pgunderson

pgunderson

My Dive Map

Reviews (2)

Kona

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REVIEW OF DIVING KONA

The Kona area of Hawaii's big Island offers varied diving to someone who wants to do a little research about the area. Local dive shops offer information on shore diving, and there are many accessible sites that are great as shore dives. There are also multiple opportunites for dive charters too. There are different operators in the town of Kona who launch out of the local boat harbor between town and the airport. Further north on the Kohala Coast there are other operations that go to different dive sites north of Kona. The diving is easy, but you do have to watch water conditions because most entry points are over and around lava, so that when the waves come up entry or exit can get trick. I recommend a full wetsuit for protection when shore diving.

KONA MANTA DIVE

The famous Manta nite dive is a must for those who have not experienced the thrill of seeing these beautiful animals close. Another night dive is the "black water dive" which is offered by a couple of dive charters in Kona. It is a thrill to be suspended over thousands of feet of deep water watching varied creatures swim in to your light and then disappear into the black water.

Hawaiian Green Turtles are plentiful and protected in Hawaiian waters, and there are many spots where they are seen. One place is south of Kona and is called Honaunau or two step. It is right next to the Place of Refuge which is a Hawaiian Monument. I always make the trip to dive and also snorkle this area and I have see dolpins in the distance, a juvenile spotted eagle ray and lots of turtles here.

I believe that it would be worth some time to pursue macro subjects. This one thing I have not done enough. I know they are there but I have enjoyed free diving with the turtles so much that I have done that again and again, When you are not blowing bubbles you can feel like you are swimming right along with them in their ocean. One visit I brought my scuba gear but only used my long fins, mask and snorkle. Puako in front of the round church there is a turtle cleaning station that i have returned to again and again. This is my favorite site on the island although I have never used scuba there.

KONA TOPSIDE

There are plenty of other things to do besides diving. A trip to the volcano is worth the drive and for a totally different feel the town of Hilo and the surrounding area is part of a lush tropical forest. Just the opposite of the Kona side of the island which is dry and arid. The Island of Hawaii has so many different climates that it is worth taking a road trip to see the different parts of the island. There are farmer's markets with beautiful fruits and vegetables and fresh fish is a Hawaiian standard whether you eat in a restaurant or cook it yourself. And there are abundent opportunities to try local food. There are often barbeques set up selling grilled chicken or teriaki beef in the shopping centers.

I like the laid back feeling of Kona and the Big Island as opposed to the frenzy of Oahu and Waikiki. It is a short flight from the US west coast and there are things to do for everyone tastes.

Visited on 05/2012 - Submitted on 02/28/2014
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Villa Markisa

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My husband and I traveled to Bali and stayed in a Deluxe Bungalow at Villa Markisa. We arranged to be picked up in Denpasar by a driver from the resort. It was nice not have to worry about travel arrangements with all our dive and camera gear. When we arrived the resort itself was small and quiet and I found it was the perfect calm escape from my busy work schedule. The bungalow was beautiful and had a desk perfect to set up my laptop so I could review the photos I took. The furniture was simple and elegant and I was told later by a friend who stayed at the resort that it was all designed specially by Christiane for the resort. There were plenty of outlets in the bungalow, plus a dedicated camera area with plenty of outlets. Voltage was 220VAC, and our entire stay there was no issue with power. The attention to every detail was obvious in our bungalow, in the special area dedicated to photo and video gear, the dining area and all the other areas in the resort. They have 2 boats, one larger and one smaller that both make comfortable dive platforms, although my favorite diving was right on the house reef. The resort seems to really be geared for the underwater photographer or videographer. I believe part of the reason for this is Christiane's passion for nudibranchs and for documenting them with her photography. Her camera was always ready to go and it was a real privilidge to dive with her and have her show me some of the very many exotic creatures that can be found here. There is an extensive reference library to help in the ID of the marine life available in the common area.
We ate mostly Indonesian food so I cannot really say much about the other food, but the Indonesian food was delicious and there was plenty to eat. I can't say that we lacked for any creature comforts, but I believe that if you are interested in doing a lot of partying this might not be the best place to do it. If you want comfort with a definite feel or luxury you will not be disappointed coming to dive here.
Pedro and Christiane are very gracious hosts and were a good source of information about Bali. The resort offers tours of various areas of the island, so if you have no urge to travel further than Villa Markisa, you can use it as a point to see other portions of the island and return to the comfort of Villa Markisa. That is what we did.
The only thing I would urge a visitor here who is an underwater photographer to do, is to make sure you get some chances to see something besides the macro life. The macro photography is great but I think in our visit I neglected the wide angle possibilities as the resort is so keyed to the tiny life. There are definitely good wide angle subjects too.
The dive staff was a pleasure to dive with and they were great critter spotters. My favorite dives were the night dives and the head divemaster Dharma was as eager to dive at night as I was. I truly enjoyed our stay at Villa Markisa and was sorry to have to return home.

Visited on 01/2013 - Submitted on 02/06/2014
Read all Villa Markisa Dive Resort reviews

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