ABOUT US

Kohala Divers is a Full Service Dive Center

 

Kohala Divers has a huge retail selection of dive gear, apparel and accessories. Our fill station pumps air or Nitrox and we have an equipment repair technician on staff. Kohala Divers offers rental gear for Scuba, snorkeling, surfing and kayaking, and our 46’ custom built dive-charter boat runs daily Scuba and snorkeling excursions, as well as seasonal whale watching and night dive charters. As a PADI 5-Star Dive Center, our Instructors teach beginners through Divemaster training levels.

 

The Kohala Divers Style

 

At Kohala Divers we keep our groups small and our profiles flexible. We like to get to know our divers and cater the trip to your abilities and interests. 

We encourage divers to slow down, relax, get neutral and let the dive unfold. Mellow breathing allows you to hear dolphin clicks as they pass overhead and Humpback whale songs surrounding you in winter. A slow pace brings your awareness to the hidden, tiny critters while not scaring away the fish and larger turtles, sharks and rays. The feeling above and below the water is never rushed and always fun!

 

We hold a great respect for the reefs that we visit daily and we have a no touching policy regarding coral, fish, octopus and other sensitive marine life. Our experienced crew is very knowledgeable about local fish and invertebrate life and give extensive pre-dive briefings about gear and boat policies, dive profiles, site features, and detailed marine life information. We have a beautifully healthy coral reef system on the Kohala Coast and are dedicated to keeping it that way for generations to come. 

 

The Whole Kohala Divers Story

 

Kohala Divers was established in 1984 by Turner Lett. He and his wife, Jorene, ran the shop and 6-passenger boat alone for many years. Around 1995 Kohala Divers joined forces with Ocean Sports and used their boat to book dive trips. About that time, Reed Harmon was running a sport fishing charter boat, Reel Pleasure, out of Kawaihae Harbor with Greg Kaufmann as his boat captain. In 2000 Reed Harmon bought Kohala Divers from Turner Lett and simultaneously ran his two businesses, Reel Pleasure and Kohala Divers, out of the same store front. Rebekah Keele, who was employed with Ocean Sports in 2000, knew the potential for diving out of Kawaihae and begged and pleaded with Reed until he purchased his own boat for the business in 2002. Rebekah then joined Kohala Divers and worked full time on the Kohala Diver, our 42’ Radon custom built dive-charter boat. We still work closely with the Ocean Sports team.

 

Over the next few years many new and exciting changes took place. The shop expanded to almost double its original square footage in 2006, Rebekah got her captain's license, Reed got his minister's license, and after a few eventful company parties Greg got the nerve to ask Rebekah to marry him while on a dive trip to Fiji. In 2005 Greg and Rebekah Kaufmann were married by Reed Harmon, and in 2007 Reed sold them the business (and now it’s the happily-ever-after-part and they are loving it)!!

THE CREW

Rebekah

Rebekah started diving in Washington State in the ridiculous temperature of 43 degrees (She didn’t know any better as she had yet to visit anywhere warmer). In 1997 she visited Hawaii and needless to say didn’t go back to cold water diving. Though she does reminisce about the gorgeous cold water sea life, she remembers it from the comfort of 80 degree Hawaiian waters. She became a Padi instructor on Kauai and dove two to five times a day for most of the time she lived there. After Kauai she lived on Maui before settling on her favorite niche of diving in Hawaii: The North Kohala Coast. Diving for Ocean Sports and then for Kohala Divers, this coastline has truly become her backyard: There is nowhere she’d rather be! Rebekah loves underwater photography and traveling, and has been to Fiji, Australia, Mexico and Thailand, and has a list of hundreds of more places to visit. She loves teaching new divers to enjoy the underwater world, especially when past students return over the years and diving has remained a big part of their lives. This brings her all the satisfaction in her work that she could ask for!!

Favorite dive site: Black Point Caves because it’s an octopus heaven!

 

Can’t live without gear: Sealife camera w/ wide angle lens.

Captain Greg

Greg originally fell in love with the ocean through Scuba when his grandparents got him a certification course for his 12th birthday in Southern California. He continues to love Scuba and most vacations and days off involve some kind of diving.

Favorite dive site: Turtle Mound


Can’t live without gear: Scubapro Nova Light

Tracey

Tracey is a native Southern California gal, who grew up in the hills and valleys near Malibu and spent most of her summers at the beach or in a pool. She has been an avid swimmer, kayaker, snorkeler, body surfer and boogie boarder her entire life and can never get enough of the ocean. She became SCUBA certified 14 years ago, which opened up a whole new fascinating world for her under the water. She loved diving in southern Mexico, and also near California's Channel Islands. Tracey moved to the Big Island in June 2010 and jumped right in by joining the local outrigger canoe club, and getting to know the island by spending lots of time exploring and enjoying all her other favorite water sports. She decided in early 2011 that she needed to do some diving and stopped by Kohala Divers…now you'll see her working in our shop! After nearly 30 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry in California, she is enjoying a second career here showing our guests hospitality – Island style! Tracey loves to talk story and share aloha with our visitors and give them the scoop on the best snorkeling spots and all the other amazing places to see on this island.

