Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Diving at The Cathedral Caverns off Lanai

We woke way before dawn, gathered our stuff and drove to Maala boat ramp to meet Extended Horizons for their morning boat charter. We were excited even though paying for a boat charter feels wrong after a decade of being paid to do dive charters but I was not in charge this morning, did not own the boat and no longer have Scuba Instructor PADI insurance. It felt good to be a customer!
Eliza and Kim - Dive Buddies!
The boat ride to Lanai was lovely as the sun rose behind the West Maui Mountains and graced us with rays of buttery sunshine. Humpback whales were out in full force, tail slapping, breaching, blowing off in the distance, their black backs glinting in the sun before they dove to the bottom of the channel.
Our first dive was at a place called No Name Paradise, a large underwater rock formation off the backside of Lanai that was home to hundreds of fish and gorgeously interesting sea critters. Although our group of 6 did not see the shark, the other group did. We were led by a Russian man named Mike who was the photographer/instructor which meant that our dive involved a lot of looking at minutia while Mike took pics. I love the little stuff, personally.
Shooting out the hole at The Cathedrals
Inside The Cathedrals
The second dive was The Cathedrals, the reason for booking this charter, (along with the fact they run on bio fuel cooking oil from the restaurants in Lahaina and the boat smells like fries!) and after mooring to the pre-set line at the famous dive spot, we slipped in to the water. No current, no surge, 50 feet of visibility! We dropped down, scoured the reef for octopus, posed for photos and then headed in through the biggest opening in the grand Cathedral to spend time in a cavern that was formed from underwater gases trapped inside lava.
Frog Fish!
I've done this dive hundreds of times but it's always special and lovely and ethereal and daunting. Inside the Church-sized room are things not seen in the sunlight like Black Coral, fish with big eyes adapted to the dark, lobster and sometimes sharks who like caverns.
We posed for photos and then shot out a small opening to the sunshine and hunted for interesting life in the lava cracks. A viper moray was a great find, and my favorite little fish, The Box Fish!. Once back on the boat, were glad we were happy to have been in Mike's group to buy the pictures from him. Bragging rights are everything!
Box Fish (my favorite)
Back on dry land and after lunch at Lynn's (garden asparagus, brie cheese, crackers, papaya, teriyaki chicken skewers) and a two hour nap, we put on eyeliner and lipstick, donned sundresses and drove in to Lahaina. Front Street art galleries and T-shirt shops, good conversation and memories of living here back in the day later, we landed at Kimo's Restaurant and scored a great table overlooking the ocean. Surrounded by tiki torches and outrigger canoes hung from the rafters, we ordered dinner while a cruise ship pulled out of Lahaina, it's fairy-like lights twinkling as it crossed our view of the sunset. Dinner was delicious- beet and blue salad, parmesan crusted Ono with wild rice and Machong drenched in lemon butter. Two glasses of chardonnay later, we wandered along Front Street to our car and came home to more Trump drama on the TV on CNN.
Today we fly home, leaving our friend and our island of sunshine and ocean for the cold January weather of Seattle. Is it any wonder they call this place Paradise?
Kim and Eliza at The Cathedrals
the boat ride
Kim Hornsby is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.

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