Yesterday, Tina and I went for a dive off Honokohau Harbor just north of Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i, a 10-minute drive from our house. Tina and I mostly freedive; this was the first time we had tanks on our backs in five months. Two eagle rays cruised the margin at 70′, where the coral slope changed to sand. We went out onto the sand flats to watch a flashing school of scads and stalk a plain of garden eels. Coming back, we saw our friends the eagle rays again, this time at a cleaning station, where we could watch them easily.
Then, in unusually shallow water I saw a school of Heller’s barracuda coming towards me. The usually shy species swirled around me. Wow! I thought, not realizing that I was missing the main show. Suddenly, further away, I saw a giant trevally thrashing a barracuda like a terrier with a rat. It was big: probably a 50# fish. I hooted in my regulator and pointed so Tina would see it.
When we surfaced, Tina told me that the reason the barracuda had swirled around me was because the trevally was herding them, cutting back and forth at lightning speed, only a few feet away from me. She had seen the whole thing.
Freediving’s nice, but we’ve decided to go back for another dive at that spot this weekend!