This Kona Coast dive site is possibly the most beautiful, diverse, easily accessible, interesting dive location we have on the Island of Hawaii. It is at Honaunau Bay, just north of the National Historic Park.
This whole area is an ancient Hawaiian fishing/religious ceremonial area, so treat it as such. Show the proper respect for the location, please. Some of the locals are upset with the proliferation of divers and snorkelers frequenting this site today, so please, treat them with respect and don't leave any trash for them to use as evidence of your visit. Respectfully smile at everyone you see, you'll be surprised at how that will confuse those you meet.
Because of the abundance of colorful reef marine life, this is an excellent place to snorkel …… as well as scuba. The clarity of the water here is conducive to exciting sightings of various marine-life species.There are two fine routes for divers to take from the entry point. One is straight out toward open ocean, the second along the rocky shore in a northerly direction. If you are going straight out, watch and listen closely for the many fishing boats that use this bay as a launch site (a cautionary dive flag float is recommended). The straight out route will take you across many coral heads and sandy channels holding a multitude of invertebrates and reef fish. In the center of the bay, you'll reach a living coral reef that is punctuated with countless pukas (holes) that hold numerous eels, crabs and shells of many descriptions. Watch for the Giant Green Sea Turtles in this bay as they often frequent this fantastic dive spot. Remember, the Green Sea Turtle is a protected, endangered species. So don't touch, grab on to, or try to ride these valuable creatures —— the penalties for such action, if reported, is mega bucks and it ain't worth it. Just enjoy their presence.
Here's a hint on diving anywhere: When you see a coral reef that is covered with living coral, thoroughly inspect it, slowly, for it will be filled with delightful sea-life, in, around, under and above it —— but don't touch it. Dead coral heads and most rock rubble areas generally hold fewer species (but fascinating ones, nonetheless).
If you opt for the northerly shore route from the entry area you'll find many caves and indentations as you explore the underwater terrain.The lava wall is literally filled with hiding places for Kona's famous ula(Spiney Lobster)and(although they are being overharvested) you just may glimpse one or two peeking out at YOU!
Only a few yards away from the shoreline you'll notice a gradual slope of branch coral rubble. It slopes down more rapidly as you descend to over 80′ before leveling off in a sandy flat at over 100′. As you float over this ledge watch for the infamous Crown of Thorns Sea Star. This voracious critter is covered with sharp spines that can cause considerable pain when touched (so, don't touch 'em!). At the bottom of the bay, in the sandy area, occasionally, huge Manta Rays, and often, leopard rays are seen resting on the sandy flats. We've seen schools of opelu here that numbered in the thousands. Sometimes these schools are so dense they actually blot out the sun, appearing as black undulating masses of unrecognizable blobs of darkness. As they draw nearer,or if you are a brave soul and go toward them,you'll see that the ‘ blob' is actually thousands and thousands of tiny fish.Quite an experience.
In this area always keep your eye out, to the sides, ahead, and to your rear. Too many times, as we dive, we keep looking down —— and too often, several interesting sights are missed. Make it a habit to look around —— you'll be surprised at what you've been missing.