Puako Village End
Puako Village End is 3.0 miles from the turn off of Rt. 19. The diving is excellent and entry is easy. This is a favorite site of the Kohala locals.
Directions: The turn off to Puako is on Highway19 about 3.4 miles South of the junction of 270 and 19. Continue down Puako Road for 3.0 miles.
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07/29/2017 Alison M. (Avg: 3.58 Review) - We dove this site recently and enjoyed it. We went a little later in the morning and learned that previous reviewers who mentioned 11 am were right - the winds pick up significantly around 11 or 12, and the entry gets a little choppier. Definitely do-able if you're careful, but if you're not experienced with shore diving, you might just plan to go early. We saw beautiful schools of fish, a puffer fish, a garden eel, and more. It was a great dive.
07/28/2017 David R. (Avg: 3.19 Review) - This was an excellent dive site. The sites to the south of Kailua Kona, like 2 Step/Place of Refuge have a lot of traffic. Puako Village end is the same distance but much faster travel and feels more remote. The site itself is beautiful. The is plenty of shade for your car/truck and great spot for birds. The entry was easy. I mostly recommend setting up your scuba gear and floating it out a little to chest deep water and then putting your fins and BCD on. It makes everything much easier. You have to swim out a good 100 to 150 meters before you hit the wall and first real depth. We did one dive an probably didn't get below 35 ft. But there were some great inlets in the lava for some interesting diving and decent marine life. It is better to get there earlier in the morning because the wind picks up quite a bit late morning. I heard that summer is best time there for calm water. Thoroughly enjoyed the site and it is the kind of place where you want to picnic and hang out and do a solid 2 dives.
05/11/2017 Oregon diver at Canby (Avg: 4.06 Review) - Wow!!! Our group conducted 3 dives at this site the first week of May, 2017 and it was fantastic as usual. Nothing to repeat from my past posts. Great sea life, fish, eels, turtles, it was fantastic. The entry and exit are generally nice as long as you do this dive before 11am. Enjoy! A family favorite.
02/15/2017 Cheri (Avg: 3.00 Review) - Absolutely do not going here if the surf is up. Went in, got dragged by current and smashed by waves. Aborted dive, was driven into the rock by huge wave on exit, broke humorous in butterfly three places protecting my head from the rock. Still paying for it. Have dove at this spot many times in the past when it was calm and it was wonderful.
07/26/2016 John Moss (Avg: 3.41 Review) - Did this site two times. Very easy to get to and good parking right next to dive site. There is a great entry point about 100 yards to the left of the road entrance. It is a split between the rocks with a sand bottom. Rocks on both sides to hang on to if you need to fuss with your equipment before snorkeling out. Go out and to the right. You will find a couple of lava tubes with arches. Great for the less experienced divers. The surf can be bad if coming from the south. Protected if coming from the north. No facilities so bring your own water to wash off with.
06/23/2015 Oregon Diver at Canby (Avg: 4.00 Review) - We dove road's end 5 times over the course of 2 weeks. Great diving, fish, turtles, white tips in the open. Head to the white buoy at about 2-oclock from the entry for lava tube and arch playground. Again, don't dive this site if water is breaking over the rocks at entry. Hit the Puako general store on the way out for great refreshments, food and hospitality.
03/18/2015 Jay Focht (Avg: 3.04 Review) - Overall nice dive. We arrived a bit later in the day, 1:30, and there were some swells in the 1-2 ft range. Entry was easy using the natural pool formed by the lava as stated in notes. Visibility was ok, 50-75 ft range. We snorkeled out to the buoy and descended to 30-40 ft. We headed South along the reef's edge and sandy bottom. Small reef fish and tons of whale chattering going on. Some dead coral was present. We took out past the second house on the south side of the cove and walked back along the beach trail. No currents were present.
