Diving, Hilo Vs Kona????

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IrnBear

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Hello All,

I have been reading through the threads and see a lot of suggestions for shore diving out of Kona.

I have been to Hilo and Loved every bit of the shore diving there.

I am in the planning stage for a diving trip to the Big Island with my Fiancee and Daughter in January. They have never been to Hawaii.

I hear that the best Big Island Diving is in the Kona area.

My Question: Is Kona really better than Hilo for diving?? Or is Hilo better??

We plan to stay sometime in Hilo and Kona, 10-12days total.. Just trying to figure out how long on each side.

My Big Island experience: Hilo Shore dives (day and night), Jumped off the cliffs and climbed back up that crazy ladder at South Point (planning to make a stop there for my daughter to make the jump), Snorkeled at Kapoho, wow, does the snorkeling get any better than that?...

Thank you,

IrnBear
 

tarponchik

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Kona offers more variety. I haven't heard anyone diving with dolphins at Hilo, for example. Corals are also generally better. Also, surf can be pretty bad at Hilo. Maybe you were lucky to sneak in at perfect time, but last time I've been to the island we have to wait for couple weeks before it calmed down for a good Hilo shore dive.
 

LeadTurn_SD

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Living and diving in Hilo, I'll provide a little perspective.

1. Weather: Since Hilo is on the windward side of the island, we are exposed to the prevailing tradewinds. This can result in rougher seas and more rain. This can result in lower visibility, surge, and in some cases no-dive days. Kona, being on the leeward side, has more dive days per year.

2. Dive locations: In Hilo, there are three main shore dive locations (Leleiwi, Puhi Bay, Richardson's). Along the Kona and Kohala coasts there are numerous shore dive locations.

3. "Quality" of the dive sites: The section of coastline in Hilo where we shore dive has an extensive, healthy reef. I've been diving here since 1976, and have only scratched the surface of what is out there. On a good day, I rank Leleiwi as one of the premier dives on the island and in the State. During certain times of the year, a large pod of dolphins makes the small bay off Leleiwi "home", and you have a great chance of seeing baby dolphins. Whales and their calves come in very close to shore along the Hilo coast as well. The turtle population at Leleiwi is higher than at any other dive site I've been to on this island. The fish population is large and healthy.

Here lies the crux of the problem with diving in Hilo: Hilo is a great place to dive during nice weather, but Hilo is on the windward side, and windward on any island anywhere in the world can often result in rough ocean conditions, and Hilo's weather conditions can change from hour to hour.

For that reason, I always recommend diving the Kona side to visitors, because they have the best chance of finding good-to-great diving conditions, and have more sites to choose from.

Best wishes.
 

rbeck

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Living and diving in Hilo, I'll provide a little perspective.

1. Weather: Since Hilo is on the windward side of the island, we are exposed to the prevailing tradewinds. This can result in rougher seas and more rain. This can result in lower visibility, surge, and in some cases no-dive days. Kona, being on the leeward side, has more dive days per year.

2. Dive locations: In Hilo, there are three main shore dive locations (Leleiwi, Puhi Bay, Richardson's). Along the Kona and Kohala coasts there are numerous shore dive locations.

3. "Quality" of the dive sites: The section of coastline in Hilo where we shore dive has an extensive, healthy reef. I've been diving here since 1976, and have only scratched the surface of what is out there. On a good day, I rank Leleiwi as one of the premier dives on the island and in the State. During certain times of the year, a large pod of dolphins makes the small bay off Leleiwi "home", and you have a great chance of seeing baby dolphins. Whales and their calves come in very close to shore along the Hilo coast as well. The turtle population at Leleiwi is higher than at any other dive site I've been to on this island. The fish population is large and healthy.

Here lies the crux of the problem with diving in Hilo: Hilo is a great place to dive during nice weather, but Hilo is on the windward side, and windward on any island anywhere in the world can often result in rough ocean conditions, and Hilo's weather conditions can change from hour to hour.

For that reason, I always recommend diving the Kona side to visitors, because they have the best chance of finding good-to-great diving conditions, and have more sites to choose from.

Best wishes.
Since you live and dive in Hawaii..........
we have been told that the road from Kona to Hilo now goes over a fairly high mountain. And the mountain is high enough that after you dive in Kona, you need to wait 12 hours before driving to Hilo. Any truth to that?
Thanks
 

tarponchik

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Since you live and dive in Hawaii..........
we have been told that the road from Kona to Hilo now goes over a fairly high mountain. And the mountain is high enough that after you dive in Kona, you need to wait 12 hours before driving to Hilo. Any truth to that?
Thanks
This may be true if you go the shorter way, via Saddle Rd (Hwy 200). But if you go the longer way in the south (Hwy 11) you won't get higher than 600 m.
 

kevjli

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The most direct route between Hilo and Kona is known as Saddle Road. It goes up to 6000 ft, and it's recommended to avoid that road after diving. There is another route around the north side of the island thru Waimea that isn't as high. And there's a route around the south side of the island too.

 

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