USA – Hawai’i – Kona – Pelagic

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Jack's Diving Locker Pelagic 36 45.0 64 minutes

Amazing. Absolutely surreal. The pictures won’t do it any justice, because, frankly, making pictures in the dark of 1″ critters that the camera can’t really focus on is only possible with gear much nicer than my own.

The dive started out about three miles from shore, and drifted with the current. A parachute attached to the front of the boat kept it moving in the direction of the current, five ropes weighted down kept us first-timers from getting too distracted and sinking too far, and from that on, it was just “shine the light, and look two feet in front of your face.”

The most embarrassing point of this dive was when I nearly hit my head on the bottom of the boat. The only good part about that is that two of the other four divers did the same thing, so I wasn’t alone in my distraction. You don’t feel like you’re moving when you’re just floating and following something that’s an inch or three long, but when you’ve found that you dropped twenty more feet, or rose (fortunately slowly) twenty feet.

The best pics definitely came from Josh, and I must give him credit for this one directly, as none of my pics were half as good as his two best, so that’s what you’re looking at here.

USA – Hawai’i – Kona – Garden Eel Cove/Manta Dive

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Jack's Diving Locker Garden Eel Cove 34 78.0 46 minutes
Manta 35 34.0 53 minutes

Let me just say, that dive made this entire trip to Kona worth it. Seven massive rays, flying around, brushing (or knocking into) the top of our heads, twirling, dancing, feeding… it was absolutely amazing. The pictures and video just don’t do it justice. While I can’t say it’s my best dive ever, it was amazingly unique, wonderful, and an astounding experience.

The videos don’t do justice to the experience. The lighting is a bit off, and the clips range from short to long, but they’re absolutely worth visiting. The dive just reinforced to me why I like Jack’s. Their crew are great, with a great attitude, the dives they choose are wonderful, and I can’t understate that anyone going into Kona NEEDS to do one of these dives.

USA – Hawai’i – Kona – Pipedreams/Eel Cove

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Jack's Diving Locker Pipe Dreams 32 91.0 49 minutes
Eel Cove 33 53.0 61 minutes

Highlights: Back in a more pleasant dive environment, and the Javanese
Lowlights: How can you not see ANY eels at a site called eel cove?

The Dive

Josh and I went out on this, my thirty-something dive, back again with Jack’s Diving Locker, my favorite charter I’ve used over the past few years. As always, the boat was amazingly clean and nice, the crew was laid back and fun, and the location, well, I came back to Kona for a reason, ya?

The first site we dove was called Pipe Dreams. As you can see by the album cover, it’s an area where the energy lab placed some large pipes to do research, and in this case, one giant pipe that they laid just to see how well pipe held up in the environment. This pipe is the only remaining segment from that experiment, and is, as always, teeming with life. The neatest part is that insite, a giant Javanese Eel was hanging out.. and I do mean giant. Probably two to three feet in diameter. It spooked and swam away, just as I was going to take a picture, but it was an amazing sight.

Also spectacular on the first dive was my first octopus sighting. I didn’t get a good look, as it had wedged itself under a rock, but the blinking eye and the one look at the suckers on its tentacles were enough to make me smile in memory. Other than that, what this dive gave me was a remembrance of why I loved Kona so much, the color, and life well exceed the other dive vacations I’ve taken.

The second dive, at “Eel Cove” was quite the disappointment. Our DM Shep mentioned that the last time he dove the site, he saw no less than eight different species of eel, and that I might get to once again see a dragon eel (which I’ve seen now twice, and are quite beautiful). The grand total at the end of the dive for eel sightings were a whopping zero.

That’s right, no eels in eel cove, at least for us. I did get a great shot of a pair of lizardfish, had fun getting swarmed a few times by schools of raccoon butterflyfish hoping that I scare away the parent fish on guard over their egg nests, and got to see a couple of beautiful cornetfish and trumpetfish. So in honesty, a good dive, only disappointing in the expectation of numerous eel.