Sunday, October 03, 2010

1 tank manta ray night dives in Kona Hawaii....

I thought I'd talk about a question that comes up from time to time about my business... why don't you offer 1 tank manta ray night dives? Well, we sort of do, but don't really push it for a couple reasons.

Back in the day when I worked for other operators I used to lead 1 tank manta dives up to 3 times a week for a pretty good stretch. We'd get people who hadn't dove in years, or people who took the class a year or two earlier and hadn't dove since, wanting to do that one tank night dive because they've heard it's "THE" dive to do in Kona. Well you know what, a single night dive when you've not been in the water in some time just plain isn't the smartest idea one can have. If something can go wrong, even if it's just a matter of comfort as opposed to something serious, it probably will the first time you're in the water, and doing it at night only compounds any issues that might occur. I've never had to perform a major rescue at night, but little panic session mini-rescues are pretty darned common when a night dive is the first dive a person's done in months or years... it's task loading for the person that's attempting it. I'm amazed at the difference adding a late afternoon dive prior to that night dive makes for LOTS of divers. I've found the night dive wasn't always a fun experience for some divers, generally due to discomfort, when doing a 1 tanker, the addition of that extra afternoon dive pretty much changes that. I can't recall one panic issue to anyone on the night dive in all the years I've been doing the afternoon dive first. It just makes for a better experience, in my mind anyways, for everyone... even if you personally don't have troubles, if there's someone in the group having issues it can affect the dive for everyone in the group.

As a bonus, that first dive is generally a very good dive. We generally dive the same spot as the night dive if we're diving the Garden Eel Cove manta site, 'cause it's one of Hawaii's premiere dive sites. Before I moved here I knew of it because it made a list of "Best Dives in the Pacific" in a reader survey in Scuba Diving Magazine (and that was before the night dive even started being held there). It's a very good dive. If we're heading south to the Sheraton site for the manta dive, we tend to dive one of two great reef sites on the way.

That said, while I don't push 1 tank night dives, that doesn't necessarily mean we won't do them. The trick is I need to have enough divers, preferrably that have already dove with us at some point this vacation, to make it worth going out. I usually require 4 to 6 divers to do a one tank dive, and I really want them to have some dives in this trip first so we don't run into problems. If you've got a group of 4-6 divers and are looking for a one tank dive to keep your evening shorter rather than making a 5-6 hour event of it, give me a call.

Here's a shot of a Moorish Idol. They're one of everyone's favorites it seems.

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