Category Archives: Scuba Diving

Hawaiian Holiday – Kona

We spent the last week here in Kona on The Big Island. It’s been super relaxing and I wish we could stay another week or two. Unfortunately, one has to pay the bills…

I’m a bit rusty on blogging so I’ll just give you a list of highlights and let you browse the photos we have collected:

Kona Diving

Saturday 5/23: Arrived at Kona, drove down 15 minutes to the Coconut Cottage we rented, dropped off all of our gear and headed out for an early lunch/dinner. After that we ended up back at the cottage and walked down the street for about 5 minutes and hung out on the beach. Super nice location.

Sunday 5/24: I Slept in to (7AM), Justyna (9:30AM). I think we ended up cooking breakfast, and then heading over to the other beach (which is a good surfer location) where I got skunked. (no surf, and has pretty much been that way all week) Instead of renting a board, we decoded to do a bit of snorkeling. Ton of reef fish to look at, and we too a few laps with a medium sized sea turtle. Ohh yeah, I also received my first coral cut on my right palm. [Photos]

Monday 5/25: Trip to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Very cool trip. Did a 4-5 mile hike though the volcano crater (Kilauea Iki Trail), drove down to see the active lava flow (Only to find out that it was another 10 miles down the road which no longer exists. You can get much closer from the other side.) One the way back we stopped at Thurston Lava Tube to take a quick stroll through an actual lava tube. To top it off we had
dinner at a Thai restaurant in volcano Village and had probably the best Thai food to date. (It’s called Thai Thai, odd name huh?! If not the best pretty darn close, it was really good) [Photos]

Tuesday 5/26: Slept in again, went out for an okay breakfast. Then decided to kayak and snorkel at Captain Cook, Kealakekua Bay. This is where I made the bad decision of helping out another couple beach their kayak on the lava rocks. Well in the process I slipped and gave myself two nice sized gashes in my left leg, and foot. Everything is fine, but since the next three days are filled with dive trips there’s no way this is going to start healing until I get back to SF. This is great snorkeling and a cheap afternoon. Pack a lunch, a couple of beers, and drive down to rent a kayak and off you go. We spent about 3-4 hours total and probably would have stayed longer if it wasn’t for the blood streaming down my leg.

Wed 5/27- Thur 5/28: Magda and Adam showed up last night. They are both avid divers, (read: they dive every day on their trips!), so this marks the beginning our our Dive Marathon!

We decided to go with Kona Honu Divers. Typical two tank boat dive trips, first one a deeper dive (~60′ max) and the second a little more shallow. We saw everything from basic reef fish, morey eels, frog fish, and in the last dive a rather sizable white tipped reef shark. She was hanging out in a cave getting cleaned and wasn’t too pleased with us bothering here, so she let us know by starting to pace around and getting closer to us each time, when she was about 2′ from my head we decided it was time to move on and let her back to her business in peace.

The best part of these dives are the nooks and crannies the lava flows form. It makes for a decent maze to swim through and play in. This was one of my first times going though caves and arches and it made the dive a lot of fun. The surge made it a bit technical at times, but this is sort of what I like about sports.  A little challenge to is always a good thing.  [Dive Photos]

Friday 5/29: Today we did another morning boat dive, which I could probably have done without. It was good, but at that point a morning of sleeping in and rest for the night dive would have been better.

That’s right night dive. We went on the Manta Ray Night Dive, which is rated as a top 10 dive in the world. And I have to say it is truly spectacular. Having a 11′ wide Manta Ray buzz over you head while it feeds on the plankton you are providing with your flash light, it a surreal experience. In fact if you hold your light a little too far down your body like I did, the Manta may collided right into you and knock your mask and regulator loose.

If you find yourself on the Big Island, you should set aside the time to do this dive. If you don’t dive then join the boat and enjoy it from the top of the water by snorkeling. You get a more intimate experience with the dive, but the Mantas still visit the folks floating at the top of the ocean as well. Believe me it’s well worth the money.

Saturday 5/30: Rest day. Woke up at 7:30AM (super late for me), made coffee, cooked breakfast, and geeked out a bit to write this blog post. Off to the beach now to enjoy the sun for about 30 minutes (my Irish heritage doesn’t allow for much more than that) After that who knows…

We head back for SF tomorrow around noon. Looking forward to getting back, but at the same time wish I could extend this for another week or better yet another month!

–Chad

Scuba Trip Breakdown

Bonaire is a rather pretty island. Since the group I vacationed were hardcore divers most of the time was geared towards getting ourselves submerged underwater.

Bonaire

Over the first 5 days I logged 13 dives. The visibility was outstanding, over 100′ at times, and the sea life was remarkably healthy. The more I dove the more detail I saw. Which is probably due to me becoming comfortable hooked up to an air tank at 60+ feet under water to allow me to observe as much of my surroundings as possible. It’s pretty surreal to be at 80′ depth and looking up wall of coral, there’s a whole different world under water which most people never experience.

Here’s a list of notable sea life:

  • Spotted Eel
  • Green Moray Eel (huge in fact, probably 5 – 7 feet long)
  • Fire coral (others too, but don’t know what the names are)
  • Small shrimp dealios
  • Barracuda (only a foot or two long)
  • Turtle (I think it was a Leatherback, saw a few of these and quite large)
  • Stingray (it gave us a shifty glance and decided to keep it’s stinger for someone else)
  • Family of squid swimming around
  • Spotted Drum Fish
  • Large Lobster (3+ lbs)
  • Nurse Shark (I was drift diving and almost sat on this guy w/o knowing)
  • Large School Blue Fish (being chased by large tuna, it was sort of a dance and pretty trippy to watch)
  • Tron Fish (I’m pretty sure this is not what it’s called, but it looked like it had the blue glow suit on)
  • Small Blue Sparkle Fish

There was a lot more under there, but this is what I jotted down in my dive log book.

We also went out on a ship wreck dive, which was my deepest dive on the trip – 99′. This was also the same day which I had a little trouble with my left ear not clearing properly. This can be rather painful if you can’t equalize the pressure on your ears. It took me a little extra time to descend, but it was only a couple of extra seconds each 10′ to allow proper equalization.

On Thursday I decided to take the day off to join Sarah, our new German friend, for a trek in Washington Slagbaai National Park. After her stay on Bonaire, Sarah was scheduled to meet a couple of friends in Peru where they were planning on summiting some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. Anyway, this excursion was rather easy and flat. It was also the first time I took my Nikon out of travel bag, I’ve posted a few choice shot’s here.

The night life on Bonaire reminds me much of a small college town. Small bars playing house music, everyone drinking a little too much and having a great time in the process. I was lucky enough to have meet a few of the locals which gave me the privilege of tagging along with them a few nights to see what the island had to offer. Much of the time I had no idea what they were talking about, because they were communicating in Dutch to one another. Most of them are students from the Netherlands working for the resorts and an internship. Well at least the ones I meet though Buddy Dive did. It made the evenings a bit more enjoyable than just hanging around the resort pool bar talking with wasted Navy Seals telling crazy stories of hunting people down. (not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

In short anyone who enjoys scuba diving would love Bonaire and should have this on their list of destinations to hit. But, if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, I would not suggest it. The beaches are pretty much non-existent, most are are covered with dead coral (think rough rock). Maybe a trip to Mexico, Hawaii or the Mediterranean may be a better choice for you.