Question Kona Suggestions for Mid November

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Hi all, my wife and I are planning a trip to the Big Island in mid/early November (one week), and trying to find the right fit for diving, given our level and interests. We've done lots of reading, but I'm not sure whether that helped us make decisions, or just left us with more questions!

We've both gotten our OWD certification over the summer (and more recently gotten our Dry Suit certification). By the time we head for Hawaii, we'll probably have about 12–15 dives each (with 5 or 6 in dry suits).

At the moment we're planning on staying at a hotel in Kailua-Kona (probably at the Royal Kona Resort), and definitely going to do the Manta Night Dive (probably with either Jack's Diving Locker or Kona Diving Company). We're also hoping to get some hiking in, so we figure we'll aim for another two days (maybe three) of diving.

So we're wondering what other dives we should do. I'm not sure Pelagic Magic is our thing, but we're definitely up for adventure and open to suggestions! Note that we're planning to avoid renting a car, and would be happy with either boat dives or shore dives.
I've changed over to a smaller dive boat when I visit Kona now. But back when I was diving with them, I was able to get a ride to the harbor with Jack's Diving Locker from their shop in town. Ask them if they still offer that service.
I think you will find it difficult without a rental car on the Big Island as it is spread out. Kona Honu Divers is a good shop to do the Manta Night Dive as well as their regular day trips. Big Island Divers and Pacific Rim are good as well in the Kona area. Blue Wilderness in Puako and Kohala Divers in Kawaihae are my favorites as they get to sites that are not as crowded and usually the only boat there.
If you end up renting a car, then Pacific Rim Divers has my recommendation. I've been diving with Patrice and Frank for over 10 years. Smaller boat, owner operated.
I second Pacific Rim Divers! Just dove with them in May and had a fantastic time. Small boat and group. Cool boat mascot.

It was a very different experience than my manta night dive. I used Big Island Divers, and felt like we were being herded like cattle. Though I can imagine any dive boat is like that for a popular dive, so just be ready.
We loved Royal Kona and we dive with Kona diving company but that would definitely require a car. Manta dives were the highlight.
We just got done with a Hawaiian cruise, Kona was originally a single day but they cancelled Maui and had an overnight in Kona. Due to the late morning arrival and other shops having maintenance done, we used three different dive shops in Kona so in the past year have used five total shops.

The short version of picking a dive shop, is you can't pick a bad shop, they're all good and when people say a certain shop has a good group/crew, just know you might not have the same people when you dive. Like any location where there are many dive shops, crew members have vacation days and many crew literally jump ship to other shops.

Our favorite which happens to be one of the cheapest, especially for multi-day diving is Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii

Our second favorite is Jack's, we just did the two-tank manta dive which I highly recommend even if not with Jack's. Jack's has a full store with scuba diving gear, snacks, and drinks at the harbor by the boat; can shower there if that matters to you. No problem getting an uber at around 9pm

I did have a minor issue with one of Big Island Divers policies, you have to appear at the downtown area dive shop in person to check-in. They'll tell you if you Uber have your Uber wait for you, yet an Uber will only wait a few minutes, if the shop is slammed it may take you 15mins. Our Uber started beeping its horn, they demanded cash to continue to wait or threatened to end the ride (eyeroll). Besides Jack's which has a shop literally at their boat, no other dive shop requires an in-person check-in. With that being said, their dives were great just like all the other shops we used

A few manta dive tips I can give you".
1) Why you want a two-tank, if you didn't know the manta dive is you simply being overweighted laying down, you're not really moving; that's usually the second tank. The first tank is the twilight dive and usually some mantas come out and swim around so you may be able to swim alongside them versus just sitting static. I know it's not your thing but some shops like Aquatic life offer a 1st tank with the Mantas and a second with the Blackwater; super convenient for those who want to do both
2) Lights, they'll provide you with lights but you want a super bright light that will attract more plankton and therefore more mantas closer to you. I have two of these and highly recommend them; you could just buy one technically return it if you really wanted to: 3) Last one up, talk to the guide ahead of time, and tell them you'd like to be the last one up. I've done 3 manta dives all with different shops, and no one has said no. So since you have a bright light and there are no other lights in the water for a few minutes you get some one-on-one photos/videos with the mantas

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