Storypost | 2016.05.02

Hawaii Kauai scuba dive underwater photography sea turtle

The 'rents were out on Kauai for a birthday, so I joined them.

Underwater photography gear Ikelite substrobe Nikon D700 Tenba

Of course diving was a must so I packed all the photo stuff. My intent was to spend the extra cash to do a Nihau/Lehua trip. Apparently the earliest anyone does them is the beginning of May but when I called around it seemed to simply not be happening. Blue Dolphin advertised a Nihau/Na Pali boat trip with scuba, but when I called I got the impression that it was more of a booze cruise with a single dive probably not at Nihau.

That left local, south shore boat dives. Fair enough, Jon and I never did find the shelf off of Salt Pond.
Brewery Night

But first, Kauai now has local brews! My local informant told me Thursday was brewery night in Lihue. Yep, Kauai Beer Co was going off. They had food trucks including one serving some of that amazing Hawaii pork. The beers were great, too. Two-ish years into existence and they were already doing some creative stuff to complement a stable of regular-type brews.

Kauai Beer Company slap bracelet kuzy

The real clincher for me was the slap-cozies. Whaaa?
First dive day

Hawaii Kauai scuba dive underwater photography fish

For the first dive I went with the nearby Seasport Divers. Jon and I had been into the shop before and they seemed pretty cool. Indeed, DM Jackie was great, as was Lurkin' Liz (so-named because she was always just hanging out at the edge of visibility).

Hawaii Kauai scuba dive underwater photography fish school diver

Lots of turtles, and lots of different fish and sizeable schools of them. It was a pretty flat bottom at 90' and then 60' with some 10-20' reef formations with the occasional swim-through. So nothing crazy feature-wise, but plenty of wildlife and warm, clear water.

I was happy to find that I had gotten the flash connections sorted - previously the sync cable had leaked and I was stuck using available light. Unfortunately, for most of the first dive I had an exposure compensation selector on the camera's lcd - meaning I could make no adjustments, e.g. to aperture. I checked the flash exposure compensation lever and found it was not engaged, so I assumed a sync cable leak was somehow the cause. Only when I got to the surface did I find the camera exposure compensation button was engaged. Whoops.

I followed the dive up with a beer and a superb pork quesadilla Merriman's.
Second dive day

Hawaii Kauai scuba dive underwater photography school of fish
Closing down the aperture.

The other nearby charter was Bubbles Below out of Port Allen, so I gave them a try the following day. I was pretty optimistic because our captain looked like Ser Barristan and our DM looked like Tyrion (well more like Marky Mark, but we'll go with the theme). Unfortunately Tyrion was rather condescending throughout, two paraphrased quotes of many:
On the plus side, he was cool enough underwater.

Hawaii Kauai scuba dive underwater photography sea turtle cleaning

The landscape wasn't too different from day 1, but there were a bunch more turtles who were actively getting a wash and wax courtesy of the local fish.

Spot the wildlife:

Kauai Island Bewering Hawaii bar tourists

The dive had an awesome epilogue, across from the shop was the other new brewery, Kauai Island Brewing. Their draft lineup wasn't quite as impressive as the Lihue brewery's, but had the nice warehouse atmosphere and the Giants game on. After some pork nachos with my dive buddies, the parents arrived and we got a pint.

Sunday we went up to to the north side. We started at Kalypso for the end of the Warriors game, then went down to the beach.

I borrowed a Xanadu from Hanalei surf and rode the break in the middle of the bay. The westward current was pretty strong so I spent most of the sess paddling, but there was plenty of atmosphere. To the south were green cliffs with massive waterfalls, to the east was a distant view of a peeling righthand reef break that was going off like clockwork.
Queen's Bath

Hawaii Kauai Princeville Queens Bath

After Hanalei we stopped by the Queen's Bath tourist hotspot. It was pretty good ROI though, short (muddy) hike for a pretty cool coastline. It was obvious why a handful of people have been washed away over the years - though probably more from an encounter with the rocks than any current.


Hawaii Kauai picnic benches rainbow

I prepped for the plane ride with a stroll down a random path near Opaeka'a falls. It yielded an overlook that would be an awesome picnic spot. Then back to LIH to have the TSA rummage through my (carry-on) camera bag without me present, and then five hours on the Cars plane.

New friends

Hawaii Kauai gecko short depth of field I call him Gex

Kauai rooster I call him Hotspur

Jamie OBrien board
Jamie O'Board. This wasn't the one I rented though.