Friday 14th September 2001, Maui HI

Even John was eager to be up and ready to dive at 5am this morning. Our first boat dive was to be in the Molokini Crater, on the list of ‘must see’ for any diver, but a real treat for us beginners. (When the Molokini volcano erupted, half the crater collapsed into the sea, leaving only a crescent-shaped island visible above the water. A reef formed in the submerged crater.)

Lauren got us to do our compulsory CESA immediately in 20ft of water. Once that was out of the way, we were free to explore the reef with her as our guide. As novice Open Water Divers, we are only qualified to dive to 60ft. However, when we returned to the boat, our computers recorded a depth of 80ft … We agreed to put this down as a ‘malfunction’, and dutifully recorded 60ft in our Log Books. Whatever. We were thrilled to have seen our first white-tipped shark, a manta ray, and a zebra eel!

After a short surface interval, the boat moved on to a site known as ‘Five Graves’, where we were treated to a whole city of turtles. Without a waterproof slate, communication under water can be a bit ‘hit and miss’ – especially for novices. Lauren had briefed us as best she could on what we could expect to see at the two sites. She had demonstrated the sign-language that she would use to indicate sharks, rays, turtles, eels, etc. But needless to say, she could not cover everything. On more than one occasion, we found ourselves staring dumbly at some strange new creature, while Lauren tried to explain in mime what it was. Frustrating … but amusing at the same time!

We were back on shore by 10am, ready for the rest of the day.