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The ShoreDiving Reviews of
 Jim Olinger

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Review Date       AVG       ShoreDiving Site
09/27/2013        3.26      Leleiwi Beach Park The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
After many dives on the west coast of the Big Island I decided to see what the east side has to offer. They call this 'The Wild Side' for diving as it's much more exposed to the trade winds and the surf that is unimpeded for a couple thousand miles! That said, Leleiwi (pronounced lay-lee-vee) is a very nice dive site and is somewhat protected from high surf. The entrance and exit are quite easy and it's only 25 meters or so to a decent place to submerge. There are freshwater springs near the shore so the water temperature feels a bit chilly initially, but warms up as soon as you gain some distance from shore. There is abundant hard coral and much of it is finger coral. The coral below 20 meters appears to have been damaged, but above that it looks healthy. We were advised to go to the right at the entrance point due to the possibility of strong currents to the left (although later we learned there is a turtle cleaning station to the left). There are a few scattered arch swim-throughs and some of the largest Green Sea Turtles I've ever seen! It's a good dive if you find yourself in the Hilo area. The visibility on this side is going to be influenced by the amount of recent rainfall. It was 50-60 ft. when we dove it and it had been relatively dry. Check for current details with one of the (2) local dive shops when you rent your tanks.
06/06/2013        3.88      Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This one is a MUST if shore diving the Big Island. There is much written here so I would just add there are actually two ALOHA cement brick structures. The first is just to the right of center as you head straight away from the entry. 30' (or 10 meters) sounds about right for the depth. If you go just a ways past it, the depth drops off and you can swim north along a sloping wall of coral at about 60-70' depth until you hit 1/2 tank (beyond that I don't know). If you head south instead, the depth increases until you come to the 2nd ALOHA which is larger and located on the sandy bottom, probably more like 30-35 meters of depth. It either took a few divers several dives to put it together, or a whole team of folks who could have built it in a dive or two. (I gotta get a UW camera for these things!) Enjoy!!!
06/06/2013        3.56      Old Kona Airport beach The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Great dive site and just minutes from Kailua-Kona. We chose to dive at the front end of the old runway immediately past the hockey rink. You can park right on the edge of the pavement and hike your gear down across approximately 30 meters of a sandy beach and then another 20 meters of lava rock. You'll see a circular entry point that is somewhat protected from the surf. Getting in the water is easy (giant stride) and getting out isn't bad either if you time the waves and come up on a slanted rock as a wave comes in. The rocks can be slippery so be careful. Once in, it's maybe 30 meters out to dive depths. I followed a long, flat ridge out at approximately 10 meters of depth for a good 15 minutes. Lot's of nice coral here with the normal fish species. I'm not sure how far that ridge goes out, by I finally broke off it to the south where you can get to a sandy bottom at about 25-30 meters deep. There are some garden eels here in the sand. On my way back in I began hearing the strangest sounds coming from the deeper water. It turned out to be the song of the humpback whale and we heard this multitude of eerie sounds on every dive north of Kona over the next few days. One caveat for this site, the homeless population has adopted this area 'for camping out' and you can see their 'hooches' scattered about in the brush. We had no problems whatsoever, but locking your car and keeping things out of site in your vehicle is a good idea. Just as we were ending our trip I noticed they were erecting some sort of chain-link fence in this area. It did appear though that they left room to access the beach, but it's likely to be a bit longer walk.
06/06/2013        3.16      Miloli'i Bay The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
Just as an update to a previous post in 2012. I did make it back to this site in Jan. 2103. It's still easy in and out, but I was pretty surprised at the change in the dive site in just over a year. The topography is still interesting (of course) but the coral seems to have taken a real beating. Much of it was bleached and broken. Also, until you get quite a ways out from the pier, the fish life seems to have vanished probably due excessive amounts of spear fishing (Milolii IS a fishing village)and they are down to even harvesting urchins at this point. We did see one spotted and one green moray, but other than some butterfly fishes, there wasn't much in the way of observable fish life. It's still worth the drive to dive it...in my opinion.