Favorite Dive Site: Paniau


Can’t Live Without Gear: Atomic Full-Foot Split Fins

Kelleen

Kelleen was raised by wolves on the frozen tundra and therefore hates firewood, cold-water, and raw squirrel. She learned to dive off the Sinai peninsula in 1994 in between driving camels and encouraging the Intifada. She can neither confirm nor deny diving for coins in Turkey, exploring bullets and beer in Truk Lagoon, nor whipping along with currents in Palau and Cozumel. While studying Underwater Basket-Weaving at UC Santa Cruz, she was reminded of her distaste of cold water, and she ran screaming for Hawaii in 2002, when she became a customer of Kohala Divers. After a concentrated program of “re-education” and water-boarding, Rebekah was successful at recruiting Kelleen into a loyal crew member aboard the Kohala Diver in 2007. Now a fervent nudibranch fan and PADI Master Instructor, she puts the “FUN” in “fundamentalism”, and enjoys brainwashing divers of all levels into the SCUBA way. Her future plans include robbing a bank for the cash to become a PADI Course Director, an underwater demolition exercise creating a wreck for diving, roller skating to derby fame under the name “Wonton Devastation”, and creating the first Underwater Quiddich League. Some of this bio isn’t true. 

Favorite Dive Site: A fickle diver, Kelleen varies her favorite to her mood, but likes The Dome, Horseshoe, Ulua Caverns, Turtle Mound, and her favorite Dive Bar.


Can’t Live Without Gear: Scubapro Jet Fins! With spring straps! And plastic explosives.

Chuck

Chuck’s biggest dream is to retire to Hawaii and work as a Scuba Instructor… which he has! Originally from Massachusetts (listen to the accents get stronger when Chuck and Stephen are on the boat together!), Chuck moved to Hawaii from Florida around Thanksgiving of 2014. He chose Kohala because he immediately loved the vibe, climate, and awesome people. An ocean-lover from a young age, he was inspired to dive by Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt. Chuck first went diving in 1984, but had been exposed to it in the early ‘70’s.  A friend’s dad used to dive and they would go along to watch.  The equipment was much, much different! His favorite part of diving is teaching scuba to students, but he also enjoys underwater photography.  He loved diving in Bonaire and Cozumel, and would love to visit Thailand, the Philippines, Fiji, and Australia: We think he will make that dream come true as well! We love Chuck for his enthusiasm for teaching, his quiet class, and his ability to manifest dreams!

Favorite Kohala Dive Site:  Paniau North and South moorings.


Can’t Live Without Gear:  Scubapro MK 25 First Stage and S600 Second stage regulator.

Brent

Brent walked into our shop to get his tanks filled, and we grabbed him and put him to work. A very relaxed and confident Divemaster, he proclaims a life goal to “live comfortable: Love, Life, and Family and Friends”. Brent is multi-talented, and you can see his work and repairs around our shop- most recently he repaired and re-painted our famous Frog statue. He also enjoys pottery, woodworking, welding, and maintaining Bonsai. This Renaissance man has dived in Belize, Bonaire, California, and Roatan.

Favorite Kohala Dive site:  Black Point Caves.

 

Can’t Live Without Gear:  Everything!

Jason

Jason arrived in Hawaii over 16 years ago and has been diving and working all over ever since. St. Thomas, the US Virgin Islands, was the site of his Open Water Class, after a Discover Scuba Diving Experience hooked him in 1994. Now an IDC Staff Instructor, his students like his laid-back and thorough style and humor. Jason likes to work long enough to save up for his next dive trip, and often leads dive trips abroad with his favorite dive buddy: His dad. So far his favorite places to dive have been the Galapagos or Raja Ampat. Recently returned from diving Egypt’s Red Sea, Jason next plans to dive Komodo, Indonesia. Future career path may include getting arrested as co-conspirator in Kelleen’s “bank robbing to Course Director” career plan.

Favorite Kohala Dive site: Black Point

 

Can’t Live Without Gear: ScubaPro MK25 Evo/ G260 Black Tech regulator

Bryant

Our resident tech diver, Bryant first came into the shop to fill tanks for his own students after a Puako shore dive. While he enjoys Sidemount diving, underwater photography, and underwater surveying and research techniques, his own diving began as a Discover Scuba Diving experience in 2011. Since then, he has been diving in his hometown of San Diego, and all around Hawaii with the University of Hawaii Marine Science researchers. Ask him about fish ecology and watch him light up with enthusiasm, a feature that makes him right at home in this den of fish geeks. Or ask him about his secret plan to turn our tiny pool 50s into his own fleet of wee sidemount diving accessories. Bryant would like to dive and photograph the Lembeh Straight, and hopes to have a career researching the potential in worldwide deep reefs.

Favorite Kohala Dive site: Frog Rock

 

Can’t Live Without Gear: Anything and everything Hollis #NoLimit

Tyler

Tyler grew up in a tiny South Dakota town on the bluffs of the Missouri River, where he learned to dive at age 15 and spent the next many years hunting walleye, bass, and catfish for dinner. When told by our friend and his Uncle that there was a place for him here, he sold everything, put his truck on a barge, flew over and hasn’t looked back. Tyler’s enthusiasm is contagious, and his favorite reaction is when one of his divers proclaims they had so much fun that they will be diving even MORE! He loves the Kohala Coast, finding it peaceful and quiet, like “we are the only ones out here”, and hopes to help moor and map new sites to dive. If he isn’t leading divers underwater, you can find Tyler leading whale watches, crewing the Siren Sportfishing boat, or surfing the Kohala coast. Ask him about the time we all thought he killed Captain Bob on a particularly rough surfing day! Good times!

Favorite Kohala Dive site: “All of them. I never know what I might see.”

 

Can’t Live Without Gear: “When I showed up my gear was 19 years old- no computer, no weight pockets! My Scubapro Luna compass has been my favorite feature so far!”-

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