Diving South of Kona

I have not done much diving south of Kona, usually diving the shores close to home, the reefs of North and South Kohala. I have done a couple dives at Two Step, at Hōnaunau. The terrain is different further south, there are different species to see. Last weekend I got a chance to do some more diving down south.

This was made possible through a friend and fellow Keck engineer. Dennis owns a boat. Not just any boat… The Aqua Safari… A big boat, a fast boat, a dive boat, equipped for scuba, actually a pretty nice boat. I was invited to join the guys for a dive outing. I didn’t even ask where we were going, it really didn’t matter, I just wanted to dive.

Mark Devenot exploring the reef drop-off at Tanks
We headed south of Kona to a dive site I had never explored before, a place called Amphitheater. Just around the corner from the famous Kealakekua Bay, the site features some large sea caves carved into the cliffs by the winter waves. An excellent site, featuring good fish, numerous lava tubes, and good coral cover. Visibility was great, allowing good photographic conditions.

A find of the dive was a Bearded Cusk Eel hiding in a crevice at the base of a rock wall. I managed one half-decent photograph before it disappeared further into the crevice, out of sight. I guess it did not like the strobe, cusk eels are notoriously shy.

Mark, Patti and I shared the meal preparations. They had brought sandwich makings, I brought tuna mac, drinks and chips. Deb even sent a long a batch of home-made chocolate chip cookies. We ate well indeed.

The second dive site was Tanks, a site just north of the old Kona Airport and south of Honokohau. A fair amount of surge made mooring quite a challenge, we actually gave up on one mooring buoy, too close to the rocks where we were getting bounced around. There was quite a bit of surge underneath as well, and visibility was poor. At least poor by Kona standards, fairly good for most anywhere else. The surge and vis did not preclude a decent dive, we descended to the edge of the dropoff, where the slope plunges into the deep blue abyss. A few good photos, including a Undulated Moray. We spent the last part of the dive exploring a number of small caves just under the shoreline, where we found several white tip reef sharks, including one of the largest I had ever seen. This shark was a bit more than six feet, and quite rotund. He lived up to the scientific name for the species Triaenodon obesus.

A great day and a couple good dives. That was the goal, and that was what we achieved. Thanks Dennis!

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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