A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY!
You got to read this story!!! It all happened last week...
Dive Master Bryce's original report:
I was leading my divers out of this beautful lavatube we call "skull cave", and I noticed a lovely free swimming octopus landing gently on a boulder just outside the exit. I slowly approached said boulder so as to not scare the octopus away.
As I got there I started noticing octopus number 2, then 3, and as I was about to motion to my divers that there were multiple octopi, #3 emitted a black cloud of ink and hauled ass away.
I was curious why the octopus would be inking as we were still approaching and he had plenty of room, so he had no reason to perceive me as a threat. That's when I saw the other two octopus take off after #3...
As I watched this hellish Nightmare Demon (aka Viper Moray) fly 10' out of his hole and attempt to chase down 3 fleeing octopus in mid-water, I learned the reason for the ink.
Now I, Bryce Lauder, being of sound mind, had no intention to stick my face in the pissed off viper moray hole, so I turned my group and started to search for some new excitement. But Nightmare Demon had other plans...
Two or three seconds later it felt like someone grabbed my arm really hard. As I comprehended that this "grab" was actually quite painful, I turned to see viper moray tail running back to his boulder about 15' away. CRAZY!
I heard the lady in my group scream through her regulator, so I'm sure they heard a few expletives out of me as I emitted my green cloud (color of blood underwater) on the way back to the dive boat.
Although I was a good 10-15' away from the viper moray's hideout in mid-water, I believe it was a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY.
The moray had just been inked for tagging an octopus and couldn't see, so it went after anything moving, which was me! CRAZY!
Keep in mind that Hawaii is one of the safest places to scuba dive and snorkel in the Pacific ocean.
The octopi were signaling "DANGER! DANGER!", but because the dive master didn't see and wasn't aware of what THEY clearly saw, he kept moving and it was movement that triggered the eel to strike.
As Bryce pointed out in his narrative, once an octopi inks, an eel immediately goes into "Strike Mode" because it "knows" (in a eel kind of way), that it has only has seconds before the octopus "disappears."
Another factor in the equation is how hungry and therefore "wound up” the eel was. For all we know, it hadn’t eaten in days. This was a case of Bryce being in the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time.
The olds of being bitten by a viper moray eel are about the same as being struck by lightning. From a business point of view, it is WAY better for Bryce to get bit than a tourist diver.
Our hat is off to Bryce for being so “cool.”
He has a nice story to tell, with pictures (and a scar) to prove it.
Had Bryce not had a wetsuit on as soft body armor, those puncture would would have been very serious shredding wounds which could have torn the brachial artery in his arm and the outcome may have been much more serious.
Bryce has his Guardian Angel to thank for protecting him from a much more serious injury. Eel bites are also notoriously infection prone. He’s not "out of the woods" yet.
Martina & Jim