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“Kona Diving Company - yes; manta ray night dive - yes” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kona Diving Company

Kona Diving Company
74-5615 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI 96740
+1 808-331-1858
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Ranked #3 of 204 Activities in Kailua-Kona
Type: Water sports, Adventure
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Owner description: Awarded the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014, Kona Diving Company offers SCUBA diving adventures off of their custom dive boat on the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Contact us for certification of all levels, introductory dives & night dives/manta ray dives. Multi-day dive packages available. A wonderful shop and friendly staff will welcome you!
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Kona Diving Company - yes; manta ray night dive - yes”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

The highlights...
easy booking and excellent follow-up e-mail confirmation, uncomplicated check-in and paperwork process, short boat ride, catamaran for greater stability, informative, personality-filled briefing, friendly, knowledgeable and attentive crew, serviceable equipment, competitive rates, flexibility in types of packages

THE MANTA RAY NIGHT DIVE WAS EXTRAORDINARY. Whales on the motor out, Spinner Dolphins in the bow wake, close encounters with the rays and the resident moray eel. I chose a one-tank dive because I get seasick and cold. I made the right choice for me and had an amazing evening!

The lowlights...
suffered from less-than-ideal mooring and long surface swim (for snorkelers) but that's what you get for waiting for late customers. DON'T BE LATE. The boat let us vote and we waited.

ON SEASICKNESS
If you are at all prone to seasickness (which I very much am), the long wait at the site for a dive site briefing in swell was unpleasant. I was Dramamine'd to the gills so I was fine but had conditions been worse, all that time onboard the boat would have done me in. I realize there was a queue before we could approach the site and the boat crew is at the mercy of the traffic and conditions so don't rely on the boat to release you into the water quickly.

The crew seemed tempted to discount my routine but they left me to my own devices. I have been diving for 15 years and absolutely do not claim to be expert or as knowledgeable as the crew or instructors. But I do know what will trigger seasickness since I am expert at that so prepare for it. How I prepare: hydrate, make sure you've eaten something a few hours beforehand, medicate if you need to (the evening prior & the day of), get dressed early if you won't overheat, alert your instructor so they know what to expect (I let the instructor know and he opted to pre-brief us on equipment - yay!), don't go in the head, keep the horizon in sight, keep the wind in your face, ginger may help, so might Saltines, fruit and chewing gum, be ready to stride off the boat in a timely manner and don't hold up the show -- for yourself, for those who may be feeling sick!

ON COLD
I weigh 125 lbs. If you get cold, wear a hooded vest. You will be sitting still observing the manta rays and I was freezing at the end. They did offer more neoprene and I should have accepted!

Visited January 2013
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“Best experience ever thanks to the KDC Crew!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

First of all, the Night Manta Dive at Kona is a must do for all certified divers so put it on your itinerary now! And the snorkel is absolutely amazing too so bring everyone along. If you are going to the Big Island, you cannot miss out on this opportunity. Kona is the only place on earth where you can do a Night Manta Ray dive, and it’s recently been rated the second best dive in the world!

The next important thing to know is that you do not have to look any further than Kona Diving Company. I completed multiple day and night dives with KDC and met most of the crew during my stay. Being only very new to diving I was a bundle of nerves the first few times but was always made to feel at ease. They were also great at managing varying degrees of experience and made sure everyone on board had the best experience possible. The crew are amazing fun, professional and safety focused. It is clear they are all very passionate about diving, extremely knowledgeable on the marine life and also passionate about protecting the marine environment. I highly recommend diving with KDC!

The equipment you hire is in great condition, the boat is fantastic with a hot shower on board, hot cocoa, soup, wraps and the best home-cooked chocolate brownies. The crew do all the work for you in between dives so you can relax and enjoy the trip. Even without the diving, the boat trip is great fun with loads of whales, dolphins and the occasional manta seen along the way.

Manta Rays and night dives aside, the day trips are excellent, swimming through old lava tubes, into open air caves, seeing sharks, eels, octopus and all these tiny little critters, and fish of course. All the while having loads of fun and laughs both above and below the water. Diving with KDC was the highlight of my Hawaii holiday, I had the most amazing experiences underwater and it was all thanks to these guys.