06/06/2013        3.45      Ke'ei The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
I did this dive in Oct. 2011 and just never got around to reviewing it. It's a great site and has a more unusual coral type than most other sites I have seen on the Big Island. I don't have any notes on details, but I'm guessing it's some sort of 'Sheet or Scroll' species of coral and I remember diving along a sloping wall of it for quite a distance at about 20 meters depth to the north of the entry point. The day we were there, the surfers were having some real fun which spells 'challenge' for shore divers on entry and exit. I guess what brought me back to review this site was the fact that it lies on the southern part of Kealakuaekua Bay where the Captain Cook Monument is. I know for a fact that humpback whales hang out near the Captain Cook Monument in January. Good luck and enjoy!
03/25/2013        3.29      Puako Village End The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
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!
07/03/2012        3.52      Red Slave Bonaire South, ABC Islands
My wife and I dove this site in March of 2012. We bagged it on the first day due to very high swells. We returned the next day and found the conditions much better. We had some current heading south, so we went out to the north. Being pretty much on the southern tip of the island, this site has been beat up a bit by strong waves. Nevertheless, it was a nice dive site with lots of little sand chutes where the sand actually flows and trickles down the slope like a river under the water. Lot's of soft coral here and we did see a good size tortoise. It looks like good habitat for eagle rays although we did not see any. As mentioned before, this site could be dangerous if this current is too strong to swim against. The story on the historical marker about the slave huts and the salt mines was worth the trip here if the seas are too big.
07/03/2012        4.15      Alice In Wonderland Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This was our first experience with the dual reef structure. Easy in and easy out and my dive log states, 'The far side of the outer reef is an absolute explosion of life!' We saw a huge > 100 lb grouper here. This one is close to the Hilma Hooker which tends to draw lots of divers, so earlier is better if you're seeking solitude. Really, really nice dive with lots of diversity! Enjoy!
07/03/2012        3.18      The Invisibles Bonaire South, ABC Islands
We saved this dive as one of the last, but the day before was windy and left the viz at about 40-50' due to a very sandy bottom between the double reef system. We had heard that this site is an excellent spot to see Eagle Rays if you get there early. So due to relatively poor viz, I don't have a lot of really great things to report on this site (except for a very nice colony of garden eels in the sand at 100'), but I would like to state a word of caution. Either the outer reef ends short of the inner reef, or they become very far apart if you head out due west. We must have kicked out close to a quarter mile searching for the outer reef and noticing the bottom depth was now about 200' and it just kept darker we finally turned around and used the rest of our tanks on the inner reef as we basically had no other choice. No other commenters mentioned this, but if the viz is poor, make sure your heading from the anchor buoy is more like 300 degrees (rather than 270 degrees.) We did pass by the outer reef on our way back in so it is definitely there! (or perhaps at times it is just 'invisible?')
07/03/2012        3.27      La Dianas Leap Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This an excellent dive site on Bonaire, but some caution should be exercised. Once you giant stride in from the rocks, there is no getting out until you reach Karpata. So I would could consider this an intermediate to advanced dive site. With that said, La Dania's Leap (correct name)is a wall dive and therefore stands alone on Bonaire. Watch your depth here as it's easy to get down to 100' or more pretty easily. The wall is spectacular as is the entire dive down to Karpata. It's not that easy to spot the anchor but you'll come to an UW ridge that is not as steep as the previous topography. This should put you pretty close to the exit point at Karpata which is well marked with stairs. I paced it on the road, and it's exactly 1/4 mile and both my wife and I made in 1600 PSI even reaching the 100' depth. The previous review was correct, the yellow rock is gone, but there is a noticeable pile of coral and a few slim spots to park. You'll have to march your gear down maybe 300' to the cliffs and much of this is rough, sharp rock. There is a yellow rock down by the water, but I think it was named in French. When we dove it, the tide was out and we found a small ledge to enter from only about 1 meter above the water. Great dive if you're up to the skill level.
