USA – Hawai’i – Kona – Golden Arches and Big Arch at Pines

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Dive Makai Golden Arches 5 87.0 52 minutes
Big Arch at Pines 6 71.0 59 minutes

There is a massive difference between Jack’s beautiful boats, and young energetic dive masters, and a dive operated by seasoned vetarans.

One passenger on the boat publishes the photo books of Hawai’ian fish, and used Dive Makai exclusively to find particular species. “I’d like to get a shot of XX” “Oh, we know of one that’s hanging out at this dive site, we’ve named him Ed”

The first site had amazing sea life, the most aquatic life of any of the dives this trip, including a huge eel named “Satan”, a psychedelic wrasse and his harem, and more. We visited one of the arches, and then went down to the drop-off.

The second site had two very large eel, a fried egg nudibranch, leaf fish, and many more.

USA – Hawai’i – Kona – Hoover’s and Turtle Pai

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Jack's Diving Locker Hoover's 3 55.0 44 minutes
Turtle Pai 4 58.0 59 minutes

My first tropical dives since being certified. Jack’s impressed me with the quality of their boats and service. While this log is coming almost two decades later, I do recall with fondness the service from Jack’s, enough so that subsequent trips, they were my go-to provider (and still are).

As a newbie, all the basics of butterfly fish, parrot fish, tangs, and everything else that dominates the Hawai’ian sea life were enough to keep me satisfied. But the first dive included a great frog fish sighting (aka “living playdough”), and some amazing diversity.

The second dive site, regardless of the name, had no turtle sightings. Yet, many eels, and a triton shell being brought to a crown of thorns for feeding, were fascinating sights.

USA – California – Los Coronados Island

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Dive Connections Lobster Shack 1 40.0 30 minutes
Lobster Shack 2 50.0 35 minutes

Less than thirty days from being certified, Amy and I decided to make a quick trip down to San Diego to begin our diving adventures. Dive Adventures took boat trips from San Diego out to Coronados, so we booked a charter, and made our first weekend dive plans.

Just a few words can describe this trip. Diesel. Vomit. Choppy. Abrupt.

The diesel fumes from the boat, mixed with the serious chop, led to my first test of SCUBA training… when down at the bottom, vomit through your regulator. Yup. It works. The 24 pounds on the 14 mil of wetsuit worked perfectly, and I had no issues once I was down underwater. Except… the dives were pretty short, cut short by being pulled out of the water. 40-50 feet of depth, nearly a third of the tank left, seeing not a lot in the way of ocean life or views, this was definitely a disappointment of a trip. Definitely wouldn’t recommend the charter, nor the dive, in general.