KONA COAST

With lava flows as a back­drop, the Kona coast of Hawaii Is­land is known for its primo vis­i­bil­ity and thriv­ing marine life

Scuba Diving - - Travel - B Y T E R R Y WA R D TERRY WARD got cer­ti­fied in Florida’s springs for a col­lege course, and has since dived ev­ery­where from Halma­hera, Indonesia, to Nor­way’s icy Sval­bard ar­chi­pel­ago.

1 PREDA­TOR WRECK

This for­mer mil­i­tary land­ing craft was pur­chased for use as a shark cage-div­ing plat­form be­fore it sank to its fi­nal rest­ing spot in 96 feet of water. Divers of­ten spot the At­lantis sub­ma­rine cir­cling the wreck on its tours of the area; plas­tic skele­tons atop the Preda­tor were placed to spook the sub passengers.

2 HAWAII VOL­CA­NOES NA­TIONAL PARK

See the sum­mit of ma­jes­tic Ki­lauea vol­cano — one of the most ac­tive in the world — when you do the Crater Rim Drive. The 11-mile route through this in­cred­i­ble na­tional park lets you visit a caldera and drive through desert and trop­i­cal rain­for­est land­scapes.

3 BLACK-WATER NIGHT DIVE

For some­thing dif­fer­ent, find your­self suspended 50 feet down on a tether with 4,000 feet of wide-open water be­low you dur­ing black-water night dives beyond the reef. Wait it out in ut­ter ocean calm while the weird and won­der­ful crea­tures of the deep — in­clud­ing translu­cent lar­val fish and cephalopods — are il­lu­mi­nated in the glow of your torch.

4 THE HIVE

There’s a good rea­son this pin­na­cle fre­quented by liveaboards has a beere­lated moniker. You won’t get stung, but you’ll get swarmed by a cloud of hun­dreds of col­or­ful chromis. Guides can point out a cleaner shrimp sta­tion and deftly cam­ou­flaged leaf scor­pi­onfish.

5 HO’OKENA BEACH PARK

A day off div­ing isn’t so rough at this stun­ning beach­front park that’s pop­u­lar with boo­gie board­ers and per­fect for camp­ing, with ocean views. Make time for a snorkel ses­sion as spin­ner dol­phins of­ten cruise the clear waters.

6 MILE MARKER 4

Kona’s un­der­wa­ter ter­rain slopes down from the vol­ca­noes, and shal­low reef dives ac­ces­si­ble right from the shore abound. This spot 4 miles from Kailua is a lo­cal fa­vorite for see­ing turtles that fre­quent the lava tubes and coral heads. Spin­ner dol­phins and ea­gle rays are known to fre­quent the bay here too.

7 DA POKE SHACK

Hawaii’s iconic grab-and-go food is dis­tilled to its essence at this wildly pop­u­lar poke joint, where raw-fish sal­ads piled with jewel-hued tuna are spiked with avo­cado, limu kohu (sea­weed) and Ja­panese spices.

8 GOLDEN ARCHES

The happy meal here is a feast for your eyes! This fa­vorite dive site gets its name from the sand bot­tom and the mostly yel­low taape — blue-lined snap­per — swarm­ing the lava arches. Pods of dol­phins are of­ten seen cruis­ing past the site, but don’t forget to look for trig­ger­fish and white-mouth mo­ray eels too.

9 MANTA DIVE

Enor­mous man­tas — some with wing­spans ap­proach­ing 16 feet — swoop and soar above you dur­ing this iconic night dive in just 30 feet of water near Gar­den Eel Cove. A bank of lights set in the sand at­tracts the an­i­mals as divers set­tle in for what’s surely one of the great­est shows in the ocean.

10 KONA COF­FEE LIV­ING HIS­TORY FARM

Stop by this his­tor­i­cal home­stead for a sou­venir of 100 per­cent Kona cof­fee while get­ting a fas­ci­nat­ing ed­u­ca­tion on the 1900s Ja­panese mi­gra­tion that first brought cof­fee and macadamia farm­ing to the area.

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