Course Director’s Day Off

How does a PADI Course Director spend her day off?

Diving, of course! Sara, Sandy, and I went over to Maliko Gulch for two spectacular dives this last Tuesday. Maliko Gulch is a special place on Maui which faces Northeast. It is near the world-famous Jaws surfing site. This means that during the winter months we cannot get in the water at this site (sometimes Jaws gets waves higher than 50’!). So summer is the only chance we get.

One reason Maliko is unique, is its placement on the island. Most of our dive sites face the west or south. If you have been to Maui County, you know that it is made up of several islands other than Maui itself. These islands, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Molokini, and Maui, surround a kind of bay which reaches only about 700’ deep. However, the north and east sides of Maui face the open Pacific Ocean which drops down to 10,000’-25,000’ pretty quickly. The next land mass is the mainland thousands of miles away.

Blue rice Coral

This means the water conditions can be pretty rough at times, which I believe is why I don’t see some of the more fragile corals such as finger coral. Instead we see more plate corals and the beautiful Blue Rice Coral more often. Because access is more limited, we also see bigger fish. For instance, Sara spotted the largest Flying Gurnard I have ever seen! We also saw a couple of pairs of HUGE Sailfin Tangs, as well as a pair of the largest Butterflyfish in the world, the Lined Butterflyfish. One of my favorite moments on this diving excursion was when we sighted a delicate Pearl Wrasse.

Rugged conditions usually create fascinating topography. Maliko Gulch is a bay which gives us the opportunity for two distinctly different dives. The right side has wonderful canyons we can drop into which are filled with giant boulders. Sandy referred to the first one as the “Grand Canyon”. As we glided over the ridge and floated down the canyon wall we could see large schools of Surgeonfish and huge Parrotfish. Sandy and Sara especially enjoyed seeing the largest Green Sea Turtle they have ever seen!

On the left side of the bay, towards Hookipa, we found my favorite part of Maliko. There are a series of ridges which are separated by fantastic lava tubes and caverns. The walls are mostly smooth curves with the sunlight entering through openings in the top, creating the most serene environment I have ever experienced.

Of course, after the great diving we were hungry and thirsty, so we went into Paia and enjoyed an Ono Fish Burger with a Mango Margarita at a nice little Mexican restaurant. Ahhh, just another wonderful day off as a PADI Course Director here at Maui Dreams.

Aloha, Teri