Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area

Another new dive spot that we checked out on November 14, 2009. The Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. We met several friends from Keck that have formed our usual dive group at the end of the old runway (I am sure that we would welcome more divers to go with us). I scoped out the available facilities and noted fresh water showers as well as restrooms that were very conveniently close to the point of the beach where we chose to make our entry. A wonderfully unexpected surprise.

Our Shore Diving Entry Point at Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

Our Shore Diving Entry Point at Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

There are two detailed postings at Darkerview.com: “Diving the Old Kona Airport” and “Diving with the Canon G11” (These links are awaiting repair by Darkerview) including some great photos from the dive. I will try not to reiterate too many of the ones Andy posted. I will certainly post some photos that he has not posted 😉 The entry was a bit slow and cautious with a very rock covered ‘floor’; but there was little to no sand around to get in the gear before we entered the water.

Soft Coral at Old Kona Airport Dive Site.  Still searching for accurate ID.

Soft Coral at Old Kona Airport Dive Site. Still searching for accurate ID.

The strong surge made it difficult to put on my fins; but with Andy’s help, I was geared up and we were on our way. Now we traverse the strong waves while surface swimming to the part of the reef where we wanted to start the dive. Once we submerged, it was very nice and reasonably calm. Only a hint of the strong surge that was on the surface. The water temperature was brisk when we first got our feet wet; and when we reached the bottom, it was warm enough for much longer than I had anticipated. This made for a long (66 minutes), very enjoyable dive! The Coral structures were very intriguing as we noted soft corals and corals in shapes like mushrooms, and huts as well as the occasional large piece that resembled dinner vegetables! I will be happy to go diving here again!

A Disappearing Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus evanidus) at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

A Disappearing Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus evanidus) at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

Numerous fish of most all of the usual suspects! There were Yellow Tang, Trumpetfish, Hawaiian Dasyllus, Long-nose Butterflyfish, Arc-eye Hawkfish, schools of Goatfish, Lei (Whiteline) Triggerfish, Parrotfish, Moorish Idol [and/or Pennant Butterflyfish], and several that I saw but did not make specific note of such as the Disappearing Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus evanidus).

The photos will help with some of the ID’s and they often surprise me with what I capture along with the intended target. Oddly enough I only saw one Moray Eel (a Whitemouth Moray) that Andy pointed out to me so that I could photograph it. He also brought my attention to the Nudibranch that he located in the sand in a Coral ‘valley’ and I also photographed it.

The Reef Shark were notably absent even though I have been told that they are there. There is certainly enough interest and life at this dive spot to give me reason to come back! Like the large, dark caves that call for exploration; and the sloping drop that echoes “come closer…deeper…” 😉

Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) at Old Kona Airport Dive Site.

Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) at Old Kona Airport Dive Site.