Overview of Mahukona


The Big Island
Hawaiian Islands


Mahukona is an excellent dive for those who have a few dives under their belt. The entry is very easy, the parking is good, and there is a hot water shower to alleviate the chills of an hour long dive (the shower pipe runs over the lava, and is heated by the Sun -- very nice!). Since this is still used as a small boat harbor, a dive flag is recommended, as always.

Directions: Located on the North West tip of Hawaii on the North Kohala Coast on Highway 270 about 13 miles from the junction of 270 and 19.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

05/11/2017 Oregon diver at Canby (Avg: 1.83 Review) - We dove this site May 5 2017 and it seemed devoid of marine life. Obviously the snorkelers loved it as did the local folks, all were just great. We saw only small fish. We did a 51 minute dive reaching a max of 52 feet; traveled the chain, saw wreckage and tires but not much life at all. I was hopeful for more. We had heavy swells roll in on our exit which proved to almost lethal. Watch the wave action, surge and currents. It appears to be popular, however we had a bad experience here.

06/08/2016 Sarina (Avg: 3.70 Review) - Landed here on a Sunday, forgot the bit about avoiding it on the weekends. The locals were friendly and kind. My daughter made a friend and had a lovely time snorkeling with her while we were diving. We had a leisurely swim out and followed the chain for a while. There are some encrusted boat parts, but nothing too exciting. The reef was lovely and we had a great time until the daughter towing the buoy decided to go deep and snap the line. By the time I realized and surfaced, the buoy was drifting off in the wind rapidly. I ended up swimming about 1/2 mile to get the stupid thing. I almost gave up, but I had put my dry bag on it with our phones and keys. So much for that great idea! The entry is lovely, you could do a stride off the end of the pier or you could ease in at the steps depending on your comfort level. Exit was easy, just like getting up a boat ladder. I can see why this site would be dangerous in surf and lovely for a night dive. The shower was such an incredible amenity!

02/17/2015 Surfgrrl (Avg: 3.00 Review) - The state added a new ladder that looks better then the old ladder. Looking forward to some exploring some more out here. Lots of whales, you can hear them underwater.

02/03/2015 surfgrrl (Avg: 3.00 Review) - The ladder is gone. So you need someone to on shore to help get your gear out of the water. Easy entry jump in by the crane.

01/26/2015 Mike Broderick (Avg: 3.00 Review) - As of today 01/26/2015 this site is closed, I guess they are working on buildings.

06/29/2014 Geoff from Albany (Avg: 3.83 Review) - Dived two tanks today as refresher after a year off. Easy as ever, but entry a little harder at tide low. Can't just stride in. Watch the surge while having your partner hand down your fins. Saw a manta swim through, plenty of reef fish, several morays, a conger in a pipe, lobster in cave. Viz a little murky, often is, maybe 35'?

05/02/2014 Patricia (Avg: 4.22 Review) - Had a great dive. Very easy entry and exit reef was nice. Good visibility once you get out 50 yds or so. Ran into 2 large manta rays that swam with us for 5 minutes or so. Clearly highlight of the dive. Warm showers definitely a plus.

01/20/2014 Larry Moulton (Avg: 2.71 Review) - Fish have been decimated by harvesters. Mostly small juveniles under 4 inches long, a few larger fish near shore on the north side of the entry, which have not been caught yet. Makes for a mediocre dive.

11/25/2012 George (Avg: 3.80 Review) - Good dive but strong current pushing north. Hard swim back. Good fish life and reef appears to be in fairly good condition. Shower and accessibility are definitely a plus. Do not expect pristine conditions but it is a fun healthy site .

10/04/2012 Terry L. (Avg: 3.40 Review) - Perfect site for beginning scuba & those who want a break from fighting wave action & rock battering. You can gear up right at the tailgate & hop or climb one or two steps into the water. We saw the train car, the anchor & several large chains to follow, got inked by an octo, lots of reef fish. Only caution is to stay out far enough from the shallows on the left to avoid surge.

06/04/2012 Hin (Avg: 3.19 Review) - We went during high tide so it was just an easy step-into the water. Coming out is easy too. Parking is not so great on the weekends but weekdays are fine. This is a good place to find out how much weights you need.

05/27/2012 Mark G (Avg: 2.81 Review) - Nice easy entry and exit but only go during the week so the locals don't give you 'stink eye' and ruin your day.

