Kona Honu Divers

Phone (808) 324-4668
5 stars from 6 reviews
Address 74-5583 Luhia Street, St A12, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Kona Honu Divers offers scuba and snorkel tours as well as various diving classes on the Big Island. They also sell freediving, snorkeling, and scuba gear from their store.

• General: Photo Opportunity • Tours: Guided
• Water Activities: Boats / Sailboats • Water Activities: Scuba Diving
• Water Activities: Snorkeling

About Kona Honu Divers
Daily dive charters, manta ray dive and snorkel, and the exhilarating Black Water Night Dive.
Full Description
The plan for our afternoon / evening tour was a 2 tank dive at different spots. We headed out from Honokohau Marina & Small Boat Harbor and traveled just outside the harbor for the first dive / snorkel. The water was calm and protected from the larger surf.

We were given a safety talk and advised not to stray far from the boat since we were anchored near the harbor. Sandy, our guide, led a group of 9 of us to explore the reef. We watched Sandy freedive to about 30 feet and swim through small underwater holes and arches. Sandy was fearless. She told me later that she could hold her breath for 2 minutes.

We spent about a half hour or so looking at colorful fish before heading back to the boat. We then headed over to Manta Village near the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The divers had a different experience than the snorkelers. They spoke of seeing a shark and several dolphins during their dive.

We arrived at Manta Village about a 1/2 hour before sunset. We watched the sun descend in a haze of orange from the vog. The captain pointed out a single manta ray gliding toward the boat. It had arrived early to the feeding area and gave us a show as it hovered on the surface. Now the excitement - and trepidation started to kick in. I know it's safe to swim with these creatures, but they are big. The largest one known had a wing span of 16 feet.

Everyone put on wetsuits. Although Hawaii water is relatively warm, wet suits do a good job keeping you comfortable at night. The snorkelers jumped in and grabbed a hold of a modified board with bright lights built into it pointing downward. Bright lights attract the plankton, which attracts the manta rays which feed on it. As a group, we clung to the side of the board and held on to a rope handle. We floated on our stomachs facing downward.

There were about 6 manta rays feeding on the plankton. The rays would come up from the depths with their mouths wide open to accept the plankton that surrounded us. Then at the last second, the rays would do an upside down fly-by within inches of us and loop around again.

The mantas eventually made their way to the divers who were parked down about 30 feet down. They were sitting around a powerful light pointing upward from the sea floor called "the campfire". The brighter the light, the more rays it will attract. The divers were getting up close and personal fly-bys from the manta rays.

We spent about 20 minutes or so snorkeling with the manta rays. We would have spent more time with them, but it took a while for our guide to find them. After we got back on the boat, we drank hot chocolate and headed back to the harbor.

Elaine {
Joined: Apr 2017
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
First, I am 76 and I had Kevin Steward as my guide and he was amazing, helped me so much to enjoy my dive. The rest of the crew were also incredible. Keven, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate him a 20 - most incredible experience ever. And I want to thank them all. Memories are forever. Again thank all of you so much.
Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
The tour was a lot of fun. Really enjoyed watching Sandy free dive. I wouldn't dare go through those underwater arches. I know they normally take guests to a different snorkel spot, but weather prohibited it. Would have loved to check out that spot, but maybe another time. There are few experiences on earth that can match the sensation of a large manta ray skimming within inches of your face. Loved it. If you've never had the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it.
Debra L
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 4
Likes Received: 0
Amazing late afternoon snorkel and evening swimming with manta ray experience. Yes, I did say swimming with manta rays which by the way can reach to 7m in width!

Sandy, our Snorkel Master, was so patient and knowledgeable with our diverse group (ages 8 - 60). We received before water instruction and were guided through our snorkel exploration where she pointed out various schools of colorful fish, their names and their sea life habits. I personally enjoyed learning about the crown of thorns starfish which she pointed out since I had never seen one before. We were warned to stay away! We were even treated to her deep water snorkeling techniques which allowed her to stay underwater for 2 minutes. A true mermaid which I was not expecting!

For our Manta ray experience, Sandy really worked to ensure our group sighted and were able to leisurely enjoy the playful mantas swimming right below us. The mantas were like graceful underwater acrobats. Absolutely a must activity! For me, this was the highlight on the Big Island.

The crew on this boat were patient and knowledgeable. Snacks, sandwiches and even hot chocolate were provided. The quality of the equipment including the wetsuits and snorkel gear we were each fitted with were of high quality. I really appreciated the ginger chews they had when I began to not feel 100%. This crew also supported a small group of divers – for me I am happy with snorkeling!
Kathryn L
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 8
Likes Received: 0
You’ve got to try the night swim with Manta Rays, it’s incredible! We took the snorkel, sunset and night swim with Mantas and had a fabulous afternoon and evening. The boat takes both snorkelers and divers and we had 9 snorkelers and 13 divers aboard. The boat has plenty of bench seating on the main deck and a smaller area up top as well as a forward deck for a front seat view.

We first headed to Noio Pt for snorkeling. What a great spot! Each dive team had a guide and Sandy was the guide for our snorkel group. I hadn’t gone snorkeling with a guide before, however, she was very informative, as she led us around the reef areas. She is very familiar with the reef and knows where some of the fish hang out. There were large schools of fish in many colorful varieties; Triggerfish, Tang, and Butterfly fish to name a few. She is an impressive free diver holding her breath for up to 2 minutes, diving down and pointing out various types of fish, sea urchins and sea cucumber, even swimming underneath and thru a rock cave! After plenty of snorkel time, we headed back to the boat. A light meal of turkey or veggie wrapped sandwiches hit the spot after our swim. There were also snacks of pretzels, crackers, and cookies as well as tea and hot chocolate available pretty much the entire trip. We kicked back and watched a beautiful sunset as we headed to our next location.

