Monday, June 22, 2015

Womens Premium Boat Dive Day

Kohala Divers is very excited to be a part of PADI's 1st annual Women's Dive day!! We have a fun boat day planned as well as a chance for new divers to sign up for class discounts. Click the link below to find out more details. You can sign up on our website

Calling all Women who love the ocean whether your certified yet or not! Lets go diving!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Summer 2015 Newsletter: Crew! Photos! Classes!

Sending you Warm Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii. Summertime is a great time to be underwater on the Kohala Coast!

Summer News 2015

Meet your crew! Take Photos! Take a Class! ReActivate! 
Kohala Divers Crew
Our Summertime crew blends familiar faces with energetic new talent! We can't wait to take you diving and show you why our crew and coast are the best in the State!Visit our Website "About Us" Bios to find the answers to this Quick Crew Quiz!
  1. A wicked awesome 20% of our crew comes from Massachusetts: Who?
  2. Which crew members are enamored with the new green lasers?
  3. Who lists "plastic explosives" as their must-have scuba gear?
  4. Which crewmember is actually a Monk Seal Selkie?
  5. Which beloved crew members are missing, and currently snapping photos in Indonesia?!?

Take Photos! Leave Bubbles: Sealife Camera, GoPro Toys, and Digital Underwater Photography Specialty Class!

We love to take underwater photos and we love to help you get the best shots! Now it's easier than ever to share your experiences with your friends and family through great photos and videos. We are pretty excited about the HD line of cameras from Sealife for just that reason. It is so easy!! It's also flood proof and worry free. We have this camera for rent along with the Seadragon lighting system for just $40 per trip and it includes a disc of your pictures. If you love it as much as we think you will, you may want to purchase your own. We have these set ups in stock and they are a very reasonable priced for an incredible photo system. 
Bringing your own GoPro camera? We are now fully stocked with GoPro accessories like GoPole and Polar Pro filters, we also have a wide selection of lighting options for GoPro to make your photo and video really come to life!
Want to get better photos? Try a PADI Digital Underwater Photography specialty course with elearning and then let our passionate crew walk you through the steps to improve your photos.

Summer School! Further Your Scuba Education:
Kama'aina Discounts! Multi-class discounts! Professional Track Discounts!

Next Open Water Kama'aina Class the weekends of June 6th/7th and 13th/14th!

Advanced Open Water throughout June, with a night dive on June 13th, and a 3 tank dive on June 20th! 

Already have those and looking for more? We are gathering students for a Rescue class, Underwater Navigation specialty, Divemaster, and more. Receive a discount if you continue through all of these classes on the professional class track, and join a PADI Instructor Development Course in early September.
YOU could be a Scuba Instructor by September 16th! 

Check our website for more information about classes, and call us at 808-882-7774 to sign up.

New "ReActivate" Dive Class for lapsed PADI divers: Ocean is Calling!
Are you a PADI diver who hasn't been underwater for a while? The new ReActivate course from PADI offers online refresher academics, skills with us in our pool, followed by our two tank boat dive trip. PADI will even send you out a new card to show that your skills have been refreshed.
PRICE: $250 all inclusive ReActivate certification. Call us to book and get your link to start eLeaning. 

Kohala Divers | 61-3665 Akoni Pule Hwy | Kawaihae | HI | 96743

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fish Geek's Pick-Of-The-Week! Flame Angel

Flame Angel by Scott Rettig

Flame Angel

Latin: Centropyge loricula
 A beautiful angelfish of bright red and orange with dark black bars or even zebra stripes, the Flame Angel is one of the more strikingly beautiful fish on the reef. Usually from 2 to 4 inches in length, the Flame is very shy, often darting into the safety of hard finger corals and hiding until the threat is gone. Hoover notes that the blue fringe is more pronounced in males, while Randall notes that the first of the 3 to 7 stripes is often a wider spot. Spawning occurs in pairs, but one male may have a harem of two females.
Scott  says, "One of my favorites to find on the reef, the Hawaiian Flame Angel has comparatively less orange than it's cousins around the world."
John P. Hoover agrees, noting "True Hawaiian Flames [have] brighter red between the bars".
"I call her 'Lips' " by Scott Rettig

When we are lucky enough to find one of these (often territorial) fishes on the reef, we quickly make the hand sign (like flicking a Bic lighter), then gently rise further away from the fish, giving it space. If we can resist the urge to rush it, or chase it into the reef, then this shy fish may just poke his nose out and allow the patient diver a nice glimpse.