12/27/2014 Kurt Maupin (Avg: 3.67 Review) - This was a great dive once you got in the water but the entry was a bit tricky. The surf was a bit rough and getting in and out on the lava rocks ended up in some scrapes. Once we got in though we got out to the shelf where it dropped to about 30 feet off of an old lava flow. From there we swam south swimming in and out of the canyons made by the lava flow. Lots of swim throughs and great vis. Saw tons of fish and found a turtle resting in the rocks. Heard there were garden eels a bit deeper but I didn't get to check it out. Great on a calm day but wouldn't recommend on a rough day because of the entry.
10/30/2013 Chicagodivermom (Avg: 3.87 Review) - My husband and I hooked up with another diving couple and met here about 11 am in Nov, 2012. Now that we know how to get in, we hope to go back this year. Lovely, and easy entry/exit. I would only do this when it is calm. Went out and to the right as I remember. Really nice and large coral formations. If conditions are good, this is a great dive. we pulled the car up almost to point of entry.
06/03/2013 Oregon Diver at Canby (Avg: 3.71 Review) - We recently concluded our dives a Pauko and they were great as usual. Many fish and turtles. We did 4 dives here over the course of 2 weeks and were rewarded with great pictures and video. Our last dive we saw a 5 foot white tip shark swimming out in the open on the reef. We brought some family one day to snorkel, and they loved it. Super easy entry and much to see in the shallows, including many turtles. Do your dive in the morning between 7am-11am before the wind kicks up in the afternoon. If the waves are breaking over the rocks then abandon the dive. One of our favorite sites.
03/25/2013 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.29 Review) - 1/14/13 I've done this dive several times and it continues to be a good one! But on this review, instead of directions and sightings, I would instead like to add a word of caution. My dive buddy (my wife) and I did another one close to this site about 2 hours earlier. So after this rather lengthy surface interval we could see that the surf had picked up considerably. We began entry into this accessible area between the rocks when a big one came in and sucked us both right out of there. My wife was ready to abort the dive right then as she felt a little out of breath and sort of panicky. But, I talked her into continuing as we were already on the way out to the drop off. BIG mistake! I spent the rest of the dive worrying about her and potential problems getting back in without being "skinned alive" on the lava rocks. So obviously, we did make it back, but it was a challenge. There is only the one "out" here and a sort of rip-tide had developed while we were down. The point here is that while you yourself may be a capable and strong swimmer, you MUST make judgments to the dive plan based on the weakest person in your dive party and not the strongest. To fail on this decision could cause serious injury or death. This was the last shore dive we did as a persistently strong sure grew for the next several days making surfers happy and sending shore divers to the dive boats. This was not all bad, on my 2nd day out with the commercial folks, I had a pair of humpback whales (cow & calf) swim about 40' under my fins while I was at a 90' depth. That's one for the books!
10/04/2012 Terry L. (Avg: 3.47 Review) - Was initially leery of this site due to many snorkelers & apparent distance to the reef. But surf was up at Puako church & needed an easy entry for beginning dive buddy sister. However, entering the little sneak route marked by piles of lava with a white coral on top was incredible. Eagle rays and turtles in the shallows...a great drop through a lava tube from 4 feet to 20 feet leading out the canyon was so cool! (It's to the right so you may need to ask someone to find it.)
09/10/2012 John at Honokka (Avg: 2.29 Review) - This dive is good for Hawaii but that doesn't really mean much. I live nearby and dive here all the time because it's pretty easy. You're not going to see anything big. You're not going to see anything medium sized either. It's all the leftover, little aquarium fish that are left from decades of over fishing. The 'locals' don't really scuba dive. They don't care about conservation either. 'Locals' snorkel around and use pole spears to take all they can. I see it almost daily. It's sad. Dive here and count the fish you see over two pounds. You won't do it on one hand. But then the rest of the state is as bad or worse. The lava and reef looks nice. Check your tides. High and slack are safest. Use your compass and save air and energy.
