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Dive Sites

Diving in Kona, Hawaii

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I absolutely LOVE diving in Kona, Hawaii (the Big Island).

The fish are colorful, much of the diving is accessible from shore, and the water is warm and blue.

Most of my love of Kona, and my experience with the many dive sites, I can credit to my friends Terry & Donna Miller (of Black Rock Scuba). They used to annually travel to Kona for a month for vacation, and now they live there.

Top Dive Operators:

  1. Black Rock Scuba [great for instruction and boat chartering]
  2. Jack’s Dive Locker [gorgeous show room, great selection]
  3. Hawaiian Scuba Shack [good for steel tank and weight rental]
  4. Kona Honu Divers

Top Shore Diving Sites [links go to ShoreDiving.com]:

  1. Puako Church or Puako Village End
  2. Place of Refuge (also known as Honaunau Bay or Two Step)
    • Leave time to enjoy the sunset before travelling back over the mountains after your dive, the sun sets directly into the ocean.
  3. Honokohau Harbor (aka Alua or Crescent Beach, Naia Bay, Manta or Eagle Ray Bay, etc.)
    • The beach is just to the south of the harbor. Drive out the road past the harbor, park at the end. Gear up.
    • Walk to the beach you see on your left.
    • Warning: It’s a winding trial, walking on lava rock.
  4. Outside the Sheraton at Keauhou
  5. Mile Marker 4

Top Boat Dive

  • The Manta Ray Night dive is simply amazing. Do Not Miss It!
  • You can book through Black Rock or Jack’s above.
  • Bring a big Pacific Northwest Light

Other Sites to Research:

  1. ScubaBoard Hawai’i Forum
  2. Northwest Dive Club
  3. UW Photography Guide

 

Alki Fishing Reef

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There are two main ways to do this dive, from a boat or scooter from shore.  As a boat dive compared to other spots in the PNW it’s good, but as a shore dive it’s awesome!

Plan for a high tide, using Plan Your Dive (embedded here):

Puget Sound Tides

Park on the road in front of the stairs across from Me-Kwa-Mooks Park ( 4503 Beach Drive Southwest, Seattle, WA,  98116).

Get your gear down to the water using the stairs on the north end that head into the water.

AlkiFishingReefEntrance

Take a heading of about 165 on your compass and scoot for 12-15 minutes. You’ll stay shallow for the first 8-10 minutes and then it will start to open up in depth.  You’ll likely intersect the middle row of boulder piles around 50-60′.

Look at the bathymetry maps below to note how the 14 big Rock piles don’t actually parallel the shore.

We typically head down to the row of the deepest piles and head toward the far end… Making our way along the long edge of each pile,  go all the way around it and then head to the next pile.  At the end of the row,  do the same on the next shallowness,  heading back toward home and reverse at each row.

You need to watch your time and air on this dive in particular as you also need to scoot home for 12-15 minutes after you’re “done”.

Have fun and be safe!

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There’s also a nice set of pictures over on NWDiveClub

My Favorite Pacific Northwest Shore Dives

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One of the best things about the Puget Sound is that we have a ton of good to great local shore diving.

I’m told by divers that have moved away to Oregon or even some areas of the tropics like Thailand, it’s the biggest thing they miss. Always having to plan for a boat to go for a splash (while tons of fun) increases cost and decreases when you can go.

Please remember to plan your dives to account for currents, tides, weather and other hazards (e.g. darkness for exits, boat traffic, etc.). I use these sites to help plan my dives:

Dive Planning Tools

Recreational Dive Sites

  • Alki Cove 2
  • Keystone Jetty
  • Three Tree Point
  • Sund Rock South Wall
  • Sunrise Beach

Great Scooter Dives

Fun Technical Dives

Other Great Resources

PB4Y Privateer

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One of my favorite local tech dives is the PB4Y Privateer in Lake Washington, which I affectionately call just “the bomber”. It sits in roughly 150′ and is only about a 15-17 minute scooter ride from Warren G Magnuson Park.

This is NOT a tech-reational dive, nor one I’d do on deep air. The lake is dark, not like a night dive… like I put a bag over your head. This tends to increase narcosis greatly 🙂

Additionally the “bottom” of the lake is very fine grained silt. If you manage to kick it up (or lawn dart into it from a boat), plan on the silt cloud obscuring visibility for quite some time (easily an hour +).

The entrance is just North of the boat ramp (the next turn in the road).

PB4Y Shore Diving Entrance

PB4Y Shore Diving Entrance

Here is a typical dive profile diving the wreck from shore. This is a CCR profile, on doubles I would dive 21/35 + 50% for deco.

PB4Y Dive Profile

PB4Y Dive Profile

There is a ton of great info and videos available from local wreck divers on the PB4Y:

As always with any dives: be safe, be prepared and don’t dive beyond your limits.