08/21/2011 Dags (Avg: 4.00 Review) - Night dives are great! There is a huge chain to follow back in.

06/07/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 3.96 Review) - Easy entry from dock, then we snorkel out to the clear water. Healthy finger coral. Avg fish. Can listen to the whales.

03/29/2010 Colorado Divers (Avg: 3.61 Review) - Easy entry. Swim out to the middle and drop down. Follow the chain out and take a tear drop loop to the left and back around. Very good coral and lots of life.

01/03/2010 Mark Gremillion (Avg: 2.73 Review) - Don't go on weekends, unless you like getting stink eye from the locals. Easy entry and exit but really not much to see. Nice beginner dive on the island.

11/09/2009 Debbie Rosa (Avg: 3.53 Review) - This dive can be very dangerous when there is a western swell - so be careful. No one has reported this. My husband and I dove here the summer of 2008 and it a great beginner/practice dive site. However, we just dove there this November 2009 and there were huge swells at the entry/exit. We went out (stupid us) anyway, timing the swells on the way out. On the way in, we miss timed and it was really bad. I lost my mask and my snorkel and almost got swept into the rocks. Thanks to my husband that didn't happen. However, the folks that came after us, in kayaks were not so fortunate. One of the kayaks flipped tossing the guy into the rocks. He suffered a serious laceration on his ankle which required a trip to the hospital and he lost all of his gear. I really wish we had been alerted to the danger at this site, before we went.

05/30/2009 Jerry Burawski (Avg: 4.25 Review) - Good dive, park on the pier, walk to the end and just fall in. Out to the right there is a small wreck. Lobster, eels, lots of fish. Ladder to get out. Hot shower to rinse. Paved parking lot so your feet don't get covered with sand.

03/31/2008 Joe Foster (Avg: 3.79 Review) - I dove this site twice with my 2 boys on March 21st, 2008. Really easy to enter and exit. We saw the largest Manta Ray I have ever seen. He was digging a hole on the bottom, and I estimated him at an 8 foot wingspan. The site was so easy to get to that we decided to come back after dark for my boy's first night dive experience. All the locals were fishing off the pier, but didn't seem to mind us being there. (just keep your car/truck lights off as you drive in) It was just as good as the first dive. Saw a few Parrot fish sleeping in their balloon of gel. Another dive not to be missed.

12/18/2007 Sarah Kneisel (Avg: 4.72 Review) - We dove this site two times because it was so easy to get in and out during a period of high surf when every other dive site was off limits. We saw numerous eels, Hawaiian puffers, and fish. It would also make an excellent night dive site. There is a shower in the parking area which is very handy for rinsing out equipment.

02/24/2007 Gonzo (Avg: 4.37 Review) - Truly an amazingly simple night dive with all kinds of unexpected treats. Upon entry, swam with a two foot squid for a while. The dive is simple as you follow an old anchor chain out and back, but if you dive it on a full moon you hardly even need a light. Saw the largest frogfish you could even imagine. Wonderful!

01/06/2007 Brian Xavier (Avg: 4.06 Review) - Dove Mahukona and had a great time here. We went straight off of the swim steps, but I would suggest a giant stride off the dock. Check water depth first. Straight out there is a wreck in about 30-35 feet. We saw old steel wheels and a large chain. Lots of yellow tang and other fish. Also go south around the rocks for a good dive. Overall a great site with absolutely no people. Be careful if the swell is up because it can be rough in the chute or canal.

09/05/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 3.42 Review) - Been diving here several times. Best entry is from the ladder, or simply step off the wall at the NW corner. Vis sucks (for Hawaii; better than any on mainland West coast, though ) until you get out a couple hundred yards. If you follow the anchor chain out, there are the remnants of a sunken freighter of some sort in about 35 fsw. If you don't mind a short swim, follow the shore line south about 1/4 mile and submerge. This area is a protected marine sanctuary, and the sea life is abundant. Visibility is much better also. Current can be a mother out here sometimes, so if you are unfamiliar with this site, I would only dive it when the seas are calm, and always let someone know where you are diving and when to expect you back. Check the tide tables as well, best to dive at slack tide (duh). Some friends of mine tell me there is another wreck in about 70 fsw, but I have not personally tried to locate it. According to them, you simply continue on the same compass heading you were on while following the anchor chain out to the first wreck, and this will get you in the general area. Don't worry, the vis is good at this point, so it shouldn't be a problem.

