A rainbow arcs over a small red and white flag floating in the water. This flag is used in North America to indicate that there’s a diver or divers below and that boats should stay clear.
I saw this Hawaii County Fire Department Search and Rescue helicopter flying over Mau’umae Beach, just south of Kawaihae. I think it was just on a training exercise, but we have had a run of missing fishermen and free divers so it might have been associated with one of those searches.
The body of one fisherman was located submerged along the coast, but no trace of the others has been found yet, to my knowledge. The standard practice on the Big Island is to search for three days. If nothing is found by the end of that time, then they call it off.
There are strong currents around the island and if a swimmer or fisherman is injured in the water, it’s easy for them to be swept out to sea, where the chances of finding them diminish rapidly. Sad as it is when a body is recovered, it’s almost harder when nothing is found and there is no sense of closure for families and friends.
It’s always a bit strange to come across divers when I’m snorkeling. For starters, there’s the stream of bubbles. Then there’s these large creatures with splashes of color and shiny tanks.
I’m not sure these two even knew I was floating above them. I took my photos and left them to their explorations.
The Kohala Divers boat, Namaka, heads out of Kawaihae harbor for an early morning dive session. The boat is also used for whale watching cruises.
For more information about Kohala Divers, go to kohaladivers.com.
Not surprisingly, Hawaii is popular with divers. Warm, clear waters and lots of fish and coral means there’s lots to see. For snorkelers, like me, the divers themselves are something to watch for.
I saw this group heading out toward deeper waters and liked how the light caught the bubbles of air, and also the colorful fins of two of the divers.