Ann Geiger's Dive Log
Mar 14, 2009, 12:00 AM
We try to dive here every time we make it to the Big Island. Topside it is an incredibly beautiful spot, somehow peaceful despite the number of people around. It is easily accessible by rental car and parking is quite close to the entry point (we pay $3 to use the church's lot, please do pay them, it was distressing to us to see people not respecting their honor system). The site is well-protected from swells and currents, contributing to ease of entry and exit. We use the two-step entry point on lava that is almost exactly halfway between the two points of the bay. It often is crowded with inexperienced snorkelers but people generally are polite about making way for the awkward looking fools in all that heavy gear (and they seem to appreciate a simple tip or two). There really is no way to go wrong with this site underwater...swimming around where the wall hits the sand in deeper (50 to 60 ft) water is interesting, as is staying in a bit more shallow water to either side. Have your underwater fish guide handy, as one can find the vast majority of the 100 most common fish here. For photography the great visibility and light here can white out photos, so it takes some care.
Puako Village End on 3/4/2009
Mar 4, 2009, 12:00 AM
This is an easily accessible and enjoyable site. We did two dives here in March 2009, one during calm conditions and one during pretty high winds. During both dives we could hear humpbacks singing and saw turtles, nudibranchs, flatworms, and many types of adult and juvenile fish. The shallows are nicely protected and would provide decent snorkeling for non-divers. A key piece of advice is to go early, when conditions are most likely to be calm and the area is less crowded topside and below water. If you enter and exit at the appropriate spot, there should only rarely be conditions that make getting in and out even remotely difficult. After following the directions to the site, once in the parking lot the appropriate spot is just past where the trees end. There is one place that looks OK, but the better option is several yards south. After entering the water and donning fins and mask in the protected area, one can swim right out. There are two mooring balls, a white one to the right and an orange one to the left. Swim toward the orange one and keep an eye out to the left for a large channel that leads out to the reef. One can go in either direction; to the right the reef drops to about 90 feet, to the left about 60. The reef to the right is a bit more dramatic topographically, to the left is a large flat coral garden in about 45 to 50 feet. There are no facilities at the site. Kohala Divers Limited is nearby in Kawaihae; they have reasonable rental prices and a pleasant staff who are efficient for a dive shop. Cafe Pesto in the same shopping center as Kohala Divers is a nice place for lunch, although one has to get out of obvious swimwear to feel comfortable.