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Dive Review of Kona Diving Company/Holua in
Hawaii/Kona

Kona Diving Company/Holua, Mar, 2013,

by Jeff Daniels, MI, US ( 2 reports). Report 6923.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Decided that we wanted to go with an operator that offered a smaller boat. KDC takes a maximum of 12 divers (we had 8-10 for our dives)and provides a divemaster for every 6. Boat is well set up for diving and all the employees work together to make it a good experience. The dive briefings were good and the dive sites are often selected on the fly so you can dive sites that are not crowded. The sites at Kona are better than those I have been to in Kauai. Reef fish are abundant. Corals are in pretty good shape. Octopus and eels (moray and garden)were seen on the dives. Nudibranchs could be found if you were looking. Saw a couple sharks but no turtles. No big fish were spotted (see below). Divemasters were good at pointing out interesting things. They asked that you let them know when you had half a tank of air and return to the boat line for your safety stop when you had 700 psi. Sometimes we were a little under that as dives lasted a long time.
We made four dives with KDC. When we arrived, they took our regs and wetsuits and set up our tanks and stations, including weighting our integrated BC's. After the first dive each day they efficiently switched over our gear. We dove nitrox so all we had to do was do our own oxygen analysis and we were ready to go. At the end of each day they handled and cleaned our regs and wetsuits so they were ready to go the next time. The entire staff was very accommodating and pleasant to dive with. While we were fine with our 3 ml in the 75 degree water, they did offer us additional protection if we needed it.

Our final dive of the trip was the famous manta ray night dive. We entered the water when it was already dark and headed to the bottom. There were more than a dozen boats at the site and well over 100 divers. This is actually a good thing since the more light, the more plankton and so the more mantas. The final count for our dive was 14 different mantas. They literally swim within inches of your head as you sit on the bottom. Quite an experience. When action at the main site waned, our divemasters had us swim off to a nearby area (in less than 20 feet of water) at which we were treated to a show by a very energetic manta ray, fully 14 feet across, that entertained our small group with swimovers and somersaults for almost 30 minutes. It was hard to leave as our air supply got low. This dive, while ostensibly similar to shark feeding dives we have done in the Caribbean, was much better. It is a must do if you find yourself diving in Hawaii.
As an added bonus, KDC has a relationship with an underwater videoographer who goes out with them each night and makes a video of the encounter. She offers it for sale after the dive. A nice momento and very well done. You end up with proof that you actually dove with mantas and something interesting to show your significant others.

Websites Kona Diving Company   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Australia, Galapagos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 75-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-100 Ft/ 23-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return to boat with 500 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Rinse tank. No other special accommodations.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Renee Rossin OR, US at Mar 20, 2013 10:47 EST  
Nice report. Are they feeding the mantas to get more of them to the area?
By report author: Jeff Daniels in MI, US at Mar 20, 2013 11:07 EST  
Mantas eat plankton. The dive lights attract the plankton. The mantas come to eat it. In general, the more and brighter the lights, the more plankton, the more mantas. No artificially introduced food is used.
By report author: Jeff Daniels in MI, US at Mar 20, 2013 11:09 EST  
BTW The mantas in Kona are not pelagic. They are coastal mantas who hang around the area all the time.
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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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