07/08/2012 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 4.16 Review) - Reading the other reviews it seems clear everyone has a different experience here. This is accurate because the site has so much diversity, it fits every diver. I love the deep and heading to the right of the entry point leads to a sloping reef that bottoms out with sand and tons of garden eels. If you follow the sand you can get at least 130' deep (which is where I have been turning around) at 120' there are rocks packed with anthias. I saw a rare bandits angelfish, flame angelfish, and the wonderful black morph of the long-nosed butterflyfish. A large great barracuda stared me down on a few of the dives I did here. This is a world class site as far as I am concerned and an easy dive for all levels. Please be careful in the shallows to not drag your equipment across the corals. Straight out from the entry one the lava tubes has holes that divers like to enter through, often kicking and damaging the coral surrounding the holes. Have fun out there. This might be the best shore dive on the island.
05/17/2012 Andrey S. (Avg: 3.66 Review) - Possibly the best shore dive site on the BI. Healthy corals, lots of life, easy entry/exit, lack of currents, interesting bottom profile (lava tubes). We dove the site in May 2012 and while the surf was up the entry point was shielded pretty well by the lava 'wall'. The entry point looks exactly as on the pictures above, you cannot miss it (a few easy steps down into the water). As the other reviews mentioned go straight out until you see the lava tube, drop down to about 40ft. You can easily see the parking lot from the water so the exit point is easy to locate. No facilities at this site but lots of parking and shade.
02/12/2012 Magnus SN (Avg: 4.43 Review) - Awesome spot. Saw plenty fish and a whitetip off the 'cathedral'. Recommend to go all the way past the houses on your right and you have good parking spaces and a trashcan. Enter the water just after the parking on the right side, just before the lava 'wall' begins. A lone tree marks it for future access. Swim directly out and slightly angling to the north, into the old lava tube that starts there, about 20ft down. Follow this out and to the right and into the next lava tube that ends in the 'Cathedral', an awesome swim into where the light enters from holes from above. Saw a turtle and a whitetip resting in there! Unfortunately no facilities, but there's a small shop just up the road, and easy access to rental gear and tanks just up the coast!
08/16/2011 Oregon Diver at Canby (Avg: 4.18 Review) - My father, wife, and myself dove this site in May of 2011. We were told by a local dive shop in Wiakaloa that if the wind and surf pick up and the water is breaking over the entry point, don't dive the site. It was a bit windy and a little choppy, however the dive was excellent. Turtles, fish of all kinds, and lava tubes. This site was beaming with yellow tangs, butterfly fish, and eels. When we exited the water, the wind had picked up and waves were breaking over the entry/exit point which made for a very risky and very tough exit. We dove the site at around 12 noon that day, when the island winds generally pick up. We went back two days later and dove it at about 8am and the entry and exit were as simple as could be. One of our favorite dives sites!
03/29/2010 Colorado Divers (Avg: 3.78 Review) - Entry and exit were tough through the surf. You should kick out at least 100 yards before descending. The life in the water was great. Lots of fish and a turtle. The coral was very healthy.
11/09/2009 Debbie Rosa (Avg: 3.33 Review) - Puako is my and my husband's favorite place to dive on the island. We dove there many times in the summer of 2008. However, this is our first time diving in November. Things have been pretty rough the past few days with swells and wind. November 8, 2009, we dove Puako in the morning and it was great. We were told that at 6:00 - 7:00 am the water was like glass. We dove around 10:00 am and it was good when we entered. We saw lots of fish life out there. Coming back in, the wind was picking up making the exit a little more tricky. We ended up moving on to south of Kona due to the winds. Puako is my favorite dive but you gotta get out there early.
