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Diving Kona April 2019 (Trip Report)

Discussion in 'Hawai'i' started by diving4ever, May 2, 2019.

  1. diving4ever

    diving4ever ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco
    187
    144
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    Just returned from a fantastic dive trip to the Big Island. It's a quick 5-hour flight from California direct to Kona. Arrived around 9 am and dropped my gear off at Kona Dive Company (KDC), before getting settled in at the rental. I managed to get in 17 dives over the next eight days. The conditions were fantastic, calm and glassy, water temps were 79 degrees all week, and the visibility was very good.

    I dove with KDC the whole trip, with charters on the Hale Kai as well as their faster/smaller boat the Imi Kai. Both vessels are great, but the long range on Imi Kai is especially fun and allowed for diving further south (Red Hill) and doing some long drift dives. Dive groups were never more than five people (sometimes as small as 2 or 3), and dive groups were well matched. The bottom time is generous, and dives were typically from 70-80 minutes. That is on nitrox, but I think there may be a 70 minute limit on the first dive if you are on air just to make sure they can stick to a 1 hour SI. Typical max depth was 70 feet with a few deeper profiles.

    Critters: Turtles, green & hawksbill; devil, leaf, and juvenile decoy scorpionfish; octopus, lots and lots of frogfish (my favorite) including babies the size of chicken nuggets; eels (zebra, green, dragon, viper, snowflake, freckled snake, and tiger snake), mantis shrimp, coral gobies, harlequin shrimp, a pair of red striped pipefish and several different species of nudibranch.

    Lots of fish including endemics: bicolor anthias, flame angels, scarface blenny, juvenile shortnose wrasse, psychedelic wrasse, schools of pyramid butterflies, playful porcupine fish, Hawaiin swimming crab, Hawaiian Boxfish, white tip reef sharks, plus all the usual suspects. It was a little early in the season to get tiger shark sighting, but we did spot one from the boat.

    If you get to Kona, there are some beautiful sites. This trip the standouts sites were suck 'em up, golden arches, Kaloko Canyons, pyramid pinnacle, Flossies Fishhouse, and the Dome.

    I can't reccomend the KDC crew highly enough. I am looking forward to getting back this fall. I attached some photos shot with a go pro, but they are nothing fancy.

    awake turtle.JPG Baby Frog Fish.JPG departing white tip.JPG fancy frog fish (3).JPG Peacock flounder .JPG violet leaf scoprion fish.JPG Hawiian Swimming Crab.JPG Frog Fish 70 ft.JPG juvenile dragon wrasse.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Kimela, jonhall, grantwiscour and 5 others like this.
  2. Anish

    Anish Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Singapore
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    Nice. I got my OW in Kona and my first fun dive was night Manta dive. On my OW dives everyone was excited to see frogfish. I was too clueless to know how cool that was and was more focussed on staying alive under water! Went back once again and dived some of the sites you mentioned. Cant beat Kona for water visibility and temperature. Its the best Hawaiian island for diving for sure.
     
    KathyV and diving4ever like this.
  3. diving4ever

    diving4ever ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco
    187
    144
    43
    Frog Fish Swimming:

     
    Kimela and KathyV like this.
  4. peterak

    peterak Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Big Island, HI
    143
    71
    28
    Nice write-up and photos. Quite an impressive critter list. So, what is that in the fifth photo?
     
    diving4ever likes this.
  5. diving4ever

    diving4ever ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco
    187
    144
    43
    That is a peacock flounder.
     
  6. RVBldr

    RVBldr PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redmond, WA
    254
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    Nice report! From a family perspective, KDC is a really great operation to dive with. I tend to swap between KDC and Kona Honu, but I like the Hale Kai for sure.
     
    diving4ever likes this.
  7. grantwiscour

    grantwiscour Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kona Coast, Big Island of Hawaii
    651
    242
    43
    Nice photos and trip report. Lots of good diving on Big Island!
     
    diving4ever likes this.
  8. jeriep

    jeriep Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Norway
    2
    0
    1
    Thanks for sharing:) Im spending 10 days in Kona in late August. What is your top recommendations reg dive sites? I did the manta night dive a few years back, and will probably do it again. I would love to optimise my chances of seeing tiger shark, any recommendations regarding dive site in this reg? I have heard the best time or this is September onward, so almost there...
    PS
    (I have about 250 dives, PADI advanced and nitrox certified)

    Thank you, kind regard

    Jon
     
  9. diving4ever

    diving4ever ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco
    187
    144
    43
    Hi Jon,

    Have an awesome time!

    You are traveling to Kona during a good dive window...especially for Tigers. My recommendations are to dive with Kona Dive Company. You should try and book at least one day on their smaller/faster boat for a long-range. When you get to Kona check in with the dive op and see if they are seeing any tigers, whale sharks, or hammerheads (and where). The whale sharks were pretty common the past year.

    The best dive site to see Tiger Sharks is Crescent Beach -- directly outside the harbor. They hang around there cruising for scraps from the fishing boats. Lazy scavengers :) If you dive with KDC, you will dive this site at least a couple of times. Sometimes people balk because the site is so close in (they feel like they are not getting their monies worth), but the site (and nearby ones) are fantastic.

    We saw a hammerhead earlier this year when diving down south near Red Hill. Well, I didn't see it, but others did. :)

    In summer you should try and get to north sites like Kua Bay/Beach(?) which is a favorite and to Hoovers which is sometimes a cleaning station for Mantas (great to see them during the day).

    Other great sites: suck 'em up and freeze face. I suggest telling the op what you want to see. Frogfish, tiger sharks, nudibranch, mantis shrimp, etc., and they'll try to accommodate you -- especially if you are diving multiple days. But honestly, the whole coastline is one giant dive site.

    Lastly, consider doing a night reef dive as well as the night manta. I was amazed at how great that dive was.

    Melissa
     
    jonhall likes this.
  10. jeriep

    jeriep Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Norway
    2
    0
    1
    Awesome! Many thanks for your reply Melissa, really helpfull. On my way, first out of four flights done.

    Jon
     

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