Sharon from LA's Dive Log
Puako Church on 6/22/2019
Sharon from LA
Jun 22, 2019, 12:00 AM
Love this site! Uncrowded and beautiful. Tons of fish, eels, turtles and on our last dive we saw a whitetip reef shark and an eagle ray. We also saw a manta ray here a few years back. Entry and exit are definitely a bit difficult with the shallow rocks and urchins. We always wear full wetsuits, hard sole booties and gloves on these shore dives in Hawaii. It makes it much easier on entry and exit.
This place is totally overrated, imho. Over crowded with snorkelers and just people in general, horrible facilities (porta potties) and if you can't get there early enough (like before 7am) you have to pay $5 to park. The diving is meh (better for snorkeling). Yes, the entry is pretty easy, but you have to wait in line to get in because of all the other people waiting to get in. If you are like me and don't like crowds then this is not the place for you. Alua is 100 times better and no crowds. The only good reason to go here is to stop by the Coffee Shack for breakfast or lunch. Amazing local restaurant with great views.
'Alula Beach (Kona Dog Beach) on 6/20/2019
We dove this site back in 2013 and again twice today. Hard sole booties are an absolute must (or wear tennis shoes and stash them on the beach). Gear up at your car and walk/climb out onto the lava rocks to the beach, where you'll find an easy entry and you'll feel refreshed getting into the water after that trek. There are a few sketchy areas of the hike where you have to scramble over uneven lava rocks and with all that gear on you'll be top heavy so take your time. Once in the water, you have to get past some shallow underwater boulders and then you can put your fins on. We kicked out a bit (didn't want to be on the surface for too long because of the boats) and then dropped down after the rocks gave way to the reef. Then we headed west toward the two moorings and then headed south once we reached the dropoff of the reef. We stayed around 50-70 feet on the way out and then came back on top of the reef. This is an amazing dive (or even snorkel). Abundant colorful fish and tons of schooling fish, great visibility and not a lot of other people around. We unfortunately didn't see the tiger shark or dolphins but we saw a huge hawksbill turtle, 4 morays, a trevally, several puffer fish, and a monk seal! We have four more days of diving ahead of us and we will definitely do this dive again!