Why Kona Diving is Hawaii’s Best Diving

There is lots of fantastic diving in Hawaii, but only Kona diving offers some of the unique and spectacular features that make it unique among Hawaii’s best diving. Kona diving is often regarded as some of the best diving in Hawaii because it is just too good.

Kona offers many distinct features not found on the other islands in the combination they are found here. Among them are the excellent visibility, unique underwater lave formations, and abundance of large and small marine life. We also often have some of the calmest waters in the Hawaiian island chain.

Visibility

Some people love Kona diving because of the excellent visibility. Our conditions are often very good compared to most spots around the world. This is due to our tropical waters which are low in nutrients. This makes it difficult for algae to grow and obscure the view.

The Big Island of Hawaii is also the newest island in the chain. This means it’s still mostly composed of lava rock. Because of this the new reefs have not had the same amount of time to break down. As a result there is far less sand here than on the other islands. Because of this there is nothing to stir up and cause cloudiness or turbidity in the water.

Probably one of the least mentioned reasons is the steepness of the island. Because it is a new island it has steep mountain sides that drop quickly off into the abyss. This means there is lots of fresh blue ocean water replacing any cloudy water near the reefs.

The visibility range when scuba diving Big Island is typically around 30-80 feet with a normal day being around 40-60 feet. Some sites on especially calm days can have well over 100ft (30M) of visibility.

One determinant of visibility is the ocean conditions. When the swell picks up it can stir up the sandy bottom and effect visibility. This is especially a problem in sandier areas. Although oddly enough, sometimes the visibility is better on rougher days than calmer ones. Another factor that can effect visibility is rainfall. When the Big Island gets a lot of rain even in the interior it creates a lot of freshwater leaving the island underground. This fresh water carries nutrients that can feed algal blooms. These tiny microalgae can cloud the water causing reduced visibility.

Kona Diving with Lava Formations

One of Kona’s most unique and special features is it’s freshly made lava. The tubes and caverns formed by the lava when submerged turn into havens for Kona’s many different marine creatures. Animals like, molluscs (cowry, lobster, crabs) and fish (squirrel fish) love to use the caves and caverns as their daytime resting place. This means you can explore them during the day with a light. Some of the lava tubes are long and go very far into the island. Others have collapsed ceilings which means you will see gorgeous filtered light shining through the skylights. Some lava tubes have mostly collapsed which means only a single arch remains. There are so many different variations of terrain and the coast is so long it’s impossible to see them all.

Some of the most interesting formations are vertical tubes or horizontal caves coupled with arches. It truly is amazing the sheer variety and difference of lava formations. Underwater canyons and valleys, bommies, archways and more make Kona Diving especially unique.

Kona’s Marine Life

Kona is not known for the soft corals found throughout some of the tropical pacific islands. But what it lacks in color it makes up in abundance and diversity of marine life. Kona is home to the largest population of endemic fish in the world. Fish you will only see here in Hawaii! It’s also home to a great many cryptic fish like leaf scorpion, titan scorpion, peacock flounder, and frogfish. Sometimes we will find multiple

Some of the best finds can be teeny tiny. We have nudibranchs like shaun the sheep and Jolly Green Giant. We also have snails, and other little juvenile marine life. It’s even possible to find baby marlin drifting in the open pelagic waters. On our black water dive you will find many of these micro critters right in front of your face. From tiny translucent Sea Jellys to little baby ono or flounder.

Kona is also home to some of the world’s best large animal encounters on the planet. We have seen whale sharks, tigersharks, whales, and dolphins on dives. Of course it must be mentioned that we have the world famous manta ray dive. It offers the best opportunity to see mantas period. There is nothing else like it anywhere else.

Kona is also home to many octopus inhabiting the reef. You can see multiple octopi on a single dive! These curious critters will display intelligence and guile on the reef often camouflaging themselves. Our experienced guides can spot these elusive critters after years of practice.

Eels

Kona is home to a high abundance of these amazing fish. You will see more eels than just about anywhere else in the world. What Kind of eels do we have here?

