How do you write a review about a dive charter when the things you care about are not what the majority of vacation divers care about?
While most people, who are new to dive charter or who are just vacation divers, will talk about how the crew had a professional demeanour, gave a good briefing, and set up their gear for them- i find those points to be of little importance. It's not that the points aren't important- they are----just not for me.
As an ex-instructor and commercial hard hat type, I know briefings and professionalism are standard key points that are drummed into divemasters and boat captains by the coast guard and various diving agencies. A dive shop has to do these things and do them well - and Kohala does them exceptionally well.
I could talk about the amazing visibility, but, being a person who trained and taught in areas with 15 foot tidal exchanges and glacial run off, any visibility past the length of my arm is *amazing*.
What stuck with me was how genuine the people were.
In a world of entitlement and relationships that are a disposable as bic razors, these folks are different.
Personally, I felt more like family than a customer. Conversations were easy. There wasn't an imaginary wall between host and client. These are the folks you want to break bread with after a long day or keep in touch with after the vacation is done.
They are genuinely passionate about what they do. You can see it every part of the operation. The dog-eared pages of the critter ID books, the logic to where things are stored on the boat, the care they take with the nervous newbies, and the great stories, all reiterate how they genuinely appreciate their guests and have truly thought about what they are doing.
From the moment I walked into the shop or hopped into the van in the morning, I felt at home with these folks and appreciated the time well spent.
What can I say but:
Thank you Alice for never wanting to come back up and perpetual smile.
Thank you Scott for giving me a full tank (wink) and the good humour.
Thank you Rebekah and Greg for the comfortable rides, jump start for John's truck and the conversation.
And of course, thank you capt. Stephen, you salty ol pirate, for the comfortable cruises, the conversation, the use of your bench, and keeping that boat in such immaculate shape.
Mahalo nui loa Kohala Divers
Great People Make a Great Dive Shop
And it doesn't hurt to be in a great diving location. We saw a turtle cleaning station and met a monk seal in an underwater grotto. The seascape is fascinating, as coral meets lava in a colorful and varied environment. Plenty of critters to look at and the clear water makes photography easy.
I had only one day for diving, but the two dives I did with Steven and Alice were great experiences. I'm a new diver, and they were patient and willing to go the extra distance to ensure that I was safe, comfortable, and worry free. I rented a wetsuit, BCD and tanks. All the equipment was fresh and worked perfectly.
The entire staff has the aloha spirit and the shop is well-stocked with anything you could possibly need.
All in all, a great experience. I'll be diving with Kohala Divers the next time I'm on the Big Island.
I loved every minute diving with these guys. I was a brand new certified diver and they were amazing. They were very supportive of my nervousness and super safe as well as having an encyclopedic knowledge of the dive sites, the conditions, AND THE FISH.
We went out twice with Scott (also thanks to Robin and Alice) and boy did he know everything about the cool special Fancy Fish (seen on one dive, pod of spinner dolphins, shark, scorpionfish and a cruising MANTA RAY), and the often overlooked but not unimportant random tiny fish or boring fish or ugly fish or ugly (but not to me) invertebrate. No, he knew their names too, and he liked them too! Also, maybe most importantly to the non-fish-obsessed public, he knows which species of unusual local fish could be spotted with disturbing accuracy. (Scott, do you live underwater at the reef? I think you might.) Thanks so much!
If some day I make it back to the big island from NYC I will go here again!!!! You all should go here too.
(Also, in terms of customer service, these dudes were awesome. We got in a very petite, but taking 3 hrs to deal with fender bender on the way to diving one day and they transferred us to a different day with no problem. Thanks y'all!)
Humpback Whales Singing on Every Dive!
I dove two days with Kohala Divers. Different staff each day and they were all phenomenal! It was my 9th-12th dives only and they made the experience wonderful, at ease, fun, and safe! The boat is excellent, not too big that you get lost in the crowd (we had 6 divers each day) but not too small. Excellent full service - they defog your mask, hand everything to you at the back right before you jump in, and clean everyone after! You just need to dive, then sit back and enjoy whale watching in between (if you go whale season dec-march). Good snacks and drinks in between, and excellent dive briefings with color books of what we plan to see!
I heard humpback whales singing on every dive, saw tons of cool fish (lizard fish, butterflies of all sorts, trumpets, rare fish only in Hawaii, nudibranches, etc..) also dove some lava tubes! Also saw a momma and baby humpback come within 20 ft of the boat in between dives, and lots of dolphins!
Beautiful dive sites that aren't crowded like the Kona area.
These guys are great, would love to come back and would definitely dive with them again!
The gear was also excellent, and the store has lots of great things!
Thanks to Scott and Robyn dive masters, Steven and Bob boat captains and Laura in the store for a great time.
Don't Miss This Shop!
As a retired Master Scuba Instructor and former 5-star dive shop owner, I'm very critical when it comes to dive operations. I know what it takes to run a boat and a store. Kohala Divers has it down and does it right. They drove down and picked me up at the Fairmont Orchid, allowing my wife to have our rental car for the day. After setting me up with gear (it was too far and too expensive to bring my own on the plane these days) we headed over to the boat. All of their Divemasters are also Instructors. They run a relaxed yet safety conscious boat. Our Divemaster not only knew the dive sites, she knew a number of the reef inhabitants and their hangouts, so we got to see some very rare species. From white tip sharks to whitemouthed moray eels and nudibranchs, we had a great time. We also saw an albino tang but I've been sworn to secrecy as to it's location. We don't want to have it windup in someone's home aquarium. I can't say enough about how well run this operation is.
Great Dive Company!
We had a wonderful time diving with Kohala divers. We made the short drive up from Kona and it was well worth it. The dive sites were fantastic. My husband did his open water certification dives and we had Scott and Robin as our dive instructors, they did a great job. The whole crew was friendly and very professional. The boat was well kept and very comfortable. I would recommend this company to anyone diving on the Big Island!'