07/05/2005 Steve Porter (Avg: 3.90 Review) - My wife and I dove this while camping out next door. Had hot water showers and what not. Since it was so shallow, we were able to spend 90 minutes on the bottom. The wreck makes for some interesting pics. Also, with all the bricks, we made a small wall!

08/31/2004 Kathleen (Avg: 2.76 Review) - Paved road takes you down to the park, with stairs into the water. There is a bathroom on the far side of the park. The vis was poor because of all the wave action, and the bottom was beat up compared to most other places I dove. Probably because it mostly runs at 20' and the waves have more affect on the reef.

04/05/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.00 Review) - More and bigger reef fish here than anywhere on the Big Island. I need more dives to see it all, chain and boiler are extras for topography. Saw an eagle ray here on my wife's birthday, her favorite present.

11/17/2003 Mark Wilson (Avg: 3.18 Review) - We decided to take a drive without our dive gear. All we had was snorkel gear. But we decided to snorkel Manukona. Very easy to get in and out. The vis was down due to a storm. Large chain in the middle of the dock area at about 25 ft.

09/25/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Easy entry, easy exit, easy road access, good visibility, not very deep, but enough critters to keep your interest, friendly locals, fun dive, what more is there to say about this site.

01/29/2003 Linda Smith Crist (Avg: 3.66 Review) - Easy entry and very clear water. Decent variety of animal life, less variety of plant life. Worth the trip to see the chain and rotor on the bottom in about 25 ft. of water.

08/04/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 2.83 Review) - Shallow dive, with lots of interesting reef formations. I've only dove here once, and the visibility was more than an astounding 200 feet (we counted kick cycles to a coral head to estimate the distance). There used to be an old ship's boiler underwater, but it was up on shore the last time I stopped by. Visibility and conditions vary greatly, so if in doubt, dive somewhere else. Great on a calm day.

01/23/2002 Rob (Avg: 3.70 Review) - Nice spot, easy entry down the steps. The dive is shallow , I don't think I hit more than 40 feet. Large anchor chain, and parts of an old ammo ship, prop, drive shaft and motor. Some locals snorkeling, not to many divers during the week. Dive Puako in the morning, get a fresh tank at Kohala Divers, then head up to Mahukona.

09/22/2001 Mae Miller (Avg: 4.59 Review) - Its a weekend party spot for the locals, so I would try to get there early in the morning to do your dives. Usually by mid day, parking gets really tight and you might get blocked in. Access in & out of the water is easy. There might be a slight current coming in & out of the harbor, but once you're past that, the sights of the wreck and plant, fish & coral life is just amazing!!

09/16/2001 Jim Goodenough (Avg: 3.77 Review) - Very easy entry. Nice parking and a warm shower. Locals were OK with us. Dive was shallow, but lots to see. Get Dick Dresie's book for a good description of this site.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0101


Entrance at Mahukona 

The entrance is very easy to locate. Take a left and travel to the T in the road; turn right, and after about 100yds, you'll find the parking area.


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0102


Parking at Mahukona 

This is an overview of the diving area with the parking to the left. Park away from the entry area and the shower to allow larger vehicles access to the boat crane.


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0103


Entry at Mahukona 

The entry at this site is very easy. There are steps to get you closer to the water, with an iron ladder to get you the rest of the way. When the tide is in, you may be able to do a giant stride on an incoming swell. Otherwise, the depth at the ladder is from 3 to 6 feet.




Aerial at Mahukona 
(click photo for details)

Head straight out to sea about 100 yards, and take your first right. You'll find plenty of coral, fish, and a wreck or two right there in the shallows.




Aerial at Mahukona 
(click photo for details)

You can also head to the left (South), and find more interesting diving.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Mahukona  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.52
Bottom Conditions:  3.76
Reef Conditions:  3.42
Animal Life:  3.33
Plant Life:  2.82
Facilities:  3.52
Solitude 3.15
Roads:  3.97
*Site Average:  3.52

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.61
Beginner Scuba:  3.91
Intermediate Scuba:  3.76
Advanced Scuba:  3.36
Night diving Scuba:  3.48

Number of reviews for this site: 33


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