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Dive Review of Big Island Divers/Wyndham Hawaiian Resort in
Hawaii/Kona, Big Island

Big Island Divers/Wyndham Hawaiian Resort, Oct, 2013,

by Carol A Thompson, FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 7219.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My research indicated that the best operation on the island was Kona Diving Company. When I wrote to them a few weeks before our trip and asked for the dates we wanted, I was told those dates were open. When I called them with my credit card 2 days later, all three dates were gone. OK. What now?

KDC recommended Big Island Divers. I was bummed, being all out of ideas for an operator. I knew from previous experience the operations to avoid. Checked out the suggestion on Trip Advisor and the review for Big Island Divers were positive, so I went ahead and booked with them. Because this was not my well-researched plan, expectations were low, but I reasoned that if we didn't like them, we'd switch to another operator.

We did three 2-tank morning dives with Big Island Divers, and in 22 years of diving, this ranks up at the very top of our list of best operations. We have dived the Big Island on 3 other occasions over the last 14 years, and this was hands-down the best for macro-critters and even the big ones. We had already decided not to do the manta night dive as we've done it twice before. But that didn't condemn us to a manta-free vacation. On both the first and second dive on Monday, 10/28 we were thrilled that two of these gentle "sea ballerinas" put on shows for us for quite some time. The first manta, was so curious about me that it came right up to me. A heart-pounding experience, as we never expected to see a manta during the day. The second one was huge, and took a couple of passes by us before zooming away. It made another appearance just before the dive ended.

Our dive master was Corinne. She was simply outstanding. She watched her group (4 the first day, 7 the second and 6 the last) regularly at all times, and was responsive to their needs. For example, on my descent on one dive, the weight holder somehow slipped out of my BC pocket. I watched helplessly as it blew to the bottom. Fortunately I didn't pop up, but could not descend any further, and couldn't get my husband's attention to show him. Out of nowhere, there was Corinne, scooping up the errant weights and putting them back in my pocket.

Even though she watched us solicitously, she seemed to find the tiniest of flatworms and nudibranchs throughout the dive. Some were so tiny that you had to really look and concentrate to see what she was pointing out. Not only that, but she found sleeping sharks, juvenile rockmovers, several octopi, and a rare, large zebra moray. Before dives, she showed us pictures in a comprehensive Hawaiian marine life book as to what we might see. This act turned out to be highly effective, as on my last dive, I actually caught a 2 to 3 -second view of the highly elusive and prized flame angel!! I could hardly believe my eyes, but because I had just seen a picture, I knew exactly what I was looking at. It disappeared into a coral head, and despite my waiting more than a minute and a half, it never came out again. Corinne had explained that they are very skittish and tend to hunker down out of sight in the presence of divers, so she doesn't even tell people when she sees them, because by the time they get there, the flame angel is long gone.

Best of all, she was relaxed about dive profiles. When all the other divers, including my husband, had to ascend, she continued the dive with me for 10 or more minutes. I had started to ascend with my husband, but she asked if I wanted to continue with her. I turned to my husband who said he was OK with it. This happened on each dive. As a consequence, I had incredibly enjoyable, long dives, all lasting over an hour, the longest 75 minutes before the safety stop.

Corinne was so wonderful that after our first dive, we requested to dive with her for the rest of our trip. Big Island Divers accommodated that request.

And accommodating is the best word to describe this excellent operation. When my husband's reg broke on Maui the week before, he brought it into BID our second day in Kona. BID fixed it super fast (many shops on Maui didn't do repairs of that nature, and the one that did said it would take 2 weeks) so that he had it for all our Kona dives. BID groups divers according to experience level. It's so pleasurable to dive with other experienced divers who don't need baby-sitting, who don't drop down on top of you, who don't hit you with their flapping hands. Can't minimize the value of this highly enough.

BID sets up your gear if you want, rinses it, hangs it to dry, and has it on the boat for all your dives. Heck, even the between-dives food is wonderful, with roast beef or turkey wraps, oranges and pretzels. A cooler is generously stocked with juices and sodas. Fresh water is available on every dive. The crew observes conservative surface intervals. We have been with so many that rush you into the water on the second dive so that they can get back faster to the dock. Not here. They give you the feeling that they genuinely want you to have the best experience possible and enjoy the relaxed island ambiance. Small groups per dive master (see above) make for easy viewing when a critter is found.

Very well set up boat with a marine head, abundant shade, and easy entry platforms. There is a rinse tub exclusively for cameras, and ample dry storage. A fresh water shower is found at the back of the boat. Shout out to Dom, who served as captain. BTW, as a post-dive treat, a spotted eagle ray swam under the boat while docked in the amazingly clear waters of Honokohau Harbor!

Excellent operation for experienced divers, as well as neophytes. A+, Big Island Divers. Well done.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Curacao, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. John, USVI, Bahamas, Florida Keys, Central Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Cozumel, Puerto Aventuras, Costa Rica
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp -°F / -°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20-35 Ft/ 6-11 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions depth limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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