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March 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Kona Diving Company, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

cool endemic critters and -- with luck -- a manta show

from the March, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

Groans echoed, along with whooping and blooping, underwater surround sounds that greeted me as I descended into Kona's Arches. Aware that humpback song can travel for miles, I scanned the deep blue in hopes of a rare social encounter, but without luck. Only our divemaster, Katie, briefly saw one whale, but topside all 12 of us were in awe when a small pod breeched and tailed, and several calves somersaulted. It was a fabulous 15-minute acrobatic show, a great welcome to Kona. Regardless, I came here to dive.

When I e-mailed queries to several Kailua Kona dive shops, only Kona Diving Company responded promptly and personally to my every question. They were upfront about my needing a rental car to drive to the boat dock, Kona's cold and rough water conditions in February, and they encouraged the "weak of stomach" to use seasick meds. Their motto: Our passion is under the surface, our service is over the top. Picking them was an easy choice. As requested, I dropped by their downtown office the day before my first dive to sign the obligatory release, present my certification card, and meet co-owner Kerry Key. They gave me a map to Honokohau Marina and told me where to find their 34 foot catamaran Hale Kai, or "Ocean House."

The Hale KaiThe Hale Kai carries a maximum of 12 divers, divided into two groups, each with their own divemaster. There were new faces each day, often Canadian or Alaskan snowbirds seeking the sun, so there wasn't much time for bonding. The first day's boat introduction (those who had heard the speech remained on the dock) included a briefing about the location of life vests, emergency oxygen and the defibrillator. Tank holders with a bench and cubbies ran down the center of the dive deck. There were mask and camera rinse tanks, a hot-water hose for washing off and hair conditioner "for the women." (Bring your own towel.)...


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