Baits, Lures & Flies photo

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I like to “be the fish” every now and then. Putting on scuba gear, and observing fish doing their things offers interesting lessons. And it’s made some good stories in the Field & Stream “Going Deep” series… trout, bass, pike, walleye, etc.

However, I just did a dive with my brother Drew off the Kona coast in Hawaii that took “be the fish” to an extreme level. This wasn’t just “be the fish,” this was “be the bait.”

It’s called the [Blackwater Dive]( Black.html) and the deal was pretty straightforward: We boated a few miles off the Hawaiian coast where the water was a mile deep… in the pitch black of night. Then dove in and hung around 50 feet below the surface attached to tether lines with flashlights, as the boat free-drifted for about a mile in open water. The goal was to observe a multitude of little-understood freaky neon creatures that well up from the depths at night. I saw things most people never even know exist on this planet. It was surreal… like being in outer space as alien critters drifted by.

But there was also a significant pucker factor involved. Dangling below the boat, literally attached to a line where pelagic fish live gave me the unique impression of being a worm on a hook. (I suppose, if I were to have been a “fly,” I’d have worn a grass skirt on this dive.) Sharks are common visitors, as seen by this video of the black water dive.

We didn’t encounter any sharks on our specific dive… but the thought was foremost on my mind. I kinda want a re-do, and hope to see a (very docile) whitetip or blue shark fin by. Then again, I was pretty satisfied watching little jellyfish. The lesson: being the bait is a very unsettling experience, especially at night. For perspective, imagine yourself in a foggy thicket, scanning 360 degrees, knowing that at any moment, a bear or mountain lion might pop through the haze, 20 feet away from you. Do this for 50 minutes, sucking air through a tube. Would you be game?

Thanks to the top-notch captain and divemasters from Big Island Divers for one of the most exciting dive experiences I’ve had.


Bonus Question:

Before I took that step off the boat and into the black water, I got myself ready with a little iPod music. (It’s good to have music going through your head when you dive into the unknown). What songs did I play?

David Bowie: “Space Oddity” followed by “Panic in Detroit”

AC/DC: “Who Made Who” followed by “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”

Pink Floyd: “Time” from Dark Side of the Moon followed by “Wish You Were Here”

Led Zeppelin: “Kashmir” followed by “The Ocean”

Electric Light Orchestra: “Fire on High” followed by “Strange Magic”

The Doors: “The End” followed by “Touch Me”

The Cars: “Moving in Stereo” followed by “Dangerous Type”

Bobby Darin: “Mack the Knife” followed by “Beyond the Sea”