Western & Central Pacific
BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
Season: Year-round diving
Visibility: 20-40m/70-130ft, sometimes up to 50m/165ft
Water Temperature: minimum 22°C/72°F in January-February, maximum 27°C/81°F in August-September
Diving: Sharks, Manta Rays, swim-throughs, caves
Willing to share option
Can be combined with Truk, Yap and Palau
Over 70 dive sites with fixed moorings and a variety of marine ecosystems await divers in the waters of Hawaii’s Big Island. More than 450 species of fish and many species of hard coral, combined with an amazing clarity of water (30-40 metres is commonplace, with up to 50 metres at times), make a trip aboard Kona Aggressor a rewarding experience. The volcanic terrain of Hawaii creates a stark beauty both above and below the waves, supporting an amazing diversity of underwater habitats including caves and caverns eroded out of lava flows, piles of basalt boulders and coral reefs. Some unique and spectacular fish make their homes here, but it is probably the lava tubes which provide the most fascinating aspect of Hawaiian diving. Streams of molten lava gradually solidified as they cooled in the seawater, leaving long tubes with hollow centres. Along with the many species of reef fish teeming amidst the forests of black coral, one can also see some of the larger species found in these waters including Manta Rays, sharks and sometimes, porpoises, dolphins or whales.
Cavern Point comprises two amazing dive sites: Twin Lava Tubes and Three Room Cave. Here you will discover a huge underwater lava tube system. At Twin Lava Tubes two parallel tubes, one on top of the other, extend over 50 metres into the rock. A rock column rising out of the water marks the entrance to the lava tubes. To explore these tubes a dive light is necessary, as no light can penetrate so far. The walls are etched with cracks and crevices which hide a variety of crustaceans and some splendid nudibranchs. Three Room Cavern is a complex of underwater tunnels and caves with high vaulted ceilings populated by moray eels, lobsters and a variety of nudibranchs.
Near the Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay, boat moorings have been placed in the shallow water, which is usually calm. Here there is an amazingly rich fish population dominated by Racoon Butterflyfish, durgons and Bird Wrasse. Sometimes this dive site is referred to as ‘The Aquarium’ because of the amazing colours of the fish. Yellow-margined Morays are also commonly found in this area and Leaf Scorpionfish occur at depths of 3-5 metres.
Pentagon consists of five massive lava tube openings which connect in a complex of interweaving tunnels and archways. The shallow depth of this dive makes it an excellent choice for the underwater photographer. Triggerfish, tangs, surgeonfish, Moorish Idols, Milletseed Butterflyfish and many others can be found at this site, which is only 150 metres from the beautiful Waikoloa Beach.
Try a night dive at Garden Eel Cove and witness the sight of up to a dozen Manta Rays drawn to the massive plankton swarm illuminated by the submerged lights from Kona Aggressor. These incredibly gentle giants, with a ‘wingspan’ of up to 4 metres, cruise the reefs and drop-offs. The most exciting encounters occur at night when the bright lights of the boat attracts a concentration of plankton, which in turn attracts the Manta Rays. During this stunning acrobatic spectacle the mantas twist and turn as they feed in the circle of light, just as if they were performing in the spotlights of a theatre.
COMBINATIONS: As Honolulu in Hawaii is an essential gateway on the westbound route across the Pacific to Micronesia, it is easy to add a week on Kona Aggressor to a dive trip to Truk, Yap or Palau. Talk to us about the possibilities.
FLIGHTS: From about $570 return from Los Angeles to Kona.