09/10/2009 Paul D. (Avg: 3.78 Review) - What a great spot on the Big Island. Thank you ShoreDiving.com for your reviews and coordinates. Took my Nav with me and finding these gems (dive spots) was a breeze. This was a fresh dive for me this vacation. Viz was excellent, surface temp 81, bottom temp. 79. One word of caution: Current can sneak up on you, especially at 70-100 ft. Had a bit of a scare myself as I tried to negotiate my way back. Breathing got heavy and felt a bit of panic as my reg only delivered so much. Controlled the situation and all was ok in the end. A definite 'must dive again spot'. Note: our entry was to the north of the open beach, between the two rocks, visible in the pic. Have not tried the south entry.
07/30/2009 Tom Cooper (Avg: 3.00 Review) - We stopped at house #40 a few miles from the end of the road. There's a shore access entry. Entry to the water was easy, there's a small beach entry. Swam out about 50 yards to a drop off of about 30 feet. Plenty of fish and coral and honu. There's also a 'honu cleaning station' where the turtles come and have algae and parasites removed by fish. We saw two honu getting this treatment! Way cool. Going back tomorrow to go out a bit further to 80' of water. We are told there is an 'eel garden' in a sandy bottom.
05/30/2009 Jerry Burawski (Avg: 4.17 Review) - Fun dive, bring a flashlight. Lots of overhangs and little caves. You don't cover much area because you find yourself digging in all the little pukas. Visibility wasn't the best but that didn't seem to matter.
04/07/2009 Brian Xavier (Avg: 4.65 Review) - Pauko Village end is a great dive on a calm day. Dive out near the clearing between the rocks and go straight out. It will take a while, but eventually you'll hit the reef's end. Reef is at 15 feet depth, but the drop is great. The first one goes to about 50 feet, and I plan to dive the second drop later. Since I solo dive, I usually go easy the first few dives at a new place.
03/04/2009 Ann Geiger (Avg: 3.39 Review) - This is an easily accessible and enjoyable site. We did two dives here in March 2009, one during calm conditions and one during pretty high winds. During both dives we could hear humpbacks singing and saw turtles, nudibranchs, flatworms, and many types of adult and juvenile fish. The shallows are nicely protected and would provide decent snorkeling for non-divers. A key piece of advice is to go early, when conditions are most likely to be calm and the area is less crowded topside and below water. If you enter and exit at the appropriate spot, there should only rarely be conditions that make getting in and out even remotely difficult. After following the directions to the site, once in the parking lot the appropriate spot is just past where the trees end. There is one place that looks OK, but the better option is several yards south. After entering the water and donning fins and mask in the protected area, one can swim right out. There are two mooring balls, a white one to the right and an orange one to the left. Swim toward the orange one and keep an eye out to the left for a large channel that leads out to the reef. One can go in either direction; to the right the reef drops to about 90 feet, to the left about 60. The reef to the right is a bit more dramatic topographically, to the left is a large flat coral garden in about 45 to 50 feet. There are no facilities at the site. Kohala Divers Limited is nearby in Kawaihae; they have reasonable rental prices and a pleasant staff who are efficient for a dive shop. Cafe Pesto in the same shopping center as Kohala Divers is a nice place for lunch, although one has to get out of obvious swimwear to feel comfortable.
03/31/2008 Joe Foster (Avg: 3.70 Review) - This was our favorite site on the Island. Me and my 2 boys dove here 6 times during our vacation. No matter what the surf was doing, this spot allowed for a controlled entry and exit. It is so handy being able to park less than 20 feet from the water, too. All the advise from this website makes this dive easy, and it is very easy to navigate this dive because of both the visibility and the unique underwater landmarks. We dove left, right and deep. This is a great location to experience it all. Too bad there isn't a shower to rinse the gear!
11/25/2007 Jody Sedrick (Avg: 3.27 Review) - I took my son for his first real dive. He handled the entry very nicely. We spent a lot of time in the lava as he wanted to look in every nook a cranny. We saw the garden eels, one of which was hunting. We discovered two swim-throughs which he enjoyed. This is a great site to get your fins wet. I also HIGHLY recommend Manta Ray Bay. We swam with a school of dolphins.
