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Dive Review of Aloha Dive Company/Timeshare in Waikoloa Village in
Hawaii/Big Island/Kona

April, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Rich, CO, USA
Report Number 1401
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
78   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive your own profile  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Provided camera rinse-tank and took exceptional care of equipment.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
I contacted Mike Nakachi of Aloha Dive Company a couple months ahead of
time to make arrangements for diving. He took my name and number and told
me to give him a call when I got into town. After talking with Mike the day
before our scheduled dive, he gave me directions to the marina where we
would meet.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it would be only me and one
other diver going out for the day (in addition to Mike and Earl). 
Mike and Earl are native Hawaiians and make you feel at home right away.
They take care of all your gear after you hand it up. Full 3000 psi fills
(or more) on the tanks. I was impressed to find out that most of the divers
who go out with him are locals and repeat customers. 
The diving with these guys is absolutely amazing! Mike and Earl have very
laid-back personalities. I was expecting the usual, take you out, show you
around, maybe see a few turtles or a shark here and there. I had heard
about all the endemic species of Hawaii and how the Hawaiin dive boat guys
are so good at finding small critters. So, I was settling into the idea of
getting a bunch of macro shots in what I thought would be so-so diving. Boy
was I ever wrong.
As soon as we got to the first site (maybe a half-hour to forty-five minute
trip), we got a very thorough briefing and a somewhat longer list than
usual of underwater hand signals (endemic species, fish that are sold for a
lot of money, signs for sharks, etc.) But, when we got in the water things
really got going!
The laid-back Mike suddenly turned into a kid in  a candy store. He would
signal to us to look here and there and every time there was something more
exciting and interesting. Grey sharks, white tips, turtles, and rare
Hawaiian species of every sort.  
After the dive we went through the book. What was that fish or what was
that crazy-looking thing you were pointing at? Mike has an incredible,
almost photographic, memory. He can seemingly recall everything he has ever
seen on every dive, ever! 
The second dive is led by Earl, Mike's trusty first mate. Earl asked me
what I wanted to see. "Oh, how about that long-nosed hawkfish we just
looked at in the book? Also, frogfish, an octopus, and a spotted eagle
ray?" Well, only moments later every wish was fulfilled.
The rest of the week went almost exactly the same way. Mike or Earl would
ask, "What do you want to see?" I would respond: a pod of
dolphins, more sharks, lionfish, black coral... the list was endless. We
were thwarted in our attempts at a whale shark and hammerheads, but these
guys made every effort to find them.
Mike and Earl didn't do the manta night dive, but referred me to Big Island
Divers. These guys have a shop off the main highway. Nice folks and very
professional. There must have been six to eight mantas that evening. They
hire a photographer who makes you pose with the mantas swooping over you
(even if you don't want to). The experience was great though. Note for
photographers: bring at least one, if not two strobes for pictures. Also,
it's very difficult to photograph the mantas because you have to hold your
light in one hand, pointed up, maintain your balance in the heavy surge
while sitting on your tank, and operate your camera with your one available
hand. I had an LED headlamp I brought, hoping to avoid some of these
problems, but with all the jostling I lost the headlamp. I told the DM at
Big Island Divers and he actually found the headlamp a few days later and
shipped it back to me on the mainland! Nice touch I thought.
Needless to say, Mike and Earl of Aloha Dive Company deserve every bit of
praise they regularly receive in Undercurrent. I became accustomed to
referring to each outing as "Mike and Earl's Wild Ride!" These
guys are the pinnacle of service and professionalism. I have seen it
written that the diving in Hawaii is "mediocre." I have dove all
over the world and I can tell you, unequivocally, that this was the best
time I have ever had. Diving we these guys is a "must-do"
adventure. If you can get there, schedule a trip with these guys for your
next vacation. I'm just a little worried that none of my future trips will
quite measure up...
P.S. Buffy's cookies are every bit as good as what you hear! 
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All Hawaii Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Hawaii
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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