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Liveaboard Diving in Tubestria Tunnels
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A TUBESTREA TUNNEL LIVEABOARD
Tubestria Tunnel is a unique dive site and a favorite stopping point for Hawaiian liveaboard dive tours. Located off the west coast of the Big Island around Miloli’i Village, it is approximately halfway between Kona and the southernmost tip of the island. Tubastria Tunnel is, for the most part, void of the local traffic of land-based dive operators. This is due to the fact that most operators consider this spot a long range location and will seldom venture as far south. This gives liveaboard divers the advantage of experiencing a dive site that is extremely remote and extremely pristine. The highlight of this dive is the large lava tubes, swim-throughs, and oversized, easily navigable tunnel.
Tubestria Tunnel is a nice recreational dive. Typically, the visibility at this dive site is excellent, with an average sight range of beyond 30 meters. Average surface temperature is approximately 26˚C/78˚F while the average bottom temperature is 24˚C/75˚F. These temperatures are slightly cooler than typical tropical water temperatures, so it is advisable to wear either a 3mm or a 5mm wetsuit if you are one to get a chill in the water.
WHAT YOU CAN SEE
Visiting Tubestria Tunnel on a liveaboard cruise will allow divers to see the immense lava fingers, which are quite a sight to see at this dive site. Stretching all the way from the shore line to form a peninsula that drops below sea level, they create dramatic ridges, canyons, and swim-throughs of hardened lava.
The fan favorite of this dive site is the oversized swim-through tunnel. Just as the name of the dive site suggests, this tunnel is covered in tubastrea coral, otherwise known as sun coral. These soft bursting polyps range in color from pink and orange to yellow. The tunnel is quite spacious with measurements of 20ft in width, 10ft in height, and 40ft in length, making this a comfortable and relaxing swim-through for most divers. Shafts of light shine in through natural skylights in the top of the tunnel, lending to good visibility.
Tubestria Tunnel is a prime location to spot local sharks. It is also the home of three resident frogfish, so keep your eyes peeled for these well-known area residents.
GETTING TO TUBASTREA TUNNEL
Tubastrea Tunnel is located off the west coast of the Big Island around Miloli’i Village, and is out of range for many land-based dive operators. This is positive news for the liveaboard diver, as it means that there will be few other divers in an area that has not been soiled by heavy tourism populations.
The easiest travel option is to fly into Kona International Airport (KOA). KOA is conveniently located a short 20-minute drive from the port of departure, Kailua Pier. Airlines that operate out of KOA are Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, United, US Airways, and WestJet. Island Air and GO! Mokulele also operate out of KOA, offering interisland service and connecting international flights. Nonstop service is offered between Kona and the cities of Vancouver, Canada, Seattle WA, San Jose CA, Oakland CA, Portland OR, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, Denver CO, Chicago IL, and Phoenix AZ.
Transfers to and from the airport are not included in the price of the liveaboard tour and are the sole responsibility of the consumer. There are several private and shared shuttle and taxi services available on the airport grounds. These can be booked ahead or flagged upon arrival, depending on the operator of choice.
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