09/05/2007 Clare (Avg: 3.68 Review) - The entry wasn't so bad, but the surf picked up a little upon exit. Great site with lots of life, with very cool lava formations underwater. This was one of our favorite dive sites.
07/01/2007 Maria (Avg: 3.90 Review) - Dove here 6.24.2007. Very nice site although it's shallow even at high tide, and swimming out is a bit annoying. Otherwise - great vis, healthy coral, lots of life (moray eels, fish, cornet fish). Garden eels at 92-95'! Visibility was so good that we took nice pictures of the garden eels with just a regular camera, no external flash!
09/28/2006 Yuri (Avg: 4.01 Review) - This was the most enjoyable site on Big Island that we tried, so we did this one twice. Enter through the lava "bath tub" just left of the last tree in the start of the parking lot. Swim on the surface for maybe 25-30 meters, than watch for a barrier which is very close to surface. Once you crossed it, dive. Very interesting lava/coral formations (pinnacles, tunnels, caves, walls) and plentiful wildlife. That was the only place we saw an octopus and a male Hawaiian puffer with purple/orange sides. Large schools of tangs etc. Highly recommended!
09/01/2006 Lori (Avg: 3.38 Review) - My buddy and I really enjoyed this site. To be perfectly honest, we enjoyed it more than the boat diving we did! Loved the lava tubes and "fingers". Lots of life. The entry was fairly easy, but the surf slammed me about pretty good on the exit. Otherwise, it was an awesome dive! The sandy parking area was pretty rough…pick your going carefully if you're in a non-4wd rental! We watched someone get stuck between visible lava rocks in the lot in a 4wd SUV...hairy going and lots of maneuvering to get out.
11/24/2005 Craig Bolon (Avg: 2.92 Review) - Most varied and beautiful site in Hawaii, with deep lava channels, many green sea turtles and other occasional large animals. This visit was just before Thanksgiving, 2005, and coincided with the first winter surf. There were three days of difficult access and more days of low visibility. Diving at Honaunau and Ke'ei was better most days.
09/30/2005 Chad of Tampa (Avg: 3.68 Review) - What a great place! We dove this place twice and enjoyed it more and more. When you arrive, it first appears that the entry is to the right (when looking out to the water)… take my advice and skip this entry for the one on the left by the tree. From here, snorkel straight out to the far left buoy. Along the way, you will find a drop off… drop down and head to the right, keeping the cliff on your right shoulder and work your way along this magnificent site. Turtles galore! Tons of fish. Went to check out the garden eels, but I guess we weren't sneaky enough. The locals were nice. Would highly recommend this dive over the Puako Church on ease of entry alone.
07/05/2005 Steve Porter (Avg: 4.39 Review) - This was a cool dive. You start in 5ft of water for 100 yards. In and out of the reef you'll see little drop offs. They are really caves that drop down to about 30-40ft and then out to the open ocean. Structure wise, you could dive this for a decade and still find new stuff.
06/29/2004 Rob Bennett (Avg: 3.52 Review) - We dove for five days along the Puako reef using a Hooka set up and a small Avon inflatable so we could dive with a little more ease in a number of locations during the day including one night dive. On almost every dive we encountered more than one turtle, eels, the usual smaller fish which varied from just a few to fairly large schools - mostly where the underwater moorings are located in the northern end of the reef and of course lots of coral and varied terrain. We added extensions to our set up and two of us dove to 100' to the sandy bottom in search of garden eels, we did not encounter any as we only stayed for a few minutes - I suspect more time is needed and we are not experienced enough for that depth. The highlight of the entire trip was the night dive. Although we were disappointed with the small number of critters (my reading on night dives indicated we should see a lot more especially just after dark) however, our lights attracted a large Manta Ray which stayed with us, very close at times and just glided between, over and around all four of us until we had to eventually swim away. I estimate the wing span at six to eight feet. This was our first night dive and we were rewarded with a wonderful encounter. This was also our daughters first time underwater and I am glad we chose Puako as our main diving area - highly recommended.
