Scuba diving on Saturady was AMAZING. I saw an octopus swimming around, and it was incredible!! It can imitate the shapes of other fish, and I could only identify it when a tentacle would come loose. SO COOL. There were also tons of sea turtles, and lots of tropical fish, and a school of over 1000 opelu. Bill, my dive master, said it was the largest school of fish he’s seen in 27 years, and that the overall fish count was astonishing. The coolest part is that we dove straight the shore and went down about 60 feet, so we didn’t need a boat or anything. Hawaii is truly incredible. I only have 2 more dives before I'm officially certified, and I already feel very competent. If you're ever in Hawaii, definitely go to Nautilus Dive Center. Bill totally knows his stuff!
Saturday and Sunday, I went on another brief roadtrip around the northern part of the island. Tommy had to pick up his roommate at the airport, so I tagged along and we went to the beaches near Kona. The water was gorgeous, the sun was shining, and I didn’t get sunburned! I’m slowly accumulating some color – but still wearing that SPF 55 sunscreen just incase. It gets pretty toasty here sometimes!
We had Monday off at work, and Jake’s girlfriend is in town, so Tommy drove us all around Puna and we went to Lava Tree State Park, the hot springs, and down to see the lava flowing into the water. Lava Tree State Park was awesome – it just shows how lava can encase trees and burn them out, so that the remaining lava is hollow where the tree used to be (see photo). So cool! And the hot springs were really warm and comfortable, although apparently they’re full of disease and bacteria. Doesn’t surprise me, but it was totally worth it.
There are some gorgeous tide pools along the coast, and I want to go back and go snorkeling. I didn’t bring my gear so I ended up just putting my feet in, but the view was amazing! (see photo). We also peeked in at Kahena, which is apparently a nude beach in Puna, but didn’t see anything exciting. Maybe next time! And the lava flowing into the ocean was gorgeous. We were there right about sunset so we could see the reddish chunks of lava flying around as the lava hit the ocean. The view was mostly steam, but sometimes a flurry of lava would emerge and everyone would gasp. There were tons of people just sitting and watching the spectacle. Very cool!
Tuesday was a long work day, involving lots of rain and dirt. And an INCIDENT. We finished collecting everything by 4ish and drove out Powerline road to the gate. When we got to the gate, however, it was totally blocked by a parked truck and we were trapped inside!! After waiting over an hour, we finally got picked up by our supervisor at the Forest Service who drove up to rescue us. We had to leave the car locked inside the gate, and today Devin and Bernice went back up to continue collecting and hopefully retrieve the truck. Crazy!! It was super frustrating because we just wanted to go home, and some stupid local or tourist had blocked our exit. Argh. We finished around 7 PM and called it a night, even though we hadn’t sorted the bugs.
Today, Jake and I sorted the bugs and loaded up the Berlese funnels. We finished around 1 PM and will go back later tonight to help with today’s bug sorting, but it’s nice having a bit of a break in between. I bought my ticket from the south island to the north island of New Zealand, and am planning to get my ticket to Brisbane tonight! AHHHH!! It’s all coming together – CRAZY!