07/03/2012        3.77      Karpata Bonaire North, ABC Islands
There is much previously written about this site, but all of it's true and it's a great dive site especially is the southern end gets blown out with poor viz and high winds. There is more hard coral here and not as much sand so the viz stays pretty clear most of the time. You can get very deep on this dive, but save some tank for the shallows. There is a wide variety of life at 25'-35' in the shallower areas...go slow, look close and ENJOY this dive.
07/03/2012        3.66      Buddy's Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
If you're staying Buddies (or Don's) it doesn't get much easier than this. There are lots of comments about this site, so I'm going to speak to the newer 'phosphorescent' night dive being offered by Buddy's. I really enjoyed the dive and my wife hated it because she felt completely blind! They put a visor over your mask and if you get close to the coral, you can see lot's of glowing yellow, green and some reds. I think the trick is to allow some area of visibility at the bottom of your normal mask lens so that you can see where you're going (The visor allows the blue light through, but it's dark enough to make it hard to see where you're going.) The local tarpon will be greatly attracted to this brighter light and you'll find yourself completely surrounded by these 3-5' predators as they speed off after prey out of cover. One other item of interest about this dive. We saw a creature called the 'thing'. They are supposedly very quick to vanish from dive lights but I suspect they don't see the blue light as well. It looked like a giant centipede…a very cool sighting!
05/15/2012        4.23      Vista Blue Bonaire South, ABC Islands
I can only say how fortunate I feel to have been able to return to Bonaire for a second dive trip. My wife and I dove everything we could from Karpata to Red Slave within our limited timeframe. We never had a 'bad' dive, and Vista Blue came in at one our top three sites. This place was like diving in an aquarium! There is just a perfect blend of hard and soft corals and the fish life was diverse and plentiful! (The lion-fish population is a bit too plentiful! We saw some really large 'nest' of them at this site). We also saw a very large Grouper and one 'tortuga'. The site is well marked with a big, yellow rock and you can drive to within 20 meters of the beach. It has an easy entry with just a bit of loose coral rubble. The beach itself is very fine sand and really beautiful (one of the best we saw on Bonaire). We only saw one other vehicle visiting this site during the whole week. This was such a perfect dive that I remember thinking, 'If I had gills, I'd just call this place home.'
03/08/2012        3.84      Miloli'i Bay The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This is a fantastic dive site! My wife and I started diving multiple shore sites in early Oct. of 2011. Our last dive south of Kailua-Kona was this one and after diving it, I sure wished we could have planned differently to spend more time here. When you get into the little village, look for the concrete 'pier' with a crane on it (I assume the crane is used for unloading big fish!). You can park just above the water and there are stairs to carry your gear down to the water. Just one giant-stride and you're in! We followed the cliffs around to the north and then they gradually turn to the west. There is much to see in the way of topography with the cliffs, pinnacles and basalt rock fields. There are areas with abundant soft corals, and lots of typical Hawaiian fish species abound. The visibility was 80-100'. Our deepest point was around 70'. When you get back to the pier, the locals have built a pvc ladder to get out. The best idea is to slip out of your gear while in the water, have your buddy hold it while you climb out and then hoist it out and help them with theirs. There were several local folks swimming and snorkeling next to the pier and we found them to be most helpful and very friendly. In fact, when we first started transferring gear, a young man offered to help us hand it down from the parking area to the pier platform. Before I could even get turned around, he had my wife's BC set up with the tank and regulator. I of course checked everything over and he set it up perfectly! (Thanks Kyle!)These are really good people, so do be respectful of their beautiful village! My only regret is that I didn't allow more time for this site...we'll be back!
11/07/2010        3.44      Place of Refuge The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
This really is an excellent dive site! One set of coral formations has taken on the appearance of giant, mushroom caps. The color is variable on the different corals and this whole area has an 'enchanted' feel. I didn't have a dive buddy, but got lucky when I spotted another couple of divers near the entrance and after a brief introduction and some assurance that I was a competent diver, they agreed to let me tag along. My advice is to take two tanks to this site and then go enjoy the 'Place of Refuge' State park (right next door) during your surface interval. Jim O


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