We surfaced next to the Brine Shrimp, awed by what we had seen, babbling about every detail. As we doffed our gear and scrambled aboard the tender, there was an unspoken urgency. This had been our first dive at Kaula, our initial foray into the unknown. Back on the long-liner, we had 126 scuba tanks still nestled in the hold. Divided evenly, that amounted to eighteen more chances each to see what wonders Kaula held. I could hardly wait.
Over the week, we explored all over Kaula. We came across giant trevally hiding in cathedral-like caves; fragile, long-finned anthias on the underside of ledges and a pack of angry gray sharks, thugs who showed their bravado by biting our anchor line. When the wind doubled in intensity and wild seas forced us back to the lee of Niihau, we dove the Lehua seamount just off the island. Like Kaula, it was loaded with fish.
I saw then what my father had realized years before: that the world is two-dimensional, that there is the world above water and the world below. I returned from that expedition with a love for the sea that was stronger than ever. These days, I'm training in a whole new way of diving: on a closed-circuit rebreather, a machine that recycles exhaled oxygen and allows divers to spend hours underwater and reach depths in excess of 300 feet. It is technical diving, more complex then regular scuba, but the sensation is dreamlike, and breathing is eerily similar to normal inhalation. The potential for undersea exploration is tenfold. For me, this is a new chapter in diving, an evolution, but the driving force is the same: The unknown, as my father so patiently showed me, is always calling. HH