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Dive Review of Kohala Divers, Dive Makai/Puako Beach Condos in
Hawaii/Big Island

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jonathan A. Scott, NH, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 3986
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Cayman Brac, Florida Keys, Monterey, lakes in NH and VT
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, no currents  
Water Temp
76   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
return at 1500
safety stop at 15ft
finish w/ 500psi
no deco  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
dedicated rinse tank on boat
no dedicated dry storage on boat
crew good at handling equipment and accommodating UWP needs/interests
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Puako Beach condos were convenient to wife's conference at nearby Hapuna
Beach Prince. Walk or very short drive to amazing snorkeling to see
turtles, morays, exotic fish (e.g., dragon wrasse), eagle rays and more.
General store next door very convenient and well stocked, featuring live
feed of humpback songs from hydrophone just offshore (listen also at Diving with Kohala Divers was fabulous. Well
set up boat with full safety inventory, excellent safety and pre-dive
briefings. The only dive boat/group on all the sites we visited. Many
interesting swim throughs. The most amazing turtle cleaning stations off
Puako. Mantas outside Crystal Cove. Spinner dolphins alongside boat daily
(lucky to see one big pod from underwater as they swam by boat!). Crew does
setups and lugs gear to stern for easy giant stride; return via comfortable
ladder after handing up camera and fins. DMs lead groups of 6 on tour and
accommodate longer bottom times and "do your own thing"
opportunities for more experienced divers. Good at finding just about
anything you might ask for from colorful nudibranchs to turtles or octopus
and endemic fish species. Whale songs continuous on most every dive, and
whales to watch en route to sites and during surface intervals. Dedicated
rinse bucket for UWP; crew good with handling equipment and finding
subjects if requested. Their location well north of heavily-dived Kona is a
huge plus and it shows in the lack of crowding and quality of reefs and
aquatic life. Also went fishing with sister operation, the Reel Pleasure,
and brought back fresh Ono for several days of feasting. Visits to Waipio
Valley (by horse and ATV), hiking in volcanoes, seahorse farm, tropical
botanical gardens, active lava flows, Kona Brewing Company (local microbrew
and great pizza), and Volcano Winery, plus amazing beaches left us altitude
logistics to juggle but hard to imagine a more complete vacation in 12
days. Costco membership card saved big $$ on gas and groceries. Also did
PM/Night 2-tank with Dive Makai at Garden Eel Cove to see mantas. There's
nothing like this experience and Makai was fabulous for this trip,
including the great time our 2 non-diving, relatively inexperienced
snorkelers had at the site. We had 8 total on boat, arriving before any of
the other 5 dive ops there that night, and leaving long after. Saw 6-8
mantas up close while a friendly moray used my leg, arm and neck as a
platform for hunting! Meanwhile a playful squid engaged us in a stare-down.
Despite the heart-pumping action, still got more than 1.25 hour b.t. on
that dive with great exploration swim to watch hunting morays, slipper
lobster and more, after the manta viewing. Steel tanks used by Makai are a
great plus, as is twilight dive at the same site as a warm-up for the main
event (the mantas didn't even wait until dark to put in appearances).
Former owner Tom was super-helpful  in arranging logistics for this trip
with Dive Makai. Would love to dive again with either of these great
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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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