Kama'aina? Not endemic. 
Size: From about 2" to about 5"
Depth:Safe hard coral areas from 30' to 100'.
White List? No. Cheaper to catch elsewhere in the Pacific.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fish-Geek's Pick-Of-The-Week: Hawaii's Sea Monster

Sea Monster

Meerwunder vnd seltzame Thier / wie die in den Mitnächtigen Ländern / im Meer vnd auff dem Landt gefunden werden (taken from the vignettes on Olaus Magnus's Carta marina), Basel c. 1544, 34 x 28 cm
Latin: Cetus, Serpus Marinus
Greek: Ketos
Hawaiian: KoholaLoa

"A man by the name of Mapua, and others, were out fishing, with their boats anchored. They saw a great thing coming up, rising high above the surf, fire burning on top of it. They thought it was something evil and hurried to the shore, trembling and frightened by this wonderful apparition. They had fled, leaving all they had used while fishing. When they went up from the beach they told the high chief Kaeo and the other chiefs about this strange sight." Hawaiian Historical Legends by William D. Westervelt 1923
Local legends tell of a huge sea monster that has lived on the Kohala Coast for generations, and here, on our Fish-Geek's Pick-of-the-Week, we spill all about this mysterious monster, with legends confirmed by our very own crew. 
What do you think this is? From Bishop Museum, Honolulu
 Historian Geoff Dobson says, "It has been reported that Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour in the South Pacific was attacked by a sea serpent that had to be beaten off by the crew."
Up the street from our very own dive shop, rises a huge Heiau (temple) by the name of Pu'ukohola- Whale Pu'u... or is it really named as the lookout post for the Sea Monster? Right below it is the "Shark" Heiau, Hale o Kapuni, which was hastily covered over by the US Military, some say to bury the truth about the ritual feeding of virgins to the vicious beast. Further rumors confirm a mysterious pre-Cook Portuguese ship sunk by the monster right off the Kohala Coast. Full of Portuguese gold and perhaps proof of earlier European visitation, it is currently the subject of a massive treasure hunt and Sea Monster hunting expedition.

Obviously the coiled lengths of a nasty sea monster. Photo by Kelleen Lum
 I can see you are skeptical, so let's not rely on proven Historical record: Read, if you dare, the quotes from our own crew about their encounters with the Leviathan:
Captain Bob confirms, "I have seen [it] erupt from the deep- that deep ledge where the huge shrimp are?- with a huge mouthful of shrimp, [it's] breath was horrible!"
Captain Greg nods and adds, "[The Monster] steals our fish right off the hook from our fishing boat lines. Just leaves the bloody hooked head behind!" 
You can believe them: They are fishermen and they always tell the truth.We also know what the Sea Monster eats: Shrimp from the deep, like Bob has witnessed, headless fish right off the line, the occasional unlucky solo kayaker, chewy sacrificial virgins, and yellow tangs by the mouthful- How else to explain how so many have gone missing? The Kohala Coast used to be called "The Gold Coast" because of all the thousands of yellow tangs coloring the waves yellow. Obviously the Sea Monster is eating them all.
From James J. Williams Collection Hawaiian Historical Society
Finally, we know where it is currently living:
Kelleen says, "I heard that there is a sunken Mahukona Sugar train that tumbled off a train trellis into the sea. If we can find it, imagine the wreck dive that would be? But it probably has [a sea monster] it." 
The many train cars would be a perfect fit for it's huge serpentine coils.
More crew testimonials:
Tina says, "Puff the Magic Dragon, who lives by the sea, was[n't] about a dragon in Hanalei Kauai, [but] obviously a reference to smoking [nostrils] and burning [eyes of] da kine Hawaiian green [sea monster]."
When asked about the Sea Monster, Robyn replied,
"Don't talk about Scott that way!"
Upon reading this list of true and proven facts, Historical record and crew testimonials, Flipper exclaimed:
"This is the biggest load of crapola, mis-information, and downright lies that I have ever seen. Frankly I am shocked- shocked!- that we would allow this pile of bull-[explicative] out there for our trusting divers to read. It is irresponsible yellow journalism! Everyone knows the season for Sea Monsters is summer, not April 1st!"

