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We finally got to the Big Island and dove off of Kona as part of our 20th wedding anniversary. The seas were rough which cancelled half our dives, but we did two the morning of April 6th, 2014 and the Manta Ray Dive on April 7th. Even with the rough seas causing reduced visibility and surge bouncing us around, the manta ray dive was freakin' awesome. We'll be going back next year when it's calmer to do it again.
This post and thread is meant to be a list that people planning dive trips can see if I've been there and can ask for my advice. I'd be happy to give anyone advice on any of these dive sites. This definitely isn't to brag, because I haven't really been diving in a lot of places, yet. I'm not including pool dives (even though I got to dive in the UT Swim Center for black water training). Updated: 13NOV2013 Texas Shore Dives Spring Lake (Aquarena Springs), San Marcos - 26 dives, latest September 2013; free if Diving for Science qualified; My favorite place in Central Texas by far, but currently closed to divers Comal River, New Braunfels - 6 dives, latest March 2013; free access; I love drift dives, and the Comal is 71F all year and crystal clear in most parts (but only 5-15' deep), can find lots of stuff; water is currently low meaning some parts (such as after 2nd low-head dam or chute) can be too shallow to swim much less dive Windy Point Private, Lake Travis, Austin - 29 dives, latest October 2012; $15/person weekends; close to home, easy trip, and dive-centric park with good facilities; with lake low can be a hump getting down stairs to water an especially up the stairs while wet and possibly tired Bob Wentz Park (Windy Point Public), Lake Travis, Austin - 3 dives, latest August 2013; $10/car; close to home like the private side plus easier access but facilities not near as good for divers and can be crowded with swimmers and people fishing; cool grottos and a few good swim-throughs; they really need to update their pictures, because the lake is more than 50' lower Mansfield Dam Park, Lake Travis, Austin - 3 dives, latest June 2012; $10/car; close to home, easy trip, & dive-centric park with decent facilities; people fishing annoying even though prohibited, Lake Travis is still almost 60' low Marina/Island View Pavilion, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Belton - 11 dives, latest May 2012; free if going to marina; overall equivalent to Travis but less people and easier access, dive shop right there on the lake in the marina Scuba Divers Paradise Pier, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Belton - 3 dives, latest October 2012; free if going to marina; overall equivalent to Travis but less people and easier access, dive shop right there on the lake in the marina Quarry Lake, Reveille Peak Ranch (RPR), Burnet - 4 dives, latest July 2012; private access; longer drive from Austin and limited access but a good dive (cold water); Scubaland has partnership and only way we could dive was being sponsored by Scubaland (they had dive club days, demos, or classes there that day) Joe's Place Marina, Medina Lake, Mico - 3 dives; colder and darker than Travis but a decent amount of "training wrecks" North Park, Canyon Lake, Canyon Lake - 2 dives; entry more difficult (when Travis full, but easier access when Travis is low) and water quality worse than Travis Mammoth Lake, Lake Jackson/Clute - 4 dives, latest August 2013; nice park with individual pavilions with benches and piers; tons of stuff in the water to explore including a C-130; told going out of business September 2013, hopefully someone else buys it and reopens as it's a nice dive park 288 Lake, Houston - 1 dive, latest August 2013; $17.50/person; the facilities were good but the vis was horrible. That might not have been fair as there were a lo of classes and there had just been a heavy rain. With our sample size of one, we didn't like it. We immediately went to Twin Lakes which we liked much better. Twin Lakes Scuba Park, Manvel - 1 dive, latest August 2013; $15/person; I really enjoyed this park. Visibility was on the good end for TX green water (about 8') with two planes, an Airstream trailer and lots of diving platforms Lost Pines, Bastrop State Park Lake, Bastrop - 2 dives (2nd on a boat dive); did black water dive training here, wouldn't recommend for recreational Texas Boat Dives Wreck Alley, Lake Travis, Austin- 3 dives; went on the Giant Stride from Windy Point Public Starne's Island, Lake Travis, Austin- 2 dives;went on the Giant Stride from Windy Point Public, can find lots of stuff Oasis Wall, Lake Travis, Austin- 1 dive;went on the Giant Stride from Windy Point Public Texas Clipper, Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island - 2 dives; a decent wreck a couple hours from shore, still fairly new and a little deep (60'-95' iirc) "Texas Clipper" Oil Rig, Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island - 1 dive; fell in love with oil rigs because shallow so lots of light and life; may be gone now Little Sarah Oil Rig, Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island - 2 dives; fell in love with oil rigs because shallow so lots of light and life; may be gone now Oil Rig MU-758, Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas - 1 dive; fell in love with oil rigs because shallow so lots of light and life; may be gone now Oil Rig MU-784B, Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas - 1 dive; fell in love with oil rigs because shallow so lots of light and life; may be gone now Pacific Ocean Shore Dives Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu - 3 dives, latest March 2013; before I got my wife certified to dive, we would snorkel here every year. I wanted to dive there since I got qualified in 1993. In 2012, I finally had my chance as we were both qualified, but the first time we tried to go the parking lot was full (they won't let anyone in if it is), the second time we had bags stolen including my wife's dive computer and the third time it was closed. We had to wait a year, but we finally dove there, once up the Toilet Bowl side and twice up the Cable Channel, and it was awesome! Shark's Cove, Pupukea Beach Park, Oahu - 1 dive, latest March 2013; awesome shore dive with tons of fish, eels and caves, last dive Makaha Caverns, Makaha Beach Park, Oahu - 1 dive, latest March 2013; Magic Island, Ala Moana Park, Oahu - 1 dive, latest March 2013; Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach Park, Oahu - 1 dive, latest March 2013; Staircase, Kaka'ako Park, Oahu - 1 dive, latest March 2013; Makai Research Pier, Oahu - 2 dives, latest April 2013; Hale'iwa Trench, Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach Park, Oahu - 1 dive; back in 1993 before I really kept logs or followed rules (lucky to survive) Electric Beach / Kahe Point Beach Park, Oahu - 2 dives, latest March 2013; 1st back in 1993 before I really kept logs or followed rules (lucky to survive) Apra Harbor, Guam - 2 dives; great dives, 2nd was off of the Glass Breakwater, back in 1993 before I really kept logs or followed rules (lucky to survive) Pacific Ocean Boat Dives Twin Rock/Kuroshima, Naha, Okinawa - 1 dive; 135' vis (that's how deep it was and could see bottom), all Okinawa dives were awesome Manta Point/Azu's Cave, Naha, Okinawa - 1 dive; all Okinawa dives were awesome Kuaf Island, Naha, Okinawa - 1 dive; all Okinawa dives were awesome Baby Barge, Hawaii Kai, Oahu - 1 dive; saw lots of turtles YO-257 & San Pedro, Hawaii Kai, Oahu - 1 dive; little to deep with Atlantis tourist subs driving around Spitting Cave, China Wall, Hawaii Kai, Oahu - 1 dive; great drift dive Corsair, Hawaii Kai, Oahu - 1 dive; only real wreck on Oahu, deep and terrible current but small so don't need much time Fantasy Reef, Hawaii Kai, Oahu - 1 dive; great drift dive, did at night and saw wonderful photoluminescence One of these days I'll dive Cozumel and other Caribbean places, Indonesia, Flower Gardens, etc.
My wife and I are visiting her family in Honolulu around April 1st, 2013. Our dive buddy is going, too. We plan on doing as much diving as possible. If anyone happens to be on Oahu at the same time, you're more than welcome to dive with us. My buddy will have his dive camera; a real one, not like mine. Anyone have requests for pictures of their favorite species in the wild?