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Dive Review of Kona Honu Divers/Kona Seaside Hotel in

Kona Honu Divers/Kona Seaside Hotel, Sep, 2004,

by Chuck and Nancy Anson, CA, USA . Report 1364.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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.

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

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 60-120 Ft/ 18-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No decompression diving, 500 psi back on board.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments 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.
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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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