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Dive Review of Kona Honu Divers/Kona Seaside Hotel in

September, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Chuck and Nancy Anson, CA, USA
Report Number 1364
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Sonora Bay Mexico, Loreto Mexico, Bonaire, Roatan, Belize, San Salvador,
Grand Turk, St. Croix, St. Vincent, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little
Cayman, Fiji, Carriacou, Cozumel, Nassau, Cat Island
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No decompression diving, 500 psi back on board.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
A large fresh water container with a lid was provided just for cameras. 
There were two tables aft and dry area under cover where camera work could
be done.  No charging outlets available.  The crew was professional about
handling camera equipment.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Kona, Hawaii is a good dive destination in September when the Caribbean was
having one hurricane or tropical depression after another.  Our original
destination was Cozumel but hurricane Ivan had the airport closed, hotels
boarded up and ferry service suspended; so we jumped on a last minute deal
for air and hotel in Kona and hoped for the best. The Hawaiian weather is
good this time of the year with day time temperatures in the mid 80s,
nights in the low 70s, few afternoon showers and water temperatures from
82 to 84 degrees.    We booked diving with Kona Honu Divers and were very
pleased with our choice.  Their new 46 dive boat is wide and well laid out
for diving.  Benches were along the outside rails with aluminum tanks
behind and storage beneath.  There were 2 tables in the center, a ladder to
the top side bridge with seating for 12, a dry area forward, a marine head
below, and 2 fresh water showers.  There was room for 20 divers and we
experienced from 8 to 18 during our stay.  The boat layout easily
accommodates 18 divers with only minor crowding around the snack table,
which had assorted sodas, pineapple, cookies, and sometimes melon and
papaya between dives.  The crew split divers up by skill level and provided
Dive Masters for groups of from 2 to 6 in size.  They led groups into
different areas underwater to avoid overcrowding.  The crew was very
professional, gave thorough briefings and knew the dive sites very well. 
The boat had all the safety equipment to satisfy U S Coast Guard and PADI
requirements.  The service was VALET diving at its best.  The crew took
your gear on board the first day, set it up for each dive, brought it to
you while you sat at the aft dive platform and you just had to giant stride
in for the dive.  At the end of the day they rinsed and dried all your
gear, including wet suits, stored it overnight,  and had it all set up for
you when you arrived the next day.  The absolute highlight of the trip was
the Manta night dive.  They do a 2 tank dive where you dive the same site
in late afternoon and at night.  Between dives they feed you sandwiches,
chips, cookies, and sodas.  By dark, four other dive boats moored at the
site, which we were told is common.  They each placed boxes with dive
lights anchored to the bottom in 30 of water that were turned on about 20
minutes before the dive.   All the lights were pointed up toward the
surface to attract plankton for the Mantas to feed on.  As we entered the
water, we could see a huge 12 Manta doing ballet loops and turns over the
lights.  We swam in close and held our own lights above our heads, pointing
to the surface to attract the plankton and the Mantas.  We knelt on the
bottom and watched this majestic show for 35 minutes before doing a tour of
the reef at night to see lobsters, crabs, eels, octopi, and other night
time critters.  The Manta found us again and gave us a private show just at
the end of the dive.  There are more than 50 dive sites along the Kona
coast.  We saw 10 of them.  The sites to the south of Kona had better
topography, arches, swim throughs, caves, and lava tubes, but it is a
longer boat ride and they are suited for more experienced divers.  All of
the reefs were healthy with an abundance of hard coral and no algae like
that appearing in some areas of the Caribbean.  What was lacking were
sponges, soft corals, plate coral and large fish.  We did see turtles and
on two days, dolphin as we left the harbor.  There were plenty of small
schooling fish such as raccoon butterfly, yellow  tang and moorish idols. 
It was good easy diving, a fun crew , and the price of the dive package was
comparable to ones we have found in Cozumel.  Top side, we stayed at the
Kona Seaside Hotel, about 8 minutes from Honokohau Harbor where the dive
boat was located.  The hotel is older but in good repair, clean, quiet and
nicely located near waterfront restaurants and shopping.  They have several
choices for accommodations from rooms to suites.  There are two swimming
pools and well maintained landscape areas.   You will need a rental car to
get around and to see the sights, which are many.
Check out the web sites:  and on,
search for Kona Seaside Hotel.  
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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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