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Dive Review of Jack's Diving Locker/Kona Reef Condos in
Hawaii/Big Island

Jack's Diving Locker/Kona Reef Condos: "5 dive shops, 7 mostly good dive days", May, 2021,

by Mr Jeffrey Zankel, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 11838 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We were required to get a covid test before entering Hawaii and sign up with Safe Travels Hawaii to upload it. When I arrived they also asked for my Vax card which was in my dive bag so they swabbed me at the airport.
We rented 3 nice ocean view condos at Kona Reef which is older but in good shape and an easy walk to town and some dive shops. My Enterprise rental car cost a fortune but Barb used Rental Cars of Hawaii for much less.

May on the Big Island was a comfortable 80 degrees with mid 70s sea temps requiring my 5 mil suit.
We dove with Kona Honu divers on a couple of unmemorable "local dive" reefs, however, we were free to dive at our own pace.
Then we went on Big Island Divers’ "Advanced Local dive" hoping for better. Though they did manage to find one reef that was a bit more colorful they guarded us closely like newbie’s, which was annoying.
Things picked up when we went on Jack’s Diving Locker's "Dolphin snorkel. I had never had the pleasure of hanging out with Bottle Nose Dolphins but they were with us from the moment we left the harbor until we grew tired of each other. At that point the dive guide asked us what we’d like to see on the remaining hours of our trip. I jokingly told them I had never seen Oceanic White tip sharks and could he rustle up a few. He said maybe which surprised me and proceeded to point the boat straight out to sea for quite a few miles until we reached a structure which turned out to be an off shore fish farm. We jumped in and had our minds completely blown by the sight of a couple of a couple Pelagic White Tips; one directly below and one coming toward but turning away as soon as we spotted them. To say that this made my trip would be an understatement. Needless to say we loved out snorkel guides form Jack's.
We headed up to the Kohala coast to dive with the Mauna Lani divers on their little six pack. Although the boat was not as impressive, the reefs around Mauna Lani were in better shape with more critters in view, including the Helmet Triton and turtle cleaning stations. Their two tank dive was actually two trips of one tank each; the reefs being only 15 minutes from the resort. They are both knowledgeable and accommodating. Because of the small boat, 6 of us had it to ourselves which the shop was happy to do. FYI the delightful Napua restaurant is a short walk from the shop.
We went to North Kohala and dove with Kohala Divers on their BIG boat. That was a cattle round up(about 25 head assigned to 4 divemasters) so we preferred the little six Pack . Of course they did have a pet Frog fish to show us.
The highlight of the trip was Jack’s Pelagic Magic dive. You get a one tank dive and tether yourself to a weighted vertical line. You can go up and down on your tether to a max depth of 50’ but if you just hang there all the nighttime upwelling of planktonic critters comes right past your light. All manner of plankton, jellies,siphonophores and undulating worms, mostly translucent, pass right in front of your face. It is not like any other diving you’re likely to do and well worth the experience. Unlike other black water diving, Jack’s Pelagic Magic dive boat deployed a sea anchor that aided in ensuring that we drifted at the same speed as the critters making for excellent photograph opportunities. The abundance of critters was also better than what we experienced on the Roatan blackwater dive and there were no limits on bottom time. Some folks were down for 90 minutes.

Caution. We all had a great time except for my wife. She has occasional Asthma and had trouble breathing every day in Kona. We found out later it's the VOG; the volcanic smog from Kilauea, which the wind often blows towards Kona. For most folks it's not a problem but people with respiratory conditions should avoid this.
Websites Jack's Diving Locker   Kona Reef Condos

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Truk, Soccoro, Cocos, Galapagos, Bonaire, Komodo, Bunaken, Papua
Closest Airport Kona Getting There Non Stop SFO. PCR test Required

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 74-76°F / 23-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Big Island and Kohala restrict you. Jack's, Mauna Lani and and Kona Hanu give you space
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The best you can expect on these day boats is a rinse tank
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Ms Lynda Durfee in VA, US at Dec 26, 2021 14:36 EST  
If you had dived with Jack's every day, you would have gotten a multi-day discount, rinsing, and tour gear hung up to dry overnight. Surprised you didn't do the manta ray night dive.
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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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