Why learn to Freedive in Hawaii?
Updated: Mar 18
There are few great freediving travel spots around the globe. The decision on which one to visit can be difficult. Places like Bali have extreme currents, terrorist bombings, volcanoes and 3rd world services. The Philippines has devastating cyclones, mediocre visibility, and more 3rd world living. Egypt is often in the middle of some kind of coup or another civil strife of some kind.
When you begin to contrast and compare destinations where you can learn to freedive there are many factors to consider. What's most important to you?
"a few months before the trip was scheduled the Balinese government decided it would schedule 'a day of silence' on the same day we were set to fly out canceling our flight"
Freediving Travel Factors:
Activities available at the destination
Services offered by the Host Country
Safety at the host country
Distance = Time
We are not talking about distance to a great freediving destination in the draw-a-straight-line kind of way. We are talking about distance in the how long is it actually going to take you to get there kind of way. Some places take over a day to arrive. You can try to save some money and it will take even longer!
Travel Times From Los Angeles
Coron, Philippines 22 hrs
Cebu, Philippines 19.5 hrs
Panglao, Philippines 21 hrs
Dahab, Egypt 23-39 hrs
Bali, Indonesia 24 hrs
Grand Cayman 9hrs
Kona, Hawaii 5.5 hrs
Travel Times From New York
Coron, Philippines 22 hrs
Cebu, Philippines 21 hrs
Panglao, Philippines 20.5 hrs
Dahab, Egypt 14-19 hrs
Bali, Indonesia 24 hrs
Grand Cayman 4 hrs
Kona, Hawaii 13 hrs
Our dive travel group planned a trip to Bali more than a year in advance. The resort was booked the diving was set up. Then a few months before the trip was scheduled the Balinese government decided it would schedule 'a day of silence' on the same day we were set to fly out canceling our flight. So we had to scramble and find new flights and itineraries that were less than ideal. We had to reach out to the resort and book an extra day of stay making the trip longer than expected.
Once you book a flight you're now committed. Time to get accommodations and book your activities. Places like Bali, Philippines, and Egypt will be relatively inexpensive and even more so when there's civil strife or a recently erupted volcano. The freediving course or excursion may be less expensive as well. In the case of Bali you get what you pay for in that the extreme currents can make a whole day bust. The cost can also be indicative of the quality of training you will receive.
Cost to learn to freedive to 40m (131 ft):
$920 in Egypt with various schools
$894 in Kona with Kona Freedivers
$1070 in Bali with Freedive Nusa
$800 + E-learning in Cayman with Divetech
Are you bringing the family or perhaps a significant other? Are they water people? Are you just interested in water activities or do you want more land-based opportunities? These are all things to consider when choosing a freediving destination. Places like Kona and Egypt will have some really spectacular opportunities on-shore. Places like the Philippines and Grand Cayman will be more limited with most of the opportunities surrounding water activities. Kona has some of the best ocean activities like snorkeling with manta rays, and swimming with large animals and other large marine life. Learning to freedive here is easy because of the calm waters and clear water. Places like the Philippines will be more limited in that regard often having an abundance of smaller marine critters depending on where you go.
This is a broad category but let's say you need to mail a souvenir because you can't fit it in your luggage. Or maybe someone in your party gets sick or injured and you need to visit the hospital. Some of the destinations listed here may have great first world services like Kona while others may be a little more 3rd world like Bali or long Island Bahamas. the longer you stay at a destination the more this becomes important. If you're preparing your own meals can you easily get to the grocery store and buy fresh food? Some places in the caribean and Egypt will be much more limited in this regard. Of course you may eat out but you have to be careful as some stomach bugs can last for days or weeks. 1st world places like Kona, Hawaii will have much less opportunity for these kind of occurrences.
This can be a bit more challenging to quantify without knowing all of the factors involved with your destination. Keep in mind some of these destinations require a passport while others like Hawaii do not. Anywhere you travel requiring a passport means you are not a citizen and may be treated differently for better or for worse. Should you plan to rent a car keep in mind you may need an international driver's license. You can visit the US government's travel advisory page to see if there are any serious threats in the destination you are researching.
About the Author
Byron Kay is a freediving instructor and the founder of Kona Freedivers and owner of Kona Honu Divers as well as Kona Snorkel Trips. They stand out as Hawaii's top rated and most reviewed businesses among their peers having a perfect 5 star rating on google. To learn more about Byron and his latest goings on visit his bio page.