet.  We knew the menehue barrier that helps keep the waves down, would also help keep us from accidently getting too far from shore.  There is a large pavillion at the small beach entrance.  Did I mention flashlights?  One of the necessary preparations is to provide batteries for the lights.  Four untested underwater lights and twenty-eight rechargable batteries!  I said, twenty-eight batteries.  Whoa, that's a lot of batteries.  With all that "battering," you would think we would get more than a hour of light.  There is a light at the shore entrance, so that if our batteries ran out we could swim towards the light. 

Our first venture out was not as expected.  The waves were a little high making it easy to get separated.  Night snorkeling is a little disorienting.  The black lava rock on the waters edge becomes nothing but a shadow without any recognizable shapes.  We were also concerned about how long the lights would last.  Best keep close to the shore. 

We did get separated and Engela headed bact to shore.  When my camera lights died, we called it a night, but we did get an idea of what we would see at night.

coral banded shrimp
Coral banded shrimp also called candy cane shrimp.

This next venture out was a lot of fun.  At first there was not a lot of sealife; a lizard fish burying himself in a sandy place, a large eel poking his head out of hole for a quick peek, and a collection of small solitary fish.  We felt a little guilty for waking them with our lights.  We then headed for the larger corals.  This is where the nightlife was happening.  Every crevice seemed to be crawling or occupied with a creature.  As we shined our lights toward these holes, little eyes lit up, tiny pairs of light bulbs.  They were shrimp - pretty little things - green ones, red ones, large and small ones.  Most were very shy and headed back into the inner levels of their condos.  They were about three to four inches long.  A couple were longer than six inches; I think these were prawns.  

We really like the candy cane shrimp.  They have a little more personality with thier red and white stripes and electric-blue bellies.

Here is our quick video with two eels, a flat fish, brittle star fish, a spiny sea cucumber, and a blenny.