Curly’s Epic Holoholo Dive with Sara

When people ask me what my favorite dive is, I answer, “the one I haven’t done yet”.  I love exploring new areas! I also really love diving with my friend and co-worker Sara and once in a while, we plan a morning off to go play.  We both enjoy exploring new areas and getting “lost” together. 

Prior to our last dive together, Sara had been talking to another local about an interesting dive spot that he typically accesses by kayak.  The patch reef he described is located in deeper water (about 78 feet) off of the Makena Landing area.  He gave Sara a brief description of how to find it and we decided to grab some nitrox (32%) and do a scooter dive to hunt for that patch reef.

We scootered out at about 30 feet deep (to save deco and air time) to the last solid natural navigation point and then dropped down to the bottom to check out depth and set our compasses.  Since we know that the mild ocean current around that part of the island usually runs to the south, we planned to go out on our heading until we were at the appropriate depth and then turn to the north to compensate for any current.  From there, we’d scope things out and keep exploring until we found the reef or had to turn back.

Did we find it?  Nope!  But what we did find was still awesome.  We found eight little patch reefs that had all kinds of cool fish. Our highlights included seeing the largest rock mover wrasse of all time and also a blackstripe coris.  Most of the patch reefs we visited had large populations of bicolor anthiases.  These fish did not seem to be as skittish as they are at most of the other places I see them. I wondered if they’d ever seen divers before and if that affected their behavior.  Regardless, it was very cool to be able to watch them do something other than darting for cover.

When we decided to head back, we headed east and ended up at Marty’s Reef.  Some of that was luck, some of it was experience with scootering, but mostly that happened due to Sara’s super-solid navigation skills.  I could have done it, but she was leading this one because she’s faster on scooters than I am (but that’s another blog).

If going out and “getting lost” on your own sounds like fun, but you’re not quite comfortable with the idea, you should seriously consider treating yourself to the Navigation specialty diver course or at the very least, the Navigation dive from the Advanced Open Water course.  Feeling comfortable with underwater navigation makes adventures like this on WAY more fun and effective, especially with less worry about where you are in our immense ocean.

Anyway, for several weeks, I have been thinking about how to offer something different for our more advanced customers and Sara finally put a name on it for me:  Holoholo!  That’s sort of a Hawaiian slang term for going around to lots of different places or just sort of for a joy ride!

Yep, if what we did (exploring seldom seen parts of our underwater coastline) sounds like fun to you, we can now actually take you out for a Holoholo dive too.  Participants should be excellent on their air consumption and although Nitrox certification isn’t required, it is advantageous for this type of thing (remember, you can do most of the certification online and then just hook up with us to complete your course in one afternoon).  So, if you’re interested, contact us at the shop.  Holoholos will primarily be offered via scooter just because we can explore more ocean that way!

But wait, there’s MORE!

Here at Maui Dreams, we primarily stock Suunto and Oceanic dive computers and if you’ve read my previous fin blogs, you already know how much I love to do comparisons!  As a side project during our Holoholo dive, I decided to carry and compare my Suunto D6i and an Oceanic Geo2 (both wrist mounted computers).  I have done some comparison of their no deco times while using 32% nitrox. 

I have always known that the algorithms are more conservative on the Suunto computers, but really didn’t know what that meant in real numbers and while using Nitrox.  The deco times between the D6i and the Geo2 were surprising.  Thirty-eight minutes into the dive and at 75 feet deep, the Suunto had 23 minutes of no deco time remaining.  The Oceanic had 30, a significant increase of 30%.  When heading back to shore from Marty’s, I looked again and the difference was even more pronounced.  At 58 minutes and 50 feet deep, the Suunto was giving me 43 minutes, and the Oceanic would let me dive for another 72 minutes!!!  That is a 65% increase in no deco time.

Now, neither of these computer has an algorithm that is inherently better than the other.  You may prefer the Suunto (I do love my D6i!) and its more conservative computations, or you may want something a little more…liberal.  These findings are very interesting to me and I will do my best to address this in a future blog. 

If Holoholo diving or computer comparisons interest you, please post your comments here so I know if I should continue with this stuff!

Aloha, Curly