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“Epic Dive”
Review of Big Island Divers

Big Island Divers
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Big Island Divers has been serving the Kona diving community since 1984. We offer a full-service diving experience, allowing you to relax and enjoy the underwater scenery. With 5 vessels and a crew of over 40, we accommodate divers or snorkelers of all experience levels and take great pride in providing unforgettable memories day after day. We love sharing our passion with others, and we offer a wide variety of certifications for beginners and advanced divers alike. Our knowledgeable and patient PADI and SSI instructors are here to help those wanting to take the first step in their dive education; experienced divers can enjoy progressing their skills with our extensive specialty course offerings list. Our newly-renovated, 2,000+ square foot retail space is fully stocked with every kind of equipment, apparel, dive accessory,and snorkel gear you need to enjoy the ocean.
Reviewed June 28, 2013

Just completed the night manta dive, and it was a spectacular experience. "Flipper" (dive master), Captain Molly, Jackie, and Zane were all highly efficient and professional. You typically check-in at the dive shop prior to 5pm, get fitted for gear (wet suit, BCD, fins, etc.--there's a nominal rental charge for gear not included in the standard package), and sign the waiver. You'll later meet at the boat at 5:45pm at the dock that's around a 5 minute drive from the shop (The shop provided a nice map of the harbor with good directions to the boat. We used the down time to get dinner and do a little souvenir shopping). After a round of introductions at the dock, we left for a 30 minute ride up the coast to a location near the Kona airport, where we passed the time with safety briefings, story telling, passing-out the gear, and then we (along with the 8 or so other boats in the area) settled-in to catch a typical beautiful Hawaiian sunset. About 15 minutes later, it was show time. Our boat had around 2:1 snorklers vs. divers, and the snorklers entered the water first and clustered around a floating light assembly that attracted the plankton that in turn attract the manta rays. As the mantas started to appear, the divers entered the water and the group descended around 30ft to the bottom and swam over to a nice flat area where other groups of divers (all with lights) settled into clusters on the bottom. While looking up at the hundreds of fish that were also attracted to the lights/plankton, it took around 10 seconds to spot the first manta ray. Soon afterwards, the show really got started with a dozen (several of them huge) mantas eventually joining the fun. From the diver's perspective (sitting on the bottom),it was not uncommon to have several of the huge creatures simultaeously looping and "flying" inches (or less) away from you. After around 45 minutes on the bottom, we got the signal to head back to the boat where snorklers and divers shared their excitement over having experienced something truly extraordinary. Wet suits were stripped-off, towels were handed-out, hot chocolate was distributed, and we headed back to the docks. We got back to the Mauna Lani (roughly at 30 minute drive from Kona) at around 10:15pm.

Some added notes:

They weighted the divers pretty heavy to help stabilize us on the bottom, so it paid to blow a little air into your BCD before stepping off the boat. You really appreciated the extra weight (I also picked up a bowling ball sized rock on the bottom to better anchor my butt) when the large mantas swam by/over/around you and the powerful blasts of water from their "wings" rocked you quite noticeably.

Our particular dive session had a videographer (Ryan) working the event, but one of our divers had his own camera and shot some great video and stills. Since it's hard to manipulate both your powerful dive light and camera, you might consider coordinating with a buddy that keeps his light (as opposed to handing it off to the divemaster so he can use them in a cluster to better attract plankton/mantas) so you can have both hands free to hold and manipulate your camera (assuming that your camera doesn't have underwater dive lights).

The seas were fairly calm on our trip, but a few people were feeling a little seasick. If you are so prone, plan accordingly. I am prone to motion sickness but have found that ginger pills (as seen on "Mythbusters") can really take the edge off of things. Transdermal scopolamine patches can also really help.

Thank Sean I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,515 - 3,519 of 4,315 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2013

My son, grandson, and I take at least 1 dive trip a year and this year we have been spoiled for life. We did 12 dives with Big Island Divers including the Manta Dive and every dive was a new and unique dive experience. The dive masters and crew obviously love what they do and their joy was infectious. On our first dive with them we were told all we had to do was breathe and chew and the B.I.D. crew would take care of everything else. That held true for every dive. Between dives they supplied snacks, drinks, and dry towels along with lots of fish stories. On each dive they would direct the faster breathers to the boat and allow the slower breathers to spend more time under water, my dives were the longest ever, usually 60-75 minutes. Every one we dealt with on the boat and in the store were energetic, knowledgeable, and friendly. Wow!

Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2013 via mobile

We are from Florida and spend a lot of time in the water. We have done the whole sting ray thing in the Caymans and swam with a manta ray at Atlantis so we thought it would be good, just good. Well, we were wrong! It was fantastic. It is amazing to see these creatures in their environment. It's as if they have come there just to amaze you. The acrobatic movements, the closeness to your face and body, the surreal feeling of being suspended over these aquatic gods, its just unbelievable. Snorkelers hang onto a floating device with other snorkelers and the contraption you hang onto is completely lit. The divers are all at the bottom about 25-30 feet down. Mantas and plankton in between. That is where the performance is acted out. Schools of fish play in the bubbles from the the divers gear and at ALL times you felt safe and watched over. Zane, our guide was right with us the entire time. He made sure we knew what to do. Great guy and hope to snorkel with him again. My two kids (10 and 12) went and loved it. The equipment was perfect in its condition and usability. Our captain, (Zoe, I think is her name) was knowledgable and great with my kids. The dive shop seems to be well equipped for those who are serious divers. The hot chocolate and towels were awesome after the of the dive. Warmed our bodies up. Customer service
was top notch. Prepared us for the trip so we had all we needed on the boat(warm clothing for the trip back in). My kids will work on their junior certification this summer and , God willing, when we are back next year, we will use Big Island Divers again.

Thank jadejoann4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2013

Big Island Divers is the perfect dive company. They are kind, honest, and competent in their work. They all work to make sure everyone is comfortable and confident in the water. And everyone I met is funny too! I went on a 2-tank dive with Divemasters Vinny and Mike Maine. This was only my second dive trip after being certified and my first boat dive, and I was a little nervous. They were amazing— experienced, thorough, and proficient. The dives were paced just right, not too fast or too slow. Our two dive sites were Tako Bell and Double Arches. The diving was stupendous—absolutely awe inspiring.

A week later I did the Twilight and Manta night Dive with Captain Mike W., Divemaster Jonathan, and snorkel guide Zain. I had a leg injury and could only dive the first dive, I had to snorkel the second dive. BUT, snorkeling does not do the Manta dive an injustice. The Manta dive is the best thing we did on the island, and we did a lot. Mantas are such graceful creatures and are so much fun to watch. There were three the night we went and it was perfect. This is where having a magnificent snorkel guide comes in handy—if you do any snorkel trips on the Island, you have to use Big Island Divers and ask for a charter with Zain! Everyone at BID is wonderful at their job, so even if you don’t get Zain, you won’t be disappointed, but if you can get Zain, it will only make your experience that much more awesome. My Mom was nervous about being in the ocean in the dark, but there was plenty of light and we held onto a makeshift PVC pipe raft and Zain took care of the rest. The night was magical and not one we will soon forget.

The last charter we did was the dolphin experience. We were lucky to have Zain as our snorkel guide again and I’m convinced he made the difference. We were with Captain Michael, Eric, Zain, and Jackie. Again, all four of them were great! My leg injury prevented me from going in any more than the first time. We were within yards of them the first time and my Mom was within a few feet of them the second time. We saw a mom and a baby, so that was just the sweetest thing ever. And as an added bonus, during times that we were waiting for the dolphins (which wasn’t prolonged), Zain would blow bubble rings (like smoke rings under the water) that would make even Gandolf proud. I am so glad I went with this company and have no doubt that I will go with them whenever I am in on the Big Island. Thank you Big Island Divers for making my first trip to the Big Island magnificent! Oh, and don’t forget to contact Oreo: They are good in any temperature! Ask Michael and Zain for more details.

Thank Lindsey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 24, 2013

My family and I did the Manta Ray Snorkel. The whole experience was awesome and the staff was really friendly/ knowledgeable. The minute we stepped on the boat everyone made us feel welcomed as if we were family. Andrew, Nick, and Flipper were very nice. Not to mention my uncle Kevin works there too! Definitely the only place you should choose if you are going diving on the big island! They also had snacks and drinks so you don't go hungry while you are out there. Flipper made the experience very comedic while explaining the story behind the Manta Rays. If you're into a lot of laughs and having nothing short of a blast, this is the choice for you!

Thank Scrowmusic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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