Kama'aina? Yes. Although relatives have been spotted in Scotland, Vermont, etc.
Size: Ginormous! Like Scary-huge!
Depth: Surface to Davey-Jones'-Locker deep.
White List? No. Not safe for Aquariums.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tina's Guide to a Spotlessly Clean Scuba Diving Mask

Fish Geek's Technique Speak: Tina's Guide!

Tina needs you to clean your mask.

Cleaning your dirty SCUBA mask!

"I remember when my mask looked as clean and clear as the new masks on your shelf!"
 "Why does my mask fog up all the time? And what is that moldy looking stuff in the corners?"
"Tina, why are you twitching?"
We already had the Health Department destroy Scott's mask.
Tina is twitching because your mask is nasty-looking, and she just... CAN'T. So today a very special edition of Fish-Geek's-Technique-Speak will allow Tina to share all her awesome dive mask tips. She will feel less twitchy and you will be rewarded with comfort, crystalline visibility, and a mask that looks and feels like new!

"I scrubbed it with toothpaste!"
SeaBuff is more gentle.
WRONG: Tina's wondering if you used the 3-color swirl Aquafresh. This was old advice when toothpastes were grainy pastes, not colored gels. A brand-new mask is shipped with a protective layer of silicone covering to protect the lenses. If this coating is left on the new mask constantly fogs up. It is true that a new mask, and also a very dirty one, will benefit from a good scrub with a grainy but safe substance. We always scrub our customer's masks with SeaBuff (a product available at the shop specifically made for new masks), or Softscrub (rinse well!), or a home-made paste of baking soda and water. Rinse very well, especially in the corners, because these substances can be harmful.

"I used a lighter to burn off the silicone! Muh-ah-ha-ha!"
Tina says, "YIKES. We are not in Mexico!" Sure, some pyromaniacs swear by a lighter to burn off and remove this silicone layer. But really: You are going to take a lighter to your new $100 mask? We are not convinced what they are wiping off is anything other than smokey lighter fluid residue.

"Hey! I take care of my mask! I dunk it in the rinse bucket with my fins after every dive!" 

Well, good for you. You have now "rinsed" off the salt water and various ocean microbes... and replaced that with wetsuit shampoo, slightly diluted salt water and various ocean microbes, and maybe human pee. Put THAT on your face.

Tina makes a Blue Dawn/ Alcohol/ water mix that we call Tina's Magical Mask Mix. But at home, you can just use dish-washing soap like blue Dawn. It cuts the grease, sunscreen and makeup and restores the clarity of the silicone mask skirt. Tina nags us to do this with every mask. After every dive. Every day. And she is right.
We scrub the soap into the silicone skirt, making sure to get the nose, sides, the second ridge along the skirt, and all the little pockets. Rinse with clear, fresh water and leave to dry.

"There are tiny gouges and holes along the edge of my mask skirt!"
If you live in Hawaii, then insects are chewing on your mask. It is like a salty, greasy gummi bear to those bugs. Face it: Wrapped in bacon and dipped in Ranch dressing and you would probably eat it, too. After a good cleaning and drying, store your mask in the box it came in- airtight and protected from hungry critters! Never store a dirty mask- set yourself up nicely for your next dive season.

"Even after a good soapy wash, my mask skirt is beyond help. It is yellow, opaque, brittle, and even feels thicker than a new mask skirt!"
A thick, yellow mask skirt has usually been stored with neoprene. Wetsuits, boots, and even neoprene mask straps that we love so much can off-gas in storage and ruin your mask. When storing your clean, dry mask in its original box, remove the neoprene strap or strap keeper! We like to seal ours in a ziplock bag and store it with your other neoprene in a separate spot.

"Look at that Listerine-Blue sky! And ignore the mold in the corners"

"And what about that mold?"
"Wait...How does this go together?"
Yuck. The black mold that grows in the edges! You could try the old Listerine soak, but be sure to rinse very well because Listerine can be corrosive to silicone. Or maybe taking it apart, according to manufacturers directions, and cleaning the parts. Or finally, the old stand-by: Switch to a black-skirted mask so the black mold doesn't show!
 If left in your mask, the mold will eat away at the silicone until a pit develops, then a hole. Just ask Scott. Tina had to steal his mask and take it straight to the health department. 

Don't make Tina call the Health Department on you!

PRO-TIP: If you are de-fogging your mask by spitting in it, then you are causing that black mold in the corners! Ewwww! But stay tuned:

Next Time: Captain Stephen Makes it All Clear: De-Fogging with the Master.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fish Geek's Pick of the Week! Hawaiian Dascyllus!