05/21/2004 Janna Nichols (Avg: 3.92 Review) - This was an awesome site! Plenty of geological features to keep us interested, as well as abundant fish life. The entry is in a little bay, with rocks to protect against the surf. Put on your fins at waist deep water, holding onto a rock, and away you go! Be careful to avoid the surf and waves out from the entry point. Swim or snorkel out past that point, and then descend. You'll find swim throughs, holes, caves, lava tubes, valleys and all made up by the 'fingers' of lava that flowed out here. Fairly healthy reefs abound. Lots of sea life. Be sure to avoid the rough area on the way back in too. Did this dive 3 times. Best if done in mornings (goes for all dives) when surf is down.
05/18/2004 Alexis (Avg: 4.67 Review) - The best shore dive and best kept secret on the Big Island. We usually had the entire place to ourselves. The visibility is perfect for crystal clear pictures. The honus (turtles) are so friendly and the fish are almost tame. The drop off is close. Great place for any skill level or to just relax on the shore. Bring your gear, ice chest, lunch, chairs, and blanket for a relaxing all day trip. Stop by the little general store on the way if you forgot any beverages or snacks. And, be sure to catch the sunset before you call it a day. We did three dives a day and hung out on the shore with the locals if anyone was around in between dives. After a six month stay on the Big Island, Puako was my favorite spot to dive, snorkel, and just hang out. Watch for the current though; it can pick up quickly. Shore entry can be somewhat sloshy on very windy days, but the little cove makes it easier and blocks most of the surf. No worries, it was so worth it! You won't find water and animal/plant life like this anywhere else in the world. Enjoy and tell the honus I said Hi!
08/11/2003 Mik (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Did this site 4 different times in a one week trip. The morning dives all had 100+ viz and the afternoon dives closed down to about 50 feet. Both lava tubes are great to explore. Lots of turtles and eels, plenty of fish. No need to go out past the two mooring bouys [most of the sights are from 30-50 feet]. Make sure you enter in the little cove instead of on the lava shelf. One of the best sites on the Big Island.
07/22/2003 Kelley & Dan Holtman (Avg: 3.96 Review) - Great shore dive with ez entry (a little slippery at low tide.) Use your snorkel to fin out/back. We stayed shallow for 1:29 and had a blast! Saw the biggest Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles we have ever seen in the 50th State. Several species of moray, wide variety of fish including dragon wrasse moving baseball-sized rocks. Lots of little open caves and swim-thrus. Good when there is a South swell (surf) although the vis was only about 50' because of the swell. FSW 79*
02/17/2003 D.Bowers (Avg: 3.83 Review) - This is one of the best dive locations in all of Hawaii. I have dove almost every shore location you can think of in all the islands and I must say this is in the top three. The reef and visibility has been 100+ every time I have dove here. An interesting place to descend is through a lava tube out on the lava shelf. Head straight out from the parking area and to the right over the shallow lava shelf. This is tricky some times during low tide. You might find yourself rolling on your back as the waves crash on you, yuck!!. I never had this problem but I heard someone else did. Once you find the lava tube, descend through until you reach bottom at about 20 feet of water. Head out towards the ocean. The lava tube has a fractured ceiling with light coming through. In the picture on the web-site taken from the air, you can see the lava tube in the middle of the picture. It's very small but it's there. Once your heading out to deeper water, either head to the right along lava fingers, or out to deep, DEEP, water. Be careful of depth. Once you see the drop off, its easy to get beyond 150 feet. Watch your gage. It's tempting to go deep. My friend went to 151 feet at this location to see garden eels. You should not go beyond 100 feet unless you know what your doing and have had proper training.
