Have you ever wondered what it’s like to breathe underwater? Maybe as a kid you pretended to be a mermaid or merman in the pool, but had to pop up for air? What if I told you that you could try scuba diving in Hawaii and that it would only be a half day or your vacation? Here at Kona Honu Divers, we offer Discover Scuba Diving which is an excellent choice for anyone who has an interest in scuba diving in Hawaii, but does not hold a certification. We like to say it’s like a “try before you buy”. For a PADI Open Water certification, it will take at least two days to get certified, on top of the two to four days it takes to do the theory and confined water sessions at home. We understand you may only have a few days on our beautiful island, so we always encourage those interested in diving to try Discover Scuba Diving.
Essentially, is we meet you at our shop the day before or morning of your adventure, just to go over some quick paperwork. While scuba diving in Hawaii is a safe sport, it’s not recommended for those who have any underlying conditions without your doctors consent, so we want to ensure you have that before we invite you to go on our boat. (If you have any concern about whether you are a good candidate for a Discover Scuba Diving experience due to underlying or previous health conditions, we recommend you consult with your doctor.)
Once everything is checked and you have been cleared to dive by your doctor and our staff, we send you over to our boat slip at Honokohau Harbor.
Once the captains briefing is complete, we welcome you aboard and if you haven’t by this point, you will meet the instructor you will be working with that day. Safety is always our number one priority, so we have a maximum of two Discover Scuba students, to one instructor who has plenty of experience teaching and scuba diving in Hawaii.
On the boat ride out to our dive sites which are usually about 20 minutes away, we go over the gear you will be using, as well as talk about some of the basics of scuba diving that are important for one to understand before we give it a try. Sometimes we see a pod of dolphins that like to hang out just outside the harbor on our way out and we like to stop by and watch them. At this point, we always encourage you to go say hi to them- you’re on vacation after all!
Once we finish talking about the gear that we will be using and how it is all used, we thoroughly go over three quick skills that we need to complete just a few feet below the surface:
- clearing a partially flooded mask- this skill is one I use every day in diving because every time I smile at something I see, the creases in my face cause a little water to drip in. As you may know from snorkeling, perhaps, sometimes a little bit of water gets in your mask. Unlike on the surface where we just pop up and pull it from our face, it’s important to learn how to do it while underwater.
- clearing a regulator (the mouthpiece)- this one is I think the easiest of the three skills. It’s useful in a situation where maybe you want to take a picture with your friends underwater, but you don’t want to look like an astronaut with a mouthpiece and a mask. We share two ways that work, and let you choose whichever you think will be best!
- removing and recovering a regulator- this skill is very similar to the previous regulator skill, we just add a couple extra steps. This one is useful Incase maybe you are taking that picture and accidentally drop your regulator. We teach you how easy it is to recover it and get you breathing off it quickly and safely.
As soon as the boat is tied up to the mooring line, and the certified divers have gone into the water, it’s then our turn to jump in and go diving in Hawaii! We try to make it as easy as possible for you, so we have valet style service where we carry the heavy gear to the back of the boat for you, and help you get all clipped in correctly. Usually, this is when the nerves start to show, but remember you are under the guidance of an experienced PADI professional that will be an arm’s length away! We usually ask you to breathe through the regulator for a minute or two to get used to the feeling. It is a little different than breathing through a snorkel, because we are breathing from the tank we are now attached to, rather than natural air. Once you are feeling ready to go, it’s time to jump in!
While the skills may seem a bit nerve wracking at first, your instructor will be there every step of the way, and will not only give you a thorough briefing on the boat, but will also demonstrate each skill before you give it a go. If there are any issues at any point during the skills portion, instructors carry a slate that we can use to communicate underwater, and also, keep in mind that we are just a few feet below the surface, so we can pop up if needed.
Once these skills have been completed, we have not one, but TWO dives to explore different sites! What a great way to experience diving in Hawaii, huh? All our PADI instructors are also dive guides, so we love to show you different fish and critters as we spot them, so that you can, too, enjoy the underwater world! There are a lot of endemic species in Hawaii, so there will be several things that you won’t see anywhere else in the world other than Hawaii, and in some cases, the Kona side of the Big Island.
Once we come up from our dives, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride home while we take care of the rinsing of gear. The cool thing about the Discover Scuba experience, is that the skills you have performed for the instructor could count towards your Open Water certification! So if you decide you loved it and want to get certified, depending on your instructor, you may not need to redo the skill. At the very least, you’re already more confident about doing it.
I can personally say that scuba diving has changed my life. I hope that one day you have the opportunity to try it with us, or to come finish your certification with us at Kona Honu Divers. If you have any questions about Discover Scuba Diving experiences or scuba diving Hawaii, don’t hesitate to call us at 808-324-4668 we’re always here to help!