Video: Hawaiian Dascyllus with Eggs: Laying? Fertilizing? Protecting!, by Rebekah Kaufmann

Hawaiian Dascyllus

Latin: Dascyllus albisella (from Latin alba or white)
Hawaiian: 'alo'ilo'i (bright and sparkling)
Common: "Hawaiian Domino" or "Hawaiian White Spotted Damsel" or "Snowball Damsel"
Juvenile Hawaiian Dascyllus in the shelter of an urchin. Photo by Robyn Smith

We love "spotting" this awesome fish in both it's cute juvenile phase and its fascinating adult phase. Juveniles are small, black, with a bright white spot on each side, and a bright blue spot on their forehead. They often seek shelter in antler corals, urchins, or anemones (and are immune to anemone stings like their Damsel cousin Clown fish). As an adult, the blue spot disappears, and the white spot blends out into the greyer-black sides.
John P. Hoover says, "They can lighten or darken their color; while spawning they become almost entirely white. As with all damselfishes, the females lay eggs on the bottom while the males follow closely behind to fertilize them. When disturbed they make a chirping sound"
Kelleen says, "These guys are one of my favorites: I like pointing out the tiny ones and watching as they flit in and out of their protective homes. I also like approaching the adults and listening as they grunt in warning! We are used to listening for dolphins and whales underwater, but listen closer- these fish talk!"
The sounds of the Hawaiian Dascyllus have been described as "grunts", "chirps", or "pops", and when approaching a larger adult or a nest, divers can hear these sounds in a series of repetitive pops, along with aggressive darting from the defensive fish. A study by David A. Mann and Phillip S. Lobel recorded and analyzed these sounds, and found "Males produced pulsed sounds during the courtship behavior known as the signal jump, visiting by females (during pseudospawning), mating, aggression to heterospecifics and conspecifics, and nest preparation. Females made only aggressive sounds." Scuba divers, being not in the same species, will only hear the aggressive sounds.
Damsel Fish have one nostril instead of two! Hawaiian Dascyllus portrait by Robyn Smith.

Kama'aina? Endemic. Only found in Hawai'i and Johnston Island. They are very similar to another Damsel, the Threespot or Domino (Dascyllus trimaculatus), which lacks the neon-blue.
Size: To about 5" as adults. Juveniles are adorably tiny.
Depth: Around 30 feet- Adults like coral dropoffs for spawning, and juveniles like the protection of an antler coral or similar structure or animal.
White List? Yes. Damsel fish are generally popular in the aquarium trade because of their beauty and relative resiliancy, although Hoover warns, "One drawback is their aggressive nature...the strongest will often pick mercilessly on the others."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fish Geek's Pick-Of-The-Week: Chevron Tang!

Chevron Tang (Juvenile Black Tang), by Scott Rettig

Chevron Tang

Latin: Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis

Happy New Year to our fish geeks! This week we feature one of our favorites, and a Tang that undergoes a dramatic transformation. New Year- New You! The "Chevron Tang" is actually just a common name for the juvenile stage of the Black Tang. As this fish grows on the reef, the bright colors change to dusky shades, then a rich chevroned black like crushed velvet (The Elvis stage), then finally it's adult greenish black with fine stripes.
John P. Hoover says, "Juveniles, often called Chevron Tangs, are cinnamon orange with bluish chevron markings and usually occur between 60 and 100 ft. in areas of heavy coral cover... The species is uncommon in Hawai'i except on the Big Island, where it can be abundant."
Robyn says, "This fish is one of our favorites, and we used to go out of our way to a site to visit one individual. Except this year! Well, 2014 Summer, I mean, when we had a huge explosion of surgeonfish on our reefs in Hawaii, and suddenly they were everywhere! Now they are in an in-between stage where their colors are a bit duskier and purple. We will point out a few for you, then notice on your own how each individual is in a slightly different color stage."
So let this beautiful fish inspire your 2015 with its colorful stages and exciting metamorphosis!

Kama'aina? Not endemic. But check out that Latin species name!
Size: From about 2" to about 5", when they are truly in the Black Tang phase.
Depth:Safe hard coral areas from 30' to 100'.
White List? Yes. As both Hoover and Robyn stated, these fish are rare- except for this year! Chevrons are popular in tanks because they remain in the juvenile stage, meaning that they retain their bright colors, noted chevrons, and small size.