Adventure X

How far would you go to explore a world unknown to all but a few?

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blue goatfish, trumpetfish
Along Molokini’s back wall, moano kea (blue goatfish) share a coral head with two ‘ōmilu (bluefin trevally) and a nūnū (trumpetfish).

As Ed says, addressing our group of twelve, “We aren’t going to be looking over your shoulder down there—so keep an eye on your air—and we aren’t going to slap your hand if you decide to wander away from the group.”

Our democratic decision-making has led us to Molokini crater, where we prepare to dive the “back wall,” one of Hawai‘i’s best dive sites. Considering that we’ll be down pretty deep—between eighty and one hundred feet—I decide to stay pretty close to the guides.

manta rays hawaii
Despite being distant cousins to sharks, hāhālua (manta rays) are gentle giants that don’t have barbs, stingers—or teeth. They feed by filtering water through their gills. Besides being exceptionally agile, manta rays have the largest brain of any fish.

Some other divers have underwater cameras, and are planning to seek out some colorful marine life on their own. All Ed asks is they stay close enough to the group that they can see other divers’ bubbles, which at Molokini’s back wall can be upwards of a hundred feet.

That amount of space is great for photography, since critters can sometimes be spooked by large groups, and other divers might stir up sand or get in the way of the photo.

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