As the sun was setting, we arrived at our destination for the night swim with the Manta Rays.
The night swim with the manta rays was my favorite part and a not to be missed experience on the big island. We were each provided a wetsuit, snorkel, mask and fins (unless you have your own) and then jumped in the water. I was a bit wary of being in the water at night, but found it very peaceful and with the wetsuit, I was very comfortable. We each gathered around a surfboard that had handles all the way around. You hold on to a handle, put your face in the water and lay flat floating with your feet behind you. A light attached to the surfboard shines in the water and attracts plankton. As the plankton collect, the Manta Ray come to feed on them. We had one swim by briefly then nothing for awhile. Unfortunately, 2 people in the group decided to go back to the boat. That turned out to be a big mistake because they missed the whole show! Sandy decided to move us closer to some more lights so we swam over there, board and all. Within a few minutes, there were more Mantas than you could count! They were swirling and somersaulting off to the side, down below, then within inches of our faces. They know exactly where we were and didn’t touch us, just swam and fed. They are like peaceful, graceful acrobats. It was the most incredible feeling to be so close and watch them. Too soon our time was up and we headed back to the boat. But that was an excursion I will never forget!
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 168
Likes Received: 4
We went on the 2 Tank Manta Dive or 5 hour Snorkel Charter. It started at 3:00 pm from the Honokohau Marina & Small Boat Harbor. They normally go to the Garden Eel Cove but on that day, they took us to Naia (Noio Point?) about 5 minutes away from the harbor. The boat can hold 49 people but we only had 23 people so we had lots of room on the boat. After the divers went underwater, the snorkelers jumped in. This was the first snorkeling tour I’ve had that had a snorkeling guide. Her name was Sandy and she was like a mermaid. She kept us in a group and she would free dive. She can hold her breath for 2 minutes! She would gracefully dive to the bottom of the ocean floor and look for creatures to show us. Few times, she would look for a small space between rocks and crawl through the hole and come out the other side. It was pretty impressive. The weather was not the best for snorkeling. The water was not calm. It was windy and the sky was cloudy. But it was reassuring and entertaining to have Sandy with us to guide and make sure we were safe and having fun. The scuba divers told me they had a great time and saw a sand bar shark, barracudas, and dolphins.

After the first snorkel, the crew would normally have sandwiches and snacks laid out for us as we enjoy the sunset and wait for the manta rays to show up. But because the previous night, they only saw one manta ray and two monk seals, they decided to go down to the Manta Village by the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. When we arrived at the manta ray diving/snorkel site, the sun was beginning to set. While we were waiting for the mantas to show up, a few of us jumped in the water to snorkel around. Then one lone manta ray showed up early before it got dark. We all rushed to the side of the boat to check her out. We were told her name was Jana Ray. I got excited and jumped in the water to be near her. It was one of the most magical moments of my life. The water was calm and clear. There was no one else in the water except Jana Ray and myself. I didn’t want to swim right to her and scare her. So I swam to about 15 feet away from her and let her come to me. She would swim by me and I would follow her, but not too closely. Jana Ray swam just below the surface so you can see her wings come out of the water but the rest of her body was below the surface. I was so happy to be in the water with her. It is easily one of my top 5 most memorable moments. I can’t stop thinking about it even now.

When it got dark, the divers waited on the ocean floor with blue bright lights shining upward. The bright lights attract plankton, which the manta rays feed on. One diver later told me that a manta ray swam over her light so closely that one of the wings touched her head.

The snorkelers jumped in the water and hung on to the surfboard with a rope woven around the board to serve as a handle. The board also had a bright light shining down in the water to attract the plankton. We floated with our face down in the water hanging on to the surfboard waiting for the manta rays to come and feed. When we didn’t see any manta rays, our guide Sandy dragged the floating board towards the other tour boats. We saw 5 manta rays, Lefty, Amanda, Jana, Jordan, and an unknown ray. There are about 250 manta rays living in the Kona Coast and they all have names. They are identified by the dark spots on their white belly. They are so graceful. They would come right at you from the bottom with their mouth open big and scoop up the plankton and do somersaults beneath your face. Sometimes they came so close, I had to lift my head not to touch them. We were screaming in delight whenever they came within inches of our faces. I could tell the manta rays were doing somersaults and coming very close to someone’s face by the squeals and laughter coming from nearby snorkelers. It was the most joyful and awe-inspiring experience I’ve ever had. I can’t describe how magnificent and beautiful they are. You have to experience it in person to truly understand how it feels. The words don’t do justice. The Manta Ray Night Snorkel is a must for anyone visiting the Big Island.

Kona Honu Divers seems to be geared primarily towards divers, although they do have quite a few snorkelers. The boat is set up for holding tanks for scuba diving. They said it’s about 50/50. I liked this company because their mask, snorkel, and the fins were high quality probably because they are for divers. And their wetsuits were full length and thick. I was not cold at all during the night snorkel. I like that they have a guide for the snorkelers. I really liked the surfboard with the rope as the handle for the manta ray night snorkel. I’ve been on other manta ray snorkels where the handles were mounted on top of the board and it was hard on my shoulders to hang on to the handles while my head was in the water. It was an unnatural position for the shoulders. But with Kona Honu Divers, the rope came down below the board and my shoulders were in a more natural position and they were very comfortable. They also let us use fins during the night snorkel which helped us float horizontally with no effort. I’ve been on 4 different manta ray night snorkel tours, and this was the most comfortable one that I’ve experienced. The right gear makes all the difference.
Consensus Guy
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 11148
Likes Received: 27
Kona Honu Divers received an overall rating of 4.5 stars from over a hundred reviewers.
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