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Kona shore dives south of Two Step

Discussion in 'Hawai'i' started by Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Aloha! :)

    This May, when we return to the wonderful, awesome Big Island, we're staying down by K Bay again. I'm looking to expand my repetoire of shore dive spots if there are others worth hitting. I've done Ke'ei and Two Step a lot and plan to do them a lot more, but what else is there down south?

    I'm thinking we'll definitely go down and dive Miloli'i this time...never got around to it last time (or the time before, or the time...). Is that a worthwhile dive? Any tips, pointers, advice, etc on that one?

    What about between Two Step and Miloli'i? Any good shore dive spots we should check out in that area?

    Lastly, is it worth a drive up to Puako? I haven't done that yet. I rarely find myself up in the Kohala region, but this year I figure we should make the effort, get up early, and do a couple or three tanks at Puako. Is it significantly different from what you see down south? I understand the reef is older. I have read that it is really only good in the morning because the wind picks up...will we have time for two tanks typically? Any pointers, tips, advice on Puako for a group already staying 25 minutes south of Kailua?

    Many thanks! We're really looking forward to coming back to Hawaii! :)

    Gregg
     
  2. friscuba

    friscuba Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A, A
    1,646
    39
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    Hi there,

    Puako is worthwhile. It's a 30-70 yard shallow surface swim to the drop off at most public access spots, makes for a lot of work is there's more than a foot of surf or chop, but worthwhile as there are lots of swimthroughs and nice reef. Viz can be down if it's choppy. Very similer to Keei with more swimthroughs. Drive around a check a few of the public access points and do the one or two with the flattest water, even 18' or more of surf makes it difficult for non-die-hards.

    Ho'okena beach is an interesting dive once you figure out everything. You head out the wrong way and it's real boring. Snorkel it first. I dont' have the compass headings, but I go out on the south side of the old wharf. Facing outwards I head out at about 11:00-11:30 (12:00 beign straight forward) any you'll go through badly beat up lobe coral. There's a small shoulder in about 20-24 feet of water and then you'll hit the sand flats. There's often anthias right there in 22-24 feet, but sometimes they move deeper to the north after heavy surf. Out in the sand there are individual rocks which can be an oasis of life and you can see garden eels in about 29 feet of water. After I'm done checking out rocks I go back to the shoulder and head northish along the shoulder. It get's deeper as you head out that way. Watch yourself that you don't get caught up in a mild current, it's easy to think you can turn at 1500 psi and find yourself running low too early on the way back. I'd give it a could of dives to figure it out. The shoulder/drop off is sort of a juvenile nursury with lots of small tangs, butterflies and such. There are tons of Fishers angels in the rubble on the shoulder at 40-60 feet. A compass, and knowing how to use one, is almost a must on this dive 'til you figure it out. It's sort of the case with most of these dives.

    Kona Paradise can be a good dive if the water's flat. I've only dove to the north off the beach. It's sort of like Puako's younger but bigger brother... not as nice of reef, not as many swimthroughs, but bigger rock walls to check out.

    I've only dove off the south end of Milolii once with the dive club years ago. It was very much like Keei. Beyond Milolii is Manuka. You'll need a 4wd pickup or suv for this one as it's a crushed rock road. I haven't been down there in three years so I'm not sure of what kind of condition it's in, but it's a long slow drive guaranteed.. take water and food, 'cause if you can make the drive from the highway to the beach in less than 40 minutes you are going pretty darned fast.It could take quite a bit longer and it's hot and dry. This dive site is on relatively fresh lava flow. Black rock, with cauliflour coral, lots of swimthroughs and cracks of sorts. It's deceptive in that if you head straight out off the beach, it's almost as though there are two or three shelves as opposed to a single shelf and drop off. Go find a 50-60 foot deep one, head to the right, then when you are ready to come back head up to the shallower shelf and work your way back. To the left of the beach is still interesting, but not quite as much topography if I recall - good second dive. I wouldn't even bother going here if you think the surf's up - a long drive to find that out.

    Whether all of these are worth the trip is going to vary from individual to individual, they're just a bit different. I'm not really sure if I'd recommend these dives to relatively inexperienced divers. The south ones especially are a long ways from help if troubles arise. Kona Paradise had one of the few scuba related deaths (got caught in a current had had a heart attack) I can think of in Kona since I've been here.

    Have fun,
     
  3. Wildcard

    Wildcard Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Alaska
    5,258
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    Brain fart here, whats the name of the place up north with the old rail road dock? if your up that way anyway and it should get choppy, thats a good spot to go. Ladder exit and showers on site. Some old wreckage out there too.
     
  4. Wildcard, do you mean Mahukona?
    http://www.shorediving.com/Earth/Hawaii/TBI/Mahukona/index.htm

    Steve, thanks as always for the great info. We're definitely comfortable with compass use and the care one must take when diving remote sites. We may have to go check some of those sites out. Do you have a preferred source for swell forecasts for Kona?

    BTW, how many divers does it take to make it worth your while to run a 3-tank long range trip to the south sites? And how much do you charge per diver (PM me if you like)? Have you ever run a 5-dive day where you go south for 3 dives, then do Kaiwi or something in the afternoon, then Mantas at night? Sort of a one-day liveaboard?

    Sounds like my kind of day... Thanks again! :D
     
  5. Wildcard

    Wildcard Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Alaska
    5,258
    0
    0
    I did my DM map there ya think Id rember the name. Yes, thats the spot.
     
  6. friscuba

    friscuba Dive Charter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A, A
    1,646
    39
    0
    I'll run my three tankers for $139 a head with 3 or 4 divers, but that usually keeps me between Kealakekua Bay and a mile or two north of the airport (either direction on the same day, not both). We'd probably have to negotiate a bit for a longer run. My boat isn't the slowest one here, but it's not quite as peppy as a few others mentioned in the earlier thread, so anything south of Kealakekua Bay is going to make for a longer day and between gas and more importantly, paying crew for the longer day, I'd need to bump the price up a bit.

    So far I've been avoiding running night dives after the three tankers jsut so I don't have to worry about time deadlines on the three tankers, we might dicusss your idea since it would all be the same group of divers. Is everyone in your group nitrox certified? That'd make it more likely doable, but I'd still have to see if I can get someone to work it, as I'm still small and don't have a large pool of employess who might be willing to be on a boat all day AND evening.

    By May the NW swells should be setting down pretty well and we might be seeing the occasional S swell. If you are staying down south you could just go up to the Coffee Shack Deli in the morning and look at the shoreline and figure out if the swells happening and which direction it's coming from. It likely won't be much of an issue in May.

    later,
     

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