Friday, August 18, 2006

The Cliffs of Molokai

We spent the day towing along the northern coast of Molokai. For the most part, the below water scenes paled compared to those above. Underwater the terrain was sand and rubble with the occasional spectacular wall dropping off into oblivion. On one dive, Rusty and I were skimming quietly over a black sand plane when the depth started to gradually increase. When we hit 80 feet, I signaled the boat to turn left and head closer to shore. This they did, but the depth did not change. After several minutes heading directly to shore, we felt the boat turn to the right again. The depth had not changed. We were confused. We noticed the water to our left was darker than usual and banked the boards for a closer look. We were greeted by a vertical wall and could see the waves breaking against it 80 feet above our heads. Why were we being towed at 80 feet? We had two choices: 80 or 0. We skirted the wall for 10 minutes or so seeing occasional black coral bushes, a few fish, and a few soft corals. On the whole, though, aside from the topography, Molokai was not the most interesting of the below water realms we have explored.

Above water, however, was an entirely different story. The tallest sea cliffs in the world rose over our small orange boat as we made our way down the coast. Vertical masses of rock with a dusting of foliage clinging to the faces. Offshore, island pinnacles remain where the rest of the cliff face has fallen into the sea.


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