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Big Island Shore Diving

Discussion in 'Hawai'i' started by grantwiscour, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kona Coast, Big Island of Hawaii
    683
    258
    My wife and I will be on the Big Island later this month. We hope to do a good amount of shore diving while we are there.

    I have studied shorediving.com and will use their info for much of our planning.
    There were some posts from last summer about where to rent tanks. It is just the two of us so we won't have to have a huge number of tanks at one time.

    Any info on tank rentals/fills, shore diving spots, shore diving for mantas and anything else that you'd want to share is greatly appreciated.
    We are experienced divers comfortable/capable planning and executing our own dives.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    9,673
    10,424
    The last two times I was there we rented tanks and weights from Kona Coast Divers. I'm not sure if they're still there but there are other shops nearby. We usually made a dive and then swapped tanks at the shops for full ones rather than wait for fills. I wrote one of the reviews on Many thanks to Phil Garner for this review of Alua Beach of Alua Beach. I saw mantas there but there is no guarantee where they will show up. My favorite part of that site are the garden eels in 130 feet. Save enough air to return to the beach or you risk surfacing in boat traffic from the harbor.
    Mile marker 4 is also nice with lava tubes and a lot of morays. There is now a parking lot with showers on the north side of the beach.
     
    grantwiscour likes this.
  3. wmperry

    wmperry Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Bloomington, IN
    293
    144
    Shorediving.com is a good resource - I would plan on hitting most of the sites in the morning when the surf should be lowest. I made the mistake of diving the old airport in the mid-afternoon one trip and it was an experience getting out.

    Two Step is one of my favorites and is super easy to get in and out. It is a haul down there, so I would rent two tanks each. When getting out of the water, keep your fingers tucked in - tons of urchins in the holes. Don't want to get pushed in by a wave and get some unwanted souvenirs.

    Old airport is a really fun dive as well - I think the southern entry is easier.

    Did Puako Village End in november - once we figured out where the collapsed lava tube was and got some depth (~40 ft) it was a good dive. Saw a few mantas cruising in the shallows, and turtles out at the tube. My niece was doing her checkout dives with me, and she had a blast. Had to scramble over a few rocks getting in, but not too bad.

    There is a great site just past the mouth of the small boat harbor (Alua Beach on shorediving.com) - be prepared to haul your tanks over some lava rock to get there. Not terrible, but watch your footing. Great dive once you get there, and usually a very protected entry even when the surf is up. There has been a tiger shark hanging out here for a while, keep your eyes open. Tons of fish diversity here as well.
     
    grantwiscour likes this.
  4. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,281
    5,860
    Others covered the diving so I'll do some of the shops. Kona Coast Divers was bought out by Jack's Diving Locker around 2005? ish.

    Jack's is on Alii Dr. in the south part of town. Continue down Ali'i south from there to both Pahoehoe Beach Park and a little farther (like 2 blocks) to Mile Marker 4. Jacks runs shore dives to either the Kailua/Kona Pier or Alua Beach at times if that's of interest.

    Several of the other shops are in an industrial park just NE of town. Kona DIving Co. is on the south side and Big Island Divers in a different building on the north end. Kona Honu Divers in the middle on the west side. KDC are nice people - esp. Kerry the owner. We rented tanks from them to shore dive.

    Here's a couple maps, the first shows the 3 shops, the 2nd Jack's. The red dot is the reference point

    . Capture.JPG Capture2.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
    grantwiscour likes this.
  5. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,813
    314
    I was there last week, the swell is up and down, you'll have to pick your days. You can get in trouble really quickly if the surf is up...
     
    grantwiscour likes this.
  6. SillyHat

    SillyHat Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon
    9
    1
    I'm in Kona from the 22nd through the 26th of Jan. I've found that Jack's Dive Locker will fill tanks for $10 and make recommendations on where to go. If you'd like company let me know, I'd love to go out. I'm a solo diver with 30+ shore dives under my belt and good air consumption.

    The guide book "Big Island Revealed" has some dive tips (they are divers) and good shore locations.
     
    grantwiscour likes this.
  7. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kona Coast, Big Island of Hawaii
    683
    258
    Thanks for the great info. We'd be more than happy to do some diving with you SillyHat but we are in Kauai 1/23-27 and the BI 1/27-2/5. We will just miss each other. I am planning on doing a couple dives on the Hilo side with Nautilus Dive Center in addition to some shore diving on the Kona side.
     
  8. SillyHat

    SillyHat Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon
    9
    1
    Update. I dove with "East Hawaii Divers" on the Hilo side and found him to be casual and affordable but very professional. A local who is showing you his fave spots and bringing you tanks. He helped me navigate and understand the surges here during shore diving which are much larger than the Carib.

    Near Kona, Jack's Dive Locker rents tanks and has pro boat dives as well. Ditto for Big Island Divers, similar good experience. Either Big Island or Jack's would be fine.

    Don't miss a night "manta dive" while you are here.
     
  9. tarponchik

    tarponchik Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    2,225
    646
    If you want a deal on tank rentals, go to Scuba Shack near Costco. The charge $8/tank or $40 for a week. Meaning, if you return tanks every 24 hrs you get 2 freebies after 5 days or if you do not return your tank the next day they won't charge you extra (the "or" is important here cause you don't get both options). Pretty much everybody else on the island will charge you $10/tank and extra $10/tank for any extra day you keep them.

    As for the dive sites, check if they had opened Hookena Beach Park. They closed it for Dengue in Nov (though I haven't seen a single mosquito there) but if you want to see the dolphins, this is only possible at Hookena and Honaunau (2-step). Also in the South dive Milolii, where there are 2 good sites, "The Rock" and Milolii Village. Pebble Beach is an interesting site, surf permitting. But don't even think of it if Kona cost surf report gives you 2+ ft. Speaking of surf, 2-step is your last resort if you can't dive anywhere else. But explore to the North cause vis is better there when the swells come.

    In the North, forget the Old Airport. It is not bad but there is nothing there you won't see at Alula which is much better and where chances to see Eagle Rays are almost 100%. Don't swim into the harbor or over the sand cause the Tiger Shark is also there (I saw her twice in Nov). Come early before the dive boats come, swim out from the sandy beach and gradually turn to the left. Descend going SW, find the place where the drop-off wall begins at around 70 ft and follow the drop-off to the S at around 70-80 ft. The Eagle Rays will soon show up and maybe the Tiger Shark too. The shark stays 50 ft away from the drop-off so you should be safe. At 1500 PSI ascend and go back over the Lobe coral field.

    Also in the far North, Mahukona and Kapa'a are both good sites definitely worth diving.
     
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  10. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kona Coast, Big Island of Hawaii
    683
    258
    Thanks for all the great info. We have dived Two Step and Pebble Beach. PB was a rough exit both times but we made it out ok. The steep incline with the surf/surge is a whoopin'.

    Last night we did the Manta Dive with Big Island Divers and Manta Ray Advocates. The surge was insane...even overweighted I was bear hugging boulders to keep from getting tossed around. I think the final count was 14 Mantas.

    We are hoping to get out to Molilii tomorrow. We checked it Sunday but the swell was up and the entry/exit were going to be exhilarating to say the least.
     

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