09/10/2002 Mike Kline (Avg: 3.86 Review) - Great, relaxing dive. We went at 8:00am. We had a little bit of difficulty finding the lava tube and had to surface once to get orientated with the shore to find it. We found a few turtles in the lava tube which made for a great photograph. We found only 3 other divers and several groups of racoon butterfly fish. This will always be my favorite memory of the Big Island.
08/06/2002 Kim (Avg: 3.72 Review) - A great dive - keep coming back every year. Saw a large white tipped reef shark when exploring the lava tubes this time. The entry is easy and the cove is a good place to fin up.
04/17/2002 Jon Knight (Avg: 4.56 Review) - I love this site. I wear my gear down into the small cove, put on my fins and fall in. Kick out and to the right, drop down and enter the lava tube to the right. Way in the back you can find sleeping turtles and maybe a large puffer fish. Look carefully on the cave floor for brittle stars between the rocks. Just outside the cave in the debris field, I've seen gold-laced nudibranchs, banded shrimp and a devil scorpion fish. All within a 20' radius. Also lots of interesting shells both occupied and unoccupied. You can easily do 2 dives here and not get bored.
01/23/2002 Rob (Avg: 4.10 Review) - One of my favorite dives on the island. I normally enter from the sandy beach down the road a hundred feet. The lava tubes are cool, and every time I've been there we have seen turtles. Once, late in the afternoon, I was caught by some wind chop on the way in, made it more difficult to exit, but no big deal. A fun spot. I always wait to rent my tank up at Kohala, and then get a fill and lunch, then do a second dive.
09/16/2001 Jim Goodenough (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Nice remote site without a lot of people. Had to swim out a ways to get even 30 feet deep. As I was descending to enter a lava tube, I noticed I almost wound up on top of a small eel. After that I was too shaken up to continue the dive.
07/16/2001 Nydia White (Avg: 3.53 Review) - Enjoyed this site very much! Just a couple of pointers: We entered in a little natural "cove" and to make sure that we found the same spot for our exit we put a bright towel on the rocks above and put rocks to weight it down. Don't know if this was just bad luck or what, but our car got broken into while we were diving. It's a good practice when shore diving anywhere to leave nothing of value in your car. We use one of those watertight containers to keep the car keys, our ID and a little bit of cash. The thieves even stole my sandals (old warn out pair), my tank top, and our cooler with sandwiches and water. Bummer way to end an otherwise great dive.
05/28/2001 Tom Mellor (Avg: 3.59 Review) - This site is an easier entry than Puako Church as there isn't the need to walk out on lava at low tide. Wind-blown surge can still be an issue use a snorkel for the 200 meter swim to the drop down point. The reef is very healthy and this is a popular dive site for the local dive ops. There is a mooring buoy, so be aware if you surface in this area. The visibility is generally good, but not as much as the west and south sides where there isn't as much sand. It was still about 75' on the windy, choppy day that I was there. Turtles frequent the area and the usual reef fish are plentiful. There are openings in the lava flows that provide fun swim-throughs, and interesting open mouthed caves formed by the lava tubes. The area has a large flat sandy area surface at 60' that provides for easy exploration. I swam along with a feeding turtle for about 5 minutes she didn't mind a bit. This is a better site than Puako Church.
05/20/2001 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.38 Review) - This is one of my favorite Kona Coast dive sites. Puako has been discovered by the world, and now real estate prices are sky high. There's garden eels, a 'shark cave' with 3 entrances that sometimes houses docile white tip reef sharks. This is about as good as it gets on the Big Island!
(click photo for a larger version)
Make a right turn onto the dirt road, then a left for about 50 feet.
Park your car anywhere off the beaten path. The entry is just to the front left of this vehicle
The entry is an easy climb into the little lava cove. Put your fins on and kick out for a hundred yards.
(click photo for details)
For a special treat, kick out to the edge of the lava flow (noticing the collapsed lava tubes along the way). Drop down to about 70 feet over the sandy patch, lie still, and watch the garden eels come out to greet you!
Last Verification: September, 2000