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Thread: Kona and/or Kauai shark diving


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    Michael Kazma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Carlsbad, California
    1,000 - 2,499

    Kona and/or Kauai shark diving

    Will be in Kona for a week and on Kauai for a week next summer and would like to do some shark diving. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Would love to see some tigers and/or hammerheads.

  2. #2

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    smellzlikefish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Oahu, Hawaii
    500 - 999
    Tigers in Hawaii can be tough to find. Tiger sharks in particular tend to show up unpredictably at random places for feeding and spend a day or two before heading out to sea. There are rumors of resident tiger sharks in some areas, but Dr. Kim Holland's work has made me skeptical of these "resident" sharks. The only pattern in their activity seen as yet is during the summer when many travel up to the inaccessible Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to munch on fledgling albatross.

    Hammerheads are a little more predictable. On Molokai there is a place, accessible to most of us only from Maui, that they tend to congregate called Mokuho Oniki Rock. I was there a couple of weeks ago and saw 20-40 hammerheads. To my knowledge, this is the only accessible, reliable place to see hammerheads.

    The best hammerhead diving on Kona is deep south. There you have an fair chance at seeing hammerheads. Your best bet is to hop on a long-range charter, unfortunately, most don't go far enough. You really have to dive between Miloli'i and South Point to have a significant chance of encountering hammerheads. From what I have gathered, "significant chance" means roughly 50/50. I've done 5 dives there and have had an encounter only once.

    The Green Can outside of Honokohau Harbor seems to offer up a good chance at finding a tiger, but it is a gamble. I've been there three times and haven't seen one yet. Many of my friends have seen one there. The locals claim it is the same shark time and again and have even named it. I'd imagine it is a tiger shark hot spot because fishermen in the nearby harbor are always dumping their catches overboard and that these sightings are of different animals, but I digress. Nonetheless, like I said, this is a gamble.

    The pelagic night dive (blackwater) offered by Big Island Divers seems to attract lots of oceanic whitetips and the chance at encountering a cookie cutter shark. It is also one of the most memorable dives I have done in Hawaii, especially if you fancy yourself a critter geek.

    On Kauai your best bet is probably a charter to Niihau/Lehua Rock, but I think they mostly see grey reef sharks there. If you can find a private boat that will take you, there is a seamount immediately past Niihau from Kauai that offers sharks/tuna/everything pelagic galore. These trips are tough to find, expensive and long.
    1. Always use the right tool for the job.
    2. A hammer is always the right tool.
    3. Anything can be used as a hammer.


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    tracydr's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
    North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
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    Havnt seen very many sharks off Kona. But, did see an Oceanic White Tip in the blue ther, even snorkeled with it. That was one of my best and scariest shark encounters ever.
    Dr. Tracy
    US Army Major, Retired

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    Thalassamania's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. 2,175 miles to Alaska, 2,390 miles to California; 3,850 miles to Japan; 4,900 miles to China; 5,280 miles to the Philippines.
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    There's a good size tiger that I see maybe a third of the time off Ho'okena on the Big Island. I dive South Point a lot and I've never seen any sharks there.
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