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Dive Review of Kona Honu Divers/Hilton Waikaloa in
Hawaii/Kona

Kona Honu Divers/Hilton Waikaloa, Feb, 2006,

by Lori Brown, Chris Green, WA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports). Report 2280.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Bonaire, Fiji, Jamaica, PNG, Indonesia, Irian Jaya
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather Seas surge
Water Temp 75 to 75 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Really restricted by the shallow depth of the site. We were told to start back after using half air. Also for the Manta Dive, we were told it was a 40 minute maximum.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was a rinse tank specifically for cameras and the crew was helpful getting cameras on and off the boat.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was our first trip to Hawaii and we dive with Kona Honu Divers. Due to respiratory illness, presumably not avian influenza, I only went diving with them once during our 10 day stay. On the way out to the dive site, we spotted 3 humpback whales, one a calf. The calf repeatedly breached, as if it was playing. We could have watched this all afternoon but... on to the dive. This was a twilight/night dive set that was in a bay within stone throwing distance of the Kona Airport. This was the areas signature manta ray dive. The first dive at twilight was on the coral. It is not a reef but just coral growing on volcanic rocks. I found the colors to be pretty ho-hum- mostly yellow and tan. We saw a few colorful flatworms, a few butterfly fish, and a few colorful wrasses, but not exactly swarms of fish.
As the time for the manta ray dive approached, a half dozen boats showed up. In preparation for the manta ray dive, boxes of lights were placed in a sandy area about 30-35 ft deep. The idea is to get the plankton hopping to attract the manta rays (these rays feed on plankton). We went down with plans to wait about 10 minutes and if the mantas hadnt shown up, then tour the coral area and return to the sandy area to look for manta rays at a later time. After waiting, the group retreated to the coral. As we were leaving, we spotted a manta ray and headed back to the sandy area. There were about 50 divers and one solitary manta ray, about 8 ft wing-span. The lights had pumped up the plankton to a blurry frenzy and the manta twirled and flipped through the dense plankton. The divers were practically dancing about and it was a joyous site - the delight over a single feeding manta ray. While the manta ray was the center of attention, we also saw 2-3 free-swimming spotted viper morays. They were hunting with the help of the light.
Overall we were pleased with Kona Honu Divers. Our dive master/guide, Scott, was attentive but not intrusive. There were 20 divers on the boat which was a bit crowded. However, they worked to separate more experienced divers from newer divers which enhances everyones experience. Between dives, they served soft drinks and sandwiches. The briefings for each dive were appropriate and there was a safety briefing before getting on the boat.
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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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