Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
07/11/2011 2.60 Breakers California South, USA West
Yes, this is Boomer Beach. Not really much of a beach or entry unless surf is very small. Anyone diving this area will generally enter and exit around at the Cove and swim over to this area on the surface.
07/11/2011 2.87 Wipe Out Beach California South, USA West
Just to clarify, this is not 'Boomer Beach' as the other reviewer says. This is known as 'Wipe out Beach' because of the shore break which rushes up the beach and knocks your feet out from under you. I spent many days in the nearby lifeguard tower being entertained by scuba divers rolling around in the shore break. If the shore break is strong you should consider crawling out on your hands and knees. Boomer beach is incorrectly called Breaker Beach here. I've lived here all my life and never heard of Breaker Beach.
07/10/2011 2.56 Manta Ray Dive The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands
To update everyone, as of this writing there are two Manta Ray dive sites. The original one was off the Kona Surf Hotel, which is now a Sheraton Hotel. Manta rays congregated in this area at night to feed on the increased concentration of zooplankton attracted by bright lights that the hotel directed at the water. A second site was developed at the old airport when the lights at the Kona Surf Hotel went dark as it was being remodeled. Since the remodel, the Sheraton has turned the lights back on, and the manta rays have returned. Both sites are now used by dive tours. The old airport site is much less accessible as a shore dive, so we explored the one off the Sheraton Keauhou Bay, at 78-128 Ehukai St, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740. GPS coordinates: N19.33.345 and W155.57.589
We visited the Sheraton during the day to gather information and survey the site and conditions. I strongly recommend that you do this if you are considering a night dive here. On the day we arrived the conditions were very good with minimal swell. Our plan was to try this as a snorkel adventure and then return another night if we felt that it warranted scuba gear. After sunset manta rays congregate in shallow water, 7 to 20 feet deep, off the Sheraton's 'Manta Ray Bar & Grill.' You'll see the big lights on the outside of the building. See attached aerial photo of the site. Dive tours will tie up to underwater markers about 200 ft offshore. We waited until just after sunset to see the dive tour boats pull up, loaded with $100-$150 paying passengers. Then we slipped into the water ourselves. The boat ride costs money, but it is otherwise a free ocean.
There are several choices for entry off the lava shoreline of Keauhou Bay; none are for beginners with full scuba diving gear. Snorkeling gear is much easier to manage and you will see everything just as well and as close. Really. The lava is not all that slippery, but it is hard and sharp. Wear your booties or flip-flops to your chosen entry point. The real consideration will be your exit, and this depends on your level of skill and the swell. Pre-plan it! Attached photos will give you an idea of what to expect. We chose to jump off a lava point in the area marked on the map and photo 1. This minimized the swim out and was fun as well. The drop was only about 6 ft and the water was very clear and deep at that spot. Obviously, don't jump if the water doesn't look deep enough, and regardless, don't jump head first. The jump was easier and probably less dangerous than trying to negotiate our way out from some of the shallow entries, like photo 2.
The lava shoreline area is dark so you will need to bring your dive lights to see your footing. You will also want your underwater lights to attract the manta rays closer during your dive. The brighter your light, the better, although you can mooch off the light that the tours use. Remember, the visibility is usually awesome so you can stay back a respectable distance from the tour group and still see everything! You will definitely want your light as you exit the water to check that spiny urchins aren't in your path. We brought a $3 inflatable mattress to cling on and keep the two of us together. We also wore thin wetsuits. A sign on the shoreline warned of the possibility of marine stingers, urchins, and eels. There were a few urchins, but we did not see or feel any stingers or eels. I think they threw in the part about the eels to scare you onto the dive boats! Stingers may be seasonal, so a wetsuit is not a bad idea. The fee-paying snorkelers from the boats all had wetsuits even though the water was about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
There were only a few scuba divers on this night. They each had super bright lights, so they may have been tour employees. The old airport site is deeper and probably better suited for scuba diving.
We chose to exit at the spot shown on the map and photo 3, just past a little shack that sits on the lava shoreline. We found a few old metal fasteners that are embedded into the lava and they made good handholds for climbing out. Be aware that the surge is lighter as you get farther into the bay, making for an easier exit. You could go all the way to the boat launch ramp and walk out if you felt that the swim was safer and easier than the climb out onto the lava.
The manta ray snorkel dive was very cool. Do not miss it. Go on the tour and pay the money if you are a beginner. They do a safe job with lifeguards, floaties and all. We did not think we missed anything by not using our scuba gear at this site. It is very shallow and very clear. Snorkelers just float at the surface and do NOT dive down during the show that the manta rays put on. They will come plenty close enough to you! One 10 footer bumped us as it was swooping in on the zooplankton in front of our lights. They are harmless unless you are krill, but trying to touch them is in poor form.
05/14/2011 3.03 Children's Pool Beach California South, USA West
I DO NOT consider this to be a shore dive anymore. I used to work here as a lifeguard and dove the area extensively since 1976. It WAS a very popular spot for scuba divers. I stopped diving there about 7 yrs ago. It has essentially been turned over to a herd of seals and the nuts who watch over them. I think you can still enter the water off the beach legally, but I wouldn't bother for two reasons. First, the seals have done a good job of polluting the beach water with excrement. The Health Dept has chronic warnings about this. Second, you are not supposed to disturb the seals. To some of the seal zealots this means that you may not cause a seal to lift its head or open its eyes. Some of these people are truly psychotic and will scream obscenities at you, get in your face, and make your day very unpleasant. They may even damage your vehicle if they can find it. For this reason, I rated the ease of shore entry as 'zero.' Parking can be very difficult to find in the summer, unless you get to the beach before 8am. La Jolla has some of the best conditions for shore diving in San Diego because the visibility is typically much better than the sandy beaches. Do yourself a favor and pick a different entry. As a former lifeguard I will warn you that the other entries are not nearly as easy and safe as this one was. Too bad.