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Sharks in the Caves at Five Graves | Maui.Net - All Things Maui
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Michael Elam's Maui Snorkel & Dive Guide

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Oct. 21, 2007 by Michael Elam

Sharks in the Caves at Five Graves

I have dived at Five Graves and poked around inside all of the caves on many occasions without seeing a single shark. But I can't remember a dive that I saw as many sharks as I did there today. There seemed to be one in every cave that Tau and I entered. The above photo taken in the "Toilet Bowl" cave tells the story. An 6' adult White Tip Reef Shark with a fish hook lodged in its mouth cruised back and forth inside the cave as Tau and I gave it plenty of space. In addition to this one we saw 3 others in 3 other locations.

Our first interesting encounter after our descent this morning was a juvenile undulated moray eel, also with a fish hook in its mouth. The fishing line and leader attached to the hook was snagged on a nearby coral head so my guess is that the eel had apparently hit whatever was baited on the hook (probably octopus), swam off and snagged the line on the coral. We weren't about to try to remove the hook from the eel's mouth, but we did manage to cut the monofilament line attached to the hook so at least the eel could travel. However, unlike the 6' White Tip Reef Shark above, this juvenile moray is unlikely to survive for long.

Why is it called the Toilet Bowl cave? It is an underwater lava tube with "skylights" open to the surface so the surge tends to be a bit strong here acting somewhat like a toilet flush.

I like to do this dive as a one-way trip from the entry at Five Graves all the way to our eventual exit at Makena Landing where we shower off, leave our gear and walk back to get our cars. Doing it this way allows you to take your time exploring all the caves instead of worrying about when you need to turn back. It's so shallow all the way that it can be a 2-hour dive if you're stingy with your air. I didn't get quite that this morning as my buddy was sucking it up more than me, but 99 minutes wasn't bad.

Let's see ... what other goodies did we find today? Tau pointed out a nice Slipper Lobster in the Bubble Cave and a BIG Hawaiian Spiny Lobster in the Shark Cave. I saw a nice Whitemouth Moray Eel out swimming over the reef, and a Stout Moray doing the same in another location. (See photos on right side of page).

And there were turtles EVERYWHERE! Resting on the sand, rubbing their heads on the tops of the caves, being cleaned on the reef…it was just one of those days where they seemed to be everywhere you looked.

All photos provided courtesy of William Stohler.

Dive stats:

Location: Five Graves to Makena Landing, Makena
Maximum Depth: 37 feet
Bottom Time: 99 minutes
Visibility: 60-80 feet
Water Temp: 77°


Comments

"I'VE DIVED IT ALSO AND FOUND A FEW SHARKS, BUT NOT FOR A YEAR, SO WILL HAVE TO RETURN. GREAT PICTURES! SURE ENJOY THEM AND YOUR TEXT. THANKS, VICTORIA"

Posted by VICTORIAS on Oct. 23, 2007

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