Types of Eels found on the Big Island of Hawaii when diving in Kona:

  • Snowflake Moray
  • Dragon Moray
  • Pygmy
  • Viper Moray
  • Yellow Margin Moray

Eels can often be seen polling their heads out from coral or hiding under overhangs. From time to time eels will swim freely out in the open reef exploring for new hiding spots. Sometimes you might see cleaner shrimp feeding on the parasites or dead skin in eels mouths and on their heads. This is a unique and fascinating behavior.

Cryptic Fish

Some dive sites will be full of fish but oftentimes they cannot all be easily spotted by the untrained eye! Cryptic reef fish hide on the bottom or in the reef in pain sight! Here’s a few cryptic fish species our diving professionals can help point out:

  • Devil Scorpion fish
  • Titan Scorpion fish
  • Leaf Scorpion fish
  • Frog fish
  • Lizard fish

Join us on a 2 tank morning dive so our expert guides can point them out to you!

Shrimp

Kona is home to so many different kinds of shrimps it’s impossible to list them all without being ridiculous. There are several kinds of shrimps in kona and many of them have fascinating ways of making a living.

Cleaner Shrimps

Cleaner shrimps are commensal organisms that exist in harmony with other animals. You will see them when you dip your toes into tide pools and on the reef. They can be translucent or beige with red stripes down their side. Sometimes you can even get them to climb into your mouth to clean it if you are patient enough! You may see them hanging out on eel snouts or just tucked into a coral head.

Pelagic Shrimps

On our blackwater night dive you may spot a colonial tunicate called a pyrosome. This odd hollow oblong thing is often inhabited with a shrimp that lives inside and propels it through the water. Very odd but so neat to see!

Ocean Conditions

Kona’s coast is fortunate to have so many things going for it. One of them is shelter. The coast itself is varied with many different bays and points. This allows boats like ours to tuck away into coves and away from certain swell directions.

Our island also lies in the shadow of the other islands. When we receive the northwest swell that is common during the winter time it is often a much smaller version than that experienced on the other islands.

We are also on the leeward side of the Big Island of Hawaii. This means that we are often sheltered from the occasional strong winds that visit us. While it may be windy up north or down south here in Kona it will be calm and clear.

The rough lava rock can mean difficult shore diving conditions. Most divers choose to dive Kona by boat for the convenience and amenities it provides. Scuba diving Hawaii also includes a guide to help you find critters and tour the best parts of the reef. This means your sure to see all of the best parts of the reef.

Kona Honu Divers has some of the most experienced guides in Hawaii. Our professional crew is looking to deliver an experience that will exceed your expectations. We love taking you diving and showing you a good time both above and below the surface.

The clear, warm, calm waters mean Kona Diving is truly some of the best. Add in the abundance of critters and unique structure and rock formations and you have one of the top-rated diving destinations in the Pacific Ocean. Add in the ability to reach Kona with a direct flight from many major metropolitan areas and the allure of the Big Island is undeniable.

Kona Honu Divers has won multiple awards from scuba diving magazine readers for all aspects of our dive business. We our focus on safety ensures you will have a trouble free experience out on the water with us. Combined with the nicest dive boats in Hawaii Kona Honu Divers is constantly striving to be Hawaii’s best dive operator. Kona Diving Done right.

The combination of factors going for Kona truly make it world-class diving. Kona Honu Divers works hard to ensure your experience measures up to the world-class experience you expect from such a distinction. To see if for yourself visit www.konahonudivers.com to book now! Or call (808)324-4668

How Does Kona Compare?

Diving in Hawaii can be varied with a mixture of terrain types depending on which island you are diving on. Some islands like Oahu have lots of wrecks and a flat sandy bottom. Kauai has mixed conditions year around with some months being typically difficult or impossible for diving locations like Niihau. The reefs in Hawaii feature mainly hard corals of varying color and shapes depending on the site. Black coral can be seen typically in the harder to access or deeper spots while we have very few gorgonians or soft corals.

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