Visited January 2013
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Savannah, Georgia, United States
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5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Best Time Ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

My wife and I did a 2 tank day dive and the 2 tank Manta dive. If you want a great experience overall you must go with Kona Diving Company. The staff/ crew on the boat and in the store were extremely professional and also knew how to have a good time. I have to say a special thanks to Tim "Shaggy" who was an awesome dive master and guide. He was very patient with us especially during our first night dive and getting us use to the surroundings. Also, would like to thank Captain Mike for the great ride and conversation. He was amazing in getting us up close (not too close) to the whales. We also were lucky enough to see the dolphins and also mantas during the ride to the dive sites.

If you decide to do the manta dive, Kona does it up right. You do your first dive during the day and they get you top side to enjoy snacks to decompomress. Once the sunsets, the other boats get their people in the water and you think why are we not going? They have their reasons and get you in the water after the others get the manta rays stirring. Once you get in the rays are all ready active and putting on the show. By the end the Kona divers are the last to be in the water and you get the manta all to yourselves.

You can't ask for a better experience and a better company to do it with. If we ever get back to the Big Island hands down we will go with Kona Dive Company again.

Thanks again for the great time,
Sean and Missy

Visited January 2013
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3 reviews 3 reviews
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“Amazing Experience- look no further!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I completed my Referal Open Water Dive Certification with Kona Diving Company at the beginning of January and must say, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Simply every member of their crew is super- friendly, passionate about what they do and keen to make sure you have a great time.
I had to complete 4 dives over two days and demonstrate various skills to my instructor, David, who was very patient, made me feel safe under water at all times and - very important- was great fun to dive with. He seemed to spot the smallest creatures from miles away and was keen to share his experiences and to make sure I had a good time diving.
I had booked the two- tank morning dive and two- tank manta dive for my third day as I wanted to start getting a little dive experience under my belt. It was extremely re-assuring to have David lead my first two certified dives since he knew my strengths and weaknesses and the small goup size ( 3 divers, 1 instructor) was fantastic.
In- between dives everyone was well looked after, tanks were 'magically' changed over, plenty of hot drinks and snacks were made available and Jeff ( days 1&2) or Paul ( day 3) were at hand to help us in and out of the water.
The manta ray night dive was definitely unforgettable; again there were only 3 divers + 1 instructor ( another David) in our group, which was great. It was amazing to see these huge, beautiful creatures come so close and move so gracefully through the water as they feed!
We saw 4 mantas that night and we stayed watching them for about 50 Minutes, which gave us plenty of opportunities to take pictures ,film the action and simply enjoy the experience.
What can I say- I'd had such a good time I booked another 2- tank morning dive 4 days later and will definitely go diving again with Kona Diving Company when I return to the Big Island!

Visited January 2013
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Laguna Niguel, California
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135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“Highlight of Our Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

My two teenagers (15 and 13) and I booked a manta snorkel trip with Kona Diving Company based on the excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. We are glad we did! We were among about 18 people including divers and snorkelers. We set out from the harbor about 3:30 pm for a 30 minute cruise to the sight where the manta rays appear each night. The boat crew was fabulous, engaging and funny, led by Captain Paul. The crew is young and cool. Really a nice group.

We snorkeled first during daylight hours. The area is ok, not great, for a day snorkel, but this isn't why you're here. The real "action" happens after sundown! After snacks of hot soup, wraps, trail mix and crackers, we were given our manta briefing. Then we geared up and hit the water again about 6:30. Here's how it works: the divers descend to the bottom (about 40 feet) with strobe lights that attract plankton, which in turn attract the mantas. The snorkelers lay together on the surface, holding onto a modified surfboard with lights affixed to shine downward. This way, mantas are attracted to both the bottom (where the divers are) and the top (where the snorkelers are). We saw quite a show! The mantas come in each night in various numbers. We saw 4, which is about average, but they hung around for the entire hour we were in the water, swimming back and forth, swooping in and summersaulting right next to us, literally inches from our masks. They swoop in, mouths wide open, gobbling the plankton in the water. The hoops and hollers of the snorkelers describe their joy at this magical scene. All of the mantas have names and are known to the guides based on their distinctive markings. We saw Lefty, the first Manta ever named here.

Mantas are harmless (no barb or stinger) and are beautiful creatures. Kona is apparently the only place in the world where they regularly appear at night. Sightings are not guaranteed, of course, but they show up about 90% of the time. Over 100 individuals are known to be in the area. One rule: no touching the